Sidhu releases Kotkapura CCTV footage, wants action against Badals

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Chandigarh : Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday released CCTV footage that he said showed police action against peaceful protesters and subsequent firing leading to the death of two youths in Kotkapura in October 2015 following sacrilege incidents.

Sidhu demanded action against then Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal, who was Home Minister at that time in the SAD-BJP government, in the matter.

The Cabinet Minister said that the four-hour footage obtained from four cameras at the Kotkapura crossing clearly showed that those protesting against the sacrilege cases were peacefully sitting on a dharna in the town and it was the Punjab Police that started a cane charge, used water cannons and later fired at them.

The former cricketer said that both the Badals should be booked as police could not have taken such action without directions "from the top".

"There is prima facie evidence in Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission report (which probed the firing and sacrilege incidents) to proceed against them," Sidhu told the media here while releasing the CCTV footage.

Sidhu said that it was curious that Justice Zora Singh (retd) Commission set up by the then Badal government had not been given the CCTV footage by the Punjab Police which allegedly told the commission that the footage was not available as closed-circuit television had been damaged due to a truck hit.

"The one-hour footage from each of the four CCTVs has emerged now... it was provided to the Ranjit Singh Commission (set up by the Congress government)," Sidhu pointed out.

The commission report tabled in the Punjab Assembly last month held the police responsible for the use of force on protesters in Kotkapura. It said the police action was "unprovoked, unwarranted and uncalled for".

Sidhu demanded a proper investigation into the firing and action against those who ordered the police to use force.