Panel submits final report on sacrilege cases in Punjab

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Chandigarh : A one-man commission of Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) -- which probed several sacrilege incidents and police firing on protesters -- on Thursday submitted its final report to the Punjab government.

Justice Ranjit Singh handed over the report to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who in turn directed the Home Department to take necessary action.

The commission had submitted its initial report to the Chief Minister on June 30.

The panel had probed the sacrilege incidents reported from Burj Jawahar Singh Wala, Bargari, Gurusar and Mallke villages and police firing at Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura on Sikh protesters in 2015.

An official spokesperson said that a part of the commission report deals with sacrilege reported in SAS Nagar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Rupnagar and Patiala districts, while another is related to incidents in Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur districts.

Another part relates to sacrilege cases in Amritsar, Bathinda, Barnala, Faridkot, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Mansa, Moga, Sangrur, Sri Muktsar Sahib, and Tarn Taran districts.

The report, along with an Action Taken Report of the government, on the sacrilege cases and police firings on protesters will be tabled in the coming Vidhan Sabha session beginning on August 24.

The Chief Minister has assured repeatedly that those found guilty of trying to create religious disharmony in the state through such actions would be punished.

The commission was set up in April 2017 by the Congress government to investigate sacrilege of the holy Guru Granth Sahib and religious texts of other religions.

The government had decided to constitute the panel after rejecting as 'inconclusive' the findings of the earlier Zora Singh Commission set up by the then SAD- BJP government.

The terms of reference of the new commission included an inquiry into sacrilege of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Srimad Bhagwad Gita and holy Quran and probe into detailed facts and circumstances and chronology of events of what actually happened. It was also tasked to identify the role played by various persons into the unfortunate happenings.

The commission was also mandated to inquire into the firing in Kotkapura on October 14, 2015 and Behbal Kalan village in Faridkot district, in which two persons died, besides identifying and inquiring into the role of police officers/officials in incomplete or inconclusive investigations into earlier sacrilege incidents.

Acting on the first report submitted by the commission, Punjab Police included names of four police officials in the FIR registered in 2015 in the Behbal Kalan firing case.

The roles of five other police officers will also be thoroughly investigated as per the commission's recommendations and the Chief Minister's directives.