Bargari sacrilege: SIT finds no political link, accuses dera head of conspiracy

Seven years after the Bargari sacrifice incident that sparked violent protests in Punjab, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) found no political involvement and concluded that the crime was committed following a conspiracy by Dera followers at the behest of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet. Ram Rahim to take revenge.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Saturday handed over the final investigation report of the SIT to the Sikh community leaders. The SIT had submitted a 467-page report to the Director, Bureau of Investigation (BOI) in April-end, seen by HT.

Sikh organizations and political parties including Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have blamed Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Badal and former Punjab CM Prakash Singh Badal for the tragic events in Bargari. However, the final report made no mention of the then SAD-BJP government or any political involvement of the Badals in its decision.

The chargesheet, quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, was submitted to the court by then SIT member IGP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh (now retired), who is now an AAP MLA. During the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP rule in Punjab, their investigation found that incidents of desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib were “the pre-planned handiwork of Sukhbir Singh Badal, then DGP Sumedh Singh Saini and the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda”.

The three cases are interlinked, a conspiracy by Dera chiefs

SIT chief Surinder Pal Singh Parmar said the SIT has submitted its final investigation report based on comprehensive and in-depth investigation of all the three cases. “The SIT has collected irrefutable material and circumstantial evidence and has named 12 accused including Ram Rahim and filed chargesheets against them in these cases. We have completed our investigation so that the evidence does not lead to further involvement in these cases,” he said.

All the three cases are inter-related and accused Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim committed the crime under a well-planned conspiracy, the report reads.

The SIT said that Ram Rahim himself had ordered the rape to avenge the insult done to the followers of the sect by a Sikh preacher. “Some Dera followers arrested in connection with the sedition have revealed that Mohinderpal Singh Pittu, who was killed in Nabha Jail in 2019, had said that the sacrifice was executed at the behest of the Dera chief.

During a Diwan (religious meeting) on ​​March 22, 2015, Sikh preacher Harjinder Singh Manjhi asked some Dera followers to remove their lockets or leave. Dera national committee members Sandeep Bareta, Pardeep Clare and Harsha Dhuri raised the matter with him, who saw it as an act of rape and decided to take revenge. The report said that the assassination plot was hatched only after that.

In the final verdict, the SIT filed chargesheets against FIR 63 (registered after stealing ‘Bir’ from Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village), eight people in FIR 117 (registered after contempt) along with Ram Rahim and 12 Dera men. Posters were put up at Bargari on the night of September 24, 2015 and 10 Dera followers in FIR 128 (registered on October 12, 2015 after torn pages of ‘Bir’ found scattered near Bargari Gurdwara) at Bajakhana Police Station.

Who tried to save Dera?

“The members of the newly constituted ‘SIT’ have examined the entire documents with the evidence collected by the CBI and then set in motion the investigation of these cases and have taken initiatives to collect more evidence to take up these cases. Their logical conclusion. Even though almost six years have passed since the registration of these cases when the investigation was taken over by the CBI, the SIT has been honest and thorough in its collection of evidence. Best efforts have been made,” it read.

Former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said: “During our administration, we asked the SIT to investigate political links in victim incidents to reveal who tried to save the Dera. The final report was submitted after the formation of the AAP government. It is strange that none of them raised this issue with the SIT as to why they are not investigating the political links. Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann spoke a lot about this issue during the election but why is he silent now? he added.

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