A day after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the police firing incidents in the wake of the Bargari sacrilege case summoned former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and actor Akshay Kumar for questioning, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh on Monday denied his government’s role in the summoning of the trio.
“The SIT was an independent entity and was functioning without any government interference,” the CM said in response to a question while addressing the media after inaugurating the Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital in Sangrur. Amarinder said his government’s job was to form the SIT as per the unanimous decision of the Assembly, which it had done, and now the onus of investigation was on the SIT.
While Parkash Singh Badal has been asked to appear before the SIT on November 16, Sukhbir has been summoned on November 19 and Akshay Kumar has been asked to come on November 21 to the Circuit House in Amritsar.
The five-member SIT was set up by the Amarinder Singh government in September this year soon after a notification to withdraw CBI investigations into sacrilege incidents at Sri Guru Granth Sahib was issued.
The sacrilege incidents led to protests in different parts of Punjab with people demanding action against those responsible. Two people were killed in Behbal Kalan in Moga district when police fired at protesters. The police fired at protesters at Kotkapura in Faridkot district as well.
Soon after coming to power, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh appointed an inquiry commission under Justice (retired) Ranjit Singh to probe the sacrilege and firing incidents.
The commission found that the sacrilege incidents were linked to the Akal Takht’s pardon to controversial Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a blasphemy case, allegedly secured by the then CM Badal.
The commission also alleged that Sukhbir Badal, who was also the home minister at that time, was kept in the loop on the police action at Kotkapura.
According to reports, the allegation against Akshay Kumar is that he played a role in mediating between the Badals and Ram Rahim.
In a tweet on Monday, Akshay, however, denied to have ever met Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. He also said he has always promoted Punjabi culture and the rich tradition of Sikhism through his films. Adding that he has utmost respect and love for his Punjabi brothers and sisters, the actor added that he’d never do anything to hurt their sentiments.