Amarinder warns officials against interfering in police functioning
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday warned government officials and party colleagues against interfering in administrative and police functioning and sent a strong message to all departments to not succumb to any political pressure.
He also took a serious note of the alleged assault on a Muktsar journalist and directed the officials concerned to treat the case on merit, without allowing political compulsions, if any, to obstruct the course of justice.
Amarinder's media advisor Raveen Thukral said he spoke to the journalist to convey the chief minister's assurance that the law would take its own course in the case and those found guilty would be brought to book through an impartial probe. The journalist, who works with a vernacular newpaper, was allegedly attacked by some unknown people at Gidderbaha in Muktsar district on Saturday.
The chief minister has also ordered the DGP to provide security to the journalist and his family in view of the apprehensions expressed by him about their safety, Thukral said.
The journalist is also being provided free treatment in the local civil hospital, he said.
In a categorical warning, Amarinder said that officials acting at the behest of political masters, as they had been allegedly doing under the Akali regime, would face stringent action if they did not immediately mend their ways.
Notably, a day after a Punjab minister was seen fuming at a school principal, another purported video went viral on Saturday in which a Congress MLA is seen allegedly warning police officers to submit to demands of his followers or face consequences.
Ramanjit Singh Sikki, the ruling party MLA from Khadoor Sahib, is seen in the video issuing a warning to police officials after which the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) attacked him.
In a strong missive to the police, Amarinder on Sunday directed senior officials to ensure that this message goes down to the lowest rung in the department to make the police functioning transparent and fair, as promised by the Congress in its election manifesto.
Though the 'Halqa in-charge' system had already been abolished by the Congress government, the mindset change needed to transform the police functioning would take some time, Amarinder said in a statement.
He, however, asserted that his government would adopt a zero-tolerance approach in all cases of overt or subtle political interference in administrative or police functioning.
The Congress government, said the chief minister, was committed to freeing the government machinery from political shackles "which had become the rule rather than the exception during the SAD-BJP rule".
"The erstwhile Badal-led government had destroyed all systems in the state and, though the process of restoring the same had already been initiated, the transformation required concerted and collective efforts of all officials and also the people of the state," Amarinder claimed.
"Those who had felt suppressed under the Badal regime all these years should refrain from taking the law in their hands and take legal recourse to ensure that all those guilty of misdeeds in the past 10 years are made to pay for their actions," he said.
The abolition of the Halqa in-charge system was the first step in the direction of ridding the police of political interference and more reforms would soon be announced to make the police functioning fair and unbiased, Amarinder said.