“A spate of criminal incidents has exposed complete failure of the administration”

Calling for drastic action by the State Government to restore the rule of law, the Punjab unit of the Communist Party of India on Saturday demanded that Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal be divested of the Home portfolio as the spate of criminal incidents had exposed complete failure of the administration to protect the lives of the citizens.

Through a statement here, member of the CPI's national council Joginder Dayal and secretary of the State Council Bant Singh Brar demanded that the Director General of Police (DGP), Sumedh Singh Saini, be sacked while a detailed exercise be launched to screen the entire police force for weeding out the inefficient, non-performing and corrupt elements.

The Communist leaders demanded immediate disbanding of the Students Organisation of India (SOI) and the Youth Akali Dal (YAD) which are the frontal organisations of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal. They underlined the need to rein in the activists of these organisations that had gone on a rampage and had become law unto themselves in the State.

Both Dr Dayal and Mr. Brar said the reprimand from the High Court in the case of suicide by the victim of alleged gang-rape in Patiala district should serve as a wake-up call for the Punjab Government. They reminded that taking cognisance of the incident, the court had said: “Enough is enough.” They sought immediate steps to end political interference in the functioning of the police, especially at the cutting edge.

Reacting to the series of incidents, especially the shooting of ASI Ravinderpal Singh and Patiala gang-rape, the CPI called upon its cadre to mobilise support and organise protests in every district. They expressed concern that the situation had deteriorated to the extent that despite evidence being available, an officer in the rank of Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of police was hesitant to register a complaint against the persons involved in the assault on him.

While the CPI will struggle for restoration of the rule of law, it appealed to all political parties to come together on a common platform to devise means to uphold the glorious traditions and cultural values of Punjab. “This is time for action,” Dr Dayal said, handing down a warning that lest it was too late to retrieve the situation.

Through a separate statement, the president of the Chamar Mahan Sabha, Paramjit Singh Kainth, sought intervention of the Centre to control the law and order situation in Punjab, which he said was deteriorating by the day. He accused Sukhbir Singh Badal and his brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia, who is the Revenue Minister, of promoting and patronising anti-social elements in the Akali Dal.

Mr Kainth accused the BJP of being a silent spectator to current “goonda raj” in the State.

He said that in a situation where the police rank and file was demoralised, the plight of the downtrodden could well be gauged.

He charged that the Scheduled Castes and the backward classes were compelled to survive under terror in Punjab.