Around 50 days ago, after seeing no hope for justice from the outgoing Congress government for the death of his father in the Behbal Kalan’s police firing case of 2015, Sukhraj Singh put up a tent alongside the main Faridkot highway and is sitting on a ‘dharna’ in the biting cold. “Neither Captain Amarinder Singh nor Charanjit Singh Channi gave us justice. Captain was removed for inaction in sacrilege and police firing cases. Channi did nothing too,” Singh says.
News18 went to Faridkot to find the victim families being left with a deep sense of disappointment. At one of the family’s house in nearby Behbal Khurd village, Sukhraj’s grandfather 73-year-old Mohinder Singh wells up reminiscing the incident in which his son Krishna Bhagwan died. He recounts how the Congress government was formed in 2017 on the promise of punishing the real culprits of the sacrilege and police firing cases of Faridkot of 2015. “Captain Amarinder Singh came to me and told me let my government be formed — I will put the culprits in jail in 20 days. Rahul Gandhi had also come. Arvind Kejriwal also came. No one gave us justice,” the father says.
The unfortunate chain of events started after pages of Guru Granth Sahib were found strewn outside Gurdwara Sahib in Bargari nearby and people sat on protests. At two such places, at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan, the police opened fire and two youngsters were killed in the firing at the latter spot. A number of SITs have looked at the police firing case of Behbal Kalan since. “The SIT led by Kunwar Pratap Singh charge sheeted some accused but the court has not framed charges against them yet. A new SIT was formed by the High court last year to do a time-bound probe into the conspiracy but that the SIT has not even visited us or done any probe here,” Sukhraj Singh told News18.
He says he has met Captain Amarinder Singh and also chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi to raise the matter but nothing has resulted. “The Congress removed Captain Amarinder Singh saying he did not act in the sacrilege and police firing incidents. Even the new government of Channi did not do anything, they did not even issue a statement on the matter. That is why I am on a ‘dharna’ now. Only people can provide a solution now, governments are useless, the system has to change. Elections are meaningless for us. We don’t support anybody now,” Sukhraj Singh says. He says he has made the Faridkot highway his home for last 50 days while various politicians have forgotten the cause.
Mohinder Singh says his son was shot dead by the police while sitting peacefully on the protest against the Bargari sacrilege incident. “Police had ‘langar’ with us at the incident spot. I was present there. But on the SSP’s instructions, they suddenly opened fire and told me to run away but they had already shot my son by then. Another boy from a nearby village was also shot dead. No one came to us later. On our name, Captain (Amarinder) became the CM. But he never came back to us. Our hope is now only on the people to get justice, not the government. We have no hope for elections or parties — the real culprits of the incidents have not been punished,” Mohinder says.
State Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu has championed this cause by saying action must be taken against the Badals who were in power in 2015 when the sacrilege and police firing incidents happened in Faridkot. The Badals were also questioned by an SIT set up to probe the sacrilege incidents last year but no further action happened. Captain Amarinder Singh after his removal had, in fact, dared CM Channi to act against the Badals, saying the matter had to be proceeded legally rather than politically. For the Faridkot families, however, justice eludes and the matter no longer finds prominence in the political campaign too. But the protest continues.