Akalis complain of Congress 'atrocities' against their supporters
A fresh round of hostilities is on between the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress which is in power under Captain Amarinder Singh in Punjab. In an attempt to exploit the optimum opposition space, the Akalis have been trying to up the ante against the Amarinder government on various issues. The primary one among them is the targeting of Akali workers and supporters in the districts by the state apparatus. The charges, of course, are being dismissed by the government.
Just two days ago, Akali leaders Bikram Singh Majithia and Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema tried to assert that Punjab was descending to Jungle Raj under the Congress government. They alleged that the Congress leaders were unleashing terror against the people. The Akali leaders physically paraded the 'victims' of state oppression before the media to prove their point.
Releasing a list of the false cases registered against Akali supporters, the two Akali leaders said there is a clear cut pattern to 'punish' people who had voted against the Congress by registering non-bailable cases against them.
“Many such cases have come to the notice of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal during his 'Jabar Virdohi Lehar' visit to Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency. But we feel this is a pan-Punjab epidemic. We will not let this conspiracy succeed. We will present the entire list of cases as well as victims before the state police chief. We expect the police to act in a non-partisan manner and give justice to the victims and also take action against Station House Officers (SHOs) who are dancing to the tune of Congress leaders and implicating innocents in false cases. If this is not done we will approach the courts and demand a CBI inquiry into the entire list of politically motivated cases being registered under the Congress regime,” they said.
Majithia said in that Tarn Taran, Congress goons supported by local legislator Ramanjit Sikki had forcibly taken possession of 16 canals of land belonging to an Army jawan who was guarding the nation’s frontiers in Jammu and Kashmir. He said even wards of freedom fighters are not being spared and gave the example of one boy of Madhir village in Muktsar district who had been tortured in lock up at the instance of Congress legislator Amarinder Raja Warring.
“The only fault of the young boy was that he had given an application detailing how the pond in his village had been encroached by Congress workers,” Majithia said.
Other SAD leaders, as well as the victims of Congress atrocities, also narrated their tale of woes.
Former minister Suchha Singh Langah said it is shameful that Dera Baba Nanak legislator Sukhi Randhawa is demanding proof of atrocities when 21 false and politically motivated non-bailable cases, including seven 'attempt to murder' cases, had been registered in the Constituency.
He gave the example of an attempt to murder case being registered against an entire family including women members in a case in which no injury had been inflicted to any one in Talwandi Rama village. Similarly, he added, a block samiti member Suchha Singh Mamam and his son had been implicated in a murder case despite the fact that he was not even named in the original FIR registered in this matter. Another person Balraj Singh has been implicated in three cases, including one in which he is accused of robbing a dog, he claimed.
The SAD leaders had gone on to submit a list of 'false politically motivated' cases registered at the instance of Congress leaders in Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency to the DGP Suresh Arora and asked him to get all these cases examined so that justice could be served to the victims of 'Congress repression'.
The Akali leaders told the DGP that the Congress leaders are misusing the police force at the lower level to get cases registered against their political opponents. They gave various examples of how the attempt to murder cases had been registered in Dera Baba Nanak, Gurdaspur and Batala Assembly segments without the occurrence of any serious injury.
The leaders also named a few SHOs including Makhan Singh and Tarsem Singh who they said were booking people recklessly in false cases at the instance of Congress legislators and leaders.
An Akali spokesperson said that the DGP, after giving them a patient hearing, assured that he would get all the 50 odd cases of Gurdaspur Constituency which had been brought to his notice looked into immediately.
Defending the party
Amarinder has taken it upon himself to counter the Akali attack and came out saying that no transfer of any SHO or police officer will be done at the behest of the Akalis.
Describing Majithia’s meeting with the DGP on the issue as a crude attempt to divert attention from imminent exposure of his involvement in the registration of false cases during the Akali regime, he said that with the maximum complaints of false cases reported from his constituency, Majithia is clearly apprehensive of being exposed once the Ranjit Singh Commission that is probing the false cases, comes out with its findings.
Dismissing Majithia’s accusation that these SHOs had been posted on the recommendation of Congress MLAs to create terror among Akali workers, Amarinder has categorically rejected the suggestion of any political interference in police or administrative appointments.
He said that neither has been any posting done under political pressure nor will any transfers be undertaken at the bidding of any politician.
The chief minister reiterated his commitment to ensure justice for the thousands of innocent people implicated in false cases during the SAD-BJP rule when terror was unleashed against the citizens of Punjab by Majithia and other Akali leaders. He also warned that anyone found guilty of involvement in false cases by the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission will be brought to book.
Amarinder has said that the police and administrative officials have been given a free hand to function in accordance with the law, without pressure of any kind.
Taking the battle further Majithia has now come out saying that the Akali stand has been vindicated with Amarinder giving a clean chit to the SHOs even before the DGP could hold an inquiry against them.
“I would like to say at the onset that I do no fear any inquiry, even if it is a friendly commission which has been given a pre-determined mandate which was also announced publicly by the chief minister. This mandate is to take on and target Akali leaders,” he said.
Stating that Amarinder should rise above narrow political considerations and be non-partisan always, the Akali leader said – “Please treat all Punjabis equally and ask your legislators also to do the same.”
Observers say that the police being dictated by the cadres of the party in power is a known phenomenon in Punjab and added that the Akalis were getting a taste of their own medicine.
The SAD-BJP rule in Punjab for a decade was marked by the 'Halqa' (constituency) in charge system where local Akali leaders used to call the shots. Things had come to a pass where the SHOs loyal to these leaders did not care even for their superiors in the police hierarchy.
The promise of bringing to book those responsible was one of the main elements in the Congress manifesto and Amarinder had indulged in a lot of theatrics during the run up to the polls on this issue. It is now the Akalis who are at the receiving end.