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Pb govt recommends CBI probe in Kotkapura, Behbal Kalan firings

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Press Trust of India Chandigarh
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today recommended a CBI probe into the Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan firings during protests against a series of desecration incidents of the Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari and elsewhere in the state three years ago.
The chief minister also announced enhanced compensations of Rs 1 crore each to the families of the two persons killed, besides Rs 10 lakh to Rs 60 lakh payments to those injured in the alleged police firings in October 2015.
Amarinder said that the government decided to enhance the compensation amounts from what was recommended by the Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission.
The government would also offer a job to one member of each of their families, said the chief minister.
The Congress government had set up the Commission in April last year to investigate the incidents of sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib and other religious scriptures, after rejecting the findings of the Zora Singh Commission set up by the previous Akali Dal-BJP government, saying its findings were "inconclusive."

The sacrilege incidents had led to massive protests in different parts of the state and two persons were killed in the alleged police firings at Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura.
"The decision to hand over the further probe into the matter to the CBI against all those implicated by the Commission has been taken to ensure an impartial and objective investigation... the role of all the police officers named by the Commission will be probed by the CBI and all documents related to the incidents will be handed over to the agency," the chief minister told a news conference here.
Replying to a question, Amarinder said very senior officers could be involved and it was felt that the matter was best investigated by the CBI.
The CBI is already probing certain other cases of sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib, handed over to it earlier by the state government.
The Justice Ranjit Singh Commission had submitted the first part of its report on June 30, 2018, said Amarinder, adding that though the full report was still awaited, the government has decided to accept the Commission's recommendations made so far.
"The report of the Commission will be tabled in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in its next session after the Commission completes its proceedings," he said.
Responding to a query, the chief minister said a special session of the House, as demanded by the opposition parties, would be called only after the receipt of full report by the government because the action-taken-report cannot be tabled on a partial report.
"The complete report, running into 182 pages with thousands of pages of evidence, will be in four parts and all four parts would be tabled in the House with the action-taken-report," he said.
In the first part, the Commission has covered incidents of sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib at villages Burj Jawahar Singh Wala, Bargari, Gurusar and Mallke on and around June 1, September 25, October 11-12 respectively in 2015, and the police action involving the firings at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan on October 14, 2015, leading to the death of two persons and injuries to some others.
Amarinder further said the government has agreed outright to the Commission's recommendations to provide compensation and jobs to the affected persons.
The government, however, raised the compensations for the families of the two deceased from Rs 75 lakh, as recommended by the Commission, to Rs 1 crore each, while that for the seriously injured Beant Singh has been raised from Rs 35 lakh, as recommended by the Commission, to Rs 50 lakh.
The compensation for Ajit Singh, who has been incapacitated for life, has been raised from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 60 lakh. He would also be provided an attendant and reimbursement of medical expenses, the chief minister said.
All others injured in the firings would be given Rs 10 lakh each, he said, adding that the government has decided on these measures to instil a sense of justice in the public.
Amarinder said the Commission, in its first report, has also recommended appropriate actions against the erstwhile Kotkapura SDM and those police officials who, though not apparently guilty of any criminal act, were, nevertheless, seen to be responsible for the police action.
A number of police officers have been found failing in carrying out proper and fair probe into the incidents of sacrilege and in the cases which were registered after the use of force at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan.
The Commission has also recommended appropriate actions as per the law against all such officials, he said.
The Commission, in particular, has mentioned the roles of

Inspector Pardip Singh, Sub-Inspector Arriarjit Singh and SSP Bikramjit Singh, recommending registration of an FIR against them at the Baja Khanna police station for thorough probe into their roles.

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First Published: Jul 30 2018 | 9:35 PM IST

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