Saturday, October 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

SAD moves rights panel against Amarinder
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 3
The Shiromani Akali Dal president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, along with 45 party legislators and five MPs, including the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, today met the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Justice A.S. Anand, alleging human rights violation and third-degree treatment meted out to political opponents by the Congress government in Punjab.

In its 176-page petition, the SAD demanded comprehensive probe by the NHRC into the “blatantly illegal misuse of executive power and authority” by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh solely to satisfy his personal and political vendetta against the leaders and workers of the SAD.

The petition also prayed for “staying all further proceedings, sham investigations on pre-determined lines and consequent action pursuant to the lodging of the politically motivated cases, including the one registered against Mr Badal and his family. It has sought a proper inquiry against all those responsible for registering of these cases.”

Mr Badal said in the petition that the SAD leaders and workers were being booked, harassed and tortured on the basis of mere source reports having no legal or independent validity. However, the Congress leaders, including ministers who had been clearly indicted by the Lok Pal and against whom action had been recommended by the Supreme Court, were being allowed to go scot-free.

The petition was presented to the NHRC chairman by Mr Badal and Mr Tohra who were accompanied by a battery of lawyers. Justice Anand assured the delegation that he would place the petition before the members of the commission. The petition is likely to be taken up at the next meeting of the commission to be held next week. The petition said even the Sikh Judicial Commission members had not been spared by the state government and the Vigilance Bureau was acting as the source, complainant, investigator and witness in the case.

Flanked by the MLAs, MPs and the SGPC president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Badal told reporters that Justice Anand had given him a patient hearing and assured that “appropriate action” would be taken. “We have full faith in the judiciary and institutions like the NHRC and hope to get justice from them,” he said. He said civil liberties of the SAD workers were being repressed by the Congress government in the state.

In this context, he pointed out to the torture and humiliation meted out to 70-year-old Gurdev Singh Badal. Asked whether the move to approach the NHRC was a knee-jerk reaction to the proposed questioning by the Vigilance Bureau next week, Mr Badal said: “I am not afraid of these sleuths.”

When asked why the SAD had moved the NHRC when the nature of allegations levelled against it were political in nature, Mr Badal said: “We will fight it out politically also, but we would like to make use of all forums to expose the misdeed of the Amarinder government.”

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, who was to appear before the Vigilance Bureau today in Chandigarh, was also part of the delegation. He had indicated that he would be available for questioning on October 8 along with his father. However, reports say that the bureau may question him separately.


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