Over dozen Ropar panchayats back desecration accused

ROPAR: Over a dozen panchayats in Ropar district have come out in the support of the man arrested for desecration of at the Dangoli village gurdwara. They have demanded a free and fair probe in the matter.

Panchayats of Dangoli and the surrounding villages have sent a letter to Takht Kesgarh Sahib, , jathedar maintaining that the accused Jagtar Singh, who is a granthi (priest) of gurdwara where desecration took place, had wrongly been arrested.

On Wednesday, panchayats of several villages attended the bhog ceremony in the gurdwara in Dangoli and then held a meeting following which the letter was written to the Takht Kesgarh Sahib jathedar, demanding his intervention for a fair probe in the matter.

Husband of the Dangoli sarpanch Swaran Singh said, “A meeting was held between sarpanchs and panchayat members of more than 15 villages following which a letter was written to the Takht Kesgarh Sahib. However, the jathedar requested us to appeal to the higher authorities in the police demanding fair probe. The family and villagers claimed Jagtar is innocent.”

Vouching for Jagtar, who had been rendering free service as a priest in the gurdwara for past 15 years, Captain Dalbir Singh of Alipur village, said, “Jagtar had been a driver of my cab for over 15 years. He has worked with utmost honesty and never cheated me of a penny. He cannot do this at all.”

“Jagtar has been pressurized by the police. We will write to the higher police authorities as well. We demand a probe by an independent agency or CBI so that real culprits could be found,” said Jagtar’s sister-in-law Roopinder Kaur. She alleged police threatened Jagtar to kill his son if he did not own up the desecration.

When ed, Ropar SSP Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu refuted the allegations. He said Jagtar was arrested following a probe. The SSP said, “We have not received any request to probe the matter again. The bhog ceremony in the village was held peacefully.”

Sohan Singh, counsel of accused Jagtar, said, “The police did not get the statement of the accused recorded under Section 164 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in the court. We will fight for justice for Jagtar.”

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