Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday appealed to people to maintain peace and harmony in the wake of a clash between two communities in Phagwara, while warning of stringent action against anyone found disturbing law and order in the state. Earlier, in the day, the 55-year-old cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu said rather than asking me, media should ask the Punjab government on its stance. "Accused A1 (Navjot Singh Sidhu) had given feisty blow to deceased Gurnam Singh leading to his death through brain haemorrhage".
The trial court had acquitted Sidhu, whereas the Punjab and Haryana High Court reversed his acquittal, convicting him under Section 304 Part II, Indian Penal Code (IPC), for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The question of the minister resigning, merely because the state government had repeated its stand of 30-years in the case before the Supreme Court, did not arise, he added. "There was neither any impediment in Sidhu's induction into the cabinet nor in his continuation now, in view of the stay on his conviction", said the Chief Minister.
However, the Punjab CM said he is hopeful that the court would look at the Sidhu contribution to the country and society, before announcing its final verdict.
As the state prosecution, the government's lawyers had stated a certain viewpoint in the trial court as well as the High Court, he noted, adding that, in the absence of any fresh evidence, there was no way of changing that stand before the Supreme Court.
After the Punjab government favoured a court verdict convicting Sidhu in the road rage case, the minister had tried to put on a fearless face, saying he was ready to carry "any burden" that he may have to because of his own government's stance, even as Opposition demanded he quit the Cabinet.