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Divest Parkash Singh Badal of Fakhr-e-Qaum title, DSGMC urges Akal Takht

Adding a twist to Sikh politics in Punjab, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) today announced the formation of a five-member panel of lawyers to seek justice for former acting Akal Takht Jathedar Gurdev Singh Kaunke and passed a resolution, asking Akal Takht to withdraw the ‘Fakhr-e-Qaum’ honour given to former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Kaunke had disappeared 31-year ago and was allegedly murdered. In December last year, an inquiry report was made public for the first time. The report, which was submitted to the Badal-led SAD government in July 1999, was released by the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO). It handed over the report to Akal Takht.

The DSGMC president, Harmeet Singh Kalka and general secretary Jagdip Singh Kahlon said a delegation of the DSGMC will soon meet Chief Minister of Punjab and demand action against the police officers who ‘murdered’ Kaunke and those who did not give justice.

The DSGMC announced that it would soon organise a big ‘Panthak rally’ in Kaunke village. The DSGMC meet honoured Kaunke’s wife Gurmel Kaur, son Hari Singh, main witness Darshan Singh Hathur. It also honoured Satnam Singh Manawan and Balwant Singh Gupala, who stopped the last prayers of Swarn Singh ‘Ghotna’, a police officer who died in 2013. The cop is believed to among those who tortured Kaunke.

Badal is being blamed by the DSGMC as it was under his tenure that the Punjab Government in 1998 ordered a probe into allegations of extra-judicial killing of Kaunke. The then Additional Director General of Police (Security), Punjab Police, BP Tiwari had submitted his report.

The report raised questions over claims of the police and recommended FIR against the then Jagraon SHO, Gurmeet Singh, for wrongful confinement and falsification of records, besides further probe into the incident. It also recommended investigating the role of other cops and raised questions on the police claim that Kaunke had escaped from custody.

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