Lok Insaaf Party MLA from Ludhiana, Simarjit Singh Bains, attracted much criticism after he termed the attack on Patiala police by Nihangs "public backlash against the police high-handedness" in an interview.
“We need to ponder on what forced him to pick up the 'kirpan'. It was outburst of pent up anger against Punjab police that specialises in fake encounters, robs people, frauds them and thrashes them. They have dragged and thrashed people on roads and this was a backlash,” Bains had said.
In a shocking incident, on Sunday, a group of Nihangs attacked the police and chopped the hand of ASI Harjeet Singh when the cops asked them to produce curfew passes.
Following the MLA's comment, there has been much outrage, demanding action against Bains for justifying the brutality. A group of Punjab cabinet ministers have demanded an FIR against him for inciting communal disharmony.
Cabinet ministers Aruna Chaudhary, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Tripat Rajinder Bajwa, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Vijay Inder Singla have demanded that Bains should immediately be booked under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and the National Disaster Management Act 2005, as well as under relevant sections of the IPC.
“They are doing a commendable job in these critical times, risking their own lives to save us from pandemic. What happened yesterday is unacceptable and reprehensible. The cop who lost his hand and had to undergo that eight-hour long surgery to fix it back is already facing a lot of pain, and by saying this Bains has given them a bigger wound,” said Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu.
Jails Minister Randhawa said the state needs to be standing together and fighting COVID-19 rather than attacking frontline warriors or defending those doing so.
PWD Minister Vijay Inder Singla too condemned the statement by the MLA while Social Security Minister Aruna Chaudhary termed it a cheap attempt to grab limelight.
Meanwhile, Punjab Police have arrested three people for inciting disharmony and communal unrest with their hate messages on social media over Sunday's attack.
According to DGP Dinkar Gupta, Davinder Singh of Batala, Bhupinder Singh of Hoshiarpur, and Kuljeet Singh Bhullar of Muktsar were found spreading hatred through social media posts, including an interview on a Facebook page. The DGP said the police was also mulling legal options for taking action against the Facebook page.
Bhullar and Davinder had posted inflammatory and vicious statements on social media pages, lauding the Nihang action and provoking them to come forward to launch more such attacks.
Separate FIRs have been registered against all three under Section 115, 153A, 188, 269, 270, 271 & 505(2) of IPC, Section 3 of Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and Section 54 of the National Disaster Management Act 2005.