New Witness Statements to SIT in Behbal Kalan Firing Case

Behbal Kalan Firing Case: New Witness Statements and Impartial Investigation Developments

In the ongoing investigation of the 2015 Behbal Kalan firing incident, a significant development has resurfaced,  bringing forth a renewed quest for justice. 

This case, which has been under scrutiny for over half a decade, involves the tragic loss of two Sikh protesters, Gurjeet Singh and Krishan Bhagwan Singh, amidst demonstrations against a sacrilege incident.

The case has seen various twists and turns over the years, and the latest proceedings suggest a significant shift towards a more comprehensive investigation.

Controversies Surrounding Key Witness Affidavits and Allegations in Behbal Kalan Case

A pivotal moment occurred when seven witnesses, including family members of the victims, presented an affidavit with revised statements to the Special Investigation Team (SIT). 

This action was in response to the directive from a Faridkot court, which mandated the consideration of these affidavits to ensure a fair and unbiased investigation. This court order was issued while resolving an application submitted by the witnesses themselves.

The submission of these affidavits by the witnesses, including Sukhraj Singh and Prabhdeep Singh (sons of Krishan Bhagwan Singh), and Mohinder Singh (Krishan’s father), along with four other key witnesses, marks a significant step in the quest for truth and justice. Their collective move to present fresh statements aims to rectify any discrepancies and provide a clearer picture of the events that transpired.

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The witnesses have raised serious concerns regarding the handling of their initial statements. They have accused the former inspector general of police and now AAP MLA, Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, of manipulating their statement for political gain and conducting arrests without substantial evidence. 

These allegations suggest a potential deviation from the pursuit of justice, prompting the court to intervene and ensure the investigation’s integrity.

An anonymous witness has come forward, claiming that “SIT member Kunwar Vijay twisted our statements. We had named Inspector Pardeep Singh as the prime accused but the IG got him pardoned. There are some other details which cannot be disclosed.”

In a turn of events in 2020, inspector Pardeep Singh, initially named as the prime accused, was granted pardon after becoming an approver. This decision, made at the behest of the SIT, has been a subject of debate and scrutiny, particularly among those closely affected by the case.

The son of one of the victims killed in the police firing has made a serious accusation against a former member of the SIT to the Punjab director general of police (DGP) and the chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court. In his complaint, he claims that a former investigator on the case “intentionally” and “maliciously” leaked important details about the case.

Adding to the complexity of the situation, the son of victim Krishan Bhagwan Singh has complained to Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh. The complaint accuses the former IGP of deliberately leaking sensitive information, potentially undermining the prosecution’s case. 

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However, when reached out for a statement, Kunwar Vijay refused to comment.

The Court’s Directives on The Ongoing Investigation

The case has seen various investigative teams over the years. Initially led by ADGP Parbodh Kumar with Kunwar Vijay as a member, the probe has now transitioned to a new SIT headed by IGP Naunihal Singh. 

This team has a specific job: to prepare an additional, detailed report (known as a supplementary chargesheet) to help move the case forward. People who are closely watching the case are eagerly waiting for this report because it could provide new insights.

At this point, the court pointed out that, “the present SIT is conducting further investigation. This is abundantly clear from the status report forwarded by the probe team that the SIT is investigating the matter by keeping all options open to reach a just conclusion. Therefore, no ground is made out to interfere in the investigation conducted by the SIT by this court by invoking jurisdiction under Section 153 (3) (judicial magistrate’s power to investigate cognizable case) of the CrPC. The stage of intervention by the court would arrive at Section 190 (1) of the CrPC.”

Also, the court added that “however, this court has no hesitation in asking the SIT to take into consideration the affidavit of the applicants so that their apprehension that the investigation is one-sided or lopsided can be ruled out. Moreover, considering an affidavit may not be binding on the SIT the investigation will be fairer and just. Hence, the application is disposed of.”

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A Chance for Justice in the Behbal Kalan Case

The recent submission of new witness statements in the Behbal Kalan firing case, coupled with the court’s decision to step back, offers a fresh opportunity for a fair and detailed look into the incident. This turn of events could be good news for former (IG) Paramraj Singh Umranangal, as it sets the stage for a fairer evaluation of what happened on that day.

With the reexamination of witness accounts and a pledge to an unbiased investigation, there’s a chance for a more even-handed view of PS Umranangal‘s part in the events.

The latest developments—the new statements from witnesses and the court’s hands-off approach—point to a possible new direction in the Behbal Kalan firing case. These elements suggest a more favorable environment for investigating the case, which could benefit former IPS PS Umranangal by ensuring a more equitable look at the incident and his alleged involvement.

Conclusion: A Call for Transparent Justice

The Behbal Kalan case remains a poignant chapter in Punjab’s recent history, with its fair share of twists and turns. 

The community’s eyes are now on the SIT, awaiting a thorough and impartial examination of the new affidavits. It is a collective hope that the truth will prevail, and justice will be served for the lives lost during that fateful protest in 2015.