The Shiromani Akali Dal core committee Sunday demanded immediate sacking of Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and registration of a murder case against his wife and Dussehra event organisers, saying they were "responsible for abetting" the Amritsar tragedy.
The core committee, which met here under the chairmanship of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and was attended by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and other senior party leaders, also rejected the magisterial inquiry ordered by the Congress government, a party release said. "The party demands a judicial probe by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court instead," a party release said.
Terming the man-made disaster as "unparallel on account of the criminal negligence and sheer abetment by the function organisers", the SAD core committee condemned the "cover up" operation allegedly launched by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and demanded registration of a fresh case in the matter on statements of the victims' families.
The core committee said similar to what it has been doing to every other section of the society, the Congress government was now muzzling the voice of the poor by instituting a tailor-made inquiry with the sole aim to give a clean chit to the culprits and putting the blame on the Indian Railways. It said this was being done despite the fact that the victims' families were ready to present "irrefutable evidence" against a Congress councilor and Navjot Kaur Sidhu for abetting the tragedy.
The SAD panel said the evidence against the councilor and Sidhu was present in the public domain and the same should be taken into account while proceeding against both of them. It said taking all these facts into account, there was no possibility of a free and fair inquiry by a magistrate who was reporting to Cabinet minister Navjot Sidhu and his family. It also condemned the "casual attitude" of Navjot Singh Sidhu.
The core committee said it was condemnable that the state was refusing to take action against the Congress leaders despite worldwide condemnation of the incident and the demand "to prosecute the guilty, however high and mighty they may be."
It noted that even the heads of States, including those of Russia, Canada and Pakistan, have expressed shock at the tragedy. It said the entire world was watching and if the government failed in giving justice to the victims, it would invite international condemnation to itself as well as the country.
The committee also passed a resolution, calling for Rs one crore compensation to each of the victims' families as well as grant of a government job to the next of their kin. It said a separate government programme should be initiated to adopt the victims' children.
The SAD panel also served an ultimatum to the government to register a fresh case on statements of the victims' families and institute a judicial probe besides giving the demanded compensation, failing which it would initiate an agitation to ensure justice to the victims. Senior leaders who attended the meeting, included SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal.