Once again, the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in Punjab has rubbed wounds of Sikhs by giving jobs to sons of two Congress MLAs—Fateh Jung Bajwa and Rakesh Pandey by going beyond the rules and set aside the wounded sentiments of the community.
Bajwa’s son Arjun Pratap Singh Bajwa has been appointed as as Inspector (Group B) in Punjab Police. He is the grandson of former Punjab minister and senior Congress leader Satnam Singh Bajwa, who was allegedly killed by militants in 1987. Arjun Pratap’s appointment came through a one-time waiver in the relevant rules without making it a precedent.
On the other hand, Bhisham Pandey, son of Pandey and the grandson of Joginder Pal Pandey who too was assassinated by the militants in 1987. Bhisham will be Naib Tehsildar (Group-B) in the Revenue Department. Doing so, the Capt government tweaked rules to appoint sons of two Congress MLAs as Inspector in Punjab Police and Naib Tehsildar in the Revenue Department.
Earlier, this government had appointed Guriqbal Singh as DSP. He is grandson of notorious former Punjab Chief Minister Beant ‘Singh’ who eliminated thousands of Sikh youths on pretext of rooting out “terrorism” from Punjab and crossed all limits of human rights violations.
Nod to these controversial appointments was given by the cabinet of Punjab especially despite protests lodged by many sections of the state. However, it has turned out to be justification to what happened with Sikhs in the 1990s.
Even as it has not been proved yet as to who killed Satnam Bajwa, he being Congress leader played anti-Sikh role during the movement launched by Sikhs for their rights. However, Captain Amarinder Singh termed his killing as “sacrifice” while defending the move. Replying to a media query on June 19 at Chandigarh, the Punjab Chief Minister termed the move of giving jobs a recognition of the “sacrifices made by their grandfathers, who laid down their lives for the country”.
“Those who make a sacrifice for the nation can, and should, never be forgotten. Their families deserve to be compensated for the loss…We cannot allow their sacrifices to go to waste,” said the Chief Minister, adding that Punjab salutes those who have shed blood for the country, and his government will continue to recognise their contribution to the state’s peace and harmony”, he added.
WAS SATNAM BAJWA KILLED BY MILITANTS?
Even as the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) who ruled over Punjab for 15 years after Sikh insurgency, has done nothing to deliver justice to the community in the mass violation of human rights, it has now taken a strong stand against this move of the ruling party.
Terming the appointments as illegal, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) president Sukhbir Badal said jobs could not be given to the wards of the legislators in lieu of the alleged sacrifice of their grandfathers.
“It is deplorable that the chief minister has given this false premise while explaining the act which is aimed at saving his chair in the ongoing tussle in the Punjab Congress party. The chief minister of all persons should know the contents of the FIR which was registered when former minister Satnam Singh Bajwa was shot down in 1987. The FIR stated that Satnam Bajwa was killed in a case involving personal rivalry. Where is the question of sacrifice in this case on the basis of which Bajwa’s grand-son is being rewarded with a government job 33 years after his grandfather’s death?”, Badal asked.
Meanwhile, Punjab-based human rights advocacy groups which have also upped the ante against this controversial decision reminding the CM of the human rights abuses, stated that Bajwa was murdered by the drug smugglers amid their infighting, not militants. They have also demanded investigation be carried out in the murder case of Bajwa.
The statement issued by Khalra Mission Organization, Punjab Human Rights Organization and Manukhi Adhikar Insaaf Sangharsh Committee on Saturday exposes anti-Sikh approach of Captain Amarinder Singh and underlined that he also appointed notorious Police officer Khubi Ram who led the operation under which six Sikh youths were killed in Tarn Taran district, as his security incharge.
“The government jobs are reserved for supporters of human rights violations, not for its victims”, reads the statement.
Satnam Bajwa’s elder son and Member of Parliament Partap Singh Bajwa is enjoying high class security cover due to this so-called sacrifice.
FIVE MINISTERS OPPOSE MOVE DURING CABINET MEETING; JAKHAR SEEKS RESCSINDMENT OF JOBS
This decision does not stand even on ethical grounds. As a result, even Congmen have come forward to oppose this move. Five Ministers—Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Razia Sultana, Charanjit Singh Channi and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria—also opposed it in the meeting during which this decision was taken, reported English daily Hindustan Times on June 19, 2021.
“Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa had himself applied for the job citing his father’s “sacrifice” but the then Punjab DGP Julio Ribeiro reject his plea”, said Sultana.
The move has also not gone down well with the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) Chief Sunil Jakhar. On Saturday (June 19, 2021), he said that it would not be proper to keep recent appointments made on compassionate grounds in the same league.
Urging the Chief Minister to have a relook at the decision and immediately rescind the appointments in greater public interest, Jakhar pointed out that certain elected representatives tending to their own families do not deserve the same consideration as is due to those who make the supreme sacrifice for the nation.
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh Ji must reverse the ill-advised decision, Jakhar said cautioning against potential charges of nepotism and political expediency to be levied against the Congress party otherwise.
The decision is also in my view, the state party chief said, against the ethos and culture of neutrality followed by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and the Congress party as a whole.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Punjab Assembly and senior AAP leader, Harpal Singh Cheema, said
Captain Amarinder Singh’s Ghar-Ghar Rozgar scheme has turned out to be ‘Congressiyande Ghar Rozgar’. He said that on the one hand, the sons and daughters of martyrs and common people of Punjab were being humiliated in the name of job fairs and were being forced to live in penury, on the other hand, the sons of selected Congress leaders, who are already well off, were given jobs of police inspector and naib tehsildar.