Former Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday again called for the removal of the newly-appointed state advocate general and DGP, Amar Preet Singh Deol and Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota, respectively, calling their appointments “salt on the wounds of the victims” of the 2015 sacrilege cases.
“Demand for justice in the sacrilege cases and those for the arrest of the main culprits behind the drug trade brought our government in 2017. However, due to its failure, people removed the previous CM. Now AG/DG appointments rub salt on the wounds of the victims. They must be replaced or we will have no face!!” Sidhu, who resigned from his post on September 28, said in a tweet.
The appointments of Deol and Sahota to their respective top posts were reportedly among the factors that led to the former cricketer-turned-politician suddenly putting in his papers as the state unit president of the ruling Congress after holding the post for just 72 days. Sidhu’s objection to Deol and Sahota’s elevation stems from the former’s role as a lawyer of former police chief Sumedh Singh Saini who was the head of the Punjab Police when the sacrilege incidents took place, while the latter was the first chief of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which probed these incidents.
Deol recently secured bail for Saini from the Punjab and Haryana high court over the Kotkapura firing case, in which police opened fire at protesters agitating against the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib, in Faridpur, killing two.
Incidents of theft and sacrilege of the Sikh holy book were reported from across Punjab in October 2015 when the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance was in power. The coalition was defeated by the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress in the 2017 assembly elections in which the desecration was a major poll issue. However, the alleged failure of the Congress government under Singh in ensuring justice for the victims was seen as one of the reasons behind his resignation on September 18.
Punjab is likely to vote for its next government in early 2022.