Ravi Dhaliwal, Tribune News Service
Gurdaspur, March 31. The government today transferred Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner Mohinder Singh Kainth and suspended SSP Varinder Pal Singh for negligence of duty due to which an indefinite curfew had to be imposed in the city.
The action is the fallout of the death of 18-year-old engineering student Jaspal Singh in police firing on Thursday following which an indefinite curfew was clamped in the city. A case under section 302 of the IPC has also been registered against DSP Manpreet Singh who had led the police party which resorted to firing.
Another youth Ranjit Singh, who was seriously injured in the firing, is getting treatment at the Civil Hospital, Amritsar.
The action has come in the wake of sustained pressure put up by Akal Takht Jathedar Gurbachan Singh, Damdami Taksal chief Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma, former Akal Takht Jathedar Jasbir Singh Rode and other members of the Sikh clergy who had been camping at the deceased’s native village Chour Sidhwan since yesterday.
Gurbachan Singh led the negotiations with the state government on behalf of the deceased’s family. He had threatened that he would resign as Akal Takht chief if no action was taken against the erring officials.
The DC’s transfer has come as a surprise to many as his role did not come under the scanner in the deliberations between the representatives of the Sikh bodies and the government.
Sources reveal that the state government yielded to the pressure built up by members of the clergy. A fax was received in the office of the Deputy Commissioner, who was the main negotiator on behalf of the government, this evening which was brought to Jaspal Singh’s village by Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM) Tejinder Pal Singh.
The cremation of Jaspal Singh, which was postponed as negotiations between the Sikh leaders and the DC went on throughout the day, was held this evening after the impasse was broken when the government issued the orders.
The decision to suspend the district police chief has led to resentment among junior officers who, preferring anonymity, claimed that “the SSP had no direct role as far as the imposition of curfew was concerned.”
“The law and order situation deteriorated due to the nefarious designs of some middle-rung politicians and the SSP has been blamed for it,” claimed a senior officer.
Earlier, the curfew was relaxed for two hours from 6.30 am to 8.30 am to enable the locals to buy essential commodities, but a majority of the residents remained unaware about the respite as the district administration failed to timely inform the people about the relaxation.