Faridkot: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday announced a memorial in Bargari area here for those who lost their lives or were injured in the 2015 Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura firing incidents. He said a committee of local residents would be formed to decide the kind of memorial to be built.
Two people were killed and many others injured in Behbal Kalan village on October 15, 2015, when police resorted to unprovoked firing on hundreds of people protesting the alleged desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in Bargari village in Faridkot days ago. The incident came a day after police used force to disperse agitators in Kotkapura village.
Addressing an election rally here with Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday, the Chief Minister ridiculed Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Parkash Singh Badal’s claim of Bargari and other sacrilege cases being bygones.
The people have never and will never forget the desecration of their holy scriptures, and the Akali supremo should be ashamed of even suggesting the same, he said.
He pointed out that the Sikhs had not forgotten, in 500 years, the sacrifice of any member of their community and added that it was shameful that Badal had not realised this stark truth even at the age of 93.
“How can anyone forget what happened during the rule of the Badals? Not one or two but 58 Sri Guru Granth Sahibs were desecrated, not to count the Gutka Sahibs, Bhagavad Gita, the Bible and the Quran which were burnt or torn,” he said.
“What happened at Bargari, and in other incidents of police firing on those protesting peacefully against sacrilege, right under the nose of Badal is not something that Punjab can ever forget,” said Amarinder Singh and added that the firing could not have taken place without Badal’s knowledge and he was clearly to be blamed.
Referring to the Behbal Kalan tragedy, the Chief Minister recalled being told by the victims how the Superintendent of Police suddenly ordered the firing and cops gunned down people who tried to flee.
“This is not the way such incidents are handled,” he said, adding that if firing is needed at all, it is done by a small police unit, accompanied by a Magistrate who assesses the situation and asks for a single shot to be fired at one individual only on apprehending trouble.
Amarinder Singh said that Badal and his party leaders knew what had happened was wrong and that the people had neither forgotten nor forgiven them for the same and this was the reason why they were now running around desperately for votes.
The Chief Minister was campaigning in support of Congress’ Faridkot candidate Mohammad Sadique.