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SC panel raps Punjab CM for irresponsible remark on dalit’s murder

CHANDIGARH: In a rap for Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) on Thursday criticized him for making “irresponsible” statement which may influence the probe into the brutal murder of a dalit youth in Abohar. The incident has rocked the Parliament this week.

Bhim Singh Tank, a 25-year-old dalit, was hacked to death on Friday allegedly by the workers of Shiromani Akali Dal leader and henchmen of liquor baron Shiv Lal Doda at his farmhouse. The commission also asked the police to arrest the accused within a week or transfer the case to the CBI.

Tank’s family has alleged that the attack was carried out at the behest of Doda and his nephew Amit, who are now on the run.

In an open hearing held in Chandigarh, where it summoned Punjab home secretary Jagpal Sandhu and state police chief Suresh Arora, NCSC chief Raj Kumar Verka said, “None of the members in top position in the Akali Dal, including chief minister or his deputy or his cabinet ministers visited the bereaved families of the Abohar crime. How can the Punjab CM make such an irresponsible public statement and announce a foregone conclusion that the crime was a gang war without the investigation being completed?”

Secretary (home) R K Kaushik and IG (crime) Nageshwar Rao appeared before the commission during the hearing.

In its proceedings, the panel said it has sent a letter to the Punjab and Haryana high court, urging it to take suo motu cognizance of the chilling incident in which the youth’s hands and legs were chopped off.

Despite SAD’s claims that Doda was not holding any official position in the party, the commission held that he was “an influential Akali Dal man who ran a powerful business in Abohar”.

“We have all necessary material in our position, including Doda’s photographs at official functions with both Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Badal. At least two different cops used to frequently stay at the same farmhouse. Villagers have told us that the farmhouse, in fact, used to double up as a lock-up room to keep criminals during investigations. We are going to ask the police to verify this with phone and other records,” said Verka.

The commission also took strong objection to the conflicting statements of two Union ministers – Vijay Sampla and Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

While Sampla had termed the murder as an atrocity on dalits, Kaur maintained that the incident was part of a gang war.

“We are confused on their statements. Sampla goes on to distribute Rs 5.62 lakh to the bereaved family and then orders the police to include IPC Section of SC/ST Act in the FIR. But Kaur’s statement in Rajya Sabha says it’s gang war. Is it because the key accused an Akali Dal leader?” asked Verka


High drama was witnessed at the hearing after additional director general of police (crime) Iqbal Preet Sahota reached the Delhi office of NCSC instead of the hearing in Chandigarh. He was representing DGP Suresh Arora, who was in Bhuj to attend All India police conference. Later, IG (crime) Nageshwar Rao appeared before the panel.


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