Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said that he has not given a clean chit to former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal in the Guru Granth Sahib sacrilege case.
The Chief Minister made the remarks through a statement issued by Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee on Tuesday. It referred to a newspaper headline of the interview given by the chief minister, saying that it did not reflect his views.
"At no point did I say Prakash Singh Badal or his son Sukhbir were not involved in the sacrilege. As is evident from the reported interview itself, all I have said was that Badal did not himself go and tear up the holy Guru Granth Sahib. But that does not rule out his involvement in the matter," the statement said quoting the Chief Minister said.
"They (the Badals) were as responsible as the men who had indulged in the actual act of desecration that had cascaded into such a grave chain of events for the state and its people. They not only failed to prevent the large number of cases of sacrilege that happened under their watch but also allowed the culprits to go scot-free", the chief minister said.
He said the Badals, being in power at the time, were "totally responsible" for the events that led to the sacrilege and the subsequent police firing as he has maintained all along.
"They cannot shrug off their culpability on this count, which was as grave a crime as actually tearing off the pages of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib," he said.
"As Chief Minister, am I not responsible for the law and order situation in the state today? If there is a spurt of crimes, wouldn't the people and the media blame me? The Badals' decision to back the Dera Sacha Sauda for support in the run-up to the elections was a political move, but it triggered criminal actions for which, while they may not be directly responsible, their accountability could not be ignored," he said.
"The criminality of actions in the sacrilege case is one thing, for which the Badals were probably not guilty, but what about the rest? What about the Dera links which created the circumstances for the desecration? What about the subsequent police firing that killed people and maimed/injured others?" the Chief Minister asked, pointing out that he had clearly stated these facts in the interview," he said.
"If Prakash Singh Badal as then chief minister, and Sukhbir as his deputy and home minister, did not order the police firing and did not even know what was happening, as they claim, then what kind of leaders were they? What kind of government were they running?", the chief minister asked.
The law holds a conspirator as much responsible for a crime as the actual criminal, Singh pointed out, adding that just the fact that Prakash Badal was not guilty of the actual act of desecration did not make him, or his son Sukhbir, any less culpable.