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Amarinder Singh Says CBI's Closure Report in Sacrilege Cases Has Left Sikhs 'Anguished'

The chief minister sought the immediate withdrawal of the report and reopening of a probe by the premier investigating agency into the cases of desecration of holy texts.


Updated:July 31, 2019, 9:29 PM IST
Amarinder Singh Says CBI's Closure Report in Sacrilege Cases Has Left Sikhs 'Anguished'
File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. (PTI)

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said the closure report filed by the CBI in sacrilege incidents has caused a "deep sense of anguish" among the Sikh community.

The chief minister sought the immediate withdrawal of the report and reopening of a probe by the premier investigating agency into the cases of desecration of holy texts.

"It (CBI's closure report) has caused a deep sense of hurt and anguish among the Sikh community and should be immediately withdrawn to ensure further detailed investigations in the matter," Amarinder Singh said in a statement here.

The chief minister accused the CBI of not only "overlooking" certain crucial aspects of the investigation but also accused it of failing in its duty to identify culprits and bring them to book, as was expected of the premier agency.

On July 4, the CBI had filed its closure report in a special CBI court in Mohali, giving a clean chit to the accused in the three incidents of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib in 2015 in Faridkot.

The agency had rejected the findings of the Punjab Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the case.

The state police had named Dera followers including Mohinder Pal Bittu (who was murdered in Nabha jail last month), Shakti Singh and Sukhjinder Singh as accused in three sacrilege incidents.

The previous SAD-BJP government had handed over the cases-- theft of a 'bir' (copy) of Guru Granth Sahib from a Burj Jawahar Singh Walagurdwara on June 1, 2015, putting up of hand-written sacrilegious posters in Bargari and Burj Jawahar Singh Wala on September 25 and torn pages of the holy book being found at Bargari on October 12, 2015 in Faridkot to the CBI for investigation.

Demanding reopening of the cases for further investigations, Amarinder Singh said "for reasons best known to them", the CBI had "unexpectedly" closed the cases in an "unusually hurried" manner, which raised several questions on its handling of the matter.

Many aspects of the cases, including financial transactions and linkages with foreign-based entities, have been "conveniently ignored" in the CBI probe, the CM noted, seeking a review of the closure decision.

The CBI had also not identified and examined certain key witnesses/suspects whose examination could have shed light on the cases dismissed by the agency in its closure report, he added.

The Chief Minister pointed out that the CBI was controlled by the central government led by the BJP-- an ally of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which was in power in Punjab when the sacrilege incidents took place.

The needle of suspicion in the Bargari sacrilege case had been pointed at the SAD by the Justice Ranjit Singh (Retd) Commission, he observed, adding that, given this context, the CBI decision to file closure report was "highly questionable".

The "unexpected" decision of the CBI to file the closure report had "pained" not just the Sikhs in India and but also the large Sikh diaspora abroad, he added.

The sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib was a grave and sensitive issue which could not be dismissed in this manner, without taking action against those guilty of perpetuating the crime, said the CM.

"Such an act could have serious repercussions for the state's law and order, which could in turn have major consequences for the country," said Amarinder Singh.

Given the sensitivity of the issue, the need for a fair and impartial probe into every aspect of the issue was needed to take the case to its logical conclusion, he added.

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