September 5, 2018 | By Parmjeet Singh
– Parmjeet Singh
In an interaction with a TV journalist, Punjab CM Capt. Amarinder Singh said that the incidents beadbi of Guru Granth Sahib were directed from across the border.
Given the failure of Capt. Amarinder Singh government to take stringent action against those whose role was identified by Justice Ranjit Singh Commission, it was expected that Capt. Amarinder Singh may limit his ‘action’ to verbal assault on SAD (Badal) and may attempt to dilute the issue. So the statement is not something that was unexpected but the way Amarinder Singh said it all, that definitely requires deep analysis.
1. Transcript of Interaction with Running Commentary: Before proceeding further let us first have a look at the details of conversation. The transcript of conversation is supplemented with running commentary to bring in necessary context.
1.1 The video clip of Amarinder Singh’s interview aired by News18 Punjab, shows Punjab CM saying: ‘it seems again to me that it was effort on the part of some people to start communal sort of conflagration’.
When the anchor asked him that ‘who were those people’, Amarinder Singh replied: ‘My information is, which I still have to verify some things, but it is definitely from across the border’.
1.2 When the anchor repeated Amarinder Singh’s line ‘from across the border’, in an attempt to get confirmation, Amarinder Singh said: ‘who else would be interested in bringing communal flare up in a border state?’.
1.3 Capt. Amarinder Singh could be seen avoiding any reference to Dera Sauda Sirsa followers who are arrested in cases related to beadbi of Guru Granth Sahib at Burj Jawahar Singh Wala, Bargari, Malke and Gurusar.
1.4 When anchor wanted to bring in reference to cases where Dera Sauda Sirsa followers were arrested in Beadbi cases saying “what was happening in Bargari, what was happening in those areas where dera followers were implicated” Capt. Amarinder Singh interrupted him and said: ‘I am talking about the desecration attempts not the firing. Firing is of course a consequence’.
1.5 The Anchor made second attempt to put his question that if Dera followers were also instructed by people from across the border, saying: “I am also talking about desecration attempts, which takes place in this area, at that point of time…”. Capt. Amarinder hurriedly interrupted him against and said: ‘not only in that area but all over the Punjab’.
1.6 In third attempt the anchor was able to make his point to some extent; he said: “but the dera followers are implicated in the incidents that happened in Bargari” but here he was again interrupted by Capt. Amarinder Singh who said ‘in some cases’. There is an overlapping between Anchor’s words ‘in Bagari’ and Capt. Amarinder Singh’s words ‘in some cases’. Here Amarinder Singh was trying to press that those were only ‘some cases’ in which Dera followers are arrested.
1.7 Capt. Amarinder Singh kept repeating words, ‘in some cases’ and the Anchor, in his fourth attempt, was able to make his point that the incident of beadbi at Bargari and adjoining areas, where Dera followers are arrested; “was that also linked from across the border or was that separate?”.
1.8 Instead of answering the specific query, Punjab CM said: “Look, ISI is capable of using anybody. They have used people in Trafalgar Square, they brought them from all over the world. There were all Italian flags and the German flags, and all flying, who was paying for them? ISI. There was some Lt. Connell there”.
1.9 Sensing that CM is not answering his specific query, the Anchor intervened and said: “so there is a probability that dera supporters were also triggered by the ISI?” Capt. Amarinder who was still trying to continue his line asked “who?”. In yet another attempt to bring Capt. Amarinder Singh to specific point, the anchor said: “the dera supporters who caused the desecration, they were also triggered by the ISI?”.
1.10 Amarinder Singh replied: “I cannot comment on that until the facts come out. You don’t want me to give wrong information but they used also some people and it is possible they may use them. They may. They are using Sikhs. Do you think any Sikh wants to tear his Gutka Sahib and the Guru Granth Sahib but Sikh have been caught in this, doing this. Who told them to do this? Somebody is behind this”.
Let us try to analyze this conversation.
2. On ‘Attempt to Start Communal Sort of Conflagration’:
First point that emerged in Amarinder Singh’s interview clip, which is less than 2 minutes in length but is indeed a loaded one, is that some people tried to start communal sort of conflagration.
Capt. Amarinder Singh is making this statement after almost three years. No communal sort of conflagration took place in Punjab since June 1, 2015 when the Saroop of Guru Granth Sahib was stolen from Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village. There is no denying that the issue was a very sensitive issue but there could also be no denying to the fact that no communal conflagration took place in Punjab due to this issue. (Readers are advise to read blog by senior journalist IP Singh for details on this point).
There was widespread unrest in Punjab but that was due to government’s inaction and ill-action. There was no element of ‘communal sort of conflagration’ in that.
So, the happenings of past 3 years nullify Amarinder Singh’s first argument.
3. (Non)Basis of Stating that ‘People From Across the Border’ are Involved:
In April 2017 Capt. Amarinder Singh had appointed Justice Ranjit Singh Commission to inquire into the incidents of beadbi that took place in Punjab since 2015. The commission submitted its report to the government in parts in June and July 2018 that was tabled and debated in Punjab Vidhan Sabha on August 27 and 28.
Capt. Amarinder Singh is making statement about involvement of people from across the border after that. First part of the report, which dealt with incidents of beadbi at Burj Jawahar Singh Wala, Bargari, Malke and Gurusar, was leaked and thus it’s in public domain. The supplementary report to this part was also accessed by the Sikh Siyasat News (SSN) and it was reproduced on SSN, thus that is also in public domain.
These documents show that Justice Ranjit Singh Commission did not find any role of ‘people from across the border’.
In his own statement, made during above referred interview with News18 Punjab, Capt. Amarinder Singh did not disclose basis of his statement. He said ‘as per my information’. What is that information, How it came? Nobody knows. Did that information arrived after Justice Ranjit Singh Commission submitted its report or it was already there? If that was already there, why that information was not disclosed to Justice Ranjit Singh Commission? If that information arrived after Justice Ranjit Singh submitted its report then it’s even more questionable because how such information could suddenly surface at such a calculated time? Moreover Amarinder Singh says that some parts of the information still need to be verified? Why CM is prematurely disclosing a ‘not-verified’ information?
Amarinder Singh’s counter question to the anchor when he tried to get confirmation that there was involvement of ‘people from across the border’ shows the shallowness of CM’s claim. Amariner Singh replied: who else would be interested in bringing communal flare up in a border state? What a strange logic. It means anything that happens in a ‘border state’ could be linked to ‘people from across the border’ because the state is a ‘border state’.
If the beadbi incidents were really an attempt to create ‘communal sort of conflagration’, as the Punjab CM himself claims then it is more likely that it was an attempt by ‘forces from within the borders’ rather than ‘people from across the border’ because there is no denying that the forces who hold ‘doctorate’ in starting ‘communal sort of conflagration’ are now in their strongest times in the subcontinent.
Moreover Justice Ranjit Singh Commission’s report has reportedly revealed that those forces were behind the beadbi of Quran Sharif in Malerkotla in 2015.
To conclude this point Amarinder Singh has turned blind eye on the role of ‘people from within the borders’ while claiming, without strong basis, that ‘people from across the border’ had role in beadbi incidents.
4. Amarinder Singh’s Hard Attempt to Avoid Most Obvious Question:
When Capt. Amarinder Singh claimed that beadbi incidents were directed from ‘from across the border’ the Anchor rightly began to ask him the most obvious question that if the beadbi at Bargari and related incidents (Burj Jawahar Singh Wala, Malke and Gurusar), for which the Dera Sacha Sauda Sirsa followers are arrested, were also directed from across the border?
But it was not an easy attempt for the anchor. Punjab CM kept interrupting him and tried to divert the issue.
5. For Amarinder Singh: “Bargari + Arrest of Dera Followers = Firing Incident, Not Beadbi incidents”:
The readers may get surprised that for Punjab CM reference to Barigari and related incidents and arrest of dera followers in these cases means reference to firing incident and not beadbi incidents.
Let us take a look at what Anchor and Amarinder Singh said:
Anchor: “what was happening in Bargari, what was happening in those areas where dera followers were implicated”…
Capt. Amarinder Singh (interrupting the Anchor): ‘I am talking about the desecration attempts not the firing. Firing is of course a consequence’.
There were two references in question: “Bargari” and “dera followers were implicated”. What made Capt. Amarinder Singh to believe that the anchor was referring to “firing incident”? There was no firing incident at Bargari. Firing incident had taken place at Behbal Kalan. Moreover, no dera followers is ‘implicated’ in the firing incident.
If it was not an attempt to prevent the talk from proceeding towards specific incidents of beadbi at Bargari & adjoining areas and to arrested dera followers then what was it? One may argue that Capt. Amarinder Singh mistook the references as a reference the Behbal Kalan firing incident. But it was not so, because it was not the only attempt from him in this regard.
6. Attempt to Divert Focus from Bargari and related incident to pan-Punjab:
As already illustrated (see 1.6) when anchor attempted to put his specific question with reference to Bargari, Capt. Amarinder Singh hurriedly intervened and tried to divert focus to pan-Punjab incidents of beadbi.
7. In Some Cases:
The term “in some cases” was used by Capt. Amarinder Singh to ‘highlight’ that Dera Sauda Sirsa followers were arrested only in some cases of beadbi. Even News18 Punjab misinterpreted this term and said that Capt. Amarinder Singh said that Pakistan’s ISI was involved in some cases of beadbi. But if one listen to the conversation carefully (as illustrated in 1.6 and 1.7 above) Amarinder Singh was trying to ‘clarify’ that the dera followers are arrested in some cases. This is true. They are arrested in some cases but Capt. Amarinder Singh’s clarification was unnecessary and misplaced as the anchor was not talking about all incidents of beadbi that took place in Punjab rather he was referring specifically to those incidents only in which dera followers were involved.
Let us remind ourselves that the Anchor was still trying, rather struggling by this time, to put the most obvious question that ‘if the incidents of beadbi at Bargari and adjoining areas where dera followers are arrested, were also triggered by people from across the state?”.
8. Explaining ISI’s ‘capabilities’ instead of answering Specific Question about Bargari & related incident:
Let us avoid repetition. Just check 1.7 and 1.8 points as discussed above. It shows that how Capt. Amarinder Singh tried to evade the answer to specific question and started explaining his presumption about capabilities of the ISI. No one had asked him to explain what ISI can do. The question was simple did ISI also played role in Bargari & related incidents for which Dera Sirsa followers are arrested? But he was not ready to talk about that.
9. What “Who?” Explains:
In 1.9 it is shown that when anchor asked that if ISI had instructed dera followers to commit Bargari & related incidents, Amarinder Singh asked “Who?” as if he was not aware till this point that what the anchor was trying to ask. Do Amarinder Singh wants people to believe that he was not getting till this time that the anchor was trying to ask him a most obvious question in wake of his own claims? As per our understanding it was yet another deliberate attempt to avoid the question with specific reference to Bargari and related incidents.
10. Amarinder Singh Not Sure About ISI instructing Dera followers but He is sure about ISI instructing Sikhs:
Point 1.10 shows that Amarinder Singh says “he cannot comment” about any possible link between arrested dera followers and ISI “until the information come out”. In his attempt to make anchor not press this question any further, he burdened the anchor by saying that the anchor won’t want him to give any wrong information. Then he said “they may use them”, suggesting that dera followers may or may not have been used by the ISI. Please note that he said “they may use them” i.e. an indirect reference to dera followers. In the entire conversation Amarinder Singh did not utter the word “dera” or “dera followers”. But in next sentence he goes very specific because by that time he had shifted to the “Sikhs”. Not only he goes specific naming the Sikhs but also makes a sure statement. He said: “They are using Sikhs”.
This was not a simple shift. A CM who remains ‘responsible’ enough to not to even take name of followers of a particular sect, even when they have been arrested by the police in Beadbi cases and one of them is said to have confessed before the magistrate, suddenly makes a shift and names the entire Sikh community so easily. Secondly, the CM who refuses to comment until the information comes out that if dera followers were used by ISI or not turns sure and vocal about the Sikhs being used ISI on the ‘basis’ that if Sikhs are arrested in beadbi cases, someone was behind this and then takes the liberty to say that such ‘someone’ was none other than ISI. It explains his ‘concerns’, ‘priorities’ and ‘present mind-setup’.
11. Negating the Patterns of Beabdi Incidents & Basic structure of Justice Ranjit Singh Commission’s Report:
As it was said earlier, this short conversation is very loaded. In this conversation Amarinder Singh attempted to ‘generalize’ the issue of beadbi incidents. He was pleading that incidents of beadbi of Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari, Burj Jawahar Singh Wala, Malke and Gurusar should not be seen in ‘particularity’ but should be seen in ‘generality’ along with other incidents of beadbi that happened across the Punjab and for which Sikhs are also arrested.
Anyone concerned about these incidents was able to ascertain even in 2015 that the pattern of beadbi incidents at Bargari, Burj Jawahar Singh Wala, Malke and Gurusar was different from other incidents of beadbi that took place at other places in Punjab. DIG Ranbir Singh Khattra, who was heading the Punjab police SIT which arrested Dera followers and thus cracked the Bargari beadbi and related cases, also said that the pattern of beadbi at these places was different from other incidents. The pattern was so identical at these places that it was sufficient to establish that these four cases were interlinked and form part of single act done in different parts.
Justice Ranjit Singh too appreciated this pattern that’s why he dealt these cases separately in first part of his report.
By making repeated attempt generalize these cases with other incidents of Beadbi Capt. Amarinder Singh tried to negate the basic base of Justice Ranjit Singh Commission’s report.
12. Why Amarinder Singh Did it All:
After having analyzed Amarinder Singh’s 1 minute 49 seconds conversation, a question arises naturally that why Capt. Amarinder Singh did all this? The way Amarinder Singh made repeated attempts, in various ways, to avoid the reference to specific cases of Beadbi and then the way he attempted to generalize those specifics cases; and his approach to not to name ‘dera’ or ‘dera followers’; and his approach to easily put the blame on the Sikhs; accompanied by the words and deeds of Capt. Amarinder Singh since becoming CM of Punjab this time, in general; and since arrest of dera followers in beadbi cases and submission of Justice Ranjit Singh’s report, in particular, it should not be difficult for the readers to judge that why exactly he did so. He has made it clear that what is going to happen with not only the report of Justice Ranjit Singh Commission but also to all matters concerning the Sikhs. The question here is that when Badals and Amarinder Singh have arrived on same pitch on Beadbi issues, who is behind it ‘from across the border’ or ‘from within the borders’?
Related Topics: Capt. Amarinder Singh, Captain Amrinder Singh, Congress Government in Punjab 2017-2022, Incidents Beadbi of Guru Granth Sahib, Indian Politics, Justice Ranjit Singh Commission, Punjab Politics