HC stays action against Punjab Police officers in 2015 firing

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Chandigarh : The Punjab and Haryana High court on Thursday stayed the proceedings against three Punjab Police officers booked in connection with the Behbal Kalan police firing in Faridkot in 2015, in which two persons were killed.

Justice R.K. Jain issued notice to Punjab for September 20 and stayed the investigation against former Moga Senior Superintendent of Police Charanjit Singh, ASP Bikramjit Singh and SHO Amarjit Singh.

Police had booked four of its officers on charges of murder and attempt to murder in connection with the police firing at Behbal Kalan village on people protesting against sacrilege incidents involving Guru Granth Sahib in October 2015. The fourth booked officer is Inspector Pardeep Singh.

The Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission, set up by the Congress government led by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to look into the sacrilege incidents, had recommended action against the police officers.

The counsel for the three officers -- since retired -- had pleaded before the High Court that the commission had exceeded its brief on findings on the sacrilege incidents and had gone on to recommend/suggest action against the police officers.

The three officers have challenged the report and recommendations of the commission on "technical grounds".

"Among the grounds, the commission did not issue any notice to the affected party for giving an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses. No notification was issued to de-notify the earlier commission (Justice Zora Singh (retd) Commission set up by the then Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government in Punjab) before setting up the Ranjit Singh Commission," the counsel pointed out.

"Acting on the recommendations of the Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission report, the Punjab Police included the names of four police personnel in the FIR registered in 2015 in the Behbal Kalan firing incident," a Punjab government spokesman had said here on Saturday.

Their names were included in the first information report on Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's directives.

The Commission, in its first report submitted to the Chief Minister last month, had categorically named these four police officers and recommended that they be named as accused in the FIR and proceeded against as per law.

Two persons were killed in the police firing and several others injured in violent clashes during protests against incidents of sacrilege. The protests brought Punjab to a standstill in October 2015 as radical Sikhs and others blocked highways and other roads for days together.

Published : Thursday, September 13, 2018 21:30 [IST]
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