New Delhi: A delegation of Punjab Congress led by Rahul Gandhi on Thursday petitioned President Pranab Mukherjee for a judicial probe into the killing of two persons in police firing during recent protests in the state over alleged desecration of Guru Granth Sahib.
Raising the demand for a probe by a sitting Supreme Court judge in a meeting with the President, the Congress leaders rejected the CBI probe ordered by Punjab government, saying its terms of reference did not include the role of police whose action left two people dead while injuring several others.
Gandhi told reporters later that it was not a question of ensuring justice for the two families but of restoring peace in Punjab and giving justice to the state.
"I went to Punjab and met the families of the victims. We feel that the Punjab government is unable to provide justice to them. That is why I came with Congress leaders from Punjab and the President gave us a patient hearing.
"It is not a question of giving justice to two families. It is a question of giving justice to Punjab. That is why the Congress party has come here. The Chief Minister there should provide justice to Punjab quickly," said the Congress Vice President.
A memorandum submitted by the delegation to the President said, "We request you to intervene urgently and ensure that a judicial inquiry be ordered by a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court of India and that the inquiry be completed in a time- bound manner."
Congress deputy leader in Lok Sabha, Amarinder Singh, claimed that the terms of reference for that inquiry does not include the police's role.
"There is an FIR without any names in it and that is not going to get us anywhere, neither is the CBI inquiry, unless the terms of reference are specified," he said.
To a question on whether there was the involvement of a foreign hand, as claimed by the ruling SAD in Punjab, Singh said that deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal finds a foreign hand in everything, "there is nothing new in this".
Punjab Congress chief Pratap Singh Bajwa charged, "It is cold-blooded murder and the FIR is left open with no names of the accused. A lethal weapon like AK-47 was fired at innocent protesters. That is why we have demanded a judicial probe into the firing."
The memorandum further added that the demand for a judicial inquiry comes in the wake of concerns that Punjab's development is being "thwarted by the Badal government".
"In such a serious situation, it is crucial that justice is upheld and the rule of law is restored," it said.
The delegation included senior Congress leaders Ambika Soni and Shakeel Ahmed, besides leaders from Punjab.