(For quick comprehension of the lengthy Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report ,Prof Kulwant Singh, president of Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh has prepared a synopsis of the report. We are publishing the same to facilitate our readers to understand what exactly the much-publicised report says. Editor)
Justice Ranjit Singh’s report into the incidents of sacrileges at
- Burj Jawahar Singh Wala
- Gurusar – pages scattered on 19.102015 after withdraw of pardon on 16.10.2015 (page 142)
- Mallke – Angs scattered on 4.10.2015
- Police firing at Kot Kapura at Behbalkala – 13-14.10.2015
More than 122 Acts of sacrilege committed in Punjab from 1.6.2015 to 19.10.2015
Year of incidents and sequence of incidences
- Theft of the copy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib from Burj Jawaharsingh wala Gurdwara on 1-6-2015 at around noon.
- Objectionable posters pasted at Bargari on 24-9-2015.
- Posters appeared at Burj Jawaharsingh Wala on 25-9-2015 on Peer Dhoda’s Samadh near Gurdewara.
- Pages / Angs of Sri Guru Granth Sahib scattered at Bargari on 12-10-2015.
- Use of Coercive method including Lathicharge, use of water cannon and firing at Kotkapura on October 14, 2015
- Police firing at Behbal Kalan also on 14 -10-2015 killing two persons and injuring 3 or 4 persons.
- Angs scattered at village Malke on 4.10.2015
- Dera Pardon withdrawn on 16.10.2015.
- Angs scattered in village Gursar on 19.10.2015 after withdrawal of pardon on 16.10.2015.
- Final report submitted on June 1, 2018,
- Total 550 witness before the commissioner.
Role of Dera Sacha Sauda
- Film MSG released all over India 18-9-2015 except in Punjab because of Sri Akal Takht edict against Dera Sacha Sauda
- Dera head granted pardon suddenly on 24-9-2015 and MSG Released in Punjab.
- Grant of Pardon led to the release of film on 24-9-2015 but even then objectionable posters appeared at Bargari and Burj Jawaharsingh Wala on 24-9-2015 and 25-9-2015 (perhaps due to lack of communication to the person who had been asked to past these posters)
- Grant of pardon – unprecedented and in violation of all norms, just on the basis of a letter supposedly written by the Dera Head to the Jathedar Akal Takht.
Details of Incidents at 6 Villages
- Details at Burj Jawaharsingh Wala – Theft – Village Children – Granthi’s wife – Granthi – Gurdwara President – Police at Bajja Khana – investigation by police – searching of each house in the village three times – empting of village pond, Police patrolling for twenty days and then over.
- Later sketches of two suspects got prepared by the Police on the basis of information given the people of nearby village Sahoke and its granthi and the Gas delivery man.
- Sketches made had 70% resemblance to the description given by the people.
- Police did not presue the search for these suspects seriously,
- Later on, SIT headed by DIG Ranbir Singh Khatra found these suspects – one of them was Gurmukh Singh, a newspaper vendor at village BJSW son of Sukhpal Singh, resident of Bargari – Satpal Singh antecedents explained on page 154.
- Gurmukh Singh arrested – produced in court – refused to undergo Narco analysis test – other suspect Pritam Singh brother-in-law of Gurmukh Singh
- Justice Ranjit Singh Comments on these incidences:
- The Commission is of the view that there was total lack of an innovative initiative on the part of the senior office Of the police to adopt some special! means which were not of mundail5ah:d routine in nature. A little efforts on the part of the police would have been enough for them to appreciate that somebody from the village could not have been responsible for stealing the ‘SAROOP’ and then keeping it in the village itself. The entire efforts of the police were wasted on carrying out the searches in the houses of the villages which they did thrice instead of thinking of some other means to search the ‘SAROOP’ which obviously must have been taken away from the village. Just a little thought would have been enough for the police to look for the missing ‘SAROOP’ somewhere outside the village. It is not suggested that-the police should not have carried out the search of ‘SAROOP’ in the village but in addition the police ought to have adopted seme other methods also. The entire concentration of the police was to search the ‘SAROOP’ in the village…..
8.Two suspects seen in the village on a silver colour motorcycle in the village at around the same time – same two persons also seen at the nearby village Sahioke at Gurdwara – Parshad – Gas Delivery boys identified.
9.Sketches of suspects made – seventy percent resemblance found but no action taken – another innocent person torched – found innocent and released
All this investigation done by SIT appointed by the Police Higher Authorities under the supervision of Faridkot SSP, Charanjit Sharma.
Observation of Justice Ranjit Singh about this incident
- Case no investigated seriously – Only villagers harassed and searched
- Patrolling suspending after a few days.
- No involvement of home department at any stage in such a serious case of sacrilege
- Home Secretary examined by the Commissioned, who reported that he received no report from Faridkot Police
Justice Ranjit Singh’s observation given below (page 103 to 106):
This was despite the fact that the police had come to know about the visit of two strangers to the village who were seen entering the village Gurdwara around the time when the theft took place. The police had gained this information at very initial stage of investigation. The police moved on right track to get the sketches of those persons prepared but thereafter seems to have forgotten to pursue this iine any further. All the police officers starting from SSP, Faridkot, DSP Jaito and SHO Baja Khanna were questioned by the Commission if they had taken any further action to search for the persons on the basis of sketches that were got prepared but all of them could not show that they had pursued the investigation on that lines. Within a period of fortnight the police becarhe totally relaxed and almost seems to have forgotten to carry out investigation into this serious incident of sacrilege. The police guard which was stationed at village Gurdwara was withdrawn. It would be of interest to notice the version of Amarjit Singh (CW-21) which itself may be enough to indicate the laxity on the part of the police. After admitting that police station Baja Khanna was continuing with the investigation even after constitution of SIT, the witness could not show anything tangible which was done in this regard. ……. If the police had taken this incident seriously then the subsequent incident of sacrilege regarding affixing of posters and scattering of ANGS may not have happened……..
Thus, it is clear that the police failed to carry out proper investigation of this serious case. Police seems to have not taken this case with seriousness that it deserved. Police had not devoted seriou efforts to investigate this case. The then SSP Faridkot Charanjit Sharma, DSP Jaitc Sukhdev Singh, SHO Baja Khanna Jasbir Singh (QW-248) and officers who later handled investigation of the case like DSP Jagdish Bishnoli arid SI Amarjit ‘Singh must, therefore,# be held responsible for not pursuing the investiglatidns of the IlSfe prope|ly4 It appears that none at the Government level or at the levei of senior officers at Chandigarh have shown any involvement or interest in getting the cases investigated by local police in proper manner to trace/soive these cases. Another important aspect which would emerge in these cases is that there is no involvement of home department or Home Ministry seen at all. Such serious cases of sacrilege are taking place and no contribution is noticed in solving or attending to these cases at the level of the Government. Except for some statement appearing in press no contribution is seen either from the Home department or Home Ministry. Home Secretary holding post at the relevant time was examined by the Commission. He has stated that no report was received from district Faridkot and the reports, if any, were given directly to Chief Minister or Deputy Chief Minister. There is nothing on record to show that any action was taken at the level of Government. Such serious case of sacrilege which was unprecedented warranted serious attention of the Government which is totally missing. Had the Government and the Minister for Home affairs in the State paid attention to first case, the police was bound to continue with the vigil and may be that subsequent incidents may have been avoided. The Commission has referred to latest stage of investigation of these cases in later part of this report. This would also show that earlier investigation was infirm and highly casual. Little efforts would have led to detection of accused long ago.
Objectionable posters were also put up on 25.9.2015
VI. Incidents at Bargari
1.Two incidents happened at Bargari
- Fixing of objectionable posters on September 24, 2015 at historical Gurdwara Bargari, the day Dera Head was pardoned.
- Scattering of Angs on October 12, 2015
- Sevadar informed Gurdwara Manager at 4.30 AM in the Morning, Manager informed SGPC Member, Mr Bath and local influential Akali Leader, Gurchet Singh Dhillon.
- Police Station Bargari located a few hundred yard from the Bargari Gurdwara
- Mr Amarjit Singh, SHO and Gurchet Singh Dhillon, close to each other – related did not allow any investigation into the scattering of Angs
- In between Police remained busy at Dharna at Kot Kapura from 12-10-15 to 14-10-15 and Behbal Kalan firing also took place on …….
- Language of the poster translated in English “Dhan Dhan Sat Guru Tera Hi Asra (Your Grace) You Bargari people fucker of your sister. You Sikhs created problem for release of Messenger of God-2 then we will finish your lineage. Mind you fucker of your sisters you will die the death like your Bhinderewala. We have taken your Granth Sahib and we will throw pages in the village, you fucker of your sisters, we will rest only after release of our film. Dhan Dhan Sat Guru it is your grace.”
VII. Incidents at Kotkapura and Behbal Kala
- Peaceful Dharna at Kotkapura from October 12 to 14, 2015
- Negotiation between police and people – agreement to court arrest – Court arrests started – people taken in buses and released at a distance – people returned to the Dharna sight again finally the Dharna was got lifted on 14 -10-2015 after using coercive methods like Lathi Charge use of Water Cannon and even firing (from within the Police station)
- Revelation made by DC in his affidavit to the Commission on the July 13, 2017DC was informed by SSP Faridkot at 1.00 AM on 14-10-15 to reach Kotkapura, because the situation may get further deteriorated.
1.SSP also told the DC that he had been instructed that “if needed they might have to lift the Dharma by force”. (Page 27)
2.Contents of DC’s version:
The Deputy Commissioner (CW-9) was examined in detail subsequently when he was asked to appear with some record. CW-9 states that he immediately on learning about the incident at Bargari on 12th October, 2015 had informed the Principal Secretary/Secretary to the Chief Minister about the incident at about 7.30 a.m. CW-9 claims that he had been conveying the information about all the developments on telephone to authorities at Chandigarh. CW-9 had gone’to village Bargari on 12th October, 2015 and had followed the public which had started from village Bargari to come and sit on Dharna at Kotkapura. He had left Kotkapura when the public had agreed to lift Dharna and they had vacated the chowk as well. This happened by 2.30a.m. on the morning of 13th October, 2015. ……
(DC Faridkot) CW-9 has further stated that when he received message from SSP, Faridkot at middle of night of 13/14th October, 2015 he tried to contact various authorities at Chandigarh on phone but none responded. He had then sent SMSs to all authorities responsible in this regard. This fact gets confirmed from the phone call details available with the Commission. DC had sent SMSs to all at Chandigarh when he was unable to contact them on phone. CW-9 was able to talk to Shri V.K. Meena (CW-77). They both decided to contact Mr. Mantar Singh Brar (CW-175) who was the Local MLA. When such three senior functionaries got together and have admitted to have made an attempt to contact the authorities at Chandigarh including the Chief Minister, the seriousness of the situation can well be imagined. At middle of night this is happening and it cannot be believed that they would not have persisted with their attempt to contact some competent authority at Chandigarh to seek directions about further course of action specially so when the Deputy Commissioner was made aware that the police could use force to lift the protesters sitting on Dharna. Though the Witnesses like the Deputy Commissioner CW-9, Mantar Singh Brar and Mr. V.K. Meena have said that they did not succeed in talking to anyone at Chandigarh.
This version has been later on contradictor by the evidence of civilian witnesses on the condition of keeping their names confidential as well as on the basis of calls of DGP and CM, CM and Mantar Singh Brar. Contrary to DC version MS Brar did talk to CM through his secretary Gagandeep Singh Brar as shown below in (i) and (ii) on page 50 & 152:
- The evidence shows that D.C. (C.W-8) had then contacted the Commissioner Mr. Meena and the MLA of the area (CW-175). All three tried to contact Chief Minister at Chandigarh. Though they all have maintained that they did not succeed in talking to the Chief Minister but CW-252 has now spilled the beans by stating that CW-175 had spoken to Chief Minister at that time. Slightly different facts are stated by witnesses who spoke to the Commission in confidence. They have revealed that some time at middle of night contact could be established with Mr. Gagandeep Brar (CW-242) who made the Chief Minister to speak to CW-175. Call details shows that CW-175 spoke at 2.28.55 a.m. for 81 seconds from phone number 9815554054 (of Mantar Brar) with phone number 9815800008 of Mr. Gagandeep Brar (CW-242). This witness would state that when apprised about the situation and proposed action by police. Chief Minister had agreed with district administration that police should not use force to lift dharna and the protesters be allowed to continue with dharna. As per this witness this situation changed when a message Was received on the phone number 9815554054 of CW-175 to talk to DGP. DGP spoke from his phone number 0172-2778788 thrice to phone number 9815554054 at 3.19.57, 3.22.05 and 5.59.42. a.m. These call details were of duration of 46, 838 and 537 seconds. DGP had statedly conveyed in no uncertain terms that they should not bother much and he will get the dharna site cleared within ten minutes. This is what had resulted in action by police to use force at Kotkapura to lift dharna. The decision to use force to lift dharna came from the DGP and it was obeyed by the local police officers at ground against their wishes, without giving due consideration to the views of the district administration. In fact there were 4 calls between Mr. Mantar Brar (CW-175) and Mr. Gagan Brar (CW-242) later. This may indicate involvement of C.M.O.
Name of Mr. Gagandeep Brar, the then Secretary to Chief Minister was revealed by a witness speaking to the Commission in confidence as the one through whom Chief Minister had contacted phone of Mr. Mantar Brar (CW-175). It is revealed that Mr. Gagan Brar had in fact gone to the house of Chief Minister at middle of night and then had made Chief Minister to speak to District Administration on the phone number of CW-175.
- Evidence has appeared before the Commission that District Administration was in touch with the then Chief Minister and that the CM had statedly given some directions to handle the situation through DGP’Punjab. As per evidence then
- local MLA Mantar Singh Brar had spoken to the CM either directly or through his Secretary, Mr.Gaggandip Brar who exchanged as many as 21 SMS messages with DC Faridkot starting from 1.51 A.M. on the 14th 2015. Mr.Gaggandip Brar also spoke to DC, Faridkot thrice during this time. MLA Mantar Singh Brar and Gaggandip Brar spoke to each other four times between 2.28.55 A.M. and 15.11.41 on 14th Oct. 2015.
On the basis of the abovementioned call details and other evidence, notice was issued to the former CM.
Instead of providing the relevant information which the former CM is bound to furnish, he has gone on to narrate the happening during the turbulent period in the State. That will have no relevance to the Inquiry by the Commission inquiring into cases of sacrilege which are of very serious dimension.
VII Sequence of events at Behbal Kalan
- The firing incidents at Behbah Kalan took place on 14-10-2015
- While the Police was celebrating the lifting of Dharna at Kotkapura it received a news that people had assembled and surrounded – the Police Station at Bargari.
- Faridkot SSP Charanjit Sharma along with force proceeded to Bargari and force from other stations was also summoned
- On the way, the found the road at Behbal Kalan blocked by a peaceful Dharna of People
- The police first resorted to Lathi Charge and then fired at the people and two persons were killed and 3-4 injured. After that Police Fled from the seen.
- Justice Ranjit Singh’s Observation”
Crux of Observations of the Commission about the role of political leadership – Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal.
- The calls detail of Gagandeep Singh Brar and Mantar Singh Brar clearly prove that CM was clearly in touch with DGP Saini and DGP with in touch with the Police authorities at Kot Kapura. This facts has also been corroborated by the PTC interview of Parkash Singh Badal in which he has admitted that he had talked to the DGP about Kot Kapura Dharna and asked him to negotiate with the people and to end the Dharna.
- Role of Sukhbir Singh Badal has clear from his connivance with the Dera Head as well as his indifference to the repeated acts of sacrilege throughout from 1.6.2015 to 19.6.2015. Despite his being the Minister of Home Affairs.
- More light will be thrown on his involvement from the commission’s observation on the role of the Dera.
Observation about the Dera Role:
- From the Commission’s comments spread all over the report the hand of Dera Role in all the incidences of sacrilege become clear, especially from the signed and written statement filed by Himmat Singh son of Sukha Singh and Brother of Jathedar Gurmukh Singh before the commission on 12.12.2017 in which he has described in detail the meeting of 5 Jethedar at the residence of Chief Minister and later at Akal Takht regarding granting pardon to Dera Head. (page 158 to 162)
And from the signed letter of Harbans Singh Jalal son of Mehar Singh in which he has mentioned about a meeting that took place between Dera Head and Sukhbir Singh at the residence of Actor Akshay Kumar at Bombay in which Dera Head had promise to pay Rs 100 crore as Party Fund if MSG was release in Punjab. The film was likely to earn Rs 300 crores. (page 163)
- The Dera authorities started the acts of sacrilege at BJSW three months before and continued upto 19.10.2015 at Gursar well after the withdrawal of pardon. (page 158 to 162).
- Gurdev Singh resident of village BJSW was a Dera Premi who spoke derogatory about Sri Guru Granth Sahib, who was himself the son of a Granthi at the same Gurdwara and had now a shop before the Gurdwara. Later on, he was murdered and his wife was given a job of constable in Punjab Police on compassionate grounds while the next of the kin of two innocent Sikhs killed at Behbal Kalan were gives menial Jobs Rs 5000/-.
- Abusive Posters speaks highly of Dera Head and challenge the Sikhs to trace the man for the theft of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, who belonged to Bargari. Later on, during CBI investigation it was revealed that this man was associated with Nehru Kandra at Delhi and held joined the procession which had gone for laying the Shilaniayas.
- The way the Dera Head was suddenly granted Pardon against all Sikh maryada speaks volumes of role in the Sacrilege incidence as mentioned by the commission on page 139.
- The two statements given by Himmat Singh and Harbans Singh Jalal also endorse the role of Dera.
Observation About the role of SGPC, Akali Dal and Sri Akal Takht Sahib.
- The party which prides itself to be representative of Panth could be expected to help the Commission in tracing the person or the organisation responsible for committing these incidents but alas it chose to follow unjustified path in not cooperating with the Commission. What to talk of cooperation, the Commission has to observe with regrets that the institution like SGPC started making mis-statement in the public domain to say that the Commission had summoned Jathedar Sri Akal Takht Sahib which it had not done.
- The Commission made every effort to elicit the cooperation of both SGPC and Sri Akal Takht by sending request letters to both. While Sri Akal Takht responded that Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib never appears before any court, SGPC failed to respond at all. Later on, a request was made to both Sri Akal Takht Sahib and SGPC through their secretaries for an exchange of views by conveying the willingness of the commission to travel to Amritsar and sit with them. Both give their consent, what when the commission reached Amritsar none of them came to talk to the commission. Later on, summons were issued to the SGPC.
Observation about Bureaucrats and Police
- The Commission summoned Sarvesh Kaushal, CS, S K Sandhu, and Mantar Singh Brar, but they gave very evasive reply by saying that the SMS sent by the Faridkot authorities got deleted very soon and they did not remember or recall any of those conversations which took place at that time. Their evasive reply and alleged lost of memory points to their involvement as their call details prove their involvement.
- About Police: SSP Faridkot S.S. Mann, DSP Jaito Jagdish Bishnoi/ SH Amarjit Singh are, thus, clearly found blameworthy for serious lapses inlnot carrying out proper investigation in this serious incident of sacrilege …. Their attempt to avoid responsibility by saying that these three incidences were transfer to CBI for investigation also cannot help them as they all had failed to carry out investigation on proper line.
Out of all these Police officers, the Faridkot SSP, Charanjit Sharma is the real villain of the peace while the commission of all praise for the SIT DIG Ranbir Singh Khatra.
My observations about the JR S Report :
- The report is flawless, meticulous, systematic, impartial and unbiased.
- Every observation is based on hard evidence in the form of recorded statements, written statements and affidavits given by the witnesses.
- Since many of the Statements have been recorded in the village Gurdwaras often in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, these cannot be false.
- The language, diction and description of incidents and observations made in the report reflect that the report is the creation of a finest judicial mind trained in the ethics of justice who remains unprovoked and without any malice and rancor even against those who have made uncharitable and indecent remarks against him. I don’t think that any other bigger investigation agency like CBI can produce more critical and exhaustive report.
Topics / Questions for Discussion
- Who is the really guilty or main villain of the piece behind these unbearable acts of sacrilege in Punjab?
- At this crucial point: how can the Sikh intelligentsia and members of the Institute contribute to remove these aberrations brought about these incidents and this report?
- Can some member or members volunteer to organize a conclave or create a platform to give a call for starting a crusade to rid the Sikh society of present discredited political and religious leadership?