The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has directed the Punjab government to establish a Special Investigating Team (SIT) comprising of senior civil and police officers to inquire into the discrimination done onto Padma Shri Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa both before and after he passed away.
Former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) legislator Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal said that the National Commission had issued notices to both the State Chief Secretary as well as the Director-General of Police following a complaint submitted in this regard by him to its Chairman Prof Ram Shankar Katheria.
Inder Iqbal Atwal said that he had in a letter to the National Commission brought to light the manner in which Hazoori Ragi Bhai Nirmal Singh was discriminated against while being treated at the government hospital at Amritsar and later after death by being denied cremation at the Verka cremation ground. He highlighted the last telephonic conversation of the Ragi with his family in which the Kirtaniya disclosed he had not been attended to for four hours and had lost all hopes of survival. He also disclosed how a government teacher, who was a Secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress, and whose wife was a councilor, had locked the gates of the Verka cremation ground to deny cremation to Bhai Nirmal Singh.
The former SAD legislator also told the Commission that Bhai Nirmal Singh belonged to the Mazbhi community and that his tragic death had shattered the Sikh Panth and particularly the Dalit and Mazbhi community. He said the disrespect shown to the renowned Kirtaniya was being taken as an insult by the entire community.
Stating that the Punjab government should have ensured that the Ragi was not disrespected in this manner, Atwal urged the National Commission to probe the matter to do justice in the case. He also filed a separate complaint with the Punjab State Commission for Scheduled Castes through its Chairperson Tejinder Kaur.