August 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India
Ban functions of Ashutosh: NCM
New Delhi, August 27
After hearing the Punjab Government’s version on the Malout firing, the seven-member commission chaired by Justice Mohammad Shamim, said the hearing would take place after the respondent (government) submitted its comments on books written by Baba Ashutosh.
Punjab Chief Secretary Y.S. Ratra summoned by the commission on a complaint of Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann told the commission that the state government had set up a committee of Sikh scholars to go through the books written by Baba Ashutosh and submit a report.
Mr Ratra said the report was expected within a week and the Punjab Government would take another week to give its comments on the report.
NCM Vice-Chairman Tarlochan Singh told TNS that Justice Shamim warned the Punjab Government not to be complacent on the issue as reports indicated that many groups were likely to take advantage of the situation, which could lead to a law and order problem.
Mr Mann and party general secretary Jagmohan Singh handed over copies of five booklets published by the DJJS, five cassettes, a CD ROM and a report in Punjabi for the commission’s “reference and perusal.’’
The commission will hand over copies of the material provided by the Akali Dal (Amritsar) and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to the Punjab Chief Secretary to enable the respondent to scrutinise the material before the next hearing. The SGPC delegation was led by Mr Jaswinder Singh, an advocate.
The Punjab Government was represented by the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary to Punjab Chief Minister and Home Secretary S.K. Sinha, Director-General Police M.S. Bhullar and DIG, Vigilance K.S. Pannu and SSP, Muktsar, M.S. Dhillon.
The Chief Secretary gave a detailed report of the incident in Malout when a few hundred Sikhs tried to disrupt a function of Baba Ashutosh and the police fired and lathi-charged the agitators to maintain peace. In its version, the Punjab Government stated that the agitators ignored the appeal and attacked a spokesperson for the dera.
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