– IG Paramraj Umranangal arrested in Behbal Klan Firing Case; SIT says he instigated cops to open fire

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 18 February 18, 2019. The Special Investigation Team appointed to probe the Behbal Klan firing incident has arrested the IG Paramraj Singh Umranangal from Chandigarh.

It is the second arrest followed by the arrest of Ex-SSP Charanjit Sharma in this firing incident in two Sikh youths had attained martyrdom and several others were left injured.

Confirming the development, the SIT head IG Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh said that the SIT has enough evidence against IG Paramraj Umranangal in both the Kotkapura as well as Behbal Klan incidents. “We will produce him before the Faridkot Court tomorrow and will seek his remand,” he added.

IG Kunwar Vijay Partap Sing told the media that IG Paramraj Umranangal had instigated the situation where the Sikhs were staging protests. “Umranangal was posted in Ludhiana but he went to Faridkot, which was not in his jurisdiction” he said.

“During investigation, it came to light that he was commanding everything and force in strength had gone there (the spot where protesters were sitting) from Ludhiana. He was managing everything” said IG Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh.

IG Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh further said that it was proved during the investigation that the protesters were sitting peacefully and there was no provocation by them but the Police cops deliberately opened fire on them.

On being questioned why didn’t the SIT arrest him earlier if his role was clear before the investigating officers, IG Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh said that we gave him enough time to present his side but he always tried to mislead the investigation by hiding and distorting facts so his arrest had become a necessity.

It is pertinent to note here that the role of IG Paramraj Umranangal was exposed with the release of CCTV footage of these firing incidents.

In this footage, Umranangal was clearly observable instigating cops to set ablaze a Tata Ace vehicle, breaking the sound equipment placed in the vehicle, cane charging and opening an unprovoked firing on peacefully protesting Sikhs. He was also observed continuously taking instructions from someone over the phone in this CCTV footage.


The Hindu – Punjab Assembly session: Sidhu, Majithia exchange sharp words

Vikas Vasudeva

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 18 February 2019. Akali Dal demands sacking of Sidhu on his Pulwama remark.

Sharp words were exchanged between Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and former Shiromani Akali Dal Minister Bikram Singh Majithia in the Assembly on Monday as Akali-BJP MLAs targeted Mr Sidhu over his recent remarks on the Pulwama terror attack.

Wearing black badges on their arms to register their protest, SAD-BJP MLAs shouted slogans against Mr Sidhu for his recent remarks on the Pulwama terror attack and demanded his ouster from the Cabinet.

As SAD-BJP members continued their sloganeering in the House, Mr Sidhu and Mr. Majithia were seen involved in an agitated verbal duel, personally attacking each other even as Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal stood up to present the annual Budget.

While Mr Majithia repeatedly kept asking for the sacking of Mr Sidhu from the Cabinet for his “anti-national stance”, Mr. Sidhu was seen shouting at Mr Majithia, directing remarks on his alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade.

Speaker K P Rana asked Akali Dal-BJP members not to disrupt the House proceedings, but they continued to shout slogans. They also flashed photographs of Mr Sidhu in which he is seen hugging the Pakistan Army General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Amid the uproar, the Speaker named Akali Dal-BJP members present in the House and asked the marshals to escort them out of the House. The House was then briefly adjourned.

Earlier, before the session started, the Akali Dal-BJP MLAs staged a protest outside the Assembly and burnt Mr Sidhu’s pictures with General Bajwa on his visit to Pakistan last year.

“The Congress party should come clean on its stance on the Pulwama terror attack. While a unanimous resolution was passed in the Assembly condemning the attack, Mr Sidhu is saying Pakistan can’t be blamed,” said Mr Majithia.

Mr Sidhu, later told the media, “Terrorism has no religion, no nation. Terrorism will not be tolerated and all those responsible should be punished”.

Referring to the 1999 hijack of an Indian Airlines flight and the Kandahar episode, Mr Sidhu said, “Who released those involved in the 1999 Kandahar incident? Whose responsibility is it? Why can’t there be a permanent solution? Our fight is against those who were responsible for the 1999 attack and it’s my fight as well”.

Later, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh hit out at the Akalis for targeting Mr Sidhu, saying the Akali Dal had clearly lost all sense of morality, as evident in their efforts to reduce the House proceedings to a mockery.

“Instead of playing the role of a constructive opposition, they are repeatedly resorting to petty political tactics to remain in the media glare,” said the Chief Minister.

“The rowdy behaviour of the attention-seeking Akali leaders and members in the Assembly has become a routine thing, suggesting that it is nothing but a drama aimed at garnering public support and votes,” he added.

Former chief minister and SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal, meanwhile demanded a sedition case to be registered against Mr Sidhu, besides expelling him from the State Cabinet for giving a ‘clean chit’ to Pakistan in the Pulwana terror attack case.

Talking to journalists, Mr Badal said that Mr Sidhu had committed an anti-national act by stating Pakistan could not be held responsible for the act of terror despite the Pakistan government’s open patronage to the Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit which has claimed responsibility for the same.

The Tribune – Punjab government extends plot allotment quota to riots, terrorism victims by 3 years

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 17 February 2019. The Punjab government has decided to extend till December 2021 the time period of a policy under which victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and terror attacks in the state get reservation in allotment of plots or houses by Urban Estates, Improvement Trust and Pepsu Township Development Board.

The time limit of the policy that expired on December 31, 2016, has been extended till the end of December 2021, an official release said here.

The Cabinet, which met here under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, considered the demand of the ‘Danga Peerat Committee’ (1984 riot victims’ committee), Barnala and Sangrur, in this regard, “to take the significant decision in the interest of victims of the riots and terrorist violence”.

“Victims of the 1984 riots and terror attacks in Punjab are all set to get a major relief with the Punjab Cabinet deciding to extend to them 5 per cent reservation in allotment of plots/houses by Urban Estates/Improvement Trust/Pepsu Township Development Board, without any financial concession, for five more years (from December 2016),” the release said.

In another decision, the Cabinet gave its nod to “The Punjab Food Grains Transportation Policy 2019-20” for transportation of food grains from ‘mandis’ to its storage points at minimum rates through competitive tenders from various transporters.

The decision is aimed at bringing further efficiency and transparency in procurement of food grains operations, the release said.

It said for the upcoming procurement season, commencing from April 1, transportation of food grains beyond eight km would be allowed through a competitive online tender process.

This would be done by district tender committees, of which the respective Deputy Commissioners would be the Chairpersons, with district Food Corporation of India head, district heads of all state procurement agencies and district Controller of Food Supplies as members.

The tenders under this policy would be invited for the financial year 2019-20 and would be valid for the period from April 1, 2019 to December 3, 2009.

Further, to ascertain competitive rates, detailed Schedule of Rate (SOR) guidelines have been incorporated in the policy, listing out rates per metric tonne from more than 8 km up to 52 km. For every additional km beyond 52 km, charge of Rs 3.10 per tonne/kilometer would be applied.

Notably, the state procuring agencies of Punjab including Punjab State Warehousing Corporation (PSWC), PUNSUP, along with Food Corporation of India (FCI), procure food grains every year for the Central Pool or for Public Distribution System at the Minimum Support Price fixed by the Government of India.

The Cabinet also approved filling up of 153 vacant sanctioned direct quota posts of 42 professors, 46 associate professors and 65 assistant professors in the Government Medical Colleges at Amritsar and Patiala. – Pulwama attack: Loss of human lives regrettable but war mongering no answer, says Dal Khalsa

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 15 February 2019. Commenting on Pulwama bloodbath, the Dal Khalsa said the loss of human lives is always regrettable, whether it is of the security forces or that of a militant or even an ordinary person.

What is disturbing is that when there are regular deaths of militants and insurgents, then the media and civil society take very little notice, whereas whenever an incident of such magnitude happens like it had happened in Pulwama, there is an uproar of rhetoric, anger and revenge feels Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh.

He said that “war mongering at such times in a retaliatory tone is not helpful as it only adds fuel to the fire.” “Why is there no consistent effort to understand the political causes for the strife in Kashmir?”

The Kashmir dispute is lingering since decades and the people of the valley are dying everyday and facing untold misery and ironically all governments to date have paid only lip service to the political resolution of the Kashmir problem.

To avert the further loss of lives, the government does not have to indulge in war talks, but reopen dialogue with rebels to resolve the very issues which are at the heart of the problem, he observed.

He said the government and the civil society needs to realize the gravity of the ground situation especially the state of mind of a person who prepares himself to die first and subsequently takes lives of others.

The Tribune – Convicted under sedition law, three youths move HC

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 14 February 2019. Just about a week after a Nawanshahr court awarded life imprisonment to three youths on the allegations of waging a war against the state, the order was on Thursday challenged before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In their appeal filed through counsel R S Bains, the three submitted that no case was made out against them. The appeal is expected to come up for hearing next week.

The three accused, Arwinder Singh of Nawanshahr, Surjit Singh of Gurdaspur and Ranjit Singh of Kaithal in Haryana, were convicted by the Court of Additional Sessions Judge on January 31.

The quantum of sentence was pronounced subsequently.

“From the material on record, common intention and object which brought the accused together could be easily gathered from the documentary evidence such as books, literature, pamphlets, which are seized from them,” reads the order.

NDTV – Amarinder Singh to raise Gurdwara body’s poll delay issue with centre

Amid protests by SAD and BJP members, the House authorised Captain Amarinder Singh to raise the issue with the central government.

Mohammad Ghazali

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 15 February 2019. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said people have the right to early polls of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, hours after he was authorised by the State Assembly to take up with the Centre the issue of delay in elections of the supreme body controlling gurdwaras.

The SGPC elections are pending since 2016.

Talking informally with the media outside the House, the chief minister said the delay in the SGPC elections as wrong and unfair for the people of Punjab.

It was the democratic right of every Punjabi to vote in SGPC elections which cannot be denied by Union Government, he earlier said in the House, while responding to the issue that was raised by AAP lawmaker H S Phoolka.

Amid protests by SAD and BJP members, the House authorised Captain Amarinder Singh to raise the issue with the central government. The chief minister assured the House that he would meet the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh soon to press for early initiation of elections.

Since the Gurdwara Act was a national legislation, it was the bounden duty of the central government to hold timely elections to the SGPC, he said, seeking the permission of the Speaker, on behalf of his government, to adopt the resolution moved by Mr Phoolka.

Amidst protests by SAD and BJP MLAs, the Speaker put the resolution to vote, as a result of which the House authorised Captain Amarinder Singh to raise the issue with Union Government immediately.

As the resolution was put to vote, the members of ruling party and AAP welcomed it with thumping of desks.

The Chief Minister later told media there was unanimity in the House on the issue as the elections were over due by three years. Only the Akalis and BJP were not in favour, he added. – Justice Ranjit Singh lodges criminal complaint against Sukhbir Badal

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 07 February 2019. The former High Court Judge Justice Ranjit Singh, who headed the Commission of Inquiry in sacrilege and police firing cases, has lodged a criminal complaint against the SAD president Sukhbir Badal for his utterances against the Commission of Inquiry.

It is learnt that he has referred to more than one instance where Sukhbir Badal made statements against the commission and its head, which brought it disrepute.

This plea is first of its kind which has been filed using provisions available under section-10 of the Commission of Inquiry Act and Sukhbir Badal might be imprisoned for up to six months by the Court if found guilty. Beside it, the Court may also impose a fine on him along with the imprisonment.

Section 10 of the Commission of Inquiry says: “If any person, by words either spoken or intended to be read, makes or publishes any statement or does any other act, which is calculated to bring the Commission or any member thereof into disrepute, he shall be punishable with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend up to six months, or with fine, or with both.”

Beside it, the section also makes it clear that the High Court may take cognizance of such offence, without the case being committed to it, upon a complaint in writing, made by a member of a Commission or its officer authorized in this behalf.

It may be recalled here that the Justice Ranjit Singh led Investigation Commission was constituted by the Congress led Punjab government in April 2017. The Commission had submitted its report to the Punjab government in two parts last year.

Later, a special debate session was organized by the Congress led Punjab government in the Punjab assembly on this report in late August. The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) leaders had staged a walk out from the Punjab assembly during this debate session. – Three Sikh youths sentenced to life just for possessing printed material about Sikh martyrs

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 06 February 2019. A Nawanshehar based Court of Additional Sessions Judge Randhir Sharma on February 5 addressed life imprisonment to three Sikh youths namely Arwinder Singh (Nawashehr), Surjit Singh (Gurdaspur) and Ranjit Singh (Kaithal, Haryana) just for possessing printed biography of Shaheed Bhai Sukhdev Singh Babbar, photographs of 13 martyred Sikhs of 1978 and a mobile phone.

The trio Sikh youths have been addressed life sentence by holding them guilty under sections 121 (waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India) and 121-A (conspiring to commit offences punishable by section 121) of the Indian Penal Code.

It may be recalled here that all of these Sikh youths were arrested in May 2016 by the police. Later, the police had cooked a “special story” about their arrest and had claimed recovery of 97 books, 198 photographs, 13 photographs of 1978’s martyrs and 1000 books related to Shaheed Bhai Sukhdev Singh Babbar while accusing one of these Sikh youths of pasting pro-Khalistan posters at Sri Anandpur Sahib.

The judgment of the case reveals that the Judge sentenced the trio Sikh youths just on the basis of the statements given by 21 prosecution witnesses. Interestingly, all of these prosecution witnesses were the Police cops.

Meanwhile, Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur has stated that the Court’s verdict has many flaws and the Judge delivered a biased decision proving himself a tool of the Indian state.

The Hindu – SAD-BJP to discuss strategy for LS polls soon: Sukhbir Badal

Akali Dal will contest 10 seats in Punjab, says party president

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 04 February 2019. The Shiromani Akali Dal and its ally the BJP will soon hold a meeting to firm up a strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said here on Sunday.

Replying to a question on the seat distribution between the two allies, the Akali leader said the SAD and the BJP will contest the Lok Sabha polls on all 13 seats in Punjab.

Three seats for BJP

Three seats will be contested by the saffron party while his party will contest on the remaining seats, he said.

“The SAD-BJP coordination committee will be meeting soon after which we will hold joint rallies,” Mr. Badal told reporters after the SAD’s core committee meeting.

When asked about Akali leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa’s recent remark of walking away from the alliance, alleging RSS interference in internal affairs of the Sikhs, he said he met BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi on Friday and discussed the issue with him.

Legal procedure

Mr. Sirsa and some other SAD leaders had objected to the change in legal procedure for appointment of the head of Nanded Gurdwara (Maharashtra) board by amending Takht Sri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib Board Nanded Act, 1956.

“I had a meeting with Amit Shah, he has assured that the original Act will be restored immediately,” Mr. Badal said.

Talking about the Centre’s announcement of a direct income support of Rs. 6,000 per year to farmers, he said a high-power delegation of his party will meet leaders of the Central government and will request them to double the amount.

Attacking the State government in Punjab, he accused the Congress of not fulfilling its promises made during the Assembly elections.

“Not only this, they have also failed to implement the Centrally-sponsored schemes. For instance, the Ayushman Bharat scheme has not been adopted by Punjab,” he said.

He also accused the Amarinder Singh government of “playing negative politics” on every issue. – Five years sentence for two Sirsa cult disciples who set bus on fire; five acquitted

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 02 February 2019. On February 1, a Sangrur based Court of Additional Sessions Judge Jasjit Singh Bhinder convicted two Sirsa cult disciples for five years in a case of setting a minibus on fire near Qila Hakima village on August 25, 2017.

Notably, a minibus was set on fire by several Sirsa cult disciples following conviction of Sirsa cult chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a rape case.

A case under Sections 307, 353, 186, 436, 427, 120-B, 148 and 149 of the IPC and under Sections 4/5 of the Punjab Prevention of Damages to Public Private Property Act, 2014, was registered against Dunni Chand, Rajinder Kumar, Bhagat Singh, Amandeep Singh, Pardeep Singh, Narinder Pal Singh and Lovepreet Singh in 2017.

The Court convicted only two, namely Pardeep and Narinder Pal while the five others, namely Dunni Chand, Rajinder Kumar, Bhagat Singh, Amandeep Singh and Lovepreet have been acquitted due to lack of evidence. A fine of Rs 5,000 has been also imposed on each of them and if they fail to pay the fine, they will have to undergo additional one-year imprisonment.

It may be recalled here that the Assistant Sub-Inspector Hardial Dass, incharge of the Ranike police post, had identified the guilty culprits and later their names were added in the FIR.

In their challan submitted to the court, the Police had claimed that during interrogation of the accused, it had come to light that they were asked by some other cult disciples to set the government and private properties on fire if the court decision goes against the cult head.