Punjab Congress Crisis: Two died in police firing during protests after desecration of Sikh texts (File)
The desecration of a Sikh religious text in Punjab's Faridkot in 2015, and subsequent police firing that killed two people, is one of the issues driving the feud between ex-Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Navjot Sidhu.
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The main cases include the June 2015 theft of a copy of the Guru Granth Sahib from Burj Jawahar Singh Wala Gurdwara, and torn pieces of the holy text scattered in front of another gurudwara in October. Days later protesters gathered at Kotkapura, where two people were killed in police firing. Three FIRs were filed over the desecration and two (one in August 2018, after the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission) over the police firing.
The Akali Dal was in power at the time and the cases were handed to the CBI. But in 2018, after the Congress came to power, the Assembly withdrew permission to the agency and formed a SIT from state police. That SIT - tasked with inquiring into the Kotkapura police firing - was headed by Inspector-General Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh.
But in April the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed that SIT's report - over allegations against IG Vijay Singh. Mr Sidhu then went into overdrive, accusing Mr Singh of "incompetence" and declaring him to be "hand-in-glove with the culprits". Other Punjab Congress leaders began to express unhappiness with Mr Singh's 'inaction' and leadership ahead of next year's election.
As ordered, the state then formed a new SIT - led by Additional Director General of Police (Vigilance Bureau) LK Yadav, to probe the Kotkapura police firing. Mr Sidhu, in June, said the team was "inching closer to justice". Another SIT - probing the sacrilege cases - made six arrests in May.
Mr Sidhu resigned as chief of the Congress' Punjab unit yesterday, with the appointment of APS Deol as Advocate General reportedly one of the triggers. Mr Deol was counsel for a former police chief accused in a case related to the desecration cases. In his resignation letter Mr Sidhu stressed on the word 'compromise' - something understood to mean that he was asked to accept some unpleasant choices in forming the new cabinet.