In February 2023, the Supreme Court issued an order transferring the trial against three Bargari sacrilege cases, from Faridkot court to Chandigarh, according to Hindustan Times.
After the murder of Dera Sacha Sauda follower Pardeep Singh Kataria, other members of the sect (commonly referred to as “premis”), who were accused of the 2015 Guru Granth Sahib desecration controversy, approached the Supreme Court with a renewed request for the transfer of the three sacrilege cases to a court outside of Punjab, following concerns of “SECURITY THREAT.”
Now, the bench of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia allowed the plea of the accused to transfer the case trial out of Punjab citing a “SECURITY THREAT” to the accused.
PS Umranangal Supports SC’s Decision On Bargari Sacrilege Case
The former (IG) of Punjab, Paramraj Singh Umranangal, has welcomed the recent Supreme Court decision to transfer the cases related to the Bargari sacrilege incidents to Chandigarh, calling it a great move towards a fair and impartial investigation and trial.
PS Umranangal has consistently denied any wrongdoing and challenged the charges against him in various courts. He claims that he was not involved in the incidents of sacrilege. However, he took prompt action to control the violence and maintain law and order in the affected areas, following orders given by the magistrate.
Paramraj Singh Umranangal has also claimed the political parties were using the sacrilege issue for their political gains. The political parties have raised the issue during the Punjab Assembly Elections Campaign, Feb 2022.
SIT Has Requested the Public to Help Them in Investigating the Case
The recent decision by the Supreme Court to transfer the cases related to the Bargari sacrilege incidents out of Punjab is a vindication of Umranangal’s stand. And, it is indeed a setback for those who had tried to tarnish his image and reputation.
Further, IPS Paramraj Singh Umranangal has expressed confidence that he will be exonerated from all charges once the truth comes out and justice is served. The transfer of the cases related to the Bargari sacrilege incidents to a neutral and independent agency has been seen as a step towards enabling a fresh and unbiased investigation and trial.
Since 2015, the police and various SIT committees have been investigating the facts, but the final charge sheet was submitted last month in the Behbal Kalan case. The charge sheet for the Kotkupra case is still awaiting.
So, looking at all perspectives, it is good that the case is moved to Chandigarh court. Even the SIT has requested the public to help them in investigating the case by sharing the information if they find anything relevant. The person will be rewarded with 10,000.
The decision aims to ensure a fair trial for all parties involved, including the victims, the accused, and the public at large, without any external pressures or influence.
Timeline of Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura Sacrilege Case
- June 2, 2015: A case was registered by the police regarding the theft of a ‘bir’ (copy of Guru Granth Sahib) from Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village near Kotkapura in Faridkot.
- September 25: A second FIR was registered for putting up a poster at Bargari village
- October 12: A third case was registered for the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib as torn pages of ‘bir’ were found scattered in front of a gurdwara at Bargari.
- November 2, 2015: The SAD-BJP government handed over the investigation to CBI in the three FIRs.
- July 4, 2019: The CBI files a report claiming there is no proof against followers of Dera Sacha Sauda.
- September 6: In a notification, the Punjab government revoked CBI’s investigation consent.
- July 4, 2020: The Special Investigations Team (SIT) arrests seven dera followers for stealing ‘bir’ in 2015.
- July 6, 2020: Seven members of the Sirsa Dera’s National Committee and its chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim are charged with stealing bir in the sect’s ‘bir’ theft case by SIT.
- May 16, 2021: Six dera followers were arrested for committing Bargari sacrilege.
- January 27, 2022: In its chargesheet against Gurmeet Ram Rahim and other followers of the Dera, the SIT named him as the main conspirator in the Bargari sacrilege case.
- April 21, 2022: SIT files its final report on the Bargari sacrilege cases.
- November 10, 2022: A Dera follower (Pardeep Singh Kataria) who was accused of sacrilege cases was shot and killed.
- December 4, 2022: Various other dera followers request the transfer of trials outside of Punjab to the Supreme Court.
A significant step has been taken by the Supreme Court to ensure equitable and impartial investigation and trial in Bargari sacrilege cases. The decision was made to prevent any external pressures or influence on the case, following concerns of a “Security Threat” to the accused.
Hence, various developments and actions are taken in the investigation, ultimately leading to an unbiased decision.
As everybody believes, justice should prevail and the final verdict should come as early as possible.