Genesis Of State Terrorism in Punjab

GENESIS OF STATE TERRORISM IN PUNJAB

by

Arunjeev Singh Walia

Tejinder Singh Sudan

Copyright (c) LAWYERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS  INTERNATIONAL

First Edition          : 2001

Price                  : Rs. 200 PB

Overseas $15

Published By:

Lawyers For Human Rights International

Chamber No.122, District Courts, Sector 17,

Chandigarh. [INDIA]

Phone : 0172-709356, 746122, 723187

Fax: 0172-747434, E-mail: human@sancharnet.in

Foreword

There is no rule of law in Punjab. Thousands of innocent young Sikhs have been extra-judicially executed since June 1984. The uniformed brutality reached the saturation point in the last decade of the 2000-century. Punjab Problem, which is political in nature is being treated on only law and order problem. Mr. Arunjeev Singh Walia and Mr. Tejinder Singh Sudan, Advocates have authored this book in which they have documented cases dealing with State terrorism. Some of these cases they have themselves inquired into and also participated in the trial before the occurs. They have also given background and genesis of the problem. The way of presentation and lucidly documented cases of human rights abuses by the State agencies in Punjab, is indeed a laudable effort of these young human rights defenders. In this book, they have rightly highlighted the illegal and extra-judicial methods adopted by the Punjab police in committing excesses upon the helpless subjects in the name of “containing terrorism”. They have also rightly criticized the judiciary. In my view, if the High Court had exercised its power under the Constitution in those days, there could have been no violation of any Human Rights or at least violators would have been punished. In those dark days even five advocates lost their life at the hands of brutal police force, one former head priest of Akal Takhat, Bhai Gurdev Singh Kaunke was tortured to death. The authors have mentioned some cases in which even the High Court did not intervene and failed to take appropriate action.

Kulwant Singh, Advocate of Ropar, his wife and one and half year old son were abducted by Ropar Police on 25.1.1993. Abductors raped his wife in CIA staff at Ropar and later killed all the three in cold blood and threw their bodies into the canal nearby. Lawyers from all over Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh struck work for about two months but the High Court dismissed the petition for inquiry into the disappearance of the Lawyer by the CBI. Similarly the case of molestation filed by Mrs. Rupan Deol Bajaj, a lady IAS officer against K.P.S. Gill, the then Director-General of Police, Punjab was quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. There are many cases where the High Court failed to exercise jurisdiction vested in it under the law and thus the criminal in uniform got encouraged. The government even rewarded such officers.

It was the saddest day in the history of India when after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, thousands of Sikhs were killed, girls raped on the roads of Delhi and other parts of the country where Congress government was in power. But neither the supreme court nor any High Court took any action to stop the carrage and genocide of the Sikhs.

The present Punjab government also did not take any action to undo the wrong done in the past and restore the rule of law. They did not appoint any Commission to inquire into the genesis of State terrorism inspite of promise made by the ruling party in its election manifesto. People’s Commission on Human Rights violations in Punjab was organized by the Human rights bodies, but the same was also opposed by the government and its functioning was stopped by the High Court. Many police officers in Punjab facing trial for serious human rights violations like the infamous case of abduction and killing of Human Rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra were not even suspended. There are very few cases where the police officers have been convicted e.g. three police officers wee convicted in Siso rape case by the Additional Sessions Judge, Chandigarh and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. Still none of them was dismissed. These are just few examples of lawlessness prevailing in the State of Punjab today and the authors have done a good service in highlighted this sad part of the story. Some cases in the book rightly depict poor functioning of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission.

In fact Punjab is still largely a police state and justice is denied to the victims. In this small state, there is more police now than in the whole of British India before 1947. As per the statistics, there are 18 Additional Director-Generals of Police, 26 Inspector Generals, 42 Deputy Inspector Generals, 250 Senior Superintendents of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police, 70,000 constables besides 20,000 Special police officers and Home guard jawans posted in Punjab. More than 950 Crore rupees are spent on the police establishment annually. In 1983 it was only 20 Crores for the police.

I am sure this work of the boys would benefit every reader in knowing the actual situation prevailing in those days of State terrorism.

Chandigarh       Justice Ajit Singh Bains (Retd.)

May, 2001

ABOUT AUTHORS

TEJINDER SINGH SUDAN

Tejinder Singh Sudan

He is young lawyer of Punjab & Haryana High Court. He is a law graduate of Punjab University, Chandigarh. He is the President of Chandigarh Unit of the organisation. He is actively engaged in the protection of human rights for the last many years and have participated in many investigations conducted by the organisation into the incidents of human rights violations. He has also represented the organisation in international as well as national workshops and meetings. He was a member of a high level delegation of the organisation which visited various countries in Europe in 2001. He also attended a meeting with Amnesty International, U.K. and provided them feedback on human rights situation in Punjab after restoration of rule of law. The present book is a wonderfuleffort of the author to document the cases of human rights abuses in Punjab and the present work depicts his concern over the collossal loss of human lives in the State. This book has been received world wide appreciation for its revealations on human rights violations in Punjab by the security forces.

2001

 

ARUNJEEV SINGH WALIA

 
Arunjeev Singh Walia

He is a budding criminal lawyer of Punjab and Haryana High Court and is known crusador of Human Rights. With his bold and daring stand against violators of human rights, he has carved a niche for himself in the homan rights feild. He has remained associated with the investigation documentation of cases of human rights violations in Punjab since long. His role in successful functioning of People’s Commission on the human rights violations in Punjab in 1998 was quite appreciable. He has authored a detail account of proceedings of People’s Commission in his book titled “People’s Commission on human rights violations in Punjab.” This book is a milestone in the human rights era and discovers the extent of loss that has been caused to the people during the days of terrorism in Punjab.

2001

 

Frequently Used Terms

Acronyms

AISSF –           All India Sikh Students Federation

ASI      –           Assistant Sub-Inspector

BJP      –           Bhartiya Janata Party

BSF     –           Border Security Force

CBI      –           Central Bureau of Investigation

CCDP  –           Committee for Coordination on disappearances in Punjab

CRPC  –           Code of Criminal Procedure

CJM    –           Chief Judicial Magistrate

CIA     –           Central Interrogation Agency

CRPF  –           Central Reserve Police Force

DSP     –           Deputy Superintendent of Police

DGP    –           Director General of Police

DIG     –           Deputy Inspector General

FIR      –           First Information Report

HC       –           High Court

IAS      –           Indian Administrative Services

Lt.Gen. –           Lenieuant General

MLA    –           Member Legislative Assembly

MP      –           Member Parliament

NSA    –           National Security Act

PHRO  –           Punjab Human Rights Organisation

SGPC  –           Shromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee

SPO     –           Special Protection Officer

SAD    –           Shromani Akali Dal

SMO   –           Senior Medical Officer

VVIP   –           Very-Very Important Person

Glossary

Akali Dal          –           Sikh political party

Bhog    –           Sikh memorial service

Dalit                 –           literally ‘the oppressed:’ refers to “untouchables or other low Caste or tribal group

Gurdwara         –           Sikh temple

Harijan             –           literally “children of God” untouchables

Panchayat         –           village council

Panth                –           Sikh community of believers

Sarpanch          –           village headman

Preface

The violence in Punjab for over a decade caused an irreparable loss. Thousands of people like us felt disturbed from the core on hearing the news of killing of  any person by militants or police. When we had taken the job of  compiling the events of State repression in the State, little had we thought that it would open floodgates of gory incidents of police brutality and illegal acts perpetrated by Punjab police. But still we had to complete it with a stone heart. It is astounding to learn that the acts which could not be  dreamt of even by the devils were committed by men of Punjab police. We are sure that every objective reader would  be moved, like us on reading the brutal torture methods and modus operandi of the police in killing hundreds of innocent people in the State. It is said that in many villages it would be difficult to find even a bridegroom for another decade, because no young person is left in the whole of the village. Either they had taken to arms or eliminated in fake encounter. No body would deny that atrocities were committed on both sides. If the police had committed  excesses on innocent people, so did the so-called militants which created ripples in the Hindu-Sikh brotherhood by killing men of a particular religious community. But the pain of a mother is beyond one’s comprehension. We beg  your pardon, if  tears come to your eyes or face gets red with anger, on reading few incidents reported in this book. We have intentionally not touched the subject of terrorist violence, for two reasons. Firstly, much has already been said on the subject earlier. There are numerous books on the subject, most of which had  the patronage of  State government. Secondly, there is great controversy and misinformation regarding  the militancy movement in Punjab. Many believe that most of the bloodshed was either done by the Punjab police in the name of  terrorism or by some anti-social elements affiliated to the political leaders who today rule the state. It is a subject which needs another book to discuss. Meanwhile, We are concentrating this work only on the events that rocked the State during the period 1985-1995 from the human rights angle. Political actions and criticism from political angle has been avoided to large extent, but still, if the readers felt some political flavour in it, it is our folly, for which we must seek pardon. That was not our intention at all. Suggestions for making further corrections and additions are most welcome. Lest we are accused of plagiarism, we may concede that the present work is not our original work, but a compilation of different thoughts and expressions of many jurists, luminaries and other known historians who had seriously pondered over the issue of Punjab problem in different perspective. Few chapters are of course original, particularly the one on the role of Judiciary in Punjab which reflects authors’ anguish and frustration over the incompetence and hostile attitude of the judiciary in the past. We wonder if anything  has changed today. Much of the information incorporated in this book has been gathered from newspaper reports or the true statement of accounts as given by the relatives of the victims.This work was not possible without the active guidance and inspiration of Colin Gonsalves who gave valuable suggestions on various issues. Navkiran Singh, General Secretary and Amar Singh Chahal, the President of  Lawyers For Human Rights International, respectively of which we are members, ideally brought us out of the confusion and prevented us from going off the track and lent good support for the work. Harshinder Singh, a crusador for human rights from Chandigarh, also deserves gratitude for his encouragement and valuable suggestions. Rest is upon the reader to make this work successful.

Chandigarh.                                                                  Arunjeev Singh Walia

May, 2001                                                                     Tejinder Singh Sudan

CONTENTS

Chapter One    :           The Sikh – Origin and History                                        …….     1

Chapter Two    :           Betrayal of Community                                                   …….     5

Chapter Three  :           Blood Stained Past                                                       …….     10

Chapter Four    :  Wounds Still Bleed                                                                 …….     91

Chapter Five    :           Judiciary as Crossroads                                              …….     101

Chapter Six      :      Punjab State Human Rights

Commission – A Critical Study                                          …….     144

Chapter Seven  :           People’s Commission on

Human Rights Violations in Punjab …….    163

Chapter Eight   :           Accountability or Immunity ?                                          ……     195

Chapter Nine    :           Conclusion                                                                       ……     207

Appendix-I       :           List of People killed/abducted

in Punjab ……     213

Appendix-II     :           List of Custodial Deaths

in Punjab during 1997-2001                                             ……     254

 

CHAPTER ONE

THE SIKH- ORIGIN AND HISTORY

The Sikh-a distinct personality-a separate identity-a different way of life. That’s what one gathers on meeting a turbaned Sikh today. The word Sikh is derived from the ancient Pali language meaning disciple. The Sikhs are disciples of their ten Gurus or teachers beginning with Guru Nanak and ending with Guru Gobind Singh. A Sikh is a person who is always eager to learn. A Sikh appears to be much more than he really is because of his distinct appearance; a Sikh wears turban and sport beard. The Sikhs have a lot in common with the Jews: indeed most Sikh patriarchs look like Jewish rabbis. Both the Jews and the Sikhs have known persecution; the Jews for nearly 2,000 years at the hands of the Christians and Muslims; the Sikhs for about 200 years at the hands of the Muslim conquerors rulers of northern India. It never got them down. Like the Jews the Sikhs regard themselves as the chosen people. A well known Sikh historian wrote: “Where there is one Sikh there is one Sikh; where there are two Sikhs, there is an assembly of Saints; where there are five Sikhs there is God.” A Sikh by nature is brave. His aggressiveness is born out of an innate sense of one-upmanship-anything anyone else can do, the Sikh can do better. A clue to what makes the Sikh ethos can be found in their religion and history. According to many ancient philosophers, Sikh religion stands for peace and humanity. It stands for a plural world society-tolerant, open, progressive and free. The founder of Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev, was more a social reformer than a religious preacher. Guru Nanak professed that holiness can be attained only within the fold of this world and escape from one’s responsibilities in the society cannot be a mode of attaining holiness. He set an example by leading a saintly and social life at the same time. He preached Universal brotherhood, respect for womanhood, and a pious life for attainment of godliness. He preached the oneness of God and universal brotherhood. He attacked the pillars of traditional society such as caste, idolatry, rituals, asceticism and intermediary role of the priests in man’s relations with God. His crusade was against fanaticism and intolerance, which had become the practice of the ruling class of Muslims and false religious beliefs and rituals which had become an integral part of Hindu life. It was a crusade without any anger, violence or recrimination. Nanak’s religion is an austere monotheism, which disapproved of idol worship and the Hindu division of society into castes and sub-castes. He condemned social evils like idol worship, customs, gender inequality, religious fanaticism etc. In other words, he gave new meaning to the life. He left a following of people dissenting both from Hinduism and Islam. His nine successors moulded that following into a community with its own language and literature, it’s own religious beliefs and institutions, and its own traditions and conventions. He stood against all the odds of the society and behaved like a rebellious leader who would destroy the discriminatory and inhuman customs and usage prevailing in the society. It is this instinct gifted by their founder Guru, that Sikh community, by nature is known as a rebellious community. While Guru Nanak propagated the path of a saintly life, Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru made the Sikh, who was to be both a warrior and a saint. He gave birth to KHALSA-the Pure, the brave and the fearless. During the Seventeenth Century when the Muslim rulers were committing excesses upon the minority community, it was the Khalsa that was taking a direct fight with the Muslim army and rescued hundreds of men and women from their custody. It is said that the Khalsa-the warriors used to sleep on the back of the horse and ate beans and leaves for days together. Perhaps this historical fact made their life a continuing fight for justice, even till today.

The question arises as to why Sikh religion was founded, what is its philosophy and teachings. The Sikh history, as described in ancient scriptures tells us that Sikh religion was formed in order to abolish all the evils prevailing at that time in the society, like meaningless rituals, religious fanaticism and intolerance, discrimination on the basis of caste or gender and to strive for a better society where everybody is treated equal, goodness of the mankind is the ultimate goal of the ruler, woman is given the highest respect. Sikhs are monotheists and believe that there is only one God who is beyond time and circle of birth, death and rebirth. They believe that the highest form of life is the human and that the time to break the cycles of transmigration is when one is born in human form. There is no fatalism nor any passive acceptance of a predestined future in the Sikh religion. The Hindu practice of renouncing the world to go and roam in the wilderness did not find any place in Sikhism. Throughout the entire span of their eventful history of three hundred years, Sikhs have struggled and fought for universal causes and have courted martyrdom to uphold the values of truth, justice and freedom. Sikh movement released the energies of men and women slumbering for centuries and roused their conscience against degrading socio-religious practices, no less than their abject submission to a tyrannical rule. The fourth Guru, Guru Ram Das also built ‘Golden Temple’, the sacred temporal seat of the Sikhs. The fifth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Arjan Dev compiled the scripture of the new society, called the Granth Sahib. It is perhaps the only religious scripture in the world, which accords divinity to the compilations of holy men of different faiths and religions.  After the martyrdom of the Fifth Guru for the cause of righteousness, the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind raised a seat of temporal authority, Akal Takht ( the throne of the Almighty). He gave the doctrine of Miri-Piri, which means a Sikh must have both religious and political personalities. The ninth Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur, sacrificed his life against the tyrannical Muslim policy of forcible conversion of all other minorities into Muslim fold. This brought the occasion for the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh to give birth to a new man called “KHALSA” (THE PURE). On 1699 AD Guru Gobind Singh first baptised five beloved ones commonly as Panj Piaras and then himself got initiated. With this event, Sikh got a new name, “Singh”. He got a distinct identity. Every Sikh keeps unshorn hair, wears turban, and keeps a sword with him, besides performing sermons everyday. Guru Gobind Singh made every Sikh a true human being with enough freedom and courage that would not tolerate any oppression of the rulers and the priests.

This, in brief is the history of the Sikh community, created, led and motivated by the ten Gurus over a period of three hundred years. With the development of its life-embracing ideals and institutions, Sikh religion became an independent, conspicuous and sovereign dispensation.

In his very outward appearance a Sikh is very different from any other group which makes him a distinct ethnic group. With long hair and carefully maintained unshaved beard, a Sikh can be recognised even in a crowd. There is in his appearance and bearings and the way he moves and behaves, a special indication, which distinguishes him and shows to the world, “There goes a Sikh”. Pyjama Kurta (loose shirt and loose trousers) is the normal dress of a Sikh. Some of them even wear short trouser (Katchha) but with western influence increasing, more men in cities have started wearing trousers and shirts. Sikh women normally wear Salwar-Kameez (trousers and tunic). Around their shoulders or over their heads women wear muslin scarf called Dupatta or Chunni.

CHAPTER TWO

BETRAYAL OF COMMUNITY

The life of a Sikh is a long drawn battle for freedom, justice and a continuing struggle for asserting one’s right as a distinct personality. Many schools of thought unsuccessfully attempted to undermine its separate identity by terming it a part of Hindu religion, but since the period of India’s freedom movement, the Sikhs have proved that they belong to a distinguished class, much above the business community called Hindu. More than 60 % of men in Indian National Army created by the hardliner freedom fighter, Subhash Chandra Bose were Sikhs. In a nutshell, Sikhs’ contribution towards India’s freedom movement was noteworthy. During British rule more than 80 %. Sikhs suffered maximum executions, life imprisonment, Jallianwala Bagh massacres in 1919,and indiscriminate killings during Kuka movement, so on and so forth. Leaders like Pt.Jawahar Lal Nehru, Mahatama Gandhi, Sardar Patel, tried befool the community and got maximum sacrifices for pressurizing the British Empire to quit. But still, these leaders used to say that Freedom does not come with violence. Mahatama Gandhi even went on record by calling it as most “unfortunate” when Ram Mohammad Singh Azad alias Udham Singh assassinated General Micheal O’ Dwyer in London. In his promise to the Sikh community before India’s independence, Mahatama Gandhi had said-

“I ask you to accept my word and the Resolution of the Congress that it will not betray a single individual, much less a community. Let God be the witness of the bond that binds me and the Congress to you. I venture to suggest that non-violent creed of the Congress is the surest guarantee of good faith and our Sikh friends have no reason to fear that it would betray them. For, the moment it does so, the Congress would not only thereby seal its own doom but that of the country too. Moreover, the Sikhs are brave people. They know how to safeguard their rights by exercise of arms, if it should ever come to that.”

During the India’s freedom movement, there were only three major communities striving for separate identity, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. Driven by a common potent urge to overthrow the foreign yoke, the three communities were placed on a common platform. But the Muslims apprehension failed to keep them together as Jinnah, the shrewd Muslim leader could rightly foresee that the Hindu community will not honor its commitment after India became Independent and would enforce its will in the future. He therefore, decided on behalf of his community to seek partition. The Sikhs too had similar misgivings and fears concerning their future in free India, but their cool hearted and innocent leaders failed to seek their own separate homeland and trusted the promises made by Congress leaders that after Independence, the Sikhs’ interests would be adequately protected through a satisfactory autonomous status and constitutional safeguards. But all these promises proved to be an utopian idea of the shrewd Congress rulers. Although the Sikhs were given due importance and recognition in the Montague-Chelmsford Report when it wrote:

” The Sikhs in Punjab are a distinct and important people; they supply a gallant and valuable element to the Indian Army; but they are everywhere in a minority and experiences has shown that they go virtually unrepresented. To the Sikhs, therefore, and to them alone, we propose to extend the system already adopted in the case of Muslims.”

But the Congress rulers and Hindu community started showering its venomous policy towards the Sikhs when a Committee formed by the Congress to frame the Constitution of India in 1928 upheld the principle of communal reservation for the Muslims while denying the same to the Sikhs and other minorities. But on persistent protest of the Sikh leaders, in 1929 a resolution was passed in the annual session of Congress at Lahore that “no constitutional arrangement would be finalised without the consent of the Sikhs.” The famous Lahore resolution says, “No future constitution would be acceptable to the Congress that did not give full satisfaction to the Sikhs.”

In 1946, the All India Congress working committee met at Calcutta and Pt.Jawahar Lal Nehru reiterated the solemn undertaking of giving an autonomous State within India to the Sikhs, in the following flowery words:

“The brave Sikhs of the Punjab are entitled to special consideration. I see nothing wrong in an area and a set-up in the North wherein the Sikhs can also experience the glow of freedom.”

When the decision to divide India into two was being taken, the Sikhs had opposed it tooth and nail for the reason that they very well knew that they would be the worst sufferers in the catastrophe that was bound to follow the division. Inspite of their fears and vehement opposition, India was divided. While India was celebrating its independence on 15th August, 1947, Punjab witnessed the worst period of tears and bloodshed in the wake of partition. Besides other communities, thousands of Sikhs were brutally massacred in the communal holocaust. More than five Lac Sikhs were forced to abandon their homes and hearths and became refugees. Five rich rivers that gave Punjab its name were split, leaving a truncated homeland for the Sikhs. In addition, their most sacred shrines, Nankana Sahib and several hundred others, were left in Pakistan, which became a foreign country for them. Soon, a feeling of distrust and discrimination started brewing in the Sikh Community and they felt that they have been cheated in the Hindu dominated country. It was then, the founding father of the Indian Constitution, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar said in the Constituent Assembly on November, 25, 1947 :

“Countrymen, the minorities have placed their trust in you and you should not commit the folly of betraying your trustees, otherwise, the consequences shall be extremely terrible since the minorities are an explosive power which, if it explodes, shall blow away the entire structure of the whole nation. The history of Europe presents ample and horrifying testimony of this.”

The main cause of anguish and resentment among the Sikhs with the Indian government is that inspite of repeated assurances and undertaking that Sikhs would be given a separate state with its own administration, within India, no such area has been provided till date. The net result is that today, the Sikhs have no homeland to be proud of, no religious freedom to cherish and no political independence to celebrate. They have been reduced to a minority in their own state and their security forces watch them with suspicion of being secessionist or anti-national. It was in this background that the working committee of the Shromani Akali Dal passed a resolution rejecting the draft of the Constitution:

“Sikhs resolve and proclaim their determination to resist, through all legitimate means, all such attempts to devalue and liquidate the Sikh people in a free India, and consequently, demand that the following steps should be taken forthwith by the rulers of India to assure and enable the Sikhs to live as respectable and equal citizens of the Union of India, namely first, the Sikh areas deliberately and intentionally cut off and not included in the new Punjab to be set up, namely, the areas of Gurdaspur District including Dalhousie, Ambala district including Chandigarh, Pinjore, Kalka and Ambala Sadar, the entire Una tehsil of Hoshiarpur district, the areas of Nalagarh called Desh, the tehsil of Sirsa, the sub-tehsils of Tohana and Guhla and Rattia Block of district Hissar, Shahbad block of district Karnal and the contiguous portion of the Ganganagar district of Rajasthan must now be immediately included in the new proposed Punjab so as to bring all contiguous Sikh areas into an administrative unit, to be the Sikh homeland, wherein the Sikh interests are of special importance, within the Union of India, and Second, such a new Punjab should be granted an autonomous constitutional status on the analogy of the status of Jammu & Kashmir as was envisaged in the Constitution Act of India in the year 1950.”

In 1966, the Punjab State was divided into Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Most of its resources and areas of high fertility were given away. The present Punjab is only a one third of what was actually called Punjab before Independence. Some parts of it like Lahore had gone into Pakistan and remaining into Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Major part of its water resources is shared by Haryana and Rajasthan. The State which was known for its richness has today become so abysmally low that its farmers are forced to commit suicides for not able to live with dignity and self-respect, courtesy the betrayal of the Central Government which has always discriminated against the people of Punjab.

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

BLOOD STAINED PAST

Unhen sadiyon na bhoolega zamana,

Yahan jo hadse kal ho gaye hain.

(Let the world not forget for centuries, the holocaust that ripped this land)

The tragedy of Punjab is very difficult to express. Every objective writer finds his pen dipped with tears of hundred and thousands of grief stricken eyes of kin of those killed in the State by the police for over a decade in the name of “fighting terrorism”. The task of lauding the role of Punjab Police in tackling the so-called “extra-ordinary situation” in the State was dutifully performed in many ways, courtesy, lavishing Press conferences and cocktail parties thrown open to the press by the Punjab Police led by “Supercop” KPS Gill, the then Police Chief of the State. However, the most important aspect of the Punjab problem relating to official lawlessness and root of militancy movement in the State was intentionally not touched till now, which we endeavor to undertake in this chapter.

It would remain a history that the armed movement in Punjab, is in many ways different from other armed movements in the country. It is different, because it was fought with religious zeal and zest. It started because the heart and soul of every Sikh was wounded by the attack on their highest temporal seat, the Akal Takht by the Indian Army and they had started believing that Indian Government is their enemy. It is also different, because the movement was driven out of hatred against the government which had done injustice to the Sikh community since independence. The Sikh militants were also different in many ways. Every true militant, popularly known as “Baba” (elder one) was a baptized Sikh with high character and exemplary courage. They became militants because they were pushed to the brink by the circumstances created by the Indian State. Because it was the behavior of the security forces towards them and their families that finally drew them into the struggle for freedom. It was forced upon them, which proved to be a life-taking pill, and culminated into a long battle for the right to self-determination. It was a matter of honor to resist. Because they had lost faith in the Rule of Law and took to gun in order to get justice for themselves and other people. Operation Blue Star and Wood Rose were attacks on the Sikh sense of honor. Particularly the attacks on amritdharis simply because they were Amritdhari, caused outrage. It was only they who were arrested, intimidated and killed. Likewise, entering the house, removing the women and taking daughters and sisters to police stations offended their sense of honor. The outrage to the Panth and the outrage to innumerable families merged. The dishonored families’ experience motivated them to fight to remove the existing system.They were known warriors and social reformers. They forced the people to shun unrealistic rituals like spending money on the marriage ceremony, dowry system and discrimination among lower and upper class. People used to call them to settle their domestic disputes. The young and the old admired them. While Sikhs loved their presence, Hindus felt afraid of them. Even few Hindu youths joined the militancy because of excesses committed upon their near and dear ones by the police. Although these militants never attacked or killed innocent people, Hindu fanatic leaders and media dubbed them as terrorists indulging in indiscriminate killings. In the earlier days of militancy in the State, only those policemen or police informers were killed who were allegedly responsible for committing excesses on innocent people or passing over any information to the police about militants’ movements. Acts like killing of S.S.P. Gobind Ram of Batala in a bomb blast in his own office and two unsuccessful attempts on the life of the then Police Chief J.F.Riberio in PAP, Jalandhar were enough to establish the command of militants in the State and to demoralize the force to a large extent. Both Gobind Ram and J.F.Riberio, like many other Police officers, were considered responsible for ordering the persecution of many innocent Sikhs. Such was the fear of militants in Police circles that many subordinate rank and even Senior Police officials liked to maintain cordial relations with top ranking militants. Many policemen used to tell them that such and such informer passed over information about their activities. Even after receiving written warnings when the informers did not mend their activities, they were killed and their families were warned of similar punishment if they continued doing so. There was no restriction on the movement of militants in the State during the peak of militancy.

J.F.Ribeiro, the then DGP of Punjab Police, became frustrated on seeing this situation and was unable to bear the parallel government being run by the militants. He decided to apply the same strategy in tackling the situation in Punjab as he had successfully carried out in Goa from where he was brought to Punjab. After getting a nod from the Central government of Congress, he was very clear in his policies and programs. He recognised neither the Indian Constitution nor the State machinery. During the period 1985-88, he declared that in Punjab “police accountability is to itself.” He prepared and got published a hit list of 38 “top terrorists” of A category and 400 of B category to be eliminated by the police and promised financial rewards, out of turn promotions and other benefits. He also introduced many other entirely illegal and indefensible terror tactics. He openly inducted in the police force criminals who were reportedly involved in incidents of theft, extortion and dacoity. This practice had many motives. Firstly, many third rate and petty criminals infiltrated into the militant ranks and every act of killing, extortion, theft was blamed on the militants, this badly affected the image of the militants and people started thinking ill of them. Secondly, it was to create in the rural areas a class of individuals and families that should, apart from becoming unsympathetic to the cause of the militants, become hostile to them, thereby creating at the village level factional divisions. The third objective was to create at the village level informers who, out of a feeling of revenge, should supply information to the Administration, partly also serving their factional interests thereby. The militants trapped into this sinister strategy, were forced to wipe out the criminal elements from inside their cadre which led to inter-gang bloodshed in the State.

This gave a golden opportunity to the Police to settle their own score and kill any body they liked and the blame would come on the militants. Organizations like “Black Cats” were floated and undercover agents were made to operate in the garb of militants and sometimes police. The Police used to pick up few militants and declare them dead to “mislead their gang members” but actually they were used as “Cats”, a euphemism for a militant turned undercover police agent. In 1986 when reports of creation of “Black Cats” first came into media, since some police backed vigilantes were identified as being involved in a dacoity and murder in the Chowk Mehta area of Amritsar District, the then SSP, Mohd.Izhar Alam strongly denied the existence of any such force. Vipul Mudgal, of the India Today, gave a lead story on these under cover “Cats”, wherein he mentioned that the government was “recruiting policemen with criminal tendencies for a special task force to be constituted along the lines of the Dirty-Dozen…. And now inquiries are pending against at least a dozen police-backed vigilantes, bounty hunters, undercover operatives over serious charges of corruption.” The Hindustan Times also reported that under cover agents continued to operate in the State and were using weapons provided by the police to kidnap local people and extort money from them. According to intelligence reports, these “Cats” consisted of a band of dismissed policemen and terrorists-turned approvers. Their squads were let loose, no questions were asked, they were fully armed with arms and ammunition to match those of the terrorists. They started their own loot and plunder in the name of militants. The more they killed, the more they were hailed, never mind whom they were killing. Most of the incidents of indiscriminate killings of bus passengers, members of minority community, small children and even women were the handiwork of these elements. This policy was extensively re-used by the Punjab Police during their post-1991 anti-terrorism drive. In fact, Senior Police authorities now admit that the “Cats” also formed the pivot of the then Punjab DGP KPS Gill’s post-1991 anti-terrorism strategy. He used to catch few petty criminals who had infiltrated into militants’ ranks and after offering them immunity, high rewards or jobs in the force, made them work for him(Police). He started the practice of assuring the captured criminals or militants that they wouldn’t be killed in a fake encounter but let off or just sent to jail if they opt to be a “cat”. If they agreed, they were shown to be fugitive or to have been killed in an encounter, in the police records. They were then given false identity and such people served the police in many ways. This was a pressure tactic to make even an unwilling and hardcore militant work as a “Cat”. Secondly, declaring a hardcore militant “dead” leads to demoralization among the militants. It also helps maintain the anonymity of a militant turned “Cat” and his efficacy in neutralizing others. In fact, this strategy of Punjab Police was neither legitimate nor permissible under police rules. If the view of KPS Gill is correct that there is no illegality in using a criminal to catch another one, it is also true that making a killer out of a criminal in the garb of “Cat” is illegal. The Police Cats were nothing but police vigilantes hired for bounty killings. There are still many “Cats” who have got many criminal cases pending against them, and they are working in Police department. According to intelligence reports, more than three hundred “Cats” were on the rolls of KPS Gill, who were given monthly allowance, police guards and even police vehicles and at the end of 1993 out of these only forty “Cats” were found alive. The incidents of “Cat” creating a reign of terror, came to light in 1987 when one of the dismissed policemen Dalbir Singh who had been given double promotion and a free hand as he pleased. After his dismissal from police, he had been reemployed. He was known to have committed numerous crimes, including bank robberies, dacoities, murders etc. He became a favourite of Ribeiro, when he helped the police in nabbing some militants. He gained police loyalty when he gunned down “A” grade militant Surinder Singh alias K.C. Sharma in Chandigarh. He was given two out of turn promotions, a jeep and two guards armed with stenguns. Posted in Patiala, with no official daily routine, his secret jurisdiction extended to the whole of Punjab and even nearby states. Once he was found raiding banks and looting money. He was summoned by the area S.P. and was asked to either share his exploits with the police or stop his activities. He reportedly picked up a revolver lying on the table and shot the S.P. Baldev Singh Brar. The SSP, Sital Das came running from the next door office to pacify the vigilante. But Dalbir Singh shot him too and then shot himself. Another notorious member of the “Cat” brigade was Santokh Singh Kala who mainly operated in Jalandhar area. Constable Basant Singh, of Village Amargarh in Sangrur district was also a known “Cat” and had committed many crimes including abductions, killings and collected more than Rs 5 crore for his superior officials. He was the gunman of SHO Darshan Singh of Sidhwan Bet police station. He had even paid Rs.15 lakh to the then SSP Jagraon, who ordered SHO Darshan Singh to kill Basant Singh in order to get Rs. 5crore from him. On his orders, SHO Darshan Singh and SPO Sarabjit Singh killed Basant Singh and threw his body in a canal near Dardeke village. It was later learnt that Basant Singh used to commit crimes in the name of militants. The murder of Akali activist Balraj Singh Gill by one time militant turned police “Cat” Balwinder Singh Bhapp in Ludhiana in March, 1997 has once again called into question the very system of the “cats” being used by Punjab police in its fight against crime. It was later revealed that both Balraj Singh Gill and Balwinder Singh Bhapp were earlier police “cats” and had some duel over some trivial issue and in the ensuing altercation, Gill was shot dead by Bhapp who later surrendered before the Magistrate and confessed to the crime. According to Police record, Harpreet Singh alias Happy, was declared “dead” in an “encounter” by the Amritsar Police in 1992. He was allegedly wanted for 150 killings and carried a reward of Rs.10 lakh on his head. But actually he is still alive and produced himself in the Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh in December 1995 alleging that he was kept in police custody in 1992 and after his escape in September, 1992 he had been living as an anonymous person all these years. According to him, no such encounter took place. The Police claimed that it was a case of mistaken identity. Interestingly, more than ten such militants have appeared before the Courts who have been declared “dead” in police records. The policy behind these cases was that most of the militants declared “dead” were made to work as “Cats” who used to create terror and commit every kind of crime in the name of militants. A young Babbar Khalsa and Khalistan Commando Force militant, Fateh Singh was a proclaimed offender in police records. He was made to act as a “cat” in 1991 and for five-six years he aided the police in nabbing and killing many high rank militants, of course for heavy rewards. But today, he regrets for what he did, because now leading a normal life is even more dangerous than remaining a proclaimed offender in police records. The story of Amar Pal Singh of Ropar is no different. An absconder in police records, he was actually captured in 1991 on charges of terrorism and made to act secretly as “cat”. But Ropar Police, not knowing of the switchover, continuously harassed his family. Unidentified gunmen later killed him. Kulbir Singh (name changed to conceal his identity)was also a known “Black Cat”. His wife , a lady police officer in Punjab told that they lived in a civilian locality under undisclosed names. Kulbir had a van, and in addition to his official Mauser pistol, he was given four AK-47 guns that were captured from the militants. He alongwith his gang of “Black Cats” travelled dressed in civilian clothes and often had flowing beard to make them appear like Sikh militants. They kept their police identification with them, just in case the regular police accidentally picked them up. Receiving any information on militants, they would get verbal orders from the SSP to abduct those persons if possible and bring them to the police station for interrogation and torture. If they were unable to abduct someone, then they had orders to shoot and kill.Kulbir, according to his wife, had assisted the police in the abduction of Satwinder Singh (Toto), Harpal Singh Babbar and Kanwaljit Singh. He had also helped to kill Bhinda Kamoke, Lakha from Malaikpur, Kashmir Singh(Maulvi) and Balwinder Singh. According to the intelligence agencies, “Cats” were used for varying tasks. One way was to use them as spotters. Another was to make them infiltrate the terrorist gangs and provide information about their strength, hideouts and modus operandi. Yet another and deadly category was of “cats” who were armed and operated independently in the guise of terrorists, tracking down wanted terrorists and knocking them off. Many persons like, Kabal Singh ‘Fauji’ were kept in the CIA staff premises and deputed for killing the militants and then they returned to the CIA staff,Ropar. Kabal Singh Fauji was declared a hardcore terrorist in the press. In January, 1993, he was sent alongwith a revolver by the SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu of Ropar to Delhi where he was shown arrested from Delhi Police in an encounter and the press reported about the arrest of a hardcore terrorist of Punjab who had come to disrupt the Republic Day function in the capital. Later on, as planned, the Punjab police got his judicial custody from the Delhi court for interrogation in other cases of terrorism in Punjab and brought him to Punjab and showed ‘escaped from police custody’ whereas actually he was again living in CIA Staff, Ropar.

Such kind of hardcore criminals after showing exemplary courage and killing many top rank militants were inducted into police force. Sukhvir Singh, a wanted terrorist of Khalistan Commando Force till 1991 and Gurmeet Singh alias Pinky, a known criminal turned “cat” are now in the Punjab police. Many incidents were reported in the villages that during the night few “militants” used to take shelter and get food from one or the other house and leave in the wee hours. During the day, heavy contingent of police used to surround the entire village and arrest each and every person present in the house for allegedly harboring militants. Many persons identified these so-called militants in the police team who had visited them at night as militants. Gurmeet Singh alias Pinky who got out of turn promotion as inspector had become so out law that he shot a young boy, Avtar Singh of Ludhiana for objecting to his drinking session on a public road, on 7th January, 2001. Avtar Singh alias gola was passing by the house of Pinky when he requested the drunkard policemen and his companions to give way and that angered the policemen and Pinky shot the boy on his head at point blank range from his pistol and remained fugitive for more than a fortnight before being apprehended and booked for murder.

Ribeiro had also issued clear orders that any Sikh who raised his voice against Police brutality or professed extremism should be eliminated. He directed his men to pick up the relatives and friends of the militants to force the militants to surrender, and if they did not, to kill their relatives. He propounded the theory of “bullet for bullet” and virtually ruled the state with direct instructions from the Centre. The sordid picture, which brought to fore the horrible crimes committed by men in uniform and the tale of hundreds and thousands of victims is sure to make a powerful impact on the mind of mankind. The Punjab Police under the butcher brigade of officers like J.F.Ribeiro and K.P.S.Gill, the then Director-General of Punjab Police was frittering away their gains in a continuing onrush of official lawlessness. In its pursuit to achieve success at any cost and in the battle against their own countrymen, the Police in the State left behind scars that no penultimate tactical success will be able to heal. If the bombs and bullets of militants have wounded the People of Punjab, so too have they been injured by the methodical brutality of their protectors-the Police that often choose to enforce the law by breaking it. In an increasing number of instances, the Punjab Police was found subverting the process of law by stalling inquiries and shoving those indicting them under the carpet. Hundreds of innocent people were killed as “suspected terrorist” in fake encounters.

It is said that when the distinction between the law-breaker and the law-enforcer blurs, the state looses its authority. Exactly it so happened in the State during the black era in its history beginning 1987. In this turmoil the truth was the main victim. Many cases of militants being killed in police encounter, reported by the press were plain misinformation. Seething resentment was born each time the police jackbooted innocent but went unheard due to pressure of Police over print media. The Punjab Police had been acting beyond the pale of law time and again, and often in a most blatantly callous fashion. The statistics in Punjab are numbing and yet, the story they tell is impossible to ignore. During the last decade, more than 25,000 people had been killed by Punjab police branding them as “terrorists”-many more than killed in the 1965 Indo Pak War. Entire families were wiped out or the men were killed and the women were spared, or the parents were killed and the children were left, or the children were killed and the parents were left. After a point, death lost its sanctity. It became a matter of morbid humor. The period witnessed a particularly galling display of wanton, often barbaric police violence. The humanity was deeply disturbed by the diabolical recurrence of police excesses resulting in a terrible scare in the minds of common citizens that they were under a new peril when the guardians of the law drove human rights to death. The vulnerability of human rights assumed a traumatic, torturesome poignancy when the violent violation was being perpetrated by the very arm of the state whose function is to protect the people and not to commit gruesome offences against them as was happening in Punjab. The police-lock up, if reports appearing everyday in the newspapers, had any streak of credence, had become more and more awesome cells. This distressing situation proved to be disastrous to the human rights movement and humanist constitutional order. These were not lone aberrations, murders, rapes, torture, and excesses committed by the Police did not occur in the hinterland where policemen treated themselves to be the Judge, Jury and the Executioner. Illegal detentions and non-judicial killings became the order of the day. Relatives of the militants who had even disowned their kin were picked up and tortured. Even women and children were not spared. Anybody who went to secure their release was asked to produce the militant and when they could not do so, the badly tortured dead body of such victim was handed over to them. Sheltered by law that made them virtually unaccountable, the police was gradually becoming part of an evolving system in which the law grovels before authority instead of the other way around. Authority, clad in uniform, baton in hand, revolver at the hip, lost legitimacy-the moral mooring of the State-when it rose above the constitution. Because the police continued with its arbitrary ways, driven variously by greed, revenge, corruption, performance yardsticks and the need to cover up, it became the most dreaded force and proved to be its own enemy. In July, 1990 police claimed that there were only 1026 terrorists in the State. And by that time, newspapers had already reported that more than 2500 militants had been killed in police encounters. It means that there were still 1300 militants at large. In their lust for money and promotions, the policemen started killing even innocent people, or anybody whom they suspected to be known to some militant, in fake encounter, and operating a bloated and unaccounted “secret service fund” running into crores of rupees in an arbitrary and dangerous fashion. The rush for claiming cash rewards had turned them into uniformed mercenaries. Besides the rewards for killing listed militants, the department gave “gallantary awards” for killing unlisted militants. Every week, the Inspector-Generals of various ranges used to send their lists to Additional Director-General. The amount of reward varied from Rs.40,000 to 5 lakh. There was money even in seizing arms. A circular issued by the Police headquarters in 1992 reads : “Rs.7,500 for every General purpose machine-gun captured, Rs.5,000 for an AK-74 or an AK-47 and Rs.3,000 for a Sten gun.”

During those days, the police had very few theories on their tips regarding police encounters. Most favorites among those were,

……. on receiving a tip off, a police party was holding a Naka on a road, when the vehicle was signaled to stop at the Naka, the occupants of the car opened fire on the police party and in the cross-fire two occupants of the vehicle were killed and three others managed to escape under the cover of darkness leaving behind heavy cache of arms and ammunition including two AK-47 and pistols etc.

……. So and so terrorist was being taken in police vehicle for the recovery of weapons when the police vehicle was ambushed by militants and in the cross-fire the arrested militant managed to escape or got killed and others managed to escape.Huge quantity of weapons were shown recovered from the encounter site.The story of an un-identified terrorist committing suicide by consuming cyanide before being caught was also not uncommon during those days. But the police stories came out to be bare faced lie when one asked a question that why it was always the militants who were killed in the ambush and no policeman ever suffered any scratch in that encounter. This was one among the many reasons of prolonged militancy in the state. It was very easy to kill anybody those days. Pick up a person, put a label of terrorist on him and then extract as much money from his relatives as one could and even after receiving the price, kill him in an ‘encounter’ and get another reward from the police force. Or at the least show him ‘escaped from police custody’. Over the years the government evolved new modes of custodial killings. There were numerous reports giving instances of the kind, where encounter and cross-shooting had allegedly taken place but the only person dead or injured was the so-called terrorist, who was found with duly implanted ammunition and weapons. Sometimes the injured or the escaped person was the one who had been held handcuffed by the police. Reports of killing of ‘unidentified’ terrorists also became an order of the day. New theories of defining custodial deaths were evolved. These included ‘suicide death by consuming cyanide’, ‘killed by other militants’, ‘unidentified militant found dead’ or ‘escaped from police custody’. The brunt of the police atrocities was borne by mostly the Sikh population that had no ray of hope of seeing the end of their sufferings. The reports published in magazines, newspapers about police repression contained innumerable cases of torture of innocent persons. Such incredible stories and explanations were advanced which were too ridiculous or irrational to believe.

On June 8, 1992 the Punjab police reported that 9 militants belonging to Bhindranwale Tiger Force had been killed during a 28 hour long encounter in Village Behla of district Taran Taran. According to eyewitnesses, few villagers namely Niranjan Singh, Sakattar Singh, Sukhchain Singh and a mason were constructing a room at their tubewell just outside the village. Suddenly a heavy contingent of Punjab police and CRPF surrounded the whole village and ordered these five men to come along with them to the house of Manjinder Singh, a local Akali leader. On the way Bhupinder Singh and one more person of the village were forced to join the party. At the house, the security forces put the men in front of them and told them to open every room and ascertain that no militant was hiding inside. After searching almost all rooms they directed the men to stand by the stairs along with a few police and CRPF men. Other security personnel went upstairs. All of a sudden there was a burst of gunfire in which five or six persons including one constable were killed. Actually the house was occupied by one Surjit Singh Behla, the so-called deputy chief of Bhindranwale Tiger Force of Khalistasn. Earlier to the encounter, his four sisters had also been brought to persuade Surjit Singh to surrender but he refused. The police, according to the villagers, kept the house under fire for 28 hours. After the encounter, the SSP of Taran Taran, Ajit Singh Sandhu, claimed that Surjit Singh Behla, deputy Chief of the BTFK, Madan Singh Maddi, Niranjan Singh, advisor to the militant outfit, Sakattar Singh an area commander of the outfit and five other unidentified militants had been gunned down while no civilian had been killed or injured. Newspersons who visited the spot immediately after the incident, found the police story quite baseless. Actually, it was found that innocent persons were used as human shields and 7 of them had been killed. According to the reports, the official version of the encounter was false. It was established that only two, perhaps four, among the killed were hardcore militants. Inspite of huge uniformed force laying siege to the house, the police reportedly resorted to the utterly revolting and indefensible ploy of using innocent civilians as shields from behind which they fought the besieged militants. Versions may vary and the security forces might deny using these men as shields, but the sinister manner in which innocent civilians were entered in the police records as unidentified terrorists killed in encounter has given their game away. This is the sort of blatant misinformation, which makes nonsense of police claims on the number of militants killed in Punjab everyday. The posthumous conferment of militanthood on persons rendered lifeless by police bullets had become a routine practice and a cruel joke. The people of Punjab were the optionless victims of this inhuman exchange of fire and falsehood. It has been an enduring boast of Mr. KPS Gill that his forces while not succeeding in bringing down the number of innocents killed by the militants, had succeeded in killing a large number of militants. If the Behla encounter is any indication, the people know what to make of this claim.

During 1988, KPS Gill, the Director General of Police, Punjab released a list of 53 ‘terrorists’ which read: “Reward for apprehension/liquidation of wanted terrorists/extremists as mentioned against the name are hereby sanctioned….”. The word “liquidation” was later on deleted, after a Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Supreme Court questioning the policy of the Punjab police in encouraging extra-judicial killings.

On December 8,1990 there was a robbery in the Putlighar branch of the New Bank of India in Amritsar. A few days later, the police claimed to have arrested the five accused involved in the crime. Later on, the police declared all the five accused dead in an encounter. Actually, the real story that came out later is different. All the five suspects were taken to isolated fields and shot in cold blood. An inquiry into the false encounter conducted on the orders of Senior authorities by DSP Dharam Singh, also established evidence of killings. He recommended the registration of murder case against the police party headed by ASI Ashok Kumar. But on the orders of Sanjeev Gupta, the then SSP of Amritsar, the inquiry was hushed up, inspite of the fact that the inquiry officer had recommended the registration of murder case against the police officials. Even the relevant file went missing from the police records. However, when a senior officer came to know about it, he ordered the file to be reconstructed and ordered appropriate action against the police officials. “It was a shameful case for the force” admitted the said officer.

Three militants – Sahib Singh, Dalbir Singh and Balwinder Singh-were “killed in police encounter” on September 13,1992 when they were allegedly ambushed by militants while being taken by the police for recovery of weapons near Thardhe village in Majitha Police district. Later, the body of another militant was found at the encounter site alongwith an AK-47 and some ammunition. But, the police officials at Amritsar admitted that there had been no ambush and all the four were already in police custody. Probably, they were also summarily executed.

In another telling case, on June 1,1992, Paramjit Singh alongwith his father, two brothers, sister-in-law and 18 month old nephew, were picked up from their home in Mohali, near Chandigarh on the charge of harbouring a militant, Amrik Singh kauli who was arrested from their house. Over one month, the police produced Paramjit Singh before at least six judicial magistrates in Ropar and Chandigarh to get a long term police remand, but the request was turned down. On July 4,1992 his mother, Pritam Kaur filed a petition in the High Court pleading the safety and security of Paramjit’s life and that she would accept him being in jail even “in fetters and chains”. On asked by the court, the police said that when Paramjit Singh was being taken for the recovery of some seditious material on June 27,1992 the vehicle had a punctured tyre on the Bhakhra main canal bridge near Rangilpur. Finding the police party busy changing the wheel, the accused, who was chained to the belt of a constable, jerked himself free and jumped with handcuffs into the canal and could not be traced thereafter. Police sources in Chandigarh however, confirmed that Paramjit Singh was still in police custody. The fact that no action was taken against the constable concerned, also belies the official story. Paramjit Singh is still missing and his parents are still hoping for his return some day.

On February 6,1991 Dalbir Singh Banka was arrested by the Ropar police from his village, Bahlolpur for illegal possession of arms. Two days later, he was brought back to the police station after “recovery of weapons”. However, the following day his family members were told by the police that he had escaped during the previous night. After Banka’s relative moved the high court, the Ropar Sessions Judge was deputed to look into the incident. A year later, the judge in his report dismissed the police version as false and held them responsible for Banka’s disappearance; he was probably killed or held in the illegal police custody.

Sarwan Singh, son of Gurcharan Singh, a political activist of Village Ladhupur, in Gurdaspur District was booked in a murder case by the Gurdaspur Police, because he had unsuccessfully contested the assembly elections from Kahnuwan Constituency in 1992 against the Congress candidate and was inimical to congress people. He was made to surrender before the police after his old father and brother were illegally detained and tortured for two months in 1993. The then IG Border Range, D.R. Bhatti had assured his family members and village panchayat that he would not be killed in fake encounter. But only two days after his surrender, on 3.2.1993, the police in a press statement declared that he had escaped from police custody when the police party was ambushed by militants, while he was being taken for the recovery of weapons. His wife moved the Supreme Court and Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur was directed to conduct an inquiry into the disappearance and the Sessions Judge, discounted the police version and held that the police story that the victim had escaped from its custody was not at all plausible and that the victim was in the illegal custody of CIA Staff, Gurdaspur. But the police officials manipulated the case and no order was passed against any police officer for the crime.

Another case related to the cold blooded murder of four villagers who were travelling in a white Maruti Car on July 12,1992 near Ambala (Haryana) highlighted the inhuman behavior of the Punjab police. The occupants of the car were signalled to stop near Ambala by some jeep-borne policemen in plainclothes. The victims had mistaken the policemen in mufti for terrorists and sped away, but were chased by the police party and all the four including a small child were killed in the police firing. The police claimed that they were given wrong information that the men travelling in the car were dreaded terrorists, including Nirvair Singh Nindi, a top terrorist carrying a reward of Rs. 10 lakh on his head. But when the real identity of the victims were disclosed by the villagers who had protested at the police action by blocking traffic on the Delhi-Chandigarh highway, that those killed were an Ambala businessman Jaswinder Singh 28, his 4 yrs. young son and brother-in-law Jasbir Singh, the police realised its mistake. But still no action was taken against the police party for shooting down four innocent persons. However, on the orders of the High Court, a murder case was registered against the policemen including the then Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr.Sumedh Saini and all the police officers are facing a murder trial in a court at Ambala.

Shamefully, inspite of great public outcry and protests by the people, the government was not prepared to institute fair and independent inquiries into alleged police excesses, after few of them indicted some police officers, as in these two cases; The first involved a truck driver, Sukhwinder Singh of Chohan Village in Hoshiarpur Distt. The police version is that on November 8,1990 a police party led by ASI Manjit Singh signalled a truck to stop at a naka in Kapurthala district. Instead of stopping, the truck tried to run over the party, and its occupants started firing. In the chase both vehicles lost balance and plunged into the fields. Two terrorists escaped after killing the truck’s driver, Sukhwinder Singh. Contradicting the police story, the villagers claimed that Sukhwinder Singh was on his way to Delhi after visiting his family and was shot dead by the police after he was accused by another villager of ramming his truck into his shop. On a complaint, the then governor asked the then Jalandhar Commissioner, N.K.Arora, to look into the matter. Arora found some incriminating evidence against the ASI and recommended an inquiry by a gazetted officer besides a compensation of Rs.50,000/- to the driver’s wife. But the DSP who conducted the inquiry, exonerated the ASI. It was only in June,1992 that the Home department, on the orders of the Chief Minister, directed the State Police Chief KPS Gill to file a case of murder against the ASI. But the police refused to comply with its orders.

In the second case, on April 28,1992, Karnail Singh, a driver in the Customs and Central Excise department at Amritsar, was detained by the police following some altercation with somebody. Accompanied by some local customs employees, his wife went to the Sadar Police Station where they met him in the lock-up. But the next day the police told that he was not in their custody. Later, the police corrected themselves by saying that Karnail Singh was let off on May 29. And after S.P. Srivastava, regional customs collector, approached the Chief Minister, Beant Singh, the official version came: “Inquiries have revealed that Karnail Singh was killed by terrorists on May 1.” It is another point that the inquiry conducted by Intelligence wing of Punjab police into the disappearance of Karnail Singh, had revealed just the contrary. SP Gian Singh, a Chandigarh based officer deputed to conduct the inquiry held that he was picked up in an inebriated state by a DSP and later interrogated by the Sub-Inspector Rajinderpal Singh of Police Station Sadar, Amritsar and his staff. “Due to toture or mishandling, he died on the night of the arrest. His body was taken away and thrown into a nearby drain” was the ultimate finding given by the Senior Police officials. But still no action was taken in the matter.

There were many such cases where the victims died in police custody and their dead bodies were thrown into the canal water without keeping any record of such elimination and without doing any inquest proceedings, which are mandatory under the criminal law. It was only after the recovery of hundreds of dead bodies from the waters of Bhakhra main line and Sirhind canal, that the Rajasthan Government made a formal protest to the Punjab government regarding recovery of a large number of dead bodies of Sikh youths, with their hands tied at their back.

Similarly in another case, Balbir Singh of village Shahpur in Patiala district was dragged into a police vehicle by CIA Staff, Nabha on July 27,1996. On reaching the CIA staff, the family members and village panchyat saw Balbir Singh being tortured by policemen. On July 28,1996 at about 4.30 p.m. residents of Thuhi village saw a police van standing on the Sirhind Canal bridge and the body of Balbir Singh was thrown into the canal. The whole village started looking for the body and it was fished out the next morning. Balbir Singh’s post mortem report showed multiple injuries, burn marks and a fracture on the neck. In the High Court, the police took the plea that Balbir Singh had escaped from the police vehicle and jumped into the canal and died. Refusing to admit police story, the High Court ordered CBI inquiry into the incident.

Those days, when a person went missing, it was believed that he had been picked up by the police. But the police outrightly denied having heard of such person. Sometimes they were technically right because the person was picked up by police party from outside district. No information was given to any of the relative till one read in the newspaper about the death of the detenu in some police encounter.

Ram Singh Biling, a Sangrur based journalist and human rights activist was picked up by the police from Bhogiwal village in Sangrur on January,3, 1992 in the presence of villagers. But the police denied having taken him into custody. However, a senior police officer posted in Chandigarh admitted that he died at the police’s hands, apparently from torture. His whereabouts are not known since then. The matter went to Supreme Court and also to National Human Rights Commission, who ordered the State of Punjab to pay Rs. 5 lakh as compensation for killing Biling in Police custody. But the guilty policemen were not harmed and are serving in the police department without any punishment.

A political leader and Member Parliament, Jagdev Singh Khudian was kidnapped from his village on December 28,1989. Later on his dead body was recovered from the Rajasthan Feeder canal on January 3, 1990. The police alleged that he committed suicide. His family members doubted this explanation and on their representation, the Punjab Governor appointed Justice Harbans Singh to inquire into the circumstances under which Mr.Khudian died. Justice Harbans Singh in his report submitted in April 1990 rejected the police account saying, “The presence of ante-mortem injuries, sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature, established that he died of violence.” The Judge further held that,” inspite of family’s suspicion of some foul play, the investigating officer adopted a line inappropriate to the situation. Even if the investigating officer or somebody higher to him was of the view that Khudian had committed suicide, the other possibility that he might have been murdered should not have been ignored. When the attitude of the investigating agency in the matter of death of an elected MP was so indifferent, what could an ordinary resident of Punjab expect of them? “

Another glaring example of police brutality was the elimination of the entire family of Sadhu Singh of Bagga Village in Majitha police district. On October 29,1991 a police party led by DSP Baldev Singh Sekhon who was posted at Dera Baba Nanak Police Station and his brother Head Constable Balwinder Singh picked up Sadhu Singh, his son and five grandsons in order to settle personal enmity and kept them in his custody. They were implicated in the kidnapping of a relation of the DSP. Since then there whereabouts were not known. DSP claimed that he had released them. But the fact is, that since no case was registered against them, he took them along when he was posted out of Majitha and killed all of them in extra-judicial manner. Later on the Supreme Court ordered a C.B.I. inquiry which found the DSP and eight others responsible for the liquidation of these people and on the orders of the Supreme Court, the DSP and eight others were booked for murder and finally sentenced to life by the Sessions Judge, Amritsar in March, 1997.

On November 21, 1986 C.R.P.F. jawans shot dead Sukhwinder Singh of Village Khyali in Amritsar district, simply because the taxi he was travelling in did not immediately respond when asked to stop. According to the driver of the taxi, Sukhwinder Singh and his 18-year old friend Ajeet Singh were gunned down as they alighted from the taxi a hundred yards from a C.R.P.F. picket. The police tried to pass it off as an encounter, until angry villagers organized demonstrations and road blockades. The matter was later, hushed up by the senior police officials.

On August 23, 1987, Sardool Singh, a 35 years old contractor of Amritsar was going on his scooter when he hit an old woman, but failed to stop. Unfortunately for him, Superintendent of Police Baldev Singh’s car happened to be passing by. The officer’s escort jeep overtook and overpowered Sardool Singh. According to eye-witnesses, C.R.P.F. jawans beat up Sardool Singh and in the melee a jawan accidentally pressed the trigger of his sten gun killing another policeman. This enraged the policeman who vented his frustration by spraying Sardool Singh with a burst of gun-fire. Later on, the police claimed that Sardool Singh was a wanted terrorist who was carrying a country-made pistol and that he had killed the C.R.P.F. jawan. But the inquiry report of S.D.M, Mr.S.P. Mahajan refuted the police story and held the deceased contractor innocent. He recommended compensation to the next of the kin of the deceased. S.P.Mahajan was, however, transferred from Amritsar soon after his report.

In its policy of making the State into a Police Raj, Punjab police crossed all limits of lawlessness and its officers treated themselves to be above law. The DGP Punjab, Mr.K.P.S. Gill himself became so mad that he lost control over his lust for women and even slapped a woman IAS officer, Rupan Deol Bajaj, on her posterior in a dinner party on July 18,1988. He was found to be under the influence of liquor. Later on he was booked for eve-teasing and ultimately convicted for the offence and fined.

In Amritsar, a police party arrested four women on the charge of pick-pocketing in 1992 and tattooed their forehead by inscribing “jebkatari” (pick-pocketer) on it. This inhuman crime was viewed seriously by the High Court and the Punjab police was again brought to dock for its inhuman acts of torture. The police officials were sentenced to imprisonment and each of the victim was awarded compensation and free medical treatment for surgery on the forehead.

On August 16,1991 Santokh Singh (40) of Ladhowal in Ludhiana district was picked up by a police party and brutally tortured, on account of which he died. The police concocted the story that he had died due to snake bite. The High Court awarded a compensation of Rs.2.5 lakh to the widow of the deceased, besides ordering criminal proceedings against the guilty police officials.

In March, 1993 Bagicha Singh, son of Hazoora Singh, a young granthi in a gurdwara in Village Sahungra in Hoshiarpur district was picked up by a police party led by Inspector Lakha Singh, SI Harpal Singh, HC Harbhajan Singh and Surinder Singh etc. and eliminated in extra-judicial manner. His father approached the High Court, and a judicial inquiry was held by Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur who held that the “police story of escape of Bagicha Singh from police custody while being taken to Bariana Choe for the recovery of sten-gun is inherently infirm and too unnatural and improbable to be believed as correct and it seems to have been put forward with a view to justify the non-production of Bagicha Singh before the Court of Ms.Manju Bala, Judicial Magistrate, Hoshiarpur, on 8.3.1993, on the expiry of police remand and in all probability, Bagicha Singh was eliminated by the police party.” After holding the trial of the nine policemen involved in the crime, the Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur finally convicted and sentenced them to seven years imprisonment for killing Bagicha Singh.

Maninder Singh alias Dalli was arrested by Haryana Police on March 2, 1993 and handed over to Punjab police on 5th March, 1993. But after obtaining his police remand for more than a month in different cases, he was ultimately declared “escaped from police custody” on April, 24,1993. The Police story was that “when the accused was being taken for recovery of arms and ammunition, the police party was fired at by some unknown persons and in the ensuing exchange of fire, which continued for about half an hour, Maninder Singh had escaped from police custody under the cover of darkness.” The High Court marked a judicial inquiry into the incident and the Sessions Judge, Patiala held eleven policemen responsible for liquidating Maninder Singh in the area of Village Majhi in Bhawanigarh in district Sangrur on April 24, 1993. The policemen are still facing murder trial in a Patiala Court.

Avtar Singh Shatrana, an elder brother of a militant was picked up by the police from Shatrana village in Sangrur district in 1991 in order to secure the surrender of his militant brother. His badly tortured dead body was handed over to his family few days later. The police story was that he was killed when a police party escorting him to recover weapons was fired upon by militants. But his body had no bullet injuries. Instead, it bore the marks of third degree torture.

Three brothers, Nishan Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Jagjit Singh of village Briyar in Gurdaspur district were picked up from their house on December 7,1992 and since then nobody heard of them. Their mother approached the Supreme Court where one person gave a statement that he had seen the three brothers in the custody of Kapurthala police. Supreme Court ordered CBI inquiry and the CBI found one Sub-Inspector guilty of liquidation of the three brothers and one Superintendent of Police guilty of destroying vital record of the case to save the policemen. The said policemen are still facing trial in CBI court in Patiala.

In 1993, the Car of the then Senior Superintendent of Police, Chandigarh Sumedh Saini was blown off in a bomb blast, but he escaped with minor injuries. A Sikh Police Constable Manjit Singh was suspected of aiding the militants. He was picked up on 16th August, 1993 and kept in police station Sector 26, Chandigarh. No body was allowed to meet him. On 17th August, he was handed over to his parents in a very serious condition. Inspite of every possible medical treatment, he succumbed to his injuries inflicted during third degree torture by the Chandigarh Police within few hours. Immediately after his death, his widow Karamjit Kaur filed a petition in the court asking for a fair postmortem examination and for restraining the police from cremating the body. The post mortem report established that there were many external injuries and muscle injuries on the deceased due to which he died. An inquiry was held into the alleged custodial death.

Another glaring case of police brutality in the state came to light when a young boy Surjit Singh alias Sarabjit Singh of Valtoha in Distt.Amritsar was abducted by a police party on October 30,1993 and after badly torturing him, he was brought to the Civil hospital, Patti as dead. When his post-mortem was being conducted, the doctors found him alive. He was immediately administered glucose and he gained consciousness. When the Sub- inspector Sita Ram, who had abducted and beaten him came to know of his being alive, rushed back to the hospital and forcibly took him away and brought his dead body for the post-mortem after sometime. Two advocates who were incidentally present in the hospital were witness to all this inhuman act. Next day, newspapers reported this incident in bold print and Supreme Court for the first time took suo moto notice of the news item ” Killed once, twice…” and ordered a CBI inquiry into the incident. CBI chargesheeted Sub-Inspector Sita Ram and the Sessions Judge, Amritsar finally convicted and sentenced him to life imprisonment for abducting and killing Surjit Singh in police custody.

A teacher, Swaran Singh of Village Mohpur in Ludhiana district was similarly picked up from his house by Payal police in Ludhiana district on 5.7.1993 and subjected him to inhuman torture, because he was contesting the assembly elections in Payal constituency on Akali Dal(Mann) ticket against the Chief Minister Beant Singh. He was done to death and his whereabouts are not known since then.

In 1990, Nirmal Singh, Sarpanch of Gram Panchayat Hothian in Goindwal Sahib Police Station was kidnapped by Punjab police and since then his whereabouts are not known. His wife approached Supreme Court and a CBI inquiry was ordered into his disappearance. CBI found evidence of kidnapping and liquidation against 13 police officials and filed chargesheet in the court.

It must be borne in mind that the above mentioned cases are among those cases which were highlighted in the media and the victims’ families were able to get some justice from the courts of the land. Otherwise, there are thousands of similar cases which failed to evoke any response from any quarter. In many cases, the people opted to compromise with the time and decided to bury their tragic stories in their heart and turned cold on being asked about any such incident. There are very few people today, who dare to come forward and challenge the police version of police encounter. Recently a Co-ordination committee on disappearances in Punjab held field survey of such victims and documented more than nine hundred cases of forced disappearances, fake encounters and summary executions. Still many others have not come forward or even did not remember the details like, when their relative was picked up or killed and who is responsible for his death. A chart containing the details of the ‘missing’ persons as reported by the Committee in its interim report released in 1999 is given in Appendix I.

Kulwinder Singh, son of Ajaib Singh was rounded up by a Police party of Amritsar on December 20,1991. Later on nobody heard of him. His father ran from pillar to post to get some information about his son, but ultimately when he could not get justice from any corner, he committed suicide on July 7,1997 by consuming insecticide in the Parikarma of Golden Temple, Amritsar under frustration. Kulwinder Singh, according to the police was arrested on a police naka while he was going on a scooter with Parminder Singh Sona, a hard-core militant. But police is silent about his whereabouts.

Surjit Singh of Dulokalan village in district Ludhiana was kidnapped by Sub-Inspector Gurmail Singh and SI Darshan Singh on March 17,1993 when he was returning to his village on his tractor. He was later shown to have been killed in encounter. Both the officers demanded Rs.1.60 lakh from his brother as a price for his release, which was not paid. Senior authorities on being approached by his brother conducted inquiry and held the two policemen responsible for killing Surjit Singh and a case was registered against them.

Gurbaj Singh alias Baja, a Patiala district resident was picked up by the Patiala police on March 5, 1993 and is missing since then. His mother then filed a Petition in the High Court and a judicial inquiry held by Sessions Judge, Patiala confirmed that Gurbaj Singh was killed in a fake encounter, the Police claimed that he had escaped from police custody while being taken for the recovery of weapons. The High Court while ordering a compensation of Rs. 1.5 lakh to the mother of the victim, observed that “It appears as if the police in this part of the country is playing the game of poaching holocaust i.e. eliminating human species. It is not a question of suppression of terrorism. The fact in this case clearly establish the attitude of the police, that wanted to take personal revenge against those people who had not compromised with them.”

In 1992 one young Sikh Paramjit Singh of Bathinda, was picked up by a police party by branding him as terrorist and made him disappear for ever. The SHO Inspector Gurjeet Singh of Mansa gave the same pet story that Paramjit Singh had escaped after firing on the police party while being taken for the recovery of weapons near Chumbhewali village. His father was given a compensation of Rs. 1.5 lakh by the High Court, but on the orders of the Supreme Court, murder case against Inspector Gurjeet Singh and 10 other policemen was registered and they are facing trial in a CBI court.

Bhai Gurdev Singh Kaonke, the former Jathedar of Akal Takht was an Amritdhari (Baptised) Sikh. He was a religious minded person. Since 1984, he started taking active part in religious and political affairs of Sikhs. On 20 Jan 1986, he was appointed acting Jathedar of Akal Takht. He was arrested on 30 April 1986 from Golden Temple, Amritsar. When he used to go on tour for delivering religious discourses, often, the police used to surround that particular Gurdwara and used to ask him not to go on his preaching rounds. On 20 December, 1992, at 4 A.M., a police party consisting of 10-15 policemen came to his residence and told that they intend to arrest Gurdev Singh and take him along with them. The police took him along and released him in the afternoon. On 25th December (1992) at 5.30 A.M., the Police party in a Gypsy and led by Inspector Gurmeet Singh came home and asked for Gurdev Singh. Family members told them that he had gone to the local Gurdwara. The police went to the Gurdwara and asked him to accompany them to the police station. Bhai Gurdev Singh told them that he would go home and then accompany them. He then came home, followed by the whole village. He took his bath and then the police party took him along to Sadar Police Station Jagraon. His younger son Hari Singh, and Mohinder Singh went to the Police Station with food but were turned away by the police. Since then his whereabouts are not known. According to press reports appearing in January, 1993 it was alleged that Bhai Kaonke had escaped from police custody on January 3, 1993 when he was being taken by the police to a suspected hideout of terrorists for the recovery of arms and ammunition. An ex-serviceman Darshan Singh had disclosed in 1998 that he had seen his dead body in the Jagraon Police Station. Very recently, one convict Amarjit Singh, a resident of Ludhiana has made hair raising revelations about the cold-blooded killing of Bhai Gurdev Singh Kaonke. He says that on 30th December, 1992, he was detained in Police Station, Sadar, Jagraon in a case pertaining to narcotics smuggling. In the evening he saw four police gypsies entering the police station around 6.30 p.m. from which senior police officers came out. They went to another vehicle following them from which they dragged out a critically injured man whose face was badly bleeding and clothes were soaked with blood. He was thrown out of the Gypsy and the entire force surrounded him while the police officers started interrogating him. They continued with the torture but when they went inside to discuss something, he offered a few drops of water to the injured man, who was Bhai Gurdev Singh Kaonke. During this period, the victim told him that the police had threatened to eliminate him. And before he could reveal anything more, the police officers came out and all of a sudden fired shots at point blank range at him, killing him. Two other people’ alongwith Amarjit Singh also witnessed this gruesome murder and the police all of them of implication in a false murder case if they revealed anything about the incident to anybody. Amarjit further disclosed that after half an hour, a police vehicle reached there and he was asked to load the Jathedar’s body into the van, which he did. People’s belief that he was tortured and killed in fake encounter has been certified by the eye-witness account. After great public outcry, high level inquiry by Mr.BP.Tewari, ADGP was ordered by the Punjab Chief Minister to pacify the angry villagers and the inquiry also found that the Jathedar was killed in cold blood by the police. But the inquiry report is gathering dust in the police records, never to be brought in public.

Gurmail Singh of Village Akkanwali in Mansa district was abducted in January, 1993 by Inspector Gurjeet Singh, Chuhar Singh and some other policemen of P.S. Mansa and killed in fake encounter. The Police showed him “escaped from police custody”. On an inquiry being ordered by High Court, the Sessions Judge Bathinda held the policemen responsible for the disappearance of Gurmail Singh and on his report, the High Court ordered the registration of murder case against the two policemen.

Kulwinder Singh alias Kid, a young boy of Mohali, near Chandigarh was kidnapped from his house in Mohali on July 22,1989 by a police party headed by the then Inspector S.S.Grewal, SI Birbal Dass, ASI’s Amarjeet Singh and Chanan Singh, HC’s Gurcharan Singh and Nikka Ram, besides constable Dayal Singh and later on during the night intervening July 23 and 24,1989 killed him alongwith another person, in a false police encounter in a field near village Tangori, Distt.Ropar. His father approached the High Court seeking judicial inquiry into the elimination of his son in fake encounter. A Judicial inquiry was marked and the Sessions Judge Chandigarh was deputed to hold the inquiry. He found the police version of police encounter palpable lie and held that “Kid” was killed in cold blood by the police. On his recommendation, the High Court ordered C.B.I. to file chargesheet against all the above named police officials and after obtaining sanction for their prosecution, the CBI has now presented challan against them in the court at Chandigarh.

Dalbir Singh, son of Shiv Ram was picked up by Ropar police from his house on March 11,1992 and since then his whereabouts are not known. The police declared him dead in a fierce police encounter on March 13, 1992. On the orders of the High Court, Sessions Judge, Ropar held an inquiry into the disappearance of the boy and held the police guilty of killing him in fake police encounter. In a very similar way, Harjit Singh of Taran Taran was picked up by a police party of Taran Taran in October, 1992 and later on shown to have been killed in an encounter. His father also knocked at the door of the High Court and a warrant officer was appointed to find out the boy in police custody. The warrant officer found Harjit Singh in the lock up, but the police whisked away the detenu to an unknown place. Later on Sessions Judge Amritsar was asked to conduct the inquiry into the disappearance of the boy. He did not give any clear finding and asked for a detailed probe into the matter. Thereafter the matter was sent to CBI for investigation.

Kuldip Singh, son of Sukha Singh a young boy of Kalanaur in District Gurdaspur was picked up by the Gurdaspur police on May 21, 1988 from his residence and since then his whereabouts are not known.

Sixty-five years old Baldev Singh from Amritsar had retired from 9 Punjab Regiment of the Indian army. His youngest son Pragat Singh (25), earned his livelihood from a dairy farm. The police began to harass him, picking him up for interrogation and torturing him in illegal custody. Unable to put up with the harassment, Pragat Singh went away from the house but was arrested on 19 September 1990. On 5 November 1992, newspapers reported Pragat Singh’s death in an armed encounter with the police near Raja Sansi, a suburb of Amritsar. Baldev Singh talked to an employee at the General Hospital in Amritsar where the post-mortem of the dead body had been conducted. The employee’s description of the body matched Pragat Singh’s. Baldev Singh reached the Durgiyana Mandir cremation ground in the nick of time even as the police had just lit the pyre. The head was already burning, but the rest of the body was still intact. His son Pragat Singh was burning. Although Baldev Singh was allowed to carry the ashes for the last rites, the abduction and the illegal cremation remained officially unacknowledged.

Lakhwinder Kaur from Tarn Taran in Amritsar district was the mother of 35 years old Hardev Singh, a farmer and a member of the All India Sikh Students Federation. Hardev Singh disappeared after the police kidnapped him from the house of a colleague on 28th September 1992.

Baljit Kaur, also from Tarn Taran in Amritsar district, was married to a head constable of the Punjab police. Her brother Balwinder Singh, the elected head of the village council of Chabal Khurd, had been vocal against the police abuses and therefore had become an eyesore for the authorities. On 8th March 1993, Balwinder Singh was picked up from his house by Balbir Singh, officer in-charge of Chabal police station. The next day, a group of police officials brought Balwinder Singh to his village and thrashed him there publicly until he fell unconscious. Later, he was taken back to the CIA interrogation center in Tarn Taran. Baljit Kaur’s husband learnt through his police contacts that his brother-in-law was later killed there and his body secretly disposed of.

Fifty-five years old Dilip Singh, hailing from Amritsar city owned a dairy farm and was an active member of the right wing Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party. His twenty-six years old son Jaswinder Singh was a college student and also worked in a pharmaceutical shop. Earlier, he had been arrested under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act. Released on bail for lack of evidence, Jaswinder’s trial was still pending. On 19 August 1992, Jaswinder Singh attended the special court at Faridkot and pleaded for an expeditious disposal of the case so that he could concentrate on his studies. The court fixed the case for final disposal the next day. The same evening, Jaswinder was abducted by armed commandos of the Punjab police when he was boarding a return bus to Amritsar. Approached by Dilip Singh for help, then Minister for Public Works in the Punjab government, Joginder Singh Mann talked to SSP Jasminder Singh of Faridkot on telephone and confirmed that Jaswinder was indeed in his custody. Joginder Singh Mann gave Dilip Singh a letter introducing him to the SSP. The letter mentioned their telephonic talks about Jaswinder and requested him to meet Dilip Singh and to release his son. Dilip Singh met the SSP, who promised to let the boy go in some days. Later, he denied the custody. In early 1993, Vidya Sagar Sharma, SP of Faridkot, told Dilip Singh that Jaswinder Singh was alive and was being held in a CRPF camp. There has been no further information about Jaswinder’s whereabouts.

A retired Naib Subedar Charan Singh of Village Goslan in District Ludhiana was taken away by the Jagraon Police on May 17,1994 for leading the police party to one of his neighbour Amarjit Singh. After that there was no information about him. Later on the police reported in the press that both Charan Singh and Amarjit Singh of village Goslan were killed in an encounter on May 20, 1994. On November 21, 1991 Gurmukh Singh of village Manupur in District Ludhiana was taken away by SHO Joginder Singh of P.S.Khanna from his house. He was also not found later. His family members read about his death in a police encounter in a newspaper on 2nd December, 1991. Harvinder Singh, a member of Sikh Students Federation was picked up by a police party led by DSP Madanjit Singh from Patiala Bus Stand on March 29, 1993 and thereafter his whereabouts are not known. Another member of Sikh Students Federation, Darshan Singh of village Goslan in Ludhiana district was arrested by SHO Jaswinder Singh Mangat of P.S. Morinda from Gurdwara Gur Sagar, near Chandigarh on October 24, 1993. He was also seen by his family members in Police Station Morinda on November 17,1993, but the police flatly denied having taken him into custody. Later on he was shown to have been killed in an encounter. Amrik Singh of village Amargarh in Sangrur district was abducted by Punjab police from a bus when he was returning to his village in the evening of October 1, 1992 and since then there is no information about him. Randhir Singh alias Dheera of village Gunnopur in district Gurdaspur was arrested from a Gurdwara in Chandigarh by a Punjab police party of P.S.Kahnuwan on 18th February, 1993 and was shown to have been killed in a police encounter on 13th March, 1993 alongwith another militant. He was declared as the area commander of Khalistan Liberation Force.

Jagjit Singh, son of Harjit Singh of Karimpura Bazar, Ludhiana was picked up alongwith his friend Pritam Sharma from Shimla Bus Stand on September 4, 1992 and was taken to Faridkot where they were seen alive till November 1992. But after that there was no information about them.

Sohan Singh Buttar of Dan Singh Wala village in Bhatinda district was picked up from his house on 29th January 1993 by a group of officers led by Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Surjit Singh of Jaito police station in Faridkot district. Many villagers and the family members witnessed the abduction. No one saw Sohan after that. His father Phoola Singh believes that he was killed in a fake encounter staged on 29th February 1993, along with Ranjit Singh Behla. He believes this on the basis of information that a constable at Jaito gave him informally.

Amarjit Singh, an electrician with the Punjab State Electricity Board, was a resident of Jalal Usman village in Baba Bakala subdivision of Amritsar district. He was arrested from his office in Majitha on 14th September 1991, by SHO Pritpal Singh of Fatehgarh Churian police station. His colleague Santokh Singh first informed the family about the abduction. The next day, one Shori Lal, son of Munshi Ram from Pabanrali village visited the family to tell them that he had seen Amarjit in the lock up of Fatehgarh Churian the previous night. Amarjit’s father Arjan Singh went there and met his son. When he went to the police station again on 16 September 91, he was told that Amarjit had been transferred to the custody of DSP Dera Baba Nanak, Baldev Singh Sekhon. When Arjan Singh went to DSP Baldev Singh Sekhon, he denied the custody. Although no one from the family has seen Amarjit again, they hope of seeing him alive.

Manmohan Singh (32) was an Ayurvedic doctor who lived at Thermal Colony, Bhatinda. He had his clinic in the town. As a baptized Sikh, he used to take active part in the religious activities, but had no political connections. However, his fervent religiosity brought him under suspicion . On 10th May 1992, around 1:30 p.m, a team of police officers led by SHO Kahan Singh of Paras Ram Nagar police post raided the clinic and took Manhoman into custody. Inspector Sukhdev Singh Chahal and several other police officials were along with the SHO who told Ranjit Singh that his son would be released after interrogation. On his scooter, Ranjit Singh father of Manmohan Singh followed the police vehicle until it reached the Kotwali police station. Later that evening, he led a delegation to Inspector Sukhdev Singh Chahal who said that Manmohan Singh had been detained on the SSP’s orders. The delegation met the SSP to ask if Manmohan was in his custody and what he proposed to do with him. The SSP answered them evasively. A habeas corpus petition before the High Court, filed by the relatives yielded no result. On a later date, SSP Anil Kumar Sharma told Ranjit Singh that he should carry out the last rites of his son. This indicated that Manmohan had been killed and his body disposed of in a clandestine manner.

Jatinder Pal Singh alias bunti (17) and Manjit Singh (22) , both residents of Mohali were members of All India Sikh Students Federation, a hardliner Sikh youth organisation of Punjab. On 16th January, 1988, both of them were picked up from the house of Manjit Singh at about 7 a.m. by a dozen policemen in plainclothes in un-numbered vehicles. After tying their hands at their back with their turbans, they were bundled into the vehicles and taken to unknown place. Since then their whereabouts are not known. Next day, three more friends of the duo were picked up from Mohali, in similar manner. Amongst them was one brother of a boy who was the member of All India Sikh Students Federation. The policemen had warned the relatives that if they wanted the release of those boys, they should produce the member of A.I.S.S.F. before the Station House Officer of CIA Staff, Patiala. The relatives of Jatinder Pal Singh, Manjit Singh and other boys immediately sent telegrams to Chief Minister,Punjab, DGP, Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court and Union Home Minister. The relatives of these boys also met the SHO and pleaded for the release of the boys, the SHO Surjit Singh Grewal acknowledged their arrest and assured that they will be released within few days. But he released only three boys and refused to tell anything about Jatinder Pal Singh and Manjit Singh. The released boys informed that both of them were lastly seen in the Interrogation Center, Mai Ki Serai, Patiala where they were badly tortured. After the Chief Secretary of Punjab referred them to the Director-General of Police, Punjab Mr.J.F.Riberio and the latter refusing to tell anything about the two, a Habeas Corpus Petition was filed in the Punjab & Haryana High Court seeking the release of the detainees in 1988. But the Petition was summarily dismissed after the Senior Superintendent of Police filed the affidavit that the boys were neither wanted nor in the custody of the Punjab Police. Interestingly, the Punjab Police had already declared Jatinder Pal Singh as a Proclaimed offender way back in 1987 in a case of alleged attempt to murder registered at P.S.Mohali and was in his search. Isn’t it a mischievous game plan of the Senior Police authorities of the Punjab police in filing false affidavit in the High Court regarding non-requirement of the boy when he had already been declared P.O. and wanted in a criminal case ? This case was taken up by many National and International Human Rights bodies such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Punjab Human Rights Organisation. But inspite of great efforts and pressure built by Amnesty International upon the Indian Government, the whereabouts of Jatinder Pal Singh and Manjit Singh are not known till today. Though the boys could not be saved, yet the Punjab police was put in a fix with almost all the national and international newspapers prominently carrying the story of illegal detention and elimination of the two youth by the Punjab police. The role of High Court in treating the Habeas Corpus petitions very casually and dismissing the same without getting the detainees released or even without holding a preliminary inquiry into the disappearance, also came under attack. But the situation was so alarming that every organ of the law proved non-existent and failed to perform its duty to establish the rule of law.

Balwinder Singh, 22, a taxi driver living in Chandigarh was picked up by a police party in plainclothes on 17th January,1988 and taken to undisclosed place. Since then his whereabouts are not known. He was also lastly seen by some other detainees in Interrogation Center, Mai Ki Serai, Patiala, but the Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala denied having taken him into custody.

Dr.Joginder Singh (28), a prominent medical practitioner of Ludhiana with no political or criminal background was an eyesore in the eyes of Punjab Police because one of his friend was a listed militant and had escaped from the police dragnet. He was picked up by a police party from near his clinic on 2nd May, 1992 and taken to Interrogation Center, Faridkot. There he was subjected to inhuman third degree torture for many days and was lastly seen in the Interrogation Center for more than six months. He was being asked to prescribe medicines to the other detainees who suffered injuries due to excessive torture. After that his whereabouts were not known and he was declared missing by the Police.

There are hundreds of similarly abducted boys in Punjab who have been done to death either by torturing them or shown killed in fake Police encounter. But no court, civil administration or other authority dared to call it a cold blooded massacre of Sikhs.

Twenty-four years old Ranjit Singh alias Kala, a clean shaven Sikh from village Bhambri under Khamano police station of Fatehgarh Sahib district was a daily wage labourer who supported his parents and three young brothers from his meager wages. Unconnected with any political or militant activity, he had no previous police record. Early in the morning of 10 July 1991, armed policemen led by ASI Balvir Singh, the Station House Officer of Bhadson police station, raided his house. The family was still sleeping. The policemen manhandled everyone, particularly Ranjit and his younger brother Pritpal before taking both of them away to Bhadson police station. At the police station, the brothers were segregated. Pritpal Singh was questioned under torture, but was allowed to return home the next morning. Ranjit did not return home, nor was he seen or heard of again. On 13 July 91, the newspapers carried a news which said that Ranjit was killed in cross firing between unidentified militants and team of police officers who were taking him to recover arms. His father Swaran Singh along with village elders went to the Bhadson police station to ask for the dead body. But the abusive officials shooed them away and the family could not find out where, when, how and by whom Ranjit was cremated.

Fifty-five years old Santokh singh was a small farmer from Village Behla under Tarn Taran city police station in Amritsar district. His youngest son Sukhdev Singh Ladi had joined the ranks of militants and had been killed in a supposed armed encounter with the police, reported to have taken place some time in 1992 near their own village. The police harassment of the family became very intense after this incident. In February 1993, SHO Narinder Singh Malhi of Police station Doburji in Amritsar picked up Santokh and his son Kuldip, who was employed by the Punjab Electricity Board. Few days after the abduction, the head of the village council of Sanghna was able to persuade the SHO Malhi to release Kuldip. But the SHO demanded a bribe of Rs. 50,000 for Santokh’s release. The family was not able to raise this money, and Santokh was taken away to the CIA interrogation Center at Tarn Taran. Santokh was seen alive for the last time at the CIA interrogation Center in Tarn Tarn in March 1993 when Amrik Singh, son of Gurmej Singh from Behla village went there, along with Malook Singh, a member of the village council, to persuade SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu to release him. The SSP said that Santokh’s interrogation was still continuing. They went back to the SSP few weeks later, when the SSP said that he had already released Santokh. His whereabouts are not known since then.

Forty years old Nirmal Singh, a small farmer from Hothian village under Goindwal police station in Khadoor Sahib subdivision of Amritsar district, was elected head of his village council. On 25 October 1992 afternoon, ASI Balbir Singh from the police post of Fatehabad raided Nirmal Singh’s village house and took him into illegal custody. The same day, all the other members of the village council along with the family members met the DSP of Goindwal who admitted the custody and promised to release Nirmal Singh after his interrogation. Nirmal Singh was held for interrogation at police post of Fatehabad where the family members were allowed to see him. He was being interrogated along with Rashpal Singh from village Bhoian and Gurdeep Singh, son of Wasan singh, also of village Hothian. Nirmal Singh was seen in this police post for the last time on 14 November 1992. When the family members came thereafter to meet him, the policemen refused to let them in. They went on to meet DSP Bhupinder Singh of Goindwal and SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu of Tarn Taran several times to beseech help. But they neither helped nor gave any information. It is not clear what happened to Nirmal Singh. The family assumes that he was killed in custody and his body disposed of in a clandestine manner.

Thirty-five years old Baldev Singh was a farmer from Patti Bhan ki in Kairon village under Patti subdivision of Amritsar district. Baldev was himself unconnected with militant political activities. But his brother Gurbaksh had reacted with great emotion to the army operation against the Golden Temple and had presumably taken to arms after becoming a fugitive in late 1984. He was subsequently killed supposedly in an armed encounter with the police. For this reason, the police began to raid the house and harass the family members to find out Gurbaksh’s whereabouts. Baldev had also been illegally arrested and tortured in custody for information. On 24 November 1992, Baldev along with his wife Narinder Kaur, and his cousin Amarjit Singh, went to his sister Kuldeep Kaur’s house in the Radha Swami colony in Fazilka. Early in the morning of 25th November, around 5 a.m., a police party led by Naurang Singh, incharge of Kairon police post, raided Kuldeep Kaur’s house after scaling the walls. Both Baldev and Amarjit were immediately nabbed. Naurang Singh tied their hands to their backs and forced them into a vehicle before driving away. Naurang Singh demanded a payment of Rs. 200,000 for the release of Amarjit and Baldev. The family managed to raise Rs. 135,000, which was handed over to Naurang Singh. Meanwhile, both Amarjit and Baldev had been brutally tortured in the custody. The information was conveyed to the family by local police constables that their condition was serious. After paying the bribe of Rs. 135,000 to Naurang Singh on 30 November 1992, the family persuaded him to allow a private doctor to examine them. Naurang Singh also assured them that both Baldev and Amarjit would be released the following day. Early next morning, the family received the message from an acquaintance that the police had taken their dead bodies for post mortem to the Patti Civil hospital. All the women relatives, including Narinder Kaur, immediately rushed to the hospital, which had been cordoned off by a large number of policemen under Naurang Singh. When they tried to enter the hospital, the policemen beat them up on orders from Naurang Singh. They were forced to go back. Two Punjabi newspapers, Ajit and Punjab Kesri dated 2 December 92, reported that the police had killed two militants in an armed encounter. One of them was identified as Amarjit Singh belonging to the Panjwar group of the Khalistan Commando Force and the other militant killed was called unidentified. The next day, the family members went to the Patti cremation ground where they found the half burnt bodies of Baldev Singh and Amarjit Singh on separate pyres. They purchased more wood and arranged for their proper cremation.

Twenty-five years old Dalbir Singh was a small farmer who along with his father Sardool Singh, mother Gopal Kaur, his wife Satwant Kaur and their two young daughters Varinder Kaur and Satinder Kaur, now fifteen and twelve, lived in village Varpal under Jandiala police station in Tarn Taran subdivision of Amritsar district. On 4 June 1984, Dalbir’s elder brother Lakhvir Singh had been arrested from the house on suspicion of his links with Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Lakhvir never returned and his whereabouts remain unknown. Over the next years, the police continued to raid the house, damaging the property and holding Dalbir and other members of the family for interrogation under torture. Very early in the morning of 4 July 1986, Jandiala police raided Dalbir’s house once again and abducted him in front of all the relatives. The same evening, he was shown to have been killed in an armed encounter. The next day’s newspapers carried the news. Nineteen months after Dalbir’s abduction and his reported killing in an encounter, on 5 February 1988, the police again raided the house to pick up Dalbir’s father Sardool Singh. He also disappeared. Nothing is known of his whereabouts.

Dalbir Singh was a farmer living in village Khela under Goindwal police station in Tarn Taran subdivision of Amritsar district. He was a baptized Sikh and an old member of the Sikh Students Federation and was a politically active person. He had become locally popular as the Secretary of the Fatehabad Cooperative Society. After the Operation Blue Star, Dalbir was very vocal in protesting against the “army invasion”. In 1985, Sub-Inspector Anokh Singh of Fatehabad police post abducted Dalbir from his house and after his illegal interrogation under torture sent him to jail on a trumped up charge of indulging in arson. When he applied for bail, the government arrested him under the National Security Act. But the NSA was withdrawn three months later, and Dalbir came out of jail on bail. After his release, Dalbir decided to shift to Jalandhar where he opened a dairy farm. The business was successful, so he remained occupied. The police also did not come to arrest him again for the next three years. In 1988, SSP Gobind Ram of Batala police district led a force to raid Dalbir’s house in Baldev Singh Colony in Jalandhar. On that day, one friend of Dalbir named Kanwaljit Singh, alias Waheguru, from Gurdsaspur was visiting him. The police under Gobind Ram’s instructions started torturing Dalbir Singh, his wife Lakhwinder and their friend Kanwaljit right there in the house to demand the weapons they had supposedly hidden. But the thorough search yielded nothing. Gobind Ram took all the three into custody. The four young children, who were continuously screaming while their parents were being tortured in their presence, were left alone to fend for themselves. The three were taken to Beeco joint interrogation center in Batala and tortured. Lakhwinder was released after three days. Kanwaljit was killed in custody. However, a newspaper report said that he died in an armed encounter. Dalbir was arrested under TADA and sent to Amritsar jail. Again, he managed to come out on bail and returned to his dairy farm business in Batala. In 1989, Dalbir singh’s father Jassa Singh died. Following this, Dalbir closed down the business in Jalandhar and returned to his village to look after his agricultural farm. The police never harassed him until the beginning of 1992 when Dalbir had an altercation with the owner of a pesticide shop in Fatehabad, who happened to be a relative of ASI Tarlochan Singh Walia. After this incident, the police from Fatehabad, Goindwal and Tarn Taran began to raid Dalbir’s house again. Fearing torture and murder in custody, Dalbir began to stay away from the house. But the police kept up the pressure by repeatedly arresting and torturing his relatives. His younger brother Balkar was repeatedly tortured very severely, and asked to produce his brother before the police. During one of the frequent raids, the police also damaged the house, breaking all the window panes, other household things and demolishing the kitchen. The family estimates the value of the destroyed property to be more than Rs. 30,000. In June 1992, ASI Dalbir Singh, in-charge of Fatehabad police post, abducted Balkar Singh again and brutally tortured him to find out Dalbir’s whereabouts. Unable to suffer the torture, Balkar Singh revealed that his brother was staying with his in-laws in Fatehpur Badeshan. Early next morning, a police force under ASI Dalbir Singh, accompanied by Balkar Singh, raided the house of Dalbir’s in-laws. It was 4:30 in the morning and every one was sleeping. The police scaled the walls of the house to go inside. Dalbir was taken into custody in front of his wife, his father-in-law Gurbakhsh Singh, mother-in-law Swaran Kaur, his brother-in-law Nirmal Singh and his wife Paramjit Kaur. Dalbir and his brother Balkar Singh were taken back to Fatehabad police post where Surinderpal Singh, SHO of Goindwal police station, supervised Dalbir’s torture. Balkar was locked up in a separate room. After some time, Balkar was taken out of the lock up into the courtyard of the police post. Dalbir, who had been chained to a tree and also handcuffed, was profusely bleeding. ASI Dalbir Singh asked Balkar Singh to say his final good-bye to his elder brother, and taunted him to find out where his brother wanted the memorial of his martyrdom built. Dalbir remained defiant and told the ASI, who was continuously hitting him with a rod, to do whatever he wanted. Later that evening, ASI Dalbir Singh released Balkar after instructing him to come back with Rs. 60,000 within some hours if he cared to see his brother alive. Balkar Singh himself was in a critical condition from his torture. He went back to the village and fell down on a cot outside a neighbor’s house. He was unable to speak from exhaustion, physical pain and mental anguish. Some hours later, SHO Surinderpal Singh and ASI Dalbir Singh again raided the house and informed the family members that Dalbir had escaped from their custody. A report published in Ajit and Jagbani on 5 October 1992 said that a militant named Dalbir Singh had been killed in an armed encounter with the police near village Behla on 3 October.

Baldev Singh, 25 years old was Majhabi Sikh.He was a casual labourer. On 6 July 1990, Baldev Singh along with his wife and his father went to village Bhikhiwind to call on his in-laws. That day Bhikhiwind police along with CRPF units raided the village and rounded up all unidentified young men at the village Gurudwara for screening. Baldev was one of them. The entire village, including the headman of the village council, witnessed the operation. The police force was being led by Paramdeep Singh Teja, DSP. Baldev was detained at police station Bhikhiwind. Since then Baldev Singh’s whereabouts are not known. The family believes that he got killed and his body cremated or disposed of in some other way illegally.

Eighteen years old Kuldip Singh of village Fatehabad in Amritsar district had only finished his primary school. He came from a poor family which sustained by running a small eatables stall. It was a family of devout baptized Sikhs. On the morning of 8th April 1991, a group of policemen raided his house and took him and his younger brother Hardip Singh into custody. Later that evening, Hardip was released. He had been severely tortured; also instructed to keep silent about his experiences. For the next ten days, the family did not hear anything about Kuldip except some rumors that he had already been killed. SHO Tarlochan Singh Walia of Goindwal police station denied the custody, but later demanded a bribe of Rs. 15,000 to release him. After receiving the money, SHO Walia asked the family members to reach SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu’s house where they were told that Kuldip would reach home the same evening. Kuldip did not return home. The family now believes that he has been killed and his dead body secretly disposed of.

Twenty-one years old Sukhwant Singh alias Sukha was a trained electrician, but later became an apprentice driver under his father who owned a truck. He was a baptized Sikh. On 28th April 1992 morning, when Sukhwant and his father Kashmira Singh were returning to their village after reporting at the Truck Union’s office at Goindwal, they were stopped at a police check post that had been set up at the railway crossing outside Goindwal. The policemen at the check post, led by SHO Goindwal Surinderpal Singh, became suspicious of Sukhwant after seeing his yellow turban and his ritual ‘kirpan’ that he was wearing on the outside. The police ordered Sukhwant to get into their Maruti jeep and ordered his father to go away. Kashmira had no option. He saw the police jeep going towards Fatehabad. Back in the village, Kashmira reported the incident to the village elders who went to Goindwal police station where they saw Surinderpal who, however, denied having taken Sukhwant into custody. Kashmira became very agitated, but SHO Surinderpal Singh abused him and forced him and other village elders to go away. The next day, Kashmira and his wife Jasvir Kaur went to the SSP’s office at Tarn Taran who met them only to announce that their son was a hardcore militant and that they should not expect mercy. They went on pleading and touched SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu’s feet. The SSP got them physically thrown out of his office. Later with help from a sympathetic policemen they went to the CIA staff interrogation center and bribed an officer there to see Sukhwant who was in a bad shape from physical torture. Sukhwant told them that they should pay any amount of money demanded by the officers. Otherwise, he would be killed. Kashmira met his son for the last time on 4th May 1992. Thereafter, there has been no news about his whereabouts. Policemen, told them that Sukhwant had been killed. But Kashmira Singh still believes that his son is alive and will come back home one day.

Ranjit Singh of Mangat Kaler village under Majitha police station in Amritsar was a helper in the Punjab Roadways. He was unmarried.Early morning of 12th September 1992, a team of police officers picked him up from the outskirts of his village. The police officials informed his father Sewa Singh that they were taking him to SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu for interrogation. On 13th September, Sewa Singh met the SSP who said that his son Ranjit would be released after interrogation. However he has not been released till date. His father does not believe a report in daily Ajit of 22nd September 1992, which said that Ranjit was killed in an “encounter”. He maintains that his son is still under illegal detention of Punjab Police.

Kashmir Singh, a young farmer of village Sathiala in Beas Police Station in Amritsar district, was the only bread winner of his family. On 29th August 1992, a police team led by DSP Amar Singh Chahal from Kapurthala and SHO CIA staff Kapurthala Joginder Singh Ghora and Tirath Ram also of Kapurthala CIA staff raided the house and took Kashmir away in front of his entire family. No one knows what happened to Kashmir, whether he is alive or dead and, if dead, how and where his body got cremated.

Kashmir Singh Bhullar lived at House No. 102, 9th Street in Jagdambe Colony under Vijay Nagar police Station in Amritsar district. Kashmir alongwith his brother Dayal Singh. They were baptized Sikhs, very devout, but otherwise not involved in any kind of politics. They had never been arrested earlier. On 3rd November,1990 morning, a group of uniformed policemen from B. R. Model School Interrogation Center, Amritsar raided the house and took Kashmir into custody. They had already arrested Sukhchain Singh of Nehru colony in Amritsar. Dayal Singh requested SI Balbir Singh, in-charge of the Interrogation Center and an acquaintance, to help.  Finding out that the police wanted to arrest him also, Dayal stayed away from the house that night. In his absence, the police took away his wife and her brother Balwinder Singh to the interrogation center. Fearing that they might get tortured, Dayal surrendered himself before the Police. On his surrender, his wife and brother-in-law were released. Few hours later, Dayal was taken for interrogation to a room in which Kashmir, Sukhchain and Resham Singh alias Pappu of Jagdambe Colony in Amritsar were being interrogated. They were all handcuffed and shackled. SI Balbir was himself conducting the interrogation. He asked them about Dayal’s involvement in militant activities. All the three said that they did not know anything. Apparently unsatisfied with the answer, the Sub-Inspector started physically torturing Dayal to compel his confession. After some time, he was shackled and left in that room along with others. Dayal observed that Sukhchain’s physical condition from torture was bad. He also noticed that both Kashmir and Resham had also been tortured, although less severely. All four were held in that room for the next eighteen days in the course of which they used to be separately taken out to another room and subjected to severe torture. Dayal alone was spared from torture. On 22nd November 1990, Dayal and Resham were separated from the rest, blindfolded and transferred to another location, which they later found out to be the “B” Division police station in Amritsar. Four other young men, whom they did not know, were already detained in the cell. After four days, Dayal and the other four in the cell were framed in a TADA case and produced before a magistrate, who committed them to the high security prison in Amritsar. Meanwhile, SI Balbir had been transferred from the BR Model School to the “B” Division Police Station. Chaudhary Gurmeet Chand had taken over the charge of the Interrogation Center. Dayal could not find out what happened to his brother Kashmir and the other prisoner Resham Singh who had also been to B Division police station. Ninety days later, Dayal, his wife and his brother-in-law were released on bail when the prosecution failed to submit a charge-sheet. Dayal persuaded his father-in-law to talk to SI Balbir to find out what happened to Kashmir. SI Balbir told him that he had been formally arrested and held in prison, either at Hissar or Sirsa jail. Along with his sister and other relatives, Dayal went to Hissar jail. There was a prisoner named Kashmir Singh, but his father’s name did not match and the prison officials refused their application for an interview. Dayal went back to SI Balbir who suggested that they should try to find him in Sirsa jail. In that jail there was nobody under the name of Kashmir Singh. They also went to Nabha jail. Again, there was no prisoner under that name. Their investigations had come to a dead end. SI Balbir Singh refused to entertain further inquiries. Kashmir Singh’s whereabouts remain unknown. No one has seen him after 22nd November 1990. Dayal had to sell off all the buffaloes of his dairy farm to sustain the efforts to locate his brother and to pursue the legal cases that had been framed against him and his family members.

Kulwant Singh, alias Kanta, was a constable with the Punjab Home Guards, and was posted at Police Post Khuali in Tarn Taran subdivision of Amritsar. He lived with his parents at Raja Taal, under police station Sarai Amanat Khan of Tarn Taran subdivision in Amritsar district. On 29th November 1992, soon after Kulwant left his house to report on duty, ASI Balkar Singh Chheena and Inspector Dharam Singh of Khuali police post came to his house to tell his mother Balbir Kaur that her son had deserted his post along with his rifle. They took her and her second son Harpal Singh into custody as hostage to compel Kulwant to turn in. Balbir Kaur got in touch with Kulwant and made him surrender to ASI Kashmir Singh, incharge of police post Sarai Amanat Khan. Several village elders were present when Kulwant singh surrendered to Kashmir Singh and the latter took him into custody. Thereafter Kulwant disappeared. The family members tried to find out about his fate by repeatedly approaching the officials at Sarai Amanat Khan and Lopoke police stations who said that Kulwant got transferred to Mal Mandi Interrogation Center for questioning. Balbir Kaur, however, believes that her son is alive and held incommunicado.

Kesar Singh, alias Bapu, was a resident of village Pandori Rehmana under Jhabal police station of Tarn Taran subdivision of Amritsar district. In June,1992 he was charged under TADA and sent to Amritsar jail. One year later, in May 1993, while he was still in Amritsar jail, the Jhabal police obtained a judicial warrant to interrogate him in connection with some terrorist offence. Five days after taking him, the police declared him ‘escaped from the police custody’. However, the family members received a letter from him disclosing that he was still under illegal detention at Verowal police station. Reports on his supposed escape was carried by many Punjabi newspapers of 13th September 1993. Later his other relatives, Baba Charan Singh and five other male members of his family were taken away by Ajit Singh Sandhu, the then SSP of Taran Taran in 1993 and since then their whereabouts were not known. His wife Surjit Kaur, approached the High Court which ordered a judicial inquiry from Sessions Judge, Amritsar. Sessions judge in his report ruled that it had not been conclusively proved that Baba Charan Singh and his five relatives, Baba Meja Singh, Baba Gurdev Singh, both brothers of Kesar Singh, Gurmej Singh, Baba Charan Singh’s brother-in-law, Gurmej’s son Balwinder Singh, Meja Singh’s brother-in-law Lakha Singh, were indeed picked up by the then SSP of Taran Taran or his men. But the court considered the plea that six male members of one family could not have evaporated and that the State was duty bound to provide information about their whereabouts as right to life is the basic human rights. It held that “it is a matter of grave concern that six male members of one family are reported missing and nothing has been done to trace them or furnish any reliable information regarding them as to whether they are alive or dead. The State cannot escape its responsibility.” The High Court ordered a CBI inquiry into the incident and the CBI has filed a chargesheet against the erring cops in the court.

Boor Singh, a seventy years old farmer was a blind person. His youngest son Arjan Singh, was suspected by the police of  having terrorist links. The family lived at village Sehnsra Kalan, under Jhander police station in Ajnala subdivision of Amritsar district. The police had been routinely raiding the farm house and harassing the family members because of their suspicions about Arjan, so they began to live elsewhere. On 5th March 1992, Arjan Singh was arrested from the Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara in Ropar district by a police party led by SHO Wassan Singh of Jhander Police Station. The next day, Arjan was shown killed in a supposed armed encounter that was allegedly orchestrated near village Sehnsra Khurd. The body was not handed over to the family. The cremation itself was traced to Amritsar cremation ground and the family collected the ashes. This was not the end of the story. On the night of 27th August, 1992 a large group of policemen raided the farmhouse when Boor Singh was alone. The police opened heavy fire on the farm house and later took the blind old man into custody. The next day, members of the family along with village elders went to Police Station Khatrai Kalan. However, no official there listened to them. They went on to meet the IG Bhatti and begged him to get their totally blind and innocent father released. In stead of help, the police conducted one more raid to demolish the house and also to confiscate all household belongings. Boor Singh could not be located thereafter and there has been no news about him till date.

Forty years old Gurpal Singh, alias Pala, and his wife Kamaljit Kaur were employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board at Hamira, Distt.Amritsar. Their family comprised Gurpal’s old father and mother, and their two young children. They lived in village Gagrewal under police station Verowal in Khadur Sahib subdivision of Amritsar district. On 9th April 1992, Gurpal along with his wife Kamaljit Kaur were cycling down to Gagrewal Bus Stand from where they used to catch a bus to Rayya to go to work. On that day, they wanted to help Gurpal’s brother-in-law in purchasing some household things and were waiting for him outside a hardware shop when SHO Wassan Singh of Beas police station drove up in a jeep and directed Gurpal to come to him. As Gurpal Singh came close to the jeep, some policemen jumped out and dragged him inside the vehicle, and sped away. His wife Kamaljeet Kaur, who witnessed the abduction, immediately informed his family and also the Electricity Board office at Rayya on telephone. SHO Wassan Singh was approached, who acknowledged the arrest and promised to release him after interrogation. On 10 April 1992, several members of the family again met SHO Wassan Singh who said that Gurpal was yet to recover from the injuries inflicted upon him during the torture. He promised that Gurpal would return home as soon as he became better. On 15th April 1992, the SHO said that Gurpal had been taken to Kapurthala for further questioning. But DSP Mann told his wife, that they should not waste any more time as he had been killed. He also suggested that she would receive compensation that her husband had been kidnapped and killed by terrorists. The family members of Gurpal approached every authority to get an FIR registered regarding Gurpal’s abduction. But the police refused to register the same.

Bupinder Singh, alias Toti, was a post-graduate student of geography at Punjabi University, Patiala. He was a baptized Sikh and was deeply involved in the Sikh problem and sordid situation in Punjab. He used to organize religious and quasi-political functions for the students in the university, and was well known for his activities. Bhupinder’s father Joginder Singh, a teacher in a government school, and other members of his family lived in village Alipur, under Nabha Sadar police station of Patiala district. Inspector Surjit Singh Grewal disliked Bhupinder’s extracurricular activities, and had picked him up a number of times for interrogation. Grewal had also accused Bhupinder of distributing sweets in the university campus after Rajiv Gandhi got assassinated in. But he could not do much as the University authorities, including the Vice Chancellor protected him being a brilliant student, and got him out of illegal custody whenever Grewal took him in. Although Grewal was later transferred to the Punjab Armed Police center at Bahadargarh in Patiala, he had developed a personal enmity with Bhupinder Singh. Once Grewal called some students of the Patiala University, including Maninder Singh Kaku, a student of law and now a lawyer, to his house. Grewal asked them to bring Bhupinder to his house, so that he could advise him to avoid trouble with the police. On 20th August 1992, Maninder Singh Kaku, Advocate took Bhupinder and his elder brother Balwinder to DSP Grewal’s house. Balwinder waited outside, while Bhupinder and Kaku went in. After some time, Kaku came out to say that the officer wanted a private talk with Bhupinder and had promised to do him no harm. Kaku and Bhupinder went back, but Bhupinder never returned. The next day, the police picked up Bhupinder’s father Master Joginder Singh and tortured him severely at the CIA staff interrogation center in Patiala. He was illegally detained there and tortured for eight days. DSP Grewal personally warned him not to make any hue and cry about his son; otherwise, he would also be eliminated.

Jaswant Singh alias Jassa, a resident of Village Kaleke in Amritsar district was picked up by a police party from his residence on November 8,1992 and shown killed in a fake encounter on November 16, 1992. In 1995 the Supreme Court ordered a CBI Inquiry and the inquiry revealed that the police story of an encounter was a cock and bull story and S.P. Balkar Singh, SI’s Paramjit Singh, Satwant Singh and Sukhdev Singh and ASI Narinder Singh had indeed killed him in police custody. The trial of the case is awaiting the sanction of the State government for the prosecution of the guilty policemen.

Tarlochan Singh was a young farmer of village Sehke near Amargarh in Malerkotla subdivision of Sangrur district. The police suspected him of being involved in the militancy movement. On 10th February 1993, his father Jagjit Singh and other village elders went to SSP Raj Kishan Singh Bedi of Khanna police and got Tarlochan surrendered, to stop the harassment to his family in future. Tarlochan was implicated in a TADA case and sent to Nabha jail. On 13th March 1993, DSP Sukhdev Singh Brar of Malerkotla police obtained his police remand in connection with some other matter. The next day itself, he was declared ‘escaped from police custody’. Nothing was heard about him after that.

Amandeep Singh was a young student at Guru Nanak College in Batala,distt Gurdaspur. His father Balraj Singh was a teacher in the government primary school and lived in Madre village under Batala subdivision of Gurdaspur district. In December 1990, Balraj Singh was mugged on his way to the school by a group of young Sikh boys, presumably militants, who snatched his motorcycle (Registration Plate Number: PIA 135). Some days later, the Border Security Force recovered the stolen motorcycle, and deposited it at Dhariwal police station. Amandeep was taken into illegal custody and his father was asked to prove that he had purchased the motorcycle, and that it had actually been robbed. Amandeep was released from the illegal custody after eight days when Balraj Singh satisfied the authorities that he was the genuine owner and that he had been mugged. On 18th March 1991, Amandeep and Jasbir Singh, a fellow student from his own village, left for their college in Batala by a Punjab roadways bus No. PBN 1119. On the way, SHO Makhan Singh and ASP Gurmel Singh stopped the bus and picked both of them. Many natives of village Madre, including Master Shiv Singh and Kashmir Singh, were travelling in the same bus and witnessed the arrests. Both were taken back to their village Madre where the officers searched Jasbir’s house. Later they were taken away by the Police. On 20th March 1991 a Hindi newspaper, reported two separate incidents of police encounters in which five ‘militants’ had been shown killed. The first incident had allegedly occurred at Sakoda village in Gurdaspur district when some ‘militants’ reportedly attacked a joint patrol of the BSF and the Punjab police, who fired back in self defence and killed three militants identified as Jagbir Singh, Hardev Singh and Satnam Singh. Jagbir had been arrested along with Amandeep. The other two were also from the neighboring villages. The second incident was reported to have taken place in Pathankot district. The newspaper story said that some militants attacked the police team to rescue Kamaljit Singh, who was being taken to village Lamiri to recover weapons. Kamaljit and one unidentified militant were killed when the police fired back in self-defence. The newspaper reporting of the incidents was based on a press briefing the SSP had held on 19 March. The same evening the SSP had told Balraj Singh that Amandeep’s interrogation was in progress. Balraj Singh suspected that the unidentified militant reported to have been killed in the second incident might be Amandeep. But SSP Goyal had told him that the interrogation was continuing. On 27th March,1991 a Punjabi paper identified the second person killed in the 18th March encounter at Pathankot as Amandeep Singh of Madre village. Once again, SSP Goyal had briefed the press to clarify the identity. By then the police had already carried out the cremation. Balraj Singh went to Pathankot and met the father of Kamaljit Singh, the supposed militant Amandeep had reportedly tried to rescue from the police custody. Kamaljit Singh’s father, a priest of the local Gurudwara, told him that he had attended the cremations and had also collected the ashes of the second person, reported unidentified, who had been killed along with his son. The old man was unable to give a coherent description of the body.

Amrik Singh, alias Mangu, a young man of Ghanauri Kalan village under Sherpur police station of Dhuri subdivision in Sangrur district. On 31st May 1992, SHO Darshan Singh of Dhuri police station led a police team to arrest Amrik from his shop. At that time Amrik’s younger brother Darshan Singh was also present there. Nothing was heard about Amrik after that.

Forty years old Major Singh was the head of his village council Hathur under Jagraon subdivision of Ludhiana district. On 3rd May 1993, SHO Rachhpal Singh of Nihal Singhwala police station in Faridkot district led a team of officers to raid Major Singh’s house and took him into illegal custody along with his two brothers-in-law Balbir Singh and Jagtar Singh, and his nephew Amarjit Singh. One week after these arrests, SHO Ajaib Singh of Hathur police post came with another team of police men to destroy the house and to carry away all the valuable goods. After this incident, when the family members and other village elders went to SHO Rachhpal Singh of Nihal Singhwala police station, he allowed them to meet Major Singh who was in the lock-up and under interrogation. The family members continued to meet him there till 13th May 1993. The SHO was demanding two hundred thousand rupees to release Major Singh, one hundred and fifty thousand rupees each for the release of Balbir and Jagtar. The family members had no choice but to raise the amounts of bribe money, being demanded from them. They also handed over the truck which was, however, used subsequently to implicate Amarjit’s brother-in-law Hardeep, his nephew Amarjit, one Nachhatter Singh Fauji from Daudhar village and two others in a supposed terrorist act. Major Singh was not released inspite of paying the bribe and his whereabouts were not known thereafter. On a petition being filed by the family members in the Supreme Court,  an inquiry was ordered to be conducted by Sessions Judge Amar Dutt. The inquiry report supported the police claim that Major Singh had been killed in an incident of armed combat between militants and the police force.

Manmohan Singh (35), was employed at Guru Nanak Dev Rice Mills in Jagraon. He was the breadearner of his family consisting of three young children, his wife and 70 years old mother, who all lived in Jagraon. Manmohan had no political or criminal involvement, and had never been arrested before. On 3rd May 1993, he was taken from his house by a police party led by SI Joginder Singh and other policemen from Jagraon’s CIA staff office. Two days after his abduction, the police officials brought Manmohan back to the house to search for his bank papers. They also forced him to withdraw 150,000 rupees from his account. Thereafter, the police claimed that Manmohan escaped from their custody. The news about his escape was carried by daily Ajit on 7th May 1993 on the basis of press note issued by the Punjab police.

Daljit Singh, alias Jeeta, was a farmer of Jhawan village under Tanda police station of Hoshiarpur district who also sang religious hymns at Gurudwaras during festivals. Daljit had been detained illegally a number of times for interrogation on the suspicion of having links with militants. But he was never formally charged of any offence though in early 1990 his brother-in-law Joginder Singh, son of Mehar Singh from Kulara village in Hoshiarpur district was killed in a fake incident of armed encounter. On 23rd October 1990, Daljit along with his wife Baljinder Kaur, went to Behram village to see a relative. That night Daljit was taken into custody from the house of Bhajan Singh in Behram village by Inspector Joginder Singh Ghora of the CIA staff Hoshiarpur during a raid in the house. Daljit has been missing since then with no news of his whereabouts.

Forty years old Saroop Singh, of Nangal Khunga village under Tanda police station in Dasuya subdivision of Hoshiarpur district, was an ex-serviceman. He was engaged in farming business. He was also a member of the Akali Dal and had taken part in the Sikh agitation and had courted arrest on many occasions. He had also been arrested, in early 1989, on the charge of sheltering a terrorist. But he was released on bail in March 1989. On 30th April 1989, a police party led by Inspector Sardul Singh of Dasuya police station came to the village to arrest Saroop Singh, who was not at home. The police officials humiliated his family members and other village residents, telling them that they will all be killed unless Saroop was handed over to the police. On 26th May, a delegation of village elders accompanied Saroop Singh to the Dasuya police station, where he was taken into custody. Few days later, the police also picked up his father Preetam Singh and also interrogated him at Dasuya police station where he saw his son. Saroop had been badly tortured and could not even stand up. Ajit Singh Sandhu was the DSP of Dasuya. Preetam was released after the illegal detention, after seven days. On 25th May, he met his son Saroop Singh again at Hajipur police station where he had been shifted for further interrogation. The next day, it was announced that Swaroop had escaped from the police custody. Although his whereabouts remain completely unknown, Inspector Sardul Singh told a local politician that Saroop was being held in a secret place and would eventually got released. The police had also arrested Vikram Singh son of Jaswant Singh from village Khudda in Hoshiarpur Distt, along with Swaroop. Vikram has also disappeared.

Harpinder Singh (20), was a student and lived with his family in village Phool of district Bathinda. The police used to harass Harpinder Singh and his family for his association with All India Sikh Students Federation. Harpinder left his home and became a fugitive in September 1991.On 21st January 1992, Amandeep Kaur, sister of Harpinder Singh was shot dead outside their house by two unidentified gunmen believed to be the agents of SSP Bhatinda. It is said that the motive was to silence her from speaking about her custodial experiences. Harpinder himself was killed in a supposed armed encounter, as reported in the newspapers dated 26th and 27th June, 1992. His Father Jaswant Singh claims that the so called encounter was fake. Harpinder was shown killed along with Darshan Singh Kotli and Jasbir Singh Latala. All were cremated by the police at Bhatinda cremation ground as unclaimed and unidentified dead bodies. According to father Jaswant Singh, the police had also picked up Gurjant Singh Joga from Gurudwara Gurusar on 15th September, 1991 and killed him in another fake encounter the next day. According to him, Surinder Pal Singh of Sarhali police station abducted Baba Hardayal Singh and his daughter Baljit Kaur and later killed them.

Gurdeep Singh(19), a resident of village Kurali of Ropar district, was a student at the local ITI. On 5th February 1993, Gurdeep’s mother Manjit Kaur was taken into illegal custody by Ropar CIA and badly tortured for their links with militants. SHO Avtar Singh of Kharar police station personally tortured her for getting information about Jagtar Singh Panjaula, supposedly a member of the Babbar Khalsa, who was their relative. Manjit Kaur did not know his whereabouts and could not give any information. She was released after one week following pressure from the residents of the locality. On March 6, 1993 morning, SHO Avtar Singh raided the house of Manjit Kaur’s parents in Kubaheri village in Ropar district and took Gurdeep into custody. When village elders along with Manjit Kaur, went to the Kharar police station later that day, they found Gurdeep in the police lock up. He had already been tortured very badly and was bleeding. SHO Avtar Singh told them that Gurdeep Singh would be released after his interrogation in some days. On 11th March, Manjit Kaur along with elders of the village. They were asked to meet SSP Sanjeev Gupta. When they went to meet him, SSP Gupta ordered his subordinates to take Manjit Kaur into custody. At his command, Manjit Kaur was detained again for fifteen days at CIA staff interrogation center in Ropar and later Kharar police station and again tortured during interrogation. Her father Dharam Singh and mother Gurdial Kaur were also arrested and held in Kharar police station with the view to terrorize them. While Manjit Kaur was being illegally detained at CIA Satff office in Ropar, she claims to have seen the police administer cyanide to two separate groups of six young Sikhs, after brutally torturing them. Manjit Kaur’s brother Bant Singh Aujla was also arrested and interrogated at Chamkaur Sahib police station where he saw Gurdeep Singh on 7th April, 1993. SHO Avtar Singh released Manjit Kaur and her parents fifteen days later after receiving a bribe from her family. The tale of her woes was published in the English Tribune dated 27-9-1995 and in the Punjabi Ajit on 17-12-1995. Gurdeep Singh was neither released from the custody nor he was seen or heard of after this incident. Manjit Kaur’s brother met him in Chamkaur Sahib police station on 7th April, 1993. On 18th August, 1997, Manjit Kaur filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court which was disposed of with the observation that the petitioner was free to file a criminal complaint in the local court of competent jurisdiction.

Balwinder Singh(22), was a truck driver from Jalalabad village under Verowal police station in Khadur Sahib subdivision of Amritsar district. On 14th March 1992, Balwinder came to the house after parking the truck at its owner’s place in the city. He took a bath and was relaxing when some police officials in uniform along with four soldiers from the 4 Sikh Light Infantry raided the house and took Balwinder into custody. The police officials refused to identify themselves and said that they wanted Balwinder Singh for questioning. On the evening of 16th March, the same police officials took Balwinder and another boy Gurbachan Singh to Mand area for some search operations. The same evening, Balwinder’s father Charan Singh was also taken into custody when he was returning home after grazing his cattle. All the family members witnessed the arrest and also saw Balwinder who had apparently been tortured. Charan Singh was taken to Fatudhinga police station and held there for a night. Balwinder was taken away to some unknown place. In the police lock-up, Charan Singh found out from a constable that Balwinder was being taken to Sultanpur in Kapurthala district and that the officer responsible for his arrest and interrogation was one DSP Chahal. That was the last time Balwinder was seen alive. Charan Singh was let off the next day when he went to Sultanpur and Kapurthala to trace his son. But the officials there denied Balwinder’s custody. On 17th March 1992, Punjabi newspapers reported that one Balwinder Singh has been killed in an armed encounter with the police. The dead body of Balwinder was not returned to the family. Father Charan Singh reports that after this incident the police abducted and killed at least five other persons from his village. He mentions the names of Swaran Singh, Sodhi Lakha Singh, Sakattar Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Dalbir Singh Maddu, all from his village.

Harjit Singh(19), a first year student at the Punjabi university, Patiala, used to live with his parents at Village Janherian, under Sadar police station Patiala. He was a baptized Sikh, a budding sportsman .He never had any trouble with the police before. On 7th April 1991, he went to the university to take private tuition from a professor, but did not come back home. Around 10.30 that night, SHO Harbhajan Singh from Sadar police station came to the house with other policemen to ask about Harjit. His father Jarnail Singh told him that he had gone to the university in the morning, but had not come back home, that the family was worried because of that. On hearing this, SHO Harbhajan Singh asked him to come along to the Sadar police station. On 3rd May,1991, Jarnail Singh read a statement issued by SSP Muhammad Mustafa of Ropar, which said that two terrorists, Nishan Singh Saifdipur and Harjit Singh Janherian, were killed in an encounter with the police near village Manakpur Kaler under police station Sohana. After reading the newspaper report, Jarnail Singh met the SSP of Ropar in his office who told them that Harjit Singh had been killed in an encounter. Concrete evidence of Harjit Singh having been killed in custody emerged only one year later, when the family organized a religious ceremony to mark the first anniversary of Harjit’s death. One Baldev Singh from village Baran in Patiala also came to attend the ceremony. He told Jarnail Singh that Sub-Inspector Balwant Singh Kauharia of Ropar CIA had raided his house on 1st May 1991. During the raid, both Harjit Singh and Nishan Singh Saifdipur were also in the police custody. Balwant Singh’s mother, who was present in the house during the raid, also saw Harjit Singh and Nishan Singh. Balwant Singh was arrested and taken to the CIA Interrogation Center in Ropar along with Harjit and Nishan. Later that night, the three of them were segregated. Balwant Singh, who had now come out on bail, was sent to prison after ten days of illegal custody. Later on, Deputy Commissioner of Ropar ordered an enquiry into the incident, entrusting the investigation to one officer Dalip Singh of Ropar. When Jarnail Singh met him to pursue the inquiry, this officer told him that he was under police pressure and, for that reason, was opting out of the inquiry. Dalip Singh asked him to pursue the matter with the Deputy Commissioner of Ropar. Finding out few days later that the inquiry had been transferred to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Kharar, Jarnail went the SDM’s office to find out. There a lady clerk showed him the file and told him that the SDM would not be able to complete the inquiry because of the police pressure that was coming from very high levels.

Sewa Singh, 48, was a member of the Akali Dal from village Gharuan Uchand under Kharar subdivision in Ropar district. He was a baptized Sikh . After the Operation Blue Star, the police began to harass him and his family, picking them up arbitrarily, holding them in illegal detention for long periods and torturing them during interrogation. The police also used to regularly abduct Sewa Singh’s twenty-two years old nephew Jagjit Singh, son of Hardial Singh, and torture him during interrogation. On 6 May 1987, Jagjit was arrested formally under TADA and sent to jail where he remained for ten months, securing release on bail thereafter. But the police continued to illegally detain and torture him. Fed up by the harassment, Jagjit left his house and joined the ranks of militants. The police began to harass the family much more after Jagjit became a fugitive. In 1989, Sewa Singh was implicated in a case under the Arms Act and sent to Patiala jail. He secured release on bail after three months. Meanwhile, Jagjit had been killed in an armed encounter, along with four others, that had supposedly taken place on 28th October 1990 between a group of militants and the Ludhiana police near village Ucha Pind. Even after his death, the police continued to harass the family, regularly detained Sewa Singh illegally, and questioning him under torture about his militant connections. On 16 August 1992, Sewa Singh was again picked up by the DSP H. P. Singh Kalewal of Kharar and tortured severely at CIA staff office in Ropar for a month. When on 17th September 1992, he was brought back home by his brothers, Nasib Singh and Hardial Singh, his physical condition from custodial torture was very critical. He was unable even to walk. Exactly two days later, early in the morning of 18th September 1992, a strong police force led by DSP Gurcharan Singh of Mohali again raided Sewa Singh’s house. He was physically lifted and thrown into a waiting vehicle and driven away. The entire neighborhood and the family members, including Hardial Singh, his wife Charan Kaur and Sewa Singh’s wife Ajaib Kaur witnessed the abduction. Nobody heard of him after that.

Arur Singh,55, of Manochahal Kalan village under Jhabal police station in Tarn Taran subdivision of Amritsar district was an employee of the SGPC and was also related to the militant leader Gurbachan Singh Manochahal. On 12th December 92, he was called to the police post as the police wanted to ask him some questions regarding his tractor which some unidentified persons had taken away on 31st June 1992. Arur Singh returned home on 15th December and immediately went to the Manochahal police post along with few other persons of the village. In the evening, he was seen in the Police Post. He had visibly been tortured very badly. He was not able even to eat. Early in the morning of 17th December,1992, Jasbir Kaur went to the police post again. Arur Singh had been taken out of the lock-up to for going to toilet. Jasbir Kaur saw him walking back from the toilet to the lock-up. Both his hands were hanging limp. They had been fractured. Arur Singh told her to pursue his case vigorously. “Otherwise, I would be killed,” he told her. Later he was shifted to unknown place and the relatives were turned down by the police. On 28th December,1992, Jasbir Kaur met SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu at his office through someone who was close to him and paid Rs. 150,000, which he had demanded for Arur Singh’s release. SSP Sandhu told her to collect Arur Singh from Jhabal police station the next day morning. When Jasbir Kaur, accompanied by several relatives, went to Jhabal police station on 29th morning, the SHO there told them that there was no one with that name in their lock-up. He also told them that as an armed encounter had taken place on the Canal road near village Dode, they should go to the Civil Hospital in Tarn Tarn to find out if Arur Singh is among the killed. By now someone had seen the newspapers that reported an armed encounter in which three identified and one unidentified militants had been killed near Dode. Arur Singh’s name was in the list of the identified terrorists. Immediately, Jasbir Kaur and other relatives went to the Civil Hospital in Tarn Taran where the Jhabal police brought four dead bodies for post-mortem. Jasbir Kaur was not allowed to go near them, but she was able to identify Arur Singh’s body from a distance. The family members did not dare to demand the body for cremation. They were afraid. Jasbir Kaur went back to the village to persuade the village elders to accompany her to claim the dead body for the cremation. But they also refused to oblige. The police carried out the cremations at Tarn Taran Cremation grounds. The other two, who had been identified, were Ram Singh from village Sur Singh and Resham Singh from village Kuharka.

Gurmej Kaur, 64, was the mother of Gurbachan Singh Manochahal, a so-called “A” category terrorist and the head of the Bhindranwale Tiger Force. She lived at the family village house at village Manochahal Kalan of Amritsar district. She had four sons. The first two had been killed by the police. Like other members of the family, Gurmej Kaur was being constantly harassed for the reason that she was Gurbachan’s mother. She had already been detained and tortured a number of times. To avoid further torture, she had been shifting her residence and, at the time of her abduction, was living at the house of Surjit Singh at Katra Sher Singh in Amritsar. On 15th September 1992, DSP Gurmeet Singh Randhawa from the Tarn Taran CIA staff raided the house of Surjit Singh in Amritsar and took Gurmej Kaur to the CIA staff office in Tarn Taran. Apparently, she was detained and tortured there, and later on shifted to other police stations. Gurmej Kaur was seen alive for the last time on 16th March 1993, at Verowal police post by  her sisters, in illegal custody. Later it was found that Gurmej Kaur had been killed after the capture of Gurbachan Singh. Her dead body was thrown into the river near Harike Pattan.Tarlochan Singh Manochahal, his younger son met the SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu few days later to find out what happened to his mother. Ajit Singh Sandhu said: “We intend to liquidate the entire Manochahal family. I do not know how you managed to escape! Anyhow, now you should forget the past, and concentrate on the future.” Tarlochan Singh, in his Incident-Report, gives the following list of people belonging to the family and other associates, who got abducted and killed in illegal police custody :

1.         Father Atma Singh

2.         Brother Nirvail Singh Manochahal

3.         Cousin Balwinder Singh Manochahal

4.         Cousin Mahinder Singh Manochahal

5.         Cousin Harjinder Singh Manochahal

6.         Arur Singh Manochahal

7.         Balwinder Singh from village Pandori Golan

8.         Dial Singh from Chohla Sahib

9.         Nirmal Singh, alias Nimma, from Pandori Golan

10.       Tarlok Singh Bhullar from Karam Singh Wala

Sarpanch Major Singh, 37, was a farmer and a transporter in Burj Kalara village under Hathur police Station in Jagraon subdivision of Ludhiana district. In the evening of 3rd May 1993, Rachpal Singh, SHO of Nihal Singh Wala police station, raided Major Singh’s house along with other policemen and took him, his two brothers-in-law, Balbir Singh and Jagtar Singh, and his nephew Amarjit Singh into custody. All of them were taken to Nihal Singh Wala police station. Immediately, the family members went to the police station where SHO Rachpal Singh demanded Rs. 1,50,000 to release Major Singh, Rs. 2,00,000 to release his brothers-in-law, and his truck. The family members gave him the money as also the truck that he demanded. But SHO Rashpal Singh used the truck to show an encounter in which Amarjit Singh, a relative of Major Singh and four other unidentified persons were shown killed. Later on, newspapers reported Major Singh’s own death in a supposed encounter. But the body was not handed over to the family, nor were they given any information regarding the place of cremation. Major Singh’s mother Mahinder Kaur filed a petition before the Supreme Court who ordered an inquiry by Chandigarh’s Session’s Judge.

On May 18, 1992, Amritsar police picked up Param Satinderjit Singh, a student of Guru Nanak Dev University, from the university campus in Amritsar. He was forced to identify suspected sympathisers of the separatist cause within the university, who were also picked up. The police brought Param Satinderjit Singh to the university campus several times for this purpose. The university students held a demonstration to protest against the abduction, and his father went on a hunger strike. But Param Satinderjit Singh was not released. There was no trace of him thereafter.

Twenty-five years old Gurnam Singh was a young Sikh man from village Dabwala Kalan under Ghaniye Ke Bangar police station in Batala subdivision of Gurdaspur district. He was a baptized Sikh and active in Sikh religious and political activities. After the Operation Blue Star in June 1984, when Gurnam was being regularly picked up illegally by Batala police and tortured brutally in their custody and harassed all his family members he got fed up with this constant harassment, and left his house and became a militant. Gurnam’s becoming a militant invited unceasing troubles for the rest of the family. Batala police began to pick up other members of the family, including his father Shingara Singh, his mother Mahinder Kaur, his brothers Avtar Singh and Rachhpal Singh, Rachhpal’s wife Harjit Kaur and several other relatives. They were kept regularly in illegal custody and tortured for information on Gurnam’s whereabouts. His father Shingara Singh, and his brothers Avtar Singh and Hardial Singh were implicated in cases under TADA on charges of harboring terrorists. Later, they were acquitted after trial by special courts. In November 1988, Inspector Santa Singh of CIA staff and SHO Gurpal Singh of Batala Sadar Station picked up Gurnam’s third brother Rachhpal Singh and his wife Harjit Kaur. First, both of them were brutally tortured in front of villagers. They were beaten up with canes. Harjit Kaur was publicly humiliated and tortured with a thick wooden roller pressed on her thighs by four policemen, and by other methods. After their public torture in the village itself, Rachhpal Singh and Harjit Kaur were taken to the Sadar police station. There again, they were tortured brutally under the supervision of Anil Kumar Sharma, SP (Head Quarters), but were finally released after one week at the intervention from the village council. Throughout this period, the family members, including their women, suffered extreme brutality. On 13th December 1988, the family got to know that Batala police from village Umarpura had arrested Gurnam. The family members found out that Gurnam Singh was tortured at Beeco Interrogation Center and in the night of 21st January 1989 he was shot dead near the bridge of village Jagle, in a so-called armed encounter, along with Sukhdev Singh from village Khode. Gurnam was described as an unidentified terrorist. Punjabi newspaper, Ajit carried a report on the so-called encounter in its issue dated 23 January 1989. The encounter was reported to have taken place between a group of militants and Batala police officers led by SP (Operations) Harbhajan Singh. The body was not returned to the family and was cremated by the police at an unknown place. Gurmej Singh, a former police constable who had been lodged in jail after his arrest for helping the militants, corroborated the information. He revealed that he had been lodged at Beeco Interrogation Center along with Gurnam Singh from 11th December 1988 till 21st January 1989. That night the police had taken Gurnam Singh out of the lock up and killed him in a supposed encounter. According to him, Gurnam Singh had been tortured brutally, before his murder, by SSP Gobind Ram, SP (Head Quarters) Anil Kumar Sharma and Inspector Santa Singh.

Many International human rights organizations like Amnesty International also reported several cases of false encounters in Punjab during 1986-1989. One such case as reported in the Amnesty report in 1989 reads as under:-

“Rajinder Pal Singh Gill, an Assistant Professor in Horticulture at Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, was reportedly arrested on January 25,1989 in Chandigarh by the Ludhiana Police. The police refused to give any information about the arrest or whereabouts until February 15, 1989 when the Ludhiana police announced that he had been killed an encounter with the police, together with two others on the night of January, 26, 1989 at Khehra Bet, Ludhiana. He had reportedly been seen in custody at Sadar Police Station on 25 and 26 January, 1989.” The omnibus description of ‘encounter deaths’ covered a hundred brutalities on the part of the police. The State terrorism of this kind unleashed by Ribeiro and KPS Gill resulted not only in the liquidation of ‘identified’ and ‘unidentified’ militants in fake encounters but was also responsible for liquidating the families of the militants and their sympathizers. Their houses were set on fire. Their womenfolk were taken into custody and molested. Brutal torture at Batala of two young women, Gurdev Kaur and Gurmeet Kaur by SSP, Gobind Ram with a view to force them to produce their husbands missing for several years, led to a lot of public outcry. The two women were rendered incap-acitated.

The house of a militant Balwinder Singh Jattana in Village Jattana, near Chandigarh was torched by Punjab police in 1991 and four members of his family included his 95 years old grand-mother and three children were burnt alive, in retaliation of an unsuccessful attempt allegedly made by his group to blow off the vehicle of the then SSP of Chandigarh, Mr. Sumedh Saini.

Amrik Singh, an automobile mechanic of Village Patran in district Patiala and his brother Bhagwant Singh was picked up by a police party led by SHO Jaspal Singh and taken to police station. There Amrik Singh was brutally tortured at the behest of one police informer, Surjit Singh Sarpanch and his condition became very serious. The next day, both were shifted to Shutrana Police Post where Amrik Singh was again beaten, but he succumbed to his injuries. The police alleged that he had committed suicide. The mutiliated body of the deceased was handed over to the parents after getting some blank papers signed from them. His mother filed a petition in the Supreme Court in 1995 and a CBI inquiry was ordered which indicted the police officers and they are still facing trial in the court at Patiala.

Gamdoor Singh, a dalit youth was among many persons of district Sangrur picked up by the Railway Police in November, 1995. On November 23,1995 he was handed over to his relatives in a serious condition. He was rushed to hospital and given medical treatment but he succumbed to his injuries within hours. His post mortem showed four broken ribs and 18 other serious bodily injuries. The Punjab & Haryana High Court ordered the registration of a case against a DSP and Police Inspector for the crime and they are still undertrials in the case.

After Ribeiro was made Advisor to the Governor of Punjab, KPS Gill, an Assam cadre IPS officer with shady antecedents, was made the DGP of the State in 1988. This signalled the unleashing of state repression on an unprecedented scale. Gill had already earned notoriety in Assam for his cold-blooded policies. During this time, Corruption in police force grew to giant proportions. Gill asserted that a police officer’s performance would be judged solely on the basis of his success in neutralizing the militants. He had a very strange logic that ” the police were dealing with people who did not believe in any laws and so unless the police too was lawless it could not really fight against them.” He allured his men to kill anybody they liked and to hold press conferences to make their “catches” public. Planting of misinformation helped him to make indiscriminate arrests and indulge in extra-judicial killings. The difference between suspicion and sure knowledge having been blurred by the catch-all provisions of TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act), the police often arrested and killed people to please their bosses with the largest number of ‘catches’ or to settle old scores. Amnesty International reports 1988-92 listed innumerable cases of killings and deaths in custody. A report presented to the American Congress on January 19, 1993 contained a specific description of encounter killings:

“In Punjab there were credible reports that police in particular continued to engage in fake encounter killings. In the typical scenario, police take into custody suspected militants or militant supporters without filing an arrest report. If the detainee dies during interrogation or is executed, officials deny that he was ever in custody and claim that he died during an armed encounter with the police or the security forces. Afterwards the bodies reportedly are sometimes moved to distant police districts for disposal, making identification and investigation more difficult”.

The stories go on and on. The thousand and one tales of tragedy. It requires volumes for the entire tale of killings and tortures to describe exhaustively. This may be a tip of an iceberg. Such cases are no aberration-it was too patterned and widespread to merit that conclusion. The macabre state in which the people of Punjab were, is heart wrenching. The State-sponsored terrorism, violence due to retributive emotions, the interrogations which leave people mentally and physically crippled etc. all these add up to a never ending spiral of revenge and violence and this has taken a heavy toll on the psyche of the people. Government records regarding hundreds of inquiries into false encounters are still kept secret, manipulated or even destroyed. The media information in this regard had been casual, censored, politically manipulated and arithmetically distorted. There was substantial evidence that the government and official agencies have made special efforts to cover-up human rights violations and prevent the police and security forces from being punished. The government seldom released the names and lists of the victims of state violence. For more than a decade, the Punjab police assumed the charge of the State and killed thousands of Sikhs branding them as “terrorists”. Hundreds of thousands more were arbitrarily arrested and whisked away to undisclosed place or just made to disappear and yet more have been put to such tortures and tyrannies which put to shame the horror stories and make a mockery of the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution. Extra-judicial executions of the suspected militants and sympathizers were carried out as part of a deliberate shoot-to-kill strategy conceived by senior police and civil administration officials. In their efforts to find and kill the militants, Punjab police went berserk, conducted massive search operations, frequently arresting persons who may merely have lived in an area known to be frequented by militant groups or who may have belonged to an organization supporting the militants. The scenario became dismal. Armed with laws that crush the right to live on vendetta or vicious suspicion or sadistic pleasure, if a policeman shot or broke the bones of anyone, he had only to use the alibi of a suspected terrorist. Various human rights bodies in the State investigated many cases of human rights violations in the State. A committee headed by Justice Ajit Singh Bains (Retd.) inquired into the shooting of four young sikh students in police firing in Nakodar on March 19, 1986 and held the police responsible for the killings. The Committee also investigated into the alleged encounter by B.S.F. on August 30,1986 in Dera Baba Nanak Sector of Gurdaspur district. It was the biggest killing of the so-called terrorists in any single action ever since Ribeiro had taken charge of the combined forces of the B.S.F. and C.R.P.F. deployed in Punjab . It was asserted that the ‘encounter’ took place when ten persons were trying to enter India from Pakistan crossing over the Ravi river in Dera Baba Nanak Sector. The committee found the official version of the police as bare faced lie and came to the conclusion that the ten Sikh youths were already in the custody of the security forces when they were murdered by the B.S.F. Justice Bains said that ninety nine percent of the police encounter cases were bogus. “Having failed to catch the real culprits, the police more often than not, involved persons in encounters”. He claims that he knows many cases in which persons after they had written to the senior police officers about extra-judicial execution of their relatives were themselves killed in fake encounters. According to him, 73 persons in police custody had been killed in the district of Amritsar alone within a period of a little more than three months between May 12 and August 22, 1987. According to the newspaper reports, during 1989, a total of 298 Sikhs were reported killed in 178 “armed encounters” as against only 16 members of the police and security forces. In 1990, 346 Sikhs were killed in police custody.

In its so-called counter insurgency policy, the Punjab police adopted the strategy of militants that “kill or be killed’ and started targeting the women folk of the rural areas in order to instill fear in the minds of the people. For example, Gurmej Kaur,64, who was the mother of Gurbachan Singh Manochahal, a so-called “A” category terrorist and head of the Bhindranwale Tiger Force was living at the family village house at village Manochahal Kalan of Amritsar district. She had four sons. The police had killed the first two. Like other members of the family, Gurmej Kaur was being constantly harassed for the reason that she was Gurbachan’s mother. She had already been detained and tortured a number of times. To avoid further torture, she had been shifting her residence and, at the time of her abduction, was living at the house of Surjit Singh at Katra Sher Singh in Amritsar. On 15th September 1992, DSP Gurmeet Singh Randhawa from the Tarn Taran CIA staff raided the house of Surjit Singh in Amritsar and took Gurmej Kaur to the CIA staff office in Tarn Taran. Apparently, she was detained and tortured there, and later on shifted to other police stations. Gurmej Kaur was seen alive for the last time on 16th March 1993, at Verowal police post by  her sisters, in the illegal custody. Later it was found that Gurmej Kaur had been killed after the capture of Gurbachan Singh. Her dead body was thrown into the river near Harike Pattan.Tarlochan Singh Manochahal, his younger son met the SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu few days later to find out what happened to his mother. Ajit Singh Sandhu said: “We intend to liquidate the entire Manochahal family.

Sixty years old Balbir Kaur from Thande village under the post office of Jwala Flour Mill with the Sadar police station of Amritsar district was the mother of Karaj Singh Thande, a known militant. Her husband Makhan Singh was a factory worker and earned Rs. 2000. Apart from thirty years old Karaj Singh, who was killed in a supposedly fake encounter with the police, they had two more sons, thirty-five years old Joginder Singh and thirty-two years old Balwinder Singh. Twenty eight years old Bhajan Kaur was their youngest daughter. In reaction to the army operation against the Golden Temple in June 1984, Karaj Singh had taken to arms and had become a fugitive. Since then the police used to regularly raid the house and harass all the members of the family, particularly mother Balbir Kaur, for information on his whereabouts. Several times, they had been held illegally and tortured. The police also confiscated all the valuable things in the house. They also took away agricultural implements and tube-well motors. The loss of these confiscations is estimated at Rs. 135,000.The police raids did not cease. On 24 February 1987, one ASI from Sadar police station of Amritsar, known as Pappu Bajwa, raided the house along with a large team of constables. The police searched the house and interrogated the family members about Karaj Singh. They could not tell much. ASI Bajwa then started abusing Balbir Kaur and when she protested, he shot her dead in front of all the other members of the family. The killing was later explained away as the result of an encounter.

Ranjit Kaur,40 was married to Amar Singh, an employee of Indian Airlines. She was living in village Gharuan, Patti Daggo, under Kharar police station of Ropar district. She had three grown up children. Her husband lived in New Delhi. On 22nd June 1992, a heavy contingent of Punjab police led by SSP Sanjeev Gupta of Hoshiarpur surrounded her house and conducted a raid and in full public view took Ranjit Kaur into custody. One of Ranjit’s daughters insisted on accompanying her to the police station. But the policemen pushed her away from the jeep in which Ranjit Kaur was being taken away. No one has heard of or seen her again. Recently, on the orders of Punjab State Human Rights Commission an F.I.R. regarding the disappearance of Ranjit Kaur has been got registered in P.S. Kharar and investigations are being made into the case afresh.

Gurpreet Kaur of Village Shafipur near Taran Taran in Amritsar district was the wife of a ‘branded terrorist’ Balwinder Singh. They had married just 15 days before she was picked up by the police and badly tortured during illegal detention for months together. Finding an opportunity, she attempted to escape from police custody, but was again caught and subjected to more severe torture. Traumatized, she attempted to commit suicide in police custody by consuming poison, but was saved and detained in C.I.A.Staff, Taran Taran in 1993. While recovering in the lock-up, she was one day taken away by Inspector Teg Bahadur of Bhikiwind Police Station. From there people saw her being taken away by one DSP and Inspector of C.I.A. Bhikiwind and returned after sometime after liquidating her. Next day, newspapers reported that a hardcore lady militant had jumped into the Sirhind Canal and escaped from police custody. Nobody heard about her after that.

Surinder Kaur of Taran Taran was the Principal of a Model School. Her husband was an ex-serviceman and working in some bank in Amritsar. Both of them alongwith their child were arrested by the police for harbouring militants in July, 1993. In the C.I.A.Staff, Taran Taran, Surinder Kaur was molested, tortured and ultimately killed by the male police officials. Other inmates of the CIA staff saw the police beating her with Lathis, iron roller and stripping in front of her husband and other relatives. Her husband and four others were shown killed in an encounter that very night. Her small child was made an orphan within a day. Today, he is living in a pitiable condition with no source of livelihood. No official version about the whereabouts of Surinder Kaur has come till date.

Harjit Kaur, wife of another militant Anar Singh Para was picked up by Taran Taran Police and kept in illegal detention in CIA staff, Taran Taran in 1993. Later on she was not seen by anybody, nor there is any information about her whereabouts. Her only misfortune was that she was the wife of a militant and this was sufficient charge, those days, to be killed without any trial.

Manjit Kaur of village Sabhranwan in Taran Taran district and his husband Joginder Singh Judge was arrested by the police on the charge of supporting militants and subjected to inhuman torture for many months before being released. They had to pay few lacs of rupees for securing their liberty.

Sarabjit Kaur(13) and Salwinder Kaur(14) of village Bham, district Batala (Gurdaspur) had gone to fetch clay to a nearby canal in the village. They were kidnapped by SPO Roshan Lal and Const. Parshottam Dev on 11th June, 1989 and ‘disappeared’ thereafter. Both girls were reportedly raped and then killed by two police officers. The bodies of the two were found from a drain near the village on 16th June, 1989. The Police alleged they committed suicide. The then Governor of Punjab had ordered the dismissal and prosecution of two police officers but no formal F.I.R. was lodged nor any trial was held due to ‘lack of evidence’.

The police picked up from Amritsar, two women namely Gurmeet Kaur and Gurdev Kaur, both working in Khalsa College. Their only offence was that husband of Gurdev Kaur and brother in law of Gurmeet Kaur were ‘branded terrorists’. Both of them were taken to Interrogation Centre in Batala and subjected to inhuman torture by SSP Gobind Ram of Batala. While Gurdev Kaur was able to bear the torture, Gurmeet Kaur succumbed to her injuries and was declared killed by the militants.

Rajinder Kaur of Chamkaur Sahib in Ropar district was picked up by a police party on November 13, 1993 and took her to the banks of the Sirhind Canal. The police wanted information on the whereabouts of her militant husband. She was mercilessly beaten and threatened to be thrown into the canal if she did not tell where her husband was. After getting the required information they tied her in a gunny bag and put her into the water several times but then relented and brought her to the police station. If Rajinder Kaur did not drown it is not the fault of the police.

A Sikh couple, Bhai Kanwar Singh Dhami and his wife Kulbir Kaur who claimed themselves to be ideologues of Khalistan were picked up in May 1993 and were kept in illegal detention till March 29, 1994 alongwith their five year old son, Randhir Singh. During their illegal detention in Taran Taran, Bhikhiwind(Amritsar) and Ropar C.I.A. Staff, they saw numerous people being tortured and killed in cold blood. After their release from jail, they made spine-chilling revelations in the form of a book, ” Tales of State Repression”. A relevant abstract is reproduced hereunder:

“…..S.P(Detective) was reported as ‘admitted in the hospital for having received injuries in the so-called encounter’ in which a hardcore militant of Khalistan Liberation Force was shown killed near Chamkaur Sahib in Ropar. He was sitting before us heavily drunk. When we asked him that in newspapers you have been shown admitted in the hospital, but you are well and present here, he said that “today it’s our rule. The doctors, judges and jailors all go by our order. See, the newspapers, have shown it as an encounter and I have even received the award money of Rs.20 lakh. But you know, everybody knows how militants are killed in ‘encounter’, still nobody could dare speak against us.”

It was a period of extreme repression, with nobody even allowed to utter the customary slogan, “Whaeguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.” . A famous poet rightly described the state of mind of the people in his words:

Manzar the kayamat ke kya pichhle zamanon mein,

Sar bikte hue dekhe phoolon ki dukanon mein.

(It was a period of horrific scenes, when heads were sold in the market)

Nobody was allowed to perform the last rites of the persons killed in the so-called encounters. Gurdwaras holding such ceremonies were surrounded by security forces and whosoever participated in the Bhog(last rites) was picked up and badly tortured. Many old and young people who simply participated in those functions were charged under TADA for supporting militants or even liquidated. Many senior Akali leaders or human rights activists like Simranjit Singh Mann, Justice Ajit Singh Bains and others were arrested while proceeding to attend the Bhog of so-called militants, who were respected by the people as martyr.

What happened in Punjab was the result of a policy of complete cynicism, callousness and allowing the police to let loose a reign of oppression as stated above. It would seem that in frustration even an editor of The Tribune, who was known for its anti-human rights stance those days, wrote in its editorial:

“They (police) act as if they owe no obligations to the people, they are not answerable to anyone and they are above the law. So, they use the innocent persons as shields to attack terrorists and post facto describe the dead persons as militants killed in encounter; they detain academics without warrants, handcuff former judges; and horror of horrors, force brilliant students to appear in technical college entrance examinations as proxies to the wards of senior police officers. All in the name of fighting the nations battle against militancy…. Punjab is swamped by uniformed forces-army, 450 companies of paramilitary forces, 60,000 policemen, 12,000 special officers, 20,000 home guards-contributing to the psyche of societal insecurity, testifying to the awesome force of the invisible militant to destroy you and the arrogant helplessness of the visible police force to protect your life and limbs… what sustains militancy today is not so much Pakistan-inspired violence or the separatist cause as the total absence of governmental interest in Punjab and the unchecked power of the police vis-a-vis common people.”

In another editorial, the same newspaper wrote:

“Policemen in Punjab have evolved their own version of the American saying: “Give the dog a bad name and hang him.” Shoot anyone you like and then call him a terrorist. Such is their arrogant disregard for law and citizen’s rights that policemen do not even feel the need to slap the terrorist label on persons they kill. On Sunday a raiding party of policemen from Punjab chased a Maruti car right upto Dhulkot in Amabala district and killed two young men and a five year old child and true, to style, after killing them the policemen danced gleefully, claiming that they had killed a notorious terrorist “responsible for 500 killings and carrying a reward of Rs. 10 lakh on his head.” If promotion of terrorism needed any strong spurs, the Punjab policemen’s action in Ambala could be the ideal answer to the separatists’ prayers. But such savagery is no isolated incident. On the other day, a few personnel of the CRPF allegedly raped the wife of a gardener in Mohali and when the man retaliated in shock and outrage, he was promptly branded a terrorist and a harbour of criminals. Weeks earlier, at Behla village in Amritsar district, the security forces used innocent villagers as shields to fight hiding militants and, at the end of the encounter, the killed villagers were promptly branded as terrorists. There is a perverse police law in operation here; if you die of police bullets you are a terrorist; if you are shot by others, you are a terrorist victim to enable the police to shoot somebody else and claim a reward for having solved your murder. Between the militants and the police, the right to life of a citizen in Punjab seems to have been suspended indefinitely.”

The Pioneer in March 1992 in its editorial wrote:

“Disappearances are routine, bodies of those killed by the police are rarely handed over to their families, postmortems are faked, fraudulent, rewards are claimed…. The police have taken to kidnapping the relatives of suspected militants and even wiping out their families. Very few police vehicles bear number plates, and heavily armed policemen often move about in plain clothes. The dividing line between the policeman and the outlaw has been all but obliterated as both go about indulging in mindless violence….. Politicians have abdicated, the civic administration exists only in name, and the judicial system is completely stalled. In the courts, the processes are slow, the loss archaic and witnesses and judges unwilling to participate. The result is that, despite being armed with draconian laws like TADA, there has been a very poor rate of convictions.”

In a dispatch published in a National daily in July, 1991, it was mentioned that innocent Sikh youth were humiliated and tortured daily by the Punjab police. ” How many bullets will you take to die ?” the jeering police constable had asked two teenagers while blindfolding them. “There is no escape for both of you now.” None other than Ajit Singh Sandhu led the police party, according to this dispatch. These two teenagers Avtar and Balwinder were tortured and beaten a number of times in CIA Staff, Taran Taran. Avtar cannot forget the torture his mother was subjected to at the police station on May 29,1991. “They had just finished beating me after stripping me when they brought in my mother and began beating her too.” According to Avtar, the SSP then ordered that his mother too should be stripped. ” I looked at the SSP in horror as other policemen leered. It was sickening and I could have murdered him.”

In its report on Punjab released by Amnesty International in 1993, the International pressure was built by highlighting the police atrocities. It wrote:

“Thousands of people have been arrested by police and security forces in Punjab since 1983, when armed Sikh opposition groups emerged demanding an independent Sikh State (Khalistan). People have often been arrested on mere suspicion that they are linked to armed Sikh groups or have information about them. Torture during illegal custody is widespread. Parents, brothers or sisters of suspects have also been arbitrarily detained and tortured in order to extract information about their relatives’ whereabouts or activities. Those tortured include young people and the elderly. Women and girls in Punjab have also been tortured. The problem became so acute that in 1989 the Governor of Punjab instructed the police not to bring any woman to a police station for questioning; they were only to interrogate women in front of village elders or similar representatives of the community.”

The former Director-General of Punjab police, K.S.Dhillon wrote in his  paper, ” A decade of Militancy and Violence”:

“State terror, allegedly practiced by the Indian security forces, has come in for a lot of adverse comment, not only by foreign human rights groups, but even by Indian media, judiciary and intelligentsia. State terror is actually far more sinister and deadly in the toll it takes of the life and property of mostly innocent citizens and in the damage it causes to social harmony and equilibrium. It amounts to an abuse of legitimate state power vested in it for national defence and public security. Terrorists commit small acts of public terror while concealing their identity. The State, on the other hand, commits acts of secret terror directed against its own detractors or saboteurs.”

The use of torture in Punjab has been officially confirmed. A judicial investigation was conducted in February 1989 by Justice S.S.Sodhi, in Amritsar jail. He found that many detainees had been tortured by police when kept in illegal detention preceding formal arrest. Even when medical reports have confirmed use of torture there has often been no further action. Surinder Singh was detained by the police on November 30, 1990 and subjected to torture. He was released on 22 December, 1990 after a habeas corpus petition was filed in the High Court by his father. After his release Surinder Singh disclosed that he had been illegally detained, no case had been registered against him and that his arrest had not been entered in the daily diary register. He disclosed to the court that he had been tortured and it ordered that he be medically examined. The medical reports stated that Surinder Singh was unable to walk and described 18 scars, abrasions and bruises on his body. However, the High Court did not recommend any further investigation into the allegations of torture.

KPS Gill sought to derive propaganda mileage by stage managing public surrender of known militants. On March 29,1994 he invited the journalists to witness what was supposed to be a public surrender by the founder of the Akal Federation, Bhai Kanwar Singh Dhami. But Dhami stood up and said, “I will prefer to be cut into pieces than surrender to the terrorist police chief.” He told the press that he had been witness to the torture and extra-judicial killing of atleast 15 persons who were his prison mates.

On many occasions Punjab police was castigated by the Supreme Court for their outrageous behavior that bordered on gross criminality. But KPS Gill remained incontrite. He rode rough shod over the rule of law with the full support of Chief Minister Beant Singh who publicly announced that each time his policemen were to be committed for trial, they would be defended in courts at the government’s expense. He said that he would engage the best lawyers in the country to defend the police. He held in equal contempt, country’s constitution. The Beant-Gill duo engineered the genocide of the Sikhs on an unprecedented scale and unabashedly subverted all the democratic institutions. Under the patronage of bosses from Delhi, they enjoyed the prerogative to pick any Sikh from any part of the country and shoot him much in the manner game birds are shot. Due to their illegal policies, the Sikhs in the State have had to bear with a tyrannical and hypocritical regime fiddled with criminality, corruption and moral perversions. As far as Punjab police were concerned, inter state borders, were non-existent. Police on the payroll of the Punjab administration had the inalienable right to travel 1,500 miles to West Bengal to liquidate suspected militants. A glaring instance of the extra-territorial activities of the Punjab police popularly known as Tiljala encounter, came to light when a contingent of the Punjab police, without informing the West Bengal government, barged into a flat in a Calcutta suburb and gunned down in cold blood a young couple, Ranjit Singh alias Lachmi Singh and his wife Rani alias Sakina Begum, suspected of committing acts of violence in Punjab in the wee hours of May 17,1993. Their dead bodies were whisked away without the knowledge of the West Bengal government and dumped at a place, the identity of which was never disclosed. The Supreme Court of India ordered a CBI probe which held it to be a cold blooded murder. The Supreme Court while ordering the prosecution of one Superintendent of Police and five of his accomplices of Punjab police lamented that ” If the facts are ultimately established, it would reveal that human life has no value to the men in Uniform. But awfully, the apex court never hauled up the Punjab administration under whose directions the killings were undertaken. Recently, the said S.P. and five policemen of Punjab police were held guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment by a Calcutta Sessions Court.

When the relatives of victims started approaching the High Court and Supreme Court for justice through human rights activists and lawyers and the policemen indicted for their extra-judicial killings, the Punjab police started targeting human rights activists. Many human rights activists and lawyers fighting police atrocities had to encounter numerous hazards and hardships and faced the wrath of the police as they were looked upon as subversive. First came the turn of Ajit Singh Bains, retired judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Chairman of the Punjab Human Rights Organization. His illegal arrest in April 1992 was not acknowledged for two days. Bains was manhandled, abused and publicly exhibited in handcuffs. Later, his arrest was formalised under TADA. The accusation was that Bains had taken part in a secret meeting of militant leaders, held at Anandpur on March 18, where they hatched a conspiracy to carry out “terrorist actions”. An inquiry later ordered by the High Court of Punjab established that Ajit Singh Bains’ name did not figure in the original First Information Report about the “illegal meeting”. However, the idea of arresting Bains was not to secure his conviction under the law, but to paralyse PHRO, and to demoralise other human rights groups with the example. Chief Minister Beant Singh told the State Legislative Assembly on April 6 that his government would not release Bains because his organisation was engaged “in defending terrorists”. He remained in jail for more than three months, only to be released without trial. Punjab government kept up the pressure on the PHRO by arresting Malwinder Singh Malli, General Secretary of the organisation, in August 1992. Some of the other prominent activists like Major-General Narinder Singh, Col. Partap Singh, had to suffer periodic arrests and detention for monitoring the cases of police highhandedness in the State. The police in fake encounter killed Atamjit Singh Mavi the son of Dr.Gurbachan Singh Mavi, a human rights activist on February 6, 1991. Avtar Singh Mander, a young journalist of a Punjabi daily,”Ajit” was abducted from his house in Jalandhar by a police party on September 23, 1992 and probably done to death. His whereabouts are still not known. Navkiran Singh, a leading lawyer and a known human rights activist, having the credit of getting more than a dozen police officers behind bars for their illegal actions was shot at in district courts,Chandigarh when he tried to prevent the police from re-arresting a sikh boy after his acquittal by the Sessions Judge Chandigarh in a TADA case. Fortunately for him, the policeman missed the shot and he had a narrow escape. But he was detained and badly beaten by the police. The police eliminated many other lawyers and human rights activists because they defended their clients in the court of law against the Punjab police. The police kidnapped Ranbir Singh Mansahia of Bhatinda on September 12, 1991. Jagwinder Singh alias Happy, a practising advocate of Kapurthala was also kidnapped by a party of Punjab police on September 25, 1992 from his house. The Punjab police then kidnapped Sukhwinder Singh Bhatti, another Advocate of Sangrur on May 12, 1994. All of them simply vanished in the air without any trace thereafter. Kulwant Singh Saini, a young advocate of Ropar, his wife and two years old child were detained in the Ropar Police Station on January 25, 1993 when he had gone to secure the release of a lady client. All the three were later tortured to death. According to eyewitnesses, Kulwant Singh was detained in CIA Staff, Ropar and badly tortured there by Head Constable Prithi Pal Singh and other police officials. He was tied upside down with an old tree in the CIA staff, and brutally tortured. He succumbed to injuries then and there. Later on his wife and a two years old child were similarly done to death only to destroy the evidence. Jaswant Singh Khalra, a well known human rights activist and the General Secretary of human rights wing of Shromani Akali Dal when started investigating into the matter of “forced disappearances” of Sikh youth and the disposing of their dead bodies in a clandestine manner to the notice of the Supreme Court, the wrath of Punjab police fell on him and he too was made to “disappear”. Would anybody ask the persons who appreciate the police for eliminating people who had taken to gun, that all the above lawyers and human rights activists were without any arms or suspicion of being terrorists, then why were they killed? Should those policemen who killed these peace loving and law abiding people be given amnesty from punishment?

Khalra was investigating into the report on the cremation of 25,000 unidentified bodies all over Punjab. He had collected clear evidences that in the districts of Amritsar and Gurdaspur alone, there were as many as 3000 such cases of youngmen, who were cremated as ‘unidentified terrorists’ without any information to their families. He was in the process of unearthing more facts and figures and making similar revelations regarding other districts as well. He had also collected evidence that around 2000 policemen in Punjab had been killed by the police itself for not co-operating in counter-terror operations. He had found that the police had burnt more than 1400 bodies in the cremation grounds of Amritsar, Patti and Taran Taran in only 1992 by stating that they were unclaimed or unidentified. He also disclosed in a press release that during the period Ist June, 1984 to the end of 1994 about 2000 bodies had been cremated as unclaimed in the cremation ground near Durgiana Mandir in Amritsar alone. He had for some time been receiving direct and indirect threats from the police officials of Amritsar district, particularly from Tarn Taran’s Senior Superintendent of Police Ajit Singh Sandhu. The later had warned that unless he stopped his involvement in the matter, he would also become an unidentified body. But he refused to take to flight, and stuck with his human rights work in his native region. On the morning of September 6, 1995, the armed commandos of Punjab police kidnapped Khalra from outside his house in Amritsar. A bench of the Supreme Court under Justice Kuldip Singh treated a telegram about the abduction, which it received from Gurcharan Singh Tohra, as a petition for the writ of habeas corpus and issued notice to the Punjab authorities. The S. P. Sukhdev Singh Chhina of Amritsar city filed affidavits to claim that Khalra was not wanted in connection with any case and that the police had not arrested him. Other officials also filed affidavits to maintain that the Punjab authorities were making all efforts to trace Khalra, contending at the same time that he might have become a victim of inter gang rivalries. SSP Sandhu of Tarn Taran also filed a statement to deny that he had ever threatened Khalra. Meanwhile, another bench of the Supreme Court under Justice Kuldip Singh was proceedings with the matter relating to Jaswant Singh Khalra’s abduction. On 15 November 95, Punjab’s Advocate-General M. L. Sareen suggested that the court should hand over the investigation of Khalra’s abduction and disappearance to the Central Bureau of Investigation. Accordingly, the court directed the CBI to appoint an investigation team under a responsible officer. On 30 July 1996, the CBI submitted its report on Khalra’s abduction and disappearance, holding nine officers of the Punjab police under SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu responsible. At the CBI’s request the court directed their prosecution on charges of conspiracy and “kidnapping with intent to secretly and wrongfully confine a person”. The court also directed the Chief Secretary of Punjab to sanction their prosecution within three weeks of the order. The Sanction Order dated 19 August 1996 elucidated the CBI’s findings that established the criminal conspiracy to abduct Jaswant Singh Khalra. The Sanction Order pointed out that on 24 October 1995, eighteen days after his abduction, Khalra was found illegally detained at Kang Police Station, along with another person namely Kikkar Singh who was also detained there illegally. The Sanction order mentioned that Kikkar Singh witnessed the injuries on Khalra’s body, the evidence of his custodial torture. It went on to say that Kikkar Singh helped Khalra to eat before he was taken away from the Kang police station, never to be seen again. Kikkar Singh’s illegal detention from 14 October to 11 November 1995, as elucidated in the Governor’s Sanction Order, was independently corroborated by an inquiry conducted by the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Chandigarh, which the High Court of Punjab and Haryana relied on to grant him monetary compensation. The evidence on record in the Governor’s Order of Sanction confirmed serious offences under sections 302, 364, 346, 330, 331 and 120 of IPC. However, the offenders were arrested only under section 365 of IPC which is “kidnapping with intent to secretly and wrongfully confine a person”, a woefully insufficient charge in the face of evidence which proved kidnapping with the intent to murder, illegal confinement, custodial torture and custodial murder. Subsequently, former Special Police Officer Kuldip Singh, who was attached to the Kang police station, told the CBI that Khalra was tortured and then shot dead in the night of 24 October 1995. His dead body was quartered and thrown in river Sutlej near Hari Ke Pattan. The court, which presumed Khalra to be still alive, when it ordered the prosecution of the officials on 30 July, knew none of these facts. On 7 August 1996, the court also directed the Punjab government to pay ten lakh rupees as interim compensation to Mrs. Khalra. The court’s order said: “The fact remains that the abductors are keeping Khalra away from his family since 6 September 1995. Kidnapping of a person whose family is totally in dark about his whereabouts – even about the fact whether he is alive or dead – is the worst crime against humanity. In the facts and circumstances of this, we direct the Punjab government through the Chief Secretary, Punjab to pay a sum of Rs. 10 lacs as interim compensation to Mrs. Paramjit Kaur, wife of Mr. Jaswant Singh Khalra. In case, the police officers are convicted the State of Punjab can recover the amount from the police officers…” The court had awarded interim compensation for the crime of disappearance, which it described as the worst crime against humanity. The court also took note of the allegations regarding police abductions, disappearances and illegal cremations, which Jaswant Singh Khalra had made in a press release dated 16 January 1995. In the 15 November 95 order instituting these inquiries, Justice Kuldip Singh observed: “In case it is found that the facts stated in the Press Note are correct – even partially – it would be a gory-tale of human rights violations. It is horrifying to visualize those dead bodies of larger number of persons – allegedly thousands – could be cremated by the police unceremoniously with a label “unidentified”. Our faith in democracy and rule of law assures us that nothing of the type can ever happen in this country but the allegations in the Press Note – horrendous as they are – need thorough investigation. We, therefore, direct the Director, Central Bureau of Investigation to appoint a high powered team to investigate into the facts contained in the press note dated January 16, 1995. We direct all the concerned authorities of the State of Punjab including the DGP to render all assistance to the CBI in the investigation… The CBI shall complete the investigation regarding kidnapping of Khalra within three months… So far as the second investigation is concerned we do not fix any time limit but direct the CBI to file interim reports… after every three months.” On 22 July 96, the CBI submitted an interim report that disclosed 984 illegal cremations at Tarn Taran. The CBI also asked the court to order registration of three separate criminal cases against the police officials in respect of three deaths in suspicious circumstances. The court ordered the CBI to register the cases. It also directed the investigative agency to issue a general notice to the public at large to assist in the inquiry. The court’s order dated 22 July 96 said:

“Since large number of dead bodies have been allegedly disposed of by the police it may be necessary to seek assistance from the public at large. We direct the CBI in the course of enquiry to issue a general direction to the public at large that if any person/authority/government office has any information/material which may be of any assistance to the CBI in the enquiry in this matter, the same shall be placed before the CBI. We direct Mr. P. S. Sandhu, DIG (Border) to hand over the entire relevant records to the CBI immediately.”

The Government boasted of restoring peace in Punjab. But there can be no getting away from the fact that only peace of the grave has been imposed on the State. Tacitup said of the Roman conquests: They make a desert and call it peace.” Security forces in Punjab committed mass incarceration and ‘disappearances’ and called it normalcy. There is a deep undercurrent of resentment and anguish against the kind of peace that has been ushered in. In this part of the country, there are thousands of grief-stricken parents whose young sons were dragged away by the police, never to be heard of thereafter. Mothers, sisters and wives of youngmen either whisked away or killed in cold blood, might have dried their eyes but they have not yet reconciled to the meticulously executed liquidation, under official patronage, of their dear ones.

Those who believe that this kind of peace can last are taking a myopic view. In a longer perspective, the problem may aggravate on a more colossal scale and may assume more disastrous form. It would be a folly to believe that the Sikhs can be put down by brute force.

Tumne Jisko Katl Karke Chheen Lee Thi Jaydad

Zalimon Us Shaksh Kke Bacchhe Sayaane Ho Gaye !

(Beware, the children of those persons have grown young,

whose property you had seized after killing them)

CHAPTER FOUR

WOUNDS STILL BLEED

A cursory glance over the policies and administration of the SAD-BJP Government in Punjab during the four years of its mis-rule, will convince everybody that the Badal-SAD govt. is another regime that could prove every bit as monstrous. There seems to be no difference between the Congress Govt. of Beant Singh and the present SAD-BJP Govt. led by Parkash Singh Badal except that one Chief Minister wore black glasses and the other simple. Both the governments have proved themselves to be anti-people, anti-human rights and a government promoting own family interests. With a record number of scams, scandals and cases of rampant corruption in the administration and even at ministerial level and first ever situation of total bankruptcy in the state, Parkash Singh Badal has exposed his intentions and backed out from the pre-poll promises made with the people. There came out to be a long gap between performance and promise. The Akali Dal manifesto had promised that it would give Punjab a corruption free regime, a good government, all round development and would hold an impartial high level probe into the decade long violence. But after the elections, they bade goodbye to all these promises. Tragic indeed, People were once again befooled, but this time by their own men. Badal’s pre-poll promises and whimsical style of functioning after becoming the Chief Minister, has alienated the faith of the people in the system. The tale of blunders committed by the Punjab govt. in the last four years is a case of total betrayal. Even the repeated warning of “Perform or perish” given by the people in the form of volatile mandate against the Badal Govt. in assembly election in Adampur in 1998 and Parliamentary elections in 1999 could not bring him closer to reality. It would not be gainsaying the fact that the coming years may bring another turmoil in the State and the everlasting downfall of the Shromani Akali Dal and the  Badal family. The gains made by them at the beginning of their rule got frittered away towards the close of their regime.

Before coming to power, the same person sitting on the throne, was shouting loud and high that if voted to power, he would certainly fulfill the genuine demands of the people. The demands and grievances as put up by the Shromani Akali Dal were the immediate transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab, the inclusion of Punjab-speaking areas left outside into the state, settlement of Punjab’s claims on river waters, high level probe into the decade long violence in the State, exemplary punishment to the guilty of 1984 carnage and a just and judicious solution to the other problems being faced by the people. These demands and grievances had formed the foundation of political speeches in the pre-election period. But after the elections, neither the Shromani Akali Dal nor its President thought it fair to even make a passing reference to these issues. Isn’t it highly unfair to maintain stoic silence on such burning issues and raking up other irrelevant issues.

On the basis of pre-poll promise to end the police raj, withdrawal of cases and release of all TADA detainees and political prisoners languishing in jails, holding inquiry into the cause and effect of violence in the State, punishing the guilty police officials and a government free from corruption, the Sharomani Akali Dal bagged over-whelming majority in 1997. People reposed confidence in them and hoped for a better future for the state. But pretty soon, these politicians forgot everything. “Bury the past’, ‘pay for the favor’ and ‘get my kin on the post’ became their favorite slogan. Instead of withdrawing TADA cases against all the political prisoners, only 31 politicians including the Chief Minister himself and former SGPC President, Gurcharan Singh Tohra were rewarded with withdrawal of their cases in March 1997, much to the disenchantment of hundreds of poor prisoners. Many political prisoners are languishing in jails even today, belying the chief minister’s statement that only 20 to 30 TADA detainees are left in jail. The cause of human rights has been kept at the back seat since the day Mr.Parkash Singh Badal took over the reigns of the State, while tainted police officers toil with crisis of their own creation. The Chief Minister even went out of his way to express his satisfaction over the unlawful activities of the cruel men of his force and not only exonerated all policemen responsible for killing hundreds of innocent Sikh youth in false police encounters, summary executions and even made them dis-appear for ever, but also assured them financial and moral support in their court cases. He even tried his best to protect the ‘killer cops’ by sitting over the requests for sanction to prosecute the guilty police officials. In one such case, the Chief Minister withheld the sanction order of the prosecution of a sacked SP Balkar Singh, and four other policemen found responsible by the CBI for the extra-judicial killing of Jaswant Singh alias Jassa of Kaleke Village who was kidnapped from his residence by the police on November 8,1992 and shown killed in a fake encounter on November 16,1992. Similarly, the State government created a flutter when it ordered the reinstatement of a sacked DSP in 1998 who carried the burden of many CBI inquiries on his shoulders. He was even found responsible for killing many persons in fake encounters by the CBI Reacting to the demand of the masses and various human rights organisations, he stirred a hornets’ nest by chanting the slogan of “forget the past”. This disenchant mantra evoked strong protest from every corner. Agitation and mass movement was built to force the party to fulfill pre-poll promises made by it. But not even a single policeman in Punjab has been brought to book during the long spell of four years of Akali rule. This soft stance of Badal encouraged the ruthless Punjab policemen to continue with their  onrush of atrocities on poor people, resulting in more than ninety custodial deaths since 1997.

The demand for a judicial commission to inquire into the cause and effect of decade long violence in the State was met with cold face. There was no intention to scratch the wounds and open a new deadly front, but to establish where and how the political masters went wrong and what steps would be required so that those gory days do not return. But what one hears now is that the judicial probe would open floodgates of litigation and would harm the hard won peace and expose the corruption among the political class. Another face of corruption has come up with more freshness. This time in the name of party donations or the like. As was in the past, even today, every post from a peon to the managing director of a Public Sector Undertaking is saleable. Pay the price and get the work done, is what one notices overtly in Punjab government offices. While the ministers are minting money for even slightest of favor to the people, the State is reeling under serious financial crunch. It was perhaps, for the first time in history that the State exchequer became empty and bankruptcy was declared in the State in December 1998. This grim fiscal scenario badly affected the wheels of development in the State. So tight is the situation that the Govt. does not have money even to pay salaries to its employees and funds for running essential services like transport, education and medical services. Among the many reasons for this state of bankruptcy as explained by the experts are, slow infrastructure development, increasing direct and indirect subsidies to many sectors, falling rate of growth of tax and non-tax revenues and abolition of important local taxes in order to please the business class. The employees did not get their salaries for months, state transport buses failed to come on road due to non-availability of oil, Schools came on the brink of closure with teachers without salaries and buildings in dilapidated condition, pensioners crying for their pension. Even the High Court of Punjab & Haryana made it clear that a total restrain order on the payment of salary to the employees of higher strata would be passed unless the State govt. pays salary to its Class IV employees. Inspite of this crisis, it was informed by Finance Minister in the Vidhan Sabha that a total sum of Rs.12 crore is incurred every month for maintaining the vehicular and security needs of the Ministers and MLA’s. On account of State’s failure to pay salary to its employees and creditors for many months, the state govt. found itself in a quandary with many govt. buildings and moveable properties brought under court attachment. The MARKFED, Punjab even decided to mortgage their building in order to clear off their debts. Inspite of Court’s order for one car-one officer policy, every corporation and department of the State still keeps more than four cars putting heavy burden on the State exchequer. The Cavalcade of the Chief Minister, himself included about a hundred govt. cars in the general elections in 1999 during election rallies at Faridkot in support of his son Sukhbir Badal. The expenses incurred by his loyalists on their travelling can be well imagined.

Kith and kin of the Chief Minister and his favorite Akali leaders found special favor from the government for pocketing various political posts. The trend was set into motion by the Chief Minister himself when he succeeded in inducting his son Sukhbir Badal as Industries Minister in the Centre in 1997, followed by his nephew Manpreet Badal, as MLA and recently his son-in law Adesh Partap Singh Kairon as Cabinet Minister in his ministry. His brothers-in-law Gurpreet Singh and Inderjit Singh were made Sarpanches of two panchayats after carving out a new panchayat named Bhai Harjoginder Nagar. Toeing the path, Mr.Sikander Singh Malooka, a Cabinet Minister got his son Gurpreet Singh, Balwinder Singh Bhunder, an M.P. got his son Balraj Singh Bhunder ,Baldev Singh Khaiala, a Cabinet Minister got his son Nirmal Singh Khaiala inducted as directors of Central Co-operative Banks. Senior Akali leader Jagdev Singh Talwandi got his son Ranjit Singh as Chairman of Punjab Mandi Board, which he continued to occupy even after his conviction for life in a murder case. Even the younger son of Jagdev Singh Talwandi was gifted with Chairmanship of another corporation. Dissention started brewing within the party for distribution of all political posts to the near and dear ones of the Chief Minister. In 1998 even Harsimrat Kaur, the daughter-in-law of Chief Minister, and wife of Sukhbir Badal, created a flutter in administrative circles in Faridkot, when she summoned and misbehaved with deputy commissioner and other senior police officials. According to media reports, Badal’s putra-moh was one of the reason for the miserable defeat of SAD in the parliamentary elections in 1999.

The routing of Shromani Akali Dal in 1999 parliament elections owes to a considerable extent to its promises of free electricity and water to the farmers. So many years after the Green Revolution, the leaders do not seem to have fathomed the reality that the rural electorate is no longer impoverished. The farmer is mature enough-to regard freebies with suspicion. What he wants is not free service but reliable service. He has the capacity to pay, but he knows of the government’s inability to provide uninterrupted power supply. The people have now clearly voted against the pauperization of the State, which was once the example of progress.

Political interference in religious matters of the Sikh community by the Akalis witnessed many unpleasant happenings in the last three years. Because of the undue interference and meddling into the religious affairs, Punjab today shows symptoms of religio-political schizophrenia. In its fight to become supreme, the Chief Minister got his first opponent Gurcharan Singh Tohra removed from the Presidentship of Shromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee followed by the sacking of Bhai Ranjit Singh, the daring Jathedar of Akal Takht on April 28,1998 and installation of Giani Puran Singh as the new Jathedar on February 15,1999. These events infuriated not only the two leaders, but also the entire Sikh community, who took it as an attack on their religious freedom and saw a traitor in Badal. This development ultimately led to the un-precedented loss of vote bank of Akalis in the rural areas. Gurcharan Singh Tohra had rightly warned Mr.Badal of revolt from within if he continued with his policy of self-interest. After routing almost all the Parliament seats in the General elections in 1999, Mr.Badal or his loyalists may blame Tohra or Bhai Ranjit Singh for their defeat, but for the masses, it was a fatwa against unwarranted interference by politicians in their religious affairs. Lowering the sanctity and respect of the highest temporal Institutions by installing Bibi Jagir Kaur and Bhai Puran Singh as the President of S.G.P.C. and Akal Takht respectively in a most obtrusive manner, raking a controversy during the ter-centenary celebrations of the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib in April, 1999 by dividing the Sant Samaj, also evoked strong public resentment. More than a hundred crore rupees have allegedly gone down the drain and ostensibly distributed among the corrupt politicians and religious leaders for bringing a new life to Anandpur Sahib. What good all this tantara did to the people, is any body’s guess. Putting Baba Darshan Singh of Dhakki Sahib Dera in Distt.Ludhiana in jail for months and the failure of the State Govt. in arresting the accused persons who set the dera on fire in December, 1999 gave a blow to the reputation of Shromani Akali Dal.

Trapped in a precarious debt, hundreds of farmers committed suicide across the state, leaving a trail of destruction and suffering. The spade of suicides and hapless farmers tell their own tales. A recent study based on the detailed investigations conducted by social scientists, into the circumstances leading the poor farmers to commit suicide in Punjab, tells a disturbing story. During their investigation stretched upto twelve villages in Sangrur and related belt, it was found that of the 80 farmers who committed suicide, 62.5 % were cultivators, 31.25% were agricultural laborers and rest 5.25 % were engaged in non-agricultural occupation. A majority of farmers were small landless agriculturists who could not even pay off the lease money to the landowners and the bank loans due to less crop produce and insignificant price of the produced crop. Ironically, the State Govt. did not even think of giving a relief package as a gesture to console the bereaved families. Instead, the policy of the govt. in levying huge taxes, octroi and increase in the price of the fertilizers, diesel and other items virtually broke the back of the farmers. The policies of the State Govt. including that of free electricity to agriculture sector, benefited only big landlords and proved to be a curse for the small agriculturist. The common man is the worst sufferer with ever increasing bus fares, black-marketing of essential commodities and rampant corruption at every level of the government badly affecting their right to life. Today, Govt. jobs are available at a price and transfer and promotions have become a source of income for the Ministers and even the kith and kin of the Chief Minister. From a Village Patwari to a Minister of cabinet rank in Punjab Govt. and even the Chief Minister, his son and wife have been accused of amassing huge wealth through unfair means. The agenda of the SAD promising a corruption free-government seems to have been thrown out since long by the very persons who shouted for it every now and then. Every govt. servant today, blames the system in which a subordinate pays bribe for getting a job and demands bribe in return. No body appears to be accountable and interested in pondering for a moment over the question that, what’s the fault of a common man seeking justice ?

The level of education in government institutions has reached rock bottom level with no funds for appointing qualified teachers, improving the infrastructure and constructing school buildings. Contrary to the tall claim of the Chief Minister for repairing more than three hundred dilapidated school buildings, the State Education Secretary has submitted in the Punjab State Human Rights Commission during the hearing of a complaint, that more than five hundred and eighty five school buildings have been declared unsafe and at present more than two thousand vacancies of teachers, head masters and other staff remain to be filled in govt. schools. Inspite of so many vacancies, thousands of ad-hoc teachers have been made jobless by the Punjab govt. which infuriated them and one teacher even took his life during the three month long agitation in Chandigarh. The decision of Punjab govt. in de-recognizing registered medical practitioners also evoked great public outcry and agitation. The problem of un-employment would have been easily overcome by employing qualified teachers in govt. schools where vacancies already exist, but the State govt. appears to be more interested in becoming a part of the problem rather than finding a solution.

The Punjab State Human Rights Commission constituted by the State govt. also failed to justify its purpose. It has completely failed to make its presence felt in the minds of the wrongdoer. The lackadaisical and indifferent approach of the Judges of the Commission towards complaints of human rights violations has made its working non-existent. This kind of attitude is not surprising from a breed of people who had no previous record or concern for the numerous lives and gross violations of human rights in the decade long violence. Because it always accepts the police version as a gospel truth, many cases of custodial deaths were simply dismissed for lack of evidence. There has been no change in the law and order situation in the State. Roaming in a public place with yellow turban and flying beard is seen with suspicion even today. There is no change in the attitude of the Punjab police towards the Sikhs. About two hundred youth have been falsely implicated in militancy-related crimes since 1997. This statement is corroborated by the report of Additional Director General of Police, Punjab attached with the Punjab State Human Rights Commission. The then D.G.P. of Punjab police, Mr.P.C.Dogra had publicly held that all the human rights activists and persons highlighting police atrocities are anti-nationals. He ordered many innocent people to be implicated in the case of attempt to kill VIP in the State. Even today, newspapers prominently quote police officers claiming to have busted a suicide gang of militants attempting to kill the Chief Minister or other VIP’s and show recovery of huge quantity of RDX and other explosives. Verification of police stories by different human rights groups have proved it to be palpably false and figment of imagination and total failure of control over corrupt police force in the State. Mr. P.C. Dogra even went to the extent of claiming that certain terrorists groups had planned to put cyanide in the water supply in the State, without realizing that Cyanide when mixed into water becomes harmless. While the Chief Minister aptly visits the house of every soldier of Punjab killed in the Kargil conflict in Kashmir, he has no time to console the bereaved families of innocent people killed in police custody or false encounters. His govt. has to cough out at least fifty lacs rupees in compliance of the orders of National Human Rights Commission for killing or torturing innocent citizens in police custody. Ironically, the murder of justice saw no bounds in this land of saints, still no member of the jumbo ministry of Shromani Akali Dal-BJP, is moved at the colossal loss of numerous lives in the State.

Mis-use of official machinery during Parliamentary elections in the State broke records of even Beant Singh govt. Perhaps, it was also the reason why the people rejected the Shromani Akali Dal during every subsequent election in the State. The popular resentment against the ruling elite was so intense ! Looking at the overall administration of the Akali govt. in the last four years, it is clear that more than any other issue, the basic issues of governance, unprecedented corruption, general deterioration in the law and order situation, misplaced priorities etc prompted people to register their protest against the way the business of power is being managed by Badal family. The police acts of omission and commission are glaring. This has exposed the government before the discerning citizenry. People these days hate to be taken for granted. Nor do they wish to be driven by emotional slogans of “congress-the murderer of Sikhs”. The people want a corruption free government, a government which would seriously do something to heal their wounds by bringing to book the police officers responsible for killing their near and dear ones. Releasing all innocent people detained under TADA for long, adoption of people-friendly policies and giving a transparent governance are the burning questions which have escaped the government’s notice. Mind it, these items do not fall in the govt.’s agenda for the moment ! The explanation of Mr.Badal after his tragic defeat in parliamentary elections in 1999 that “people had more expectations from his government” is a statement born out of desperation. His claim of a government with a “mission” and “vision” has proved to be an illusion. Viewing the achievements of the government during the last four years, one could aptly hold that the promotion of self-interest is the ultimate mission of the Shromani Akali Dal. Grab as much money as one can and prevent every person from speaking against the wrong policies of the govt. The opaque functioning of the government has failed to provide a ‘clean’, ‘responsive’ and ‘transparent administration’ in which ‘corruption’ has taken stronger roots and accountability is nowhere to be found. The battered image of the present government has given a clear message that the people are no longer vulnerable to gimcrackery. Every Punjabi today feel let down by the failures in every organ of administration. Mr.Badal is grossly misinformed that his guide viz.. Atal Bihari Vajyapee and L.K.Advani would stand by him in the hour of crisis. He must remember that nobody would be able to sail him out of this critical situation for which he alone is responsible and the people of the State are today prepared to write the obituary of Shromani Akali Dal in the coming elections at the cost of peace and prosperity in the State. Now the real threat, which the present government faces, is not from the rebels but from its inherent weaknesses and inability to deliver the goods as promised. The State government may beat the drum of crusade for peace, secularism, social justice and development, but the time will tell whether the people still want to be befooled.

CHAPTER FIVE

JUSTICE AT CROSSROADS

“All great truths begin as blasphemies”.              – Bernard Shaw

Since independence Indian Judicial system has been inflicted with many ills amongst which insensitivity, arbitrariness, judicial delays and corrupt practices have assumed alarming proportions. A growing concern for our justice system is that most of the ills are largely exotic, much too expensive and oriented on methods and goals where the suppressed and the oppressed, are below the visibility line of the law-in-action and does not attract the attention of the judges. More than two million cases pending across the country and judges behaving in a most callous fashion have brought the institution to disrepute. We have truly come to a sorry pass when people feel that judiciary today has become a tool in the hands of the rich and the influential. In this depressing scenario, if still the people opts to knock at the doors of the ‘so-called temple of justice’, it is only a compulsion, not a choice. The Court meant to dispense justice has become so irresponsive that it does not hear the wails of hundred and thousands of poor and hapless victims of judicial injustice. For nearly a decade now; the Judiciary has been embroiled in the controversy regarding its role of checking human rights abuses and doing justice to the victims of State repression in Punjab.

The role of Indian Judiciary in matters of human rights have always remained on the back seat, with few exceptions like Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer, Justice B.N. Bhagwati and the men of their ilk. A reading of the morning newspaper almost everyday carrying reports of dehumanizing torture, forced disappearances and so-called encounters is indeed depressing. The increasing incidents of fake encounters have assumed such alarming proportion that it seems that there is no Rule of Law and no court is able to check such gross abuse of human rights of the people. This casual approach and inaction of the Indian judiciary affected the credibility of criminal justice system. The community rightly feels perturbed. Society’s cry for justice has become louder.

Fake encounters, inhuman torture and making any innocent person ‘disappear’ strikes a bodyblow at the Rule of Law which demands that the powers of the executive should not only be derived from law but also that the same should be limited by law. It is aggravated by the fact that it is committed by the persons who are supposed to be the protectors of the citizens. Crimes of heinous nature are committed in Punjab under the shield of uniform and authority in the four walls of a police station, the victim being totally helpless. No judge or lawyer ever cared to ensure compliance of various judgements of Supreme Court in ensuring human rights to the hundred and thousands of undertrials languishing in jail without trials, victims of police and prison torture and numerous people killed in police custody, communal and political riots, although much has been said on the subject. Sensitivity of the judges has sunk to an abysmal low, and all they could do is ruthlessly ensure that the laws on statute books, as far as its applicability in Punjab is concerned, are kept in storehouse. Pretty soon, the lower magistracy and civil administration were toeing their line. It would not be gainsaying the fact that the judiciary in Punjab appeared to have closed its eyes at the police atrocities which has subverted the process of law. It behaved in the manner unexpected of the trustworthiest organ of Justice delivery system. None has the courage to ask a Policeman “Could you justify behaving in the same manner as the criminals do?” If it were true that the Judges in Punjab acted under fear of militants, it is also not false that the Police had more “control” over Judiciary while dealing with the Sikhs. Law those days was not the same for both Sikhs and the Police. It may be partisan to either of the two, but the constitutional guarantees of the people were blown to winds. A pointer case, which could well explain the mindset of the Lower judiciary those days, is of a Sikh Youth of Morinda in Distt. Ropar named Parminder Singh alias “Heera” who was picked up by Chandigarh Police in 1993 under the instructions of the then Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr. Sumedh Saini, and subjected to inhuman third degree torture during a week long illegal detention. He was produced before the Court of Judicial Magistrate at Chandigarh for a 10 day Police remand, while his face was seriously injured with blood oozing out of every part of his body and eye lids badly scratched and he was crying with pain, but the Magistrate who seemed to have “prior information” about the accused, remanded him to Police custody for a week without affording him any medical treatment or legal aid. Such was the pressure on the Judge that not even a minute was spared for calling a lawyer. The Courts routinely used to give Police remand of the suspects termed as “terrorist” without any justification or procedure of law. However, claiming fairness, the State agencies do not deny this allegation, but lay their hand on a different situation where the Judge preferred to take leave than to give police remand to the hardcore militants produced before them after receiving threatening calls.

This indifferent attitude of the judiciary in Punjab, is mainly responsible for eroding the faith of the masses in judicial integrity leading to a big credibility gap in the wisdom, impartiality, honor and truthfulness of their findings. If a judge was wrong in favoring the militant produced before him, what is to be said of a judge who failed to appreciate overwhelming evidence of police excesses, still condoning it for inexplicit reasons? Who failed to administer justice according to the laws of the land for over a decade in terrorist-related cases? It is really a sad question haunting every justice loving person. Why our Judges have become so perverse minded towards the genuine grievances of the victims and occasionally tilts the balance in favor of the wrongdoer breeding contempt for law ? In this exercise, the institution completely succumbed to the police pressure mainly due to their selfish appetites, opposing have-nots and abetting massive injustices salving his conscience by some dubious or untenable sophistic precedent, which has put us all to shame. The judicial institution is completely under the grip of legal chaos and jurisprudential failure. Human rights have not been given the right meaning and place in the administration of justice. Injustice is writ large. The judiciary has consistently failed to ensure that proper investigations–a pre-requisite for bringing the criminal to justice-are held in cases of fake encounters. The result is that very few policemen were brought to justice for their acts of cruelty. The government and the bureaucracy also did nothing or very little to arraign the guilty. If the brutality had not attracted much attention, it was ignored. During the year 1990-96 as many as 2367 writ petitions seeking CBI inquiry into the disappearance or killing of Sikh Youth in false police encounters by the Punjab police were dismissed in limine by the Punjab & Haryana High Court on flimsy grounds. If the matter had drawn media attention, the least the court could do was to order a judicial or CBI inquiry. Yet, no inquiry made any difference to the victim’s family. Nor did it restrain the police from repeating the act.

Judges even today adopt a hostile attitude against the litigants. To them every case poses a cold question of law. It is a period when there is a lawyer sans justice, a judge sans humanism and a humanist sans philosophy. The courts believe in camouflaging opinions with silky platitudes. They fail to understand that a judge has an activist role to play. They do not have to merely hear the case but have to activate the flow of justice.

Can anybody tell, why any institution failed to take cognizance of the first ever invasion by Indian Army into the highest religious temple of Sikh community in Amritsar and committing murder, rape, plundering the wealth of the Sikhs and looting more than 25,000 innocent pilgrims in June, 1984? It was felt that the Indian judiciary had become completely oblivious to the unprecedented bloodshed and not even a single judge across the country found the courage to condemn such barbaric act and take judicial notice of such inhuman and heinous crime against humanity, or it had adopted ‘could not careless’ attitude justifying all that was happening in Punjab on the orders of the Central Government ? If any of the above circumstance were correct, then it is indeed a matter which every body concerned with the institution must feel ashamed of. It has raised serious questions on the integrity and competence of the judiciary. Justice Jagannath Shetty of the Supreme Court even went to the extent of observing in his concurring judgement in the matter of assassination of Indira Gandhi. He wrote:

“The Blue Star Operation was not directed to cause damage to Akal Takht. Nor it was intended to hurt the religious feelings of Sikhs. The decision was taken by the responsible and responsive government in the national interest.”

The mass genocide of Sikhs in Delhi and other parts of the country in November, 1984 after the assassination of the Prime Minister also failed to move the judges of our land. While Sikhs were running for their lives and mobs chasing every turban clad person like a cat running after the mouse, no judge thought it fit to use his good offices to prevent further loss of lives. Where were Justice Ranganath Mishra or Justice G.T. Nanavati or all other judges on November 1, 1984 when the whole city of Delhi was burning and thousands of Sikhs were being massacred in a grisly fashion? They did not do anything when they could have done everything because of their position. Still we people expect everything from these insensitive and stone heart judges? What good they would do after sixteen years of the tragedy is anybody’s guess. Only people having respect for human rights like the legend of constitutional freedom and a true humanist, Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer are competent and really willing to do something. It was only he who had the courage to say that,

“When the history of Human Rights in India for half century comes to be written the most blood-stained pages will be reserved for the three deadly November days in the life of the nation….. Where is law ? Where is justice? What is the truth ? Lying dead in the streets of Delhi’s democracy ? Where are the guilty? Untouchable and unapproachable in high offices ? How can the highest in the executive and members of the Supreme Court ever command the confidence of those who have concern for fundamental freedoms when mass casualty of human lives and rights remain a poignant interrogation?”

The decision of Supreme Court in sentencing Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh to death, for killing and abetting the murder of Smt. Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India, shocked the nation’s conscience. If the Supreme Court had unabashedly taken pride in the sickening executions, the majority of people had taken it with undisguised glee. The judgment of this type has completely exposed the mindset of the judges and their venomous outbursts made in the judgment have wounded the entire Sikh nation. What invests the entire sordid situation with macabre irony is the fact that Kehar Singh was neither guilty of the murder, nor the conspiracy. He simply happened to be known to Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, that’s why Kehar Singh could not withstand the gross injustice of awarding death sentence. Mammu Singh, popularly known as Mammu Jallad (Executioner), who conducted the hangings of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, made a heart touching revelation during an interview. While recalling the events of the day of hanging, he said, “both Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh were brought in together. While Satwant Singh had no expression on his face as he stood motionless, waiting for the inevitable, Kehar Singh was too depressing. He collapsed there. He pleaded to be allowed to speak to Satwant but the request was turned down.” When some innocent is hanged for no fault, remorse and depression is inevitable. Perhaps, Kehar Singh who had nothing to do with the assassination was in the same state. One important aspect ignored by the apex court while applauding Operation Blue Star, and to condemn the assassins of Indira Gandhi to death, was that every person who resisted army’s entry into the Golden Temple Complex was acting in self defence guaranteed under section 96,97,98 and 100 of Indian Penal Code which confer on every person, a right to defend his body and property or body and property of any other person. Section 96 clearly lays down that nothing is an offence which is done in the exercise of the right of private defence. Court failed to deal with the case in a realistic manner and with the leniency that the two accused deserved. It was indeed a sad day. This grossly biased manner of dispensing justice by the highest court of law recalls similar mistakes done by it in the past, that brings the murder of justice to fore. To many, the two were given such extreme punishment only because they were Sikhs. If one day, the other judges sit over the judgment of the apex court and hold the judgment to be erroneous, can anybody undo the wrong done to Kehar Singh? Can anybody return his life, much less the present Supreme Court Judges? By no means, the judiciary in the country can be allowed to stay away from a set judicial precedent which lays down standards for awarding death sentence only because the accused belonged to a particular minority community. If the Court is right in holding that, ‘the accused committed the murder of the most honorable leader of the country, Mrs. Indira Gandhi’, and termed it as a rarest of rare case demanding death penalty, then why accused in the 1984 Delhi Riots case were treated differently? What different crime Kishori, a convict who burnt to death four innocent persons on November 1, 1984, had committed? But Kishori’s act, according to the apex court was not so heinous and inhuman, as to justify death sentence. May I ask My Lords, Why ? Simply because Kishori had killed the Sikhs and Satwant Singh’s victim was a Hindu ? Was the life of a Prime Minister costlier for the nation than the four innocent persons of minority community who fell victim to the madness of a hindu fanatic ? Does life of two different persons has different meaning in the eyes of Supreme Court ? The answer to these questions must be an emphatic “No”.

The approach of the judiciary since long is a story of wobbling. Their role as sharp instrument to suppress or retard the justice due to the people, changed. Instead of standing as a bulwark of democracy against the unconstrained depredations of the security forces, the judges sacrificed their ethics and compromised with the corrupt system. At this time, the actions-or the failure to act-of every other branch of government demonstrated their abject surrender before police might. Their focus on self and flexible rules justifying the extra-legal actions of the Punjab police, their malpractice absolved by the judicial hierarchy, their apathy towards the wails of victims have won notoriety for the calling. Few judges who dared to talk of the law found themselves target of a sustained and vicious campaign of calumny, of institutional hostility and state indifference. The Judges who indicted policemen for committing excesses and convicting them in accordance with the established principles of law were sidelined and ignored from being elevated to the High Court. Most of these judges were Sikhs and their confidential reports were spoiled with adverse remarks by the Intelligence agencies for having soft eye towards the militants. The ultimate irony is that the instrument and institution of upholding the law was arrayed against the very people who respected them the most. In the bargain, the law itself and the legal process had fallen into disgrace. The suspects were being denied even the basic minimum of an impartial investigation and competent defence. There was a consistent failure on the part of the higher judiciary to ask the basic question from the lower magistracy as to the undeclared submission to the police might. But who cares for the right? The existing legal system has reached a breaking point, not because as many seems to think, of delayed procedure and out-dated laws-that is a problem which can be solved-but because the system proved itself incapable of delivering the goods, and also of doing justice under fear or favor of the police force.

The real question which arises is that will our judiciary gag with contempt writ any effort to scan the orders and judgments of the High Court and Supreme Court ? The dead silence maintained by the Courts in the matter of State repression is unfortunate. It is a pity that we have somewhat sick judiciary with a serious disease, more serious than the cancer. It remained unfazed by the increasing frequency and variety of custodial violence. The crisis in the judicial system, the collapse of values in this organ of justice, the inner tension “red in tooth and claw”, the corruption that makes for sensual indulgences, the barbarities that harden the innocent and never heal them-all these processes should be reviewed and humanization resorted if, only if, our philosophy towards crime and punishment change. If vengeance is the spirit of punishment, violence will be the society’s way of life.

It has to be admitted frankly and fairly that there has been erosion of faith in the dignity of the court and in the majesty of law. Today many suffer from remediless evils which Courts are incompetent to deal with. Justice cried in silence for long, for too long. The procedural wrangle had completely eroded the faith of the common man in our justice system. It is a criticism which every objective thinker must make, if the damage control measures are to be adopted. The maladies of the system in search of urgent remedies are many and and one will be a dope to hope that by tinkering with law, courts and lawyers, all will be well. The practice of law faces a moral, nay, spiritual crisis, and problems abound which threaten to break up its integrity, dignity and authority. We mean, the attitude of the judges in throwing away the case files and even sentencing frustrated and distressed litigants and lawyers for contempt without affording ‘right of defence”. If the judges continued conducting themselves in this manner any more, they will hold people’s justice to ransom, and their effectiveness thrashed to ground. Every body is realizing that standards of conduct of the judiciary have collapsed. Professional mal practices, overseen by peers, flourished and disciplinary action never proved a deterrent. The Courts scared away people and the severest sentence for them was not death penalty, but the deathless litigation preceding the case. To be truthful, the real villain is not the individual judge but the whole decrepit, petrified, amoral and value-neutral system-a fallout of long judicial callousness. It is in this perspective that the instrumentality in which they work needs overhauling, restructuring and democratizing. A stern audit of every judge’s conduct is an urgent desideratum. If he remained unconcerned when human injustices of blatant breaches are committed or are afraid to intervene browbeaten by police power, he has betrayed the trust and deserves right action. Precisely this happened in Punjab in the earlier days. Independence of judiciary was seen by many judicial officers as a professional luxury, rather than a necessary insulation. Uncontrolled by various viral and immunization from executive and police authority, the monopoly conferred upon them was stultified . It has been rightly said that   ” where judiciary is partisan, there tyranny is unbridled. Tyranny cannot be reformed. It must be abolished.”

We know that, with all our unpleasant criticisms and heretical proposals, there is a good case against us for blaspheme.

The system has been so disgraced by a decline and fall in social conscience, self-above-service ethics unprincipled and ill-prepared judgement and stoop-to-conquer tactics. The beginning of the end is in sight and the time to arrest the rot has come. More, the institution is rapidly loosing its esteem because it has recklessly abused its monopoly. Words like ethics, values and principles ceased to have even the minimum meaning they possessed in the fast degenerating society. There is evidently a sad decline in standards of our judges. There are no instances when the judges lashed out collectively against grave judicial misconduct or battle against the odds which mis-ruled the erring magistracy. When did Indian judiciary showed demonstrative concern against arrogance and arbitrariness of the Bench, handpicked partiality and vicarious nepotism, with close relatives of the judges becoming alleged beneficiaries? When did the institution shake itself up when human rights of the people suffer homicide and trust of the victims suffer irreparable loss?

In a democratic country, the conduct of every arm of government, every wing of the state, must be subject to review. And yet, the conduct of the judiciary throughout the years of repression in Punjab has completely escaped examination.

The situation in Punjab during the period 1984-1995 was the worst period of bloodshed in this century. If the State government and the security forces were to be blamed for subverting the process of law and eliminating hundred and thousands of innocent people in fake encounters, forced disappearances and summary executions, the State judiciary was equally responsible for abdication of duty. The Courts completely lost sight of the fact that death in police custody is perhaps one of the worst crimes in a civilized society governed by the rule of law and poses a serious threat to an orderly-civilized society. It flouts the basic right to life of the citizen and is an affront to human dignity. It has undoubtedly tarnished the image of Indian judiciary and encouraged the men in “Khaki” to consider themselves to be above the law and sometimes even to become law unto themselves. Failure to take any punitive measure, shook the foundations of the criminal justice system and civilization itself risked the consequences of heading towards perishing. Though the framers of the constitution did make a demarcation of powers and functions between the three organs, the distinction was never adhered to. The saner element in the judicial circle has by now realized that the judiciary those days used to behave, as Justice Staple once observed, ‘like mice squeaking under the home minister’s chair.’ Consequently, at times the judiciary had been found accusing the Punjab police of intruding into its domain. The PCS Officers association even came on record by mentioning in its memorandum to the Governor of Punjab in August, 1993 that, ” the magistrates were repeatedly approached by the people highlighting the blatant atrocities committed against the innocent just to extort money. Whenever they tried to intervene, they were snubbed and the complainants were brutally dealt with by the Police, as a result of which people became so terrified that even the Khula Darbar (Open Court) of the Governors could not attract any complaint against Police atrocities. It needs to be enquired how the people’s complaints against police were silenced and steps to be taken for redressal of grievances against the police were thwarted. But it’s also a fact, that a most unfair degree of “free hand’ was granted to the police by every organ of administration and even by the judiciary which gave unquestionable power to them and assured them immunity to even judicial accountability. To put it more bluntly, an impression was gaining ground that every act of barbarity done by the police in Punjab had the approval of the judiciary. It would not be gainsaying the fact that the judiciary had submitted itself to the will of the police perhaps in assisting them to ‘fight terrorism’. In propagating this policy, they allowed such arbitrary and discriminatory immunity to the police especially as it mitigates against the Criminal Procedure Code which does not provide special immunity to them against custodial crime. There was a rising annoyance against the judges who justified the police action of ‘summary execution’ of innocent Sikhs. None among the thousands of judges protested at this uncivilized practice of their superiors.

It was a period when the state was run by the gun and not by the law. The lives of the people were in danger and the fundamental rights  put in abeyance. Nobody knew as to when and where he would fall to the bullets of militants or the police. Any body picked up by the police was treated as ‘missing’ forever. Even the police while taking a suspect with them, used to tell the relatives to perform the last rites of the victim. There was no remedy or way left for the helpless family members to seek the release of the victim. Instead of knocking at the doors of the Courts, they chose to sit at the gate of either the police station where the victim was detained or at the feet of the same police official who had picked up their near and dear ones. Even fulfilling the ‘demands’ of the police could not ensure the safety and liberty of the victim. After a decade of an uneasy balance between the judiciary and executive on the one side and police and criminal on the other, the scale was then clearly tipped in the favor of the police. And that had got the executive and the judiciary worked like a flock of sheep in the hands of Punjab police. Every rule in the book was broken while dealing with the cases of Sikh militants in Punjab. By this bias, the nobility of the institution was denigrated. When human dignity is wounded as in Punjab everyday, civilization takes a step backward-flag of humanity must on each such occasion fly half-mast.

Courts were receiving hundreds of cases of forced disappearances, police highhandedness and brutality practiced by some overzealous police officers committing inhuman, barbaric and archaic acts. But remorsefully, one has to say that the Courts were too casual to condone their misdeeds. By approaching the Courts they would simply get their petitions dismissed in limine on totally whimsical grounds. In very few cases, the Courts issued notice on the habeas corpus petitions, but dismissed soon thereafter on receipt of police reply that the detainee is neither in police custody nor wanted in any case or that he was a hardcore terrorist who had been killed in inter-gang rivalry. Police officials sitting in the Police Stations with the same detainee, usually boasted to their relatives that it was only a matter of a day when their affidavit would be filed in the High Court and the court will dismiss the petition admitting their version as gospel truth. In very few cases, where the Supreme Court and the High Court, after considering the gravity of the crime, ordered a CBI or judicial inquiry into elimination of innocent people in fake encounters, police officials who were never arrested or suspended got favorable inquiries by tampering with the evidence and bribing the inquiry officers. However, even this little bit of judicial interference was enough to raise undercurrent in the police circles and they launched a sustained campaign for seeking a free hand in dealing with the militants. The judges were approached and pressurized to decline the petitions of police highhandedness, in the name of a proxy war for protecting the security and integrity of India. They were convinced that these Sikhs have waged an open war against the country and if they are not killed, they will kill the entire nation. Punjab police had succeeded in wresting back its control at every level of judiciary in the State. After this, the situation deteriorated to an abysmal low. When extra-legal acts of Punjab police were escalating and thousands of people looked for some help of the State as well as courts, the Courts which owed a sacred duty to the society, ignored their tragic stories with a cold face. The courts were firstly reluctant to take up these matters on the ground of delay and latches or lack of material evidence. Daily, petitions filed to know the whereabouts of the ‘missing’ or inquiry into fake encounter were got dismissed by the Punjab & Haryana High Court and Supreme Court. The lower magistracy used to please the police by accepting reports of ‘encounter-deaths’, ‘escaped from custody’ or ‘killed in the cross-fire’, knowing fully well that those were concocted. Everyday, police remand of ‘suspected terrorist’ was given on trumped-up-charges when the judge used to get call from the police with pressing request for police remand. There are numerous instances of the magistrates repeatedly ignoring their legal duty to act when detainees claimed that they have been tortured or appeared in court with clear signs of torture. In almost every case, the judge used to refuse a proper medical examination when a detainee alleged torture by the police. In doing so specific provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure were blown to winds and inspite of seeing clear evidence of torture when detainees were produced before them by the police for seeking police remand in some other case, the judges used to oblige the police officials. Cases of magistrates issuing false reports supporting police version of events in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary were quite common. In many cases judicial magistrates-who are judicial officers appointed by the High Courts and are subject only to judicial control- have been seen hand in glove with the policy in the attempt to conceal the truth. By condoning the acts of barbarities and inhuman torture in police custody, the courts accomplished the tasks which were forbidden by our legal order. No law can permit it.

This lackadaisical attitude of the judiciary encouraged lawlessness and every policeman was having the tendency to become law unto himself thereby leading to anarchism. The human rights groups strongly criticized the lower judiciary for having failed to respond and exercise its jurisdiction to inquire into the allegations of third degree in custody. The Courts exhibited a total lack of sensitivity while appreciating the role of police authorities in fighting terrorism, instead of hauling them for their extra-legal acts. Extra-judicial killings which of late were on the increase, became an order of the day and the Punjab police received tremendous encouragement and reinforced the belief in their minds that no harm would come to them, if any odd person dies in their custody. The question repeatedly asked in this context is, ” Was the judge justified in allowing police remand or admitting the final report of armed encounter? That shouldn’t be surprising ! There was no dearth of fanatic protagonists willing to junk the concept of human rights from the Indian Constitution. To them, “there should be no mercy for a terrorist who does not have mercy on the innocent people’. Whosoever talked of human rights was considered soft, or worse, unpatriotic. The situation was so horrible that even the judges were cynical of the rule of law; they had little regard for the efficacy of their own justice delivery system which they were duty bound to uphold; they believed in giving greater freedom to the police to resort to extra-legal methods while eliminating terrorists from the land. It is evident that the judiciary was discriminating between the common man and the police in favor of the latter. It has remained a silent spectator to the sufferings of the people. This attitude has caused greatest injustice. Legal experts point out that the capacity of these insensitive judges, to do damage is incalculable because of the vital position the judiciary occupies in our justice system. How does this happen? Who did this brainwashing of the entire system? The looming specter of terrorism is, of course, a standard excuse to throw civil liberties to the winds. Most of the judges believed that in ‘hostile situations’ the police was justified in resorting to extra-legal methods or in even denying fundamental rights to terrorists and insurgents. The number of judicial officers brazen enough to condone fake encounters was comparatively more, but there were few others too, who considered it to be an ‘extinction of a species’. Due to this attitude of the higher judiciary, people felt disillusioned with the law courts. As was feared, the public was accepting widespread lawlessness as an unavoidable adjunct to the way of life.

Where injustice verging on inhumanity, emerges from hacking human rights guaranteed in the Constitution and the victim beseeches the court to intervene and relieve, the Court became a functional futility as a constitutional instrumentality for its guns did not go into action against the wrongdoer, out of fear or favor. There is compelling evidence that the police and security forces in Punjab, felt free to act with impunity in violating the rights of those in their custody. It was possible because of an informal but nevertheless pervasive system of judicial complicity in covering up human rights violations. Several well-established procedural techniques for evading prosecution for human rights violations provide informal but effective impunity for police and security forces throughout the country. These include systematic cover-up of human rights violations by the police, the security forces and the government. The police regularly resorted to a range of techniques to cover-up instances of custodial violence; failure to register complaints, acknowledge detention or to apply other legal safeguards; denial of responsibility; falsification of judicial records and post-mortem reports sometimes by having them carried out at police hospitals; intimidation of witnesses and complainants; and influencing police inquiries by having them conducted from the same branch and delaying their outcome and prosecutions. It was not the police alone that used these methods, they often relied on the active complicity of doctors, executive magistrates and other officials who contributed in cover-ups by writing false reports or suppressing evidence of police torture.

Due to this, social order had virtually failed and there was no regard for the human rights anywhere. The judiciary even at the highest level had failed to prevent and punish brutality by police methodology. Resultantly the credibility of the rule of law in our Republic vis-a-vis the people of the country deteriorated. Daniel Webster words starred at the face of the judge with regret–

“Justice…. is the greatest interest of man on earth. It is the ligament which holds civilized beings and civilized nations together…. Justice is the end of a government. It is the end of the civil society. It behooves us, therefore, to bring into friction, justice which is truth in action and makes the legal system in each country viable as an instrument of national fulfillment. It becomes crystal clear that in any system of administration of justice in which a party is the judiciary -particularly when there was only police force with absolute power over every organ of administration of justice-law becomes a casualty.” No judge can boast of being always right. The important thing, however, is that the court must enjoy the respect of all those who enter its precincts and inspire confidence in them that justice here is administered with an even hand, in any legal combat between the rich and the poor, between the mighty and the weak, between the state and the citizen, without fear or favor. Going hostile to the conventional wisdom and experience that judges should not be amenable to fear or favor, every right or wrong decision was being rendered by the judiciary without being asked anything. It is regrettable that certain findings unfortunately facilitated the carrying of extra-legal acts by the police.”

The Judge is an activist, though impartial, chasing truth, wherever it lies hidden, and determined to decide to the best of his ability as an independent yet humane, stern, not soft, adjudicator. It is wisely said that the duty of a judge is done only when the truth is won. It was to play an activist role in fighting the injustices the people bear at the hands of Punjab police. The court is not a distant abstraction omnipotent in the books but an activist institution which is the cynosure of public hope. A righteous judge uses the rule of law and moulds the legal system so as to deliver to every member of the populace, even the humblest have-not and the depressed pariah, his constitutional title to justice. We must demand justice, human rights and values of democracy and fight the lawless laws that diminish or destroy social and political justice. We must stand for the writ of justice. The justice should be restless unless it reaches towards common humanity, renews its resolve to stand by tormented man, to resist the terror unleashed by the arrogance of Power and to radicalize jurisprudence to serve the new dimensions of human justice.

Justice Krishna Iyer’s warning to the present day judges has been buried in the graveyard. He said, “You cannot rehabilitate a man through brutality and disrespect. Regardless of the crime a man may commit, he still is a human being and has feelings…. if you treat a man like an animal then you must expect him to act like one. For every action there is a reaction. This is only human nature. And in order to prevent a person from becoming militant, you must treat him humanly. Treating him like an animal will only get negative results from him. You can’t spit in his face and expect him to smile and say thank you. Suffice it to say that, so long as judges are invigilators and enforcers of constitutionality and performance auditors of microcosm called injustice by the mandate of the Court, a continuing institutional responsibility vests in the system to monitor the incarceration process and prevent security ‘excesses’.”

It is an obligation of the law enforcing organs to ensure that, there is no infringement of the indefeasible rights of a citizen to life except in accordance with law while in police custody. There is even more greater responsibility on the judiciary to ensure that the citizen in police custody is not deprived of his right to ‘life and liberty’. His liberty is in the very nature of things circumscribed by the very fact of his confinement and therefore his interest in the limited liberty left to him is rather precious. The duty of care on the part of the judge is strict and admits no exceptions. The wrongdoer is accountable and the State is responsible if the person in custody of the police is deprived of his life in an extra-judicial fashion.

It needs no emphasis to say that when the crime goes unpunished, the criminals are encouraged and the society suffers. The victim of crime or his kith and kin become frustrated and contempt for law develops.

Police is, no doubt, under a legal duty and has a legitimate right to arrest a suspect and to interrogate him during the investigation of an offence but it must be remembered that the law does not permit torturing or even killing of the terrorist or any criminal for that matter, in the same manner he killed others. End cannot justify the means. No civilized nation can permit that to happen. Does a citizen shed off his fundamental right to life, the moment a policeman arrests him ? These questions touch the spinal cord of human rights jurisprudence. The answer indeed, has to be an emphatic “No”. Here lies the positive role of a judge. He cannot sit silent if in the name of ‘fighting terrorism’ human rights are hacked. He must understand that we live in dangerous days when tyranny tortures democracy and skin-deep democracy double-speaks and legally strangles life and liberty. In ensuring a judgment free from fear and favor, a judge no doubt runs grave risks, challenges authoritarian writs and seeks deliverance for the people through the process of the fundamental law. The law cannot and should not sit with folded hands when the adversary system operates as the adversary of poor man’s justice. Law is the means by which established injustices are sanctioned. Above all, as the servant of social justice, as the constitutional sentinel of people’s deliverance and as the auditor of the justice processes of the Republic, a judge has a challenging identity, inspiration and vision binding him to the larger cause of humanity. In tough words, a 22-carat judge is a dangerous man in action with law as his missile, truth as his dedication and justice as his battle cry. India, at this hour of crisis, badly needs this breed of judges. The Courts have an obligation to satisfy the social aspirations of the citizens because the courts and the law are for the people and expected to respond to their aspirations.

Many cases establishing a fake encounter or falsified police version beyond doubt when brought to the Courts notice, evoked a lukewarm response and in some cases where police excesses were writ large, the Courts did order Judicial or CBI inquiries. In most cases of judicial inquiries, the Courts belied the police version and recommended further inquiry by an independent agency. But the CBI inquiries in majority of cases were not conducted with due diligence and many cases remained unsolved as was the case of. three lawyers, Ranbir Singh Manshaia of Bathinda, Sukhwinder Singh Bhatti of Sangrur and Jagwinder Singh of Kapurthala. In cases where the CBI was directed by the court to Chargesheet the guilty police officials and bring them to justice, the police officials involved in the crime were either not arrested and if arrested, admitted to bail without any objection being raised by the CBI The trials of many of these cases are still pending due to indifferent attitude of the CBI and the perpetrators of most heinous crimes are roaming Scot free. It has defied the very spirit of natural justice where sagacity is the first casualty.

CASES OF JUDICIAL MURDER :-

1.         Two Sikhs Harjinder Singh “Jinda” and Sukhdev Singh “Sukha”, wtih no previous criminal record were arrested and tried for killing General A.S.Vaidya, the retired Army Chief who carried out the attack on the highest religious temple of the Sikhs, The Golden Temple, Amritsar. They had no personal enmity or rivalry with the General and out of anger and to take revenge for the attack on their religious temple, both of them shot the General dead on August 10,1986 at Pune. Both Sukhdev Singh Sukha and Harjinder Singh Jinda were convicted for the murder and sentenced to death by Vasant L.Rukar, Designated Judge, Pune which was confirmed by the Supreme Court. They were finally executed in Pune on 9th October, 1995. They are widely considered second among the line of Sikh freedom fighters sacrificing life for protecting the dignity of the religion, first being Beant Singh and Satwant Singh who killed Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India. The Supreme Court refused to hear even the simple argument of the defence that their act was a result of provocation, because they considered the General responsible for the attack on their religious temple and their religious feelings got hurt and under the influence of the feeling of revenge in their heart, they killed him, and ignored their own judgement in the case,” Apron Joseph Versus State of Kerala”(A.I.R. 1973 SC 1) in which it held that ” the determination of sentence in a given case depends on a variety of considerations, the more important being the nature of the crime, the manner of its commission, the motive which compelled it and the character and antecedents of the accused.” In another judgement titled,” Subbiah Thevar Vs. State of Tamil Nadu”, the apex court observed that, ” the altercation between the accused and the deceased would show that the accused were smarting under the feeling that their community itself was humiliated by one of its members being beaten with broom stick and that the attack was prompted by that feeling and the insolent attitude of the deceased towards their community. In these circumstances, we feel that the extreme penalty of death was not called for and that lesser sentence of imprisonment for life would meet the ends of justice.” But jurists fail to understand why this precedent was not followed in the present case which was quite similar. Because the accused were Sikhs?

2.         Rupan Deol Bajaj, an IAS cadre officer of Punjab was misbehaved with by none other than the former Director General of Police, Punjab, Mr.K.P.S. Gill, under the influence of liquor at a dinner party in Chandigarh on July 18,1988. The First Information report registered on the basis of her complaint and the private complaint filed by her husband against the mighty police officer were quashed by the Punjab & Haryana High Court vide a ‘worst judgment’ of the times in May,1989. The dejected lady could not bear the embarrassment and humiliation of being victimized in judicial battle and filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the judgment of the High Court. She had to fight for eight long years before being referred back by the Supreme Court to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chandigarh for trial of the accused. It is indeed a matter of ignominy that even a case where concrete evidence of outraging the modesty of a woman is available, the trial court and the High Court can dismiss it on technical grounds and the victim is left remediless. What would be the fate of an ordinary woman, when there may not be as sufficient evidence and money to fight the case as she had, is anybody’s guess ?

3.         Sarwan Singh, son of Gurcharan Singh, resident of Village Ladhuwal, Distt.Gurdaspur was booked for murder and was made to surrender by his relatives before the DIG Border Range, D.R. Bhatti on 31.1.1993. He had assured the safety of the suspect to his relatives. But was killed in police custody on 3.2.1993. His relatives had seen his dead body being taken out from the CIA Staff premises in Gurdaspur. The body bore marks of torture and established that he had died due to torture in police custody. But newspaper reports quoted the police as saying that Sarwan Singh had escaped from police custody when the police party taking him for the recovery of arms was ambushed. An F.I.R. was also registered in the Police Station in this regard. At another point of time, it said that while crossing over to Indo-Pak border, Sarwan Singh had been killed in the crossfire by Pakistan Rangers. The matter was taken to the Supreme Court by the wife of Sarwan Singh and after finding different police stories on each occasion, the Supreme Court ordered a judicial inquiry into the killing of Sarwan Singh. Ironically, after six years of legal battle, the petition was ultimately dismissed by the Supreme Court on the ground that the Sessions Judge had not given a clear finding that the victim had indeed been killed by the Punjab Police. It is pertinent to mention here that the Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur after examining more than sixty witnesses from both sides, described in clear words, the police version as palpably false and indigestible. Surprisingly, the report of the Sessions Judge had been concealed from everybody and ordered to be kept in a sealed cover in the case file so that nobody could know the findings of the Sessions Judge and the extent of exercise done by him. The proximate reason for this may be that the bench which heard the petition at the final stage was headed by none other than the controversial Chief Justice M.M. Punchhi who had his sons practicing law at Chandigarh. It was believed that the guilty police officials had paid hefty amount to the kin of the Chief Justice for some job few days before the judgment.

4.         On January 25,1993 a young lawyer Kulwant Singh practicing in District Courts, Ropar alongwith his wife and two years old child were abducted and killed by Ropar Police. Reason: he was defending suspects of terrorist activities against Punjab police. Police denied having arrested the couple and falsely implicated one Harpreet Singh Lucky and held him responsible for the killing and throwing the dead bodies of the trio in the Sirhind Canal. Lawyer fraternity all over the region protested against this murder of the lawyer, his wife and two years old son and belied the police story. A related petition was filed by a litigant against the lawyers strike. The High Court Bar Association also intervened to be impleaded as a party and it was vehemently demanded that an independent inquiry may be ordered in the kidnapping and murder of the lawyer family. But the five-judge constitutional bench of the High Court dismissed the plea of the lawyers leaving them high and dry. The Bar Association filed an appeal in the Supreme Court which ultimately ordered a CBI inquiry into the gruesome murder of the lawyer and his family. The gravest form of error and inhuman approach adopted by the High Court to the flagrant violation of human rights of the lawyer family even provoked the Supreme Court to pass strictures against the High Court and reprimand it to be careful in future. It said:

” The High Court was wholly unjustified in closing its eyes and ears to the controversy which had shocked the lawyer fraternity in the region. For the reasons best known to it, the High Court became wholly oblivious to the patent facts on the record and failed to perform the duty entrusted to it under the Constitution. After giving our thoughtful consideration to the facts and circumstances of this case, we are of the view that the least the High Court could have done in this case was to have directed an independent investigation/inquiry into the mysterious and most tragic abduction and alleged murder of Kulwant Singh Advocate and his family.”

5.         Bhai Kanwar Singh Dhami, his wife Kulbir Kaur and seven years old son Randhir Singh were kept in illegal detention from March 1993 till March 1994. During this long incarceration, they witnessed many heinous crimes and custodial killings. They were themselves brutally tortured and forced to admit surrender. A high level surrender drama was enacted in Govt. Officers Mess in Chandigarh on March 29,1994 where a press conference was called by K.P.S. Gill, the D.G.P. of Punjab to produce Bhai Kanwar Singh Dhami, a hardcore terrorist surrendering to police force. But the drama turned out to be a fiasco and Bhai Kanwar Singh Dhami refused to surrender and told the whole world that he was in the illegal detention of Punjab police for one year during which period he was subjected to such inhuman and degrading treatment that it was better to die than to live. He also said that he would like to be killed rather surrendering to the cruel officer like K.P.S. Gill.” He and his wife were booked under TADA on flimsy grounds and put to trial. Inspite of unimpeachable evidence of the illegal detention and false implication and the prosecution case falling like house of cards, the trial court sentenced Dhami to seven years imprisonment, acquitting his wife of all the charges. Interestingly, the same charges and same evidence was recorded against both of them, but one accused was acquitted and the other punished. Could any call it a natural justice ? Terribly indeed, the Supreme Court also confirmed the sentence imposed upon Bhai Kanwar Singh Dhami. The million-dollar question that arises is should every sentencing judge, high and low hang his helpless head in frustration and humiliation because institutional aberrations and personal perversions have sullied and stultified the justice of his sentence ?

6.         Justice Ajit Singh Bains, a former Judge of Punjab & Haryana High Court was arrested on different charges, like supporting the cause of militants, sedition etc. It’s a matter of shame for our judiciary that a Senior judge of the High Court having been charged of serious criminal charges only because of raising voice against State terrorism was put to jail for more than four months, and there was no hue and cry from any corner of judicial hierarchy.

7.         On May 17, 1993 a team of Punjab police led by the then Superintendent of Police, Bhatinda district, S.K. Singh, went to Calcutta without the knowledge of the West Bengal government and raided a flat in the Tiljala locality where a couple, Basheer Mohammad alias Laxman Singh and his wife Saleema Begum were living. The police team dragged out the couple and shot them dead at point-blank range and disposed of their bodies. Police termed them to be dreaded terrorists but the C.B.I. inquiry on Supreme Court orders disclosed the most heinous crime which was unique in the annals of a civilized society. Five policemen including the Superintendent of Police were tried for the murder by Sessions Court in Calcutta and ultimately held guilty of the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. But going contrary to the rule in the books, the appellate court admitted all the convicts to bail after conviction, which is neither lawful nor justifiable under the circumstances. Can anybody tell us why this concession has been granted by blowing all rules to winds ?

8.         Great injustice has been done by the courts in the case of Cremation of un-identified bodies by Punjab police which was highlighted by Jaswant Singh Khalra, a human rights activist. The background of the case is that Khalra started investigating into the matter of “forced disappearances” of about 25,000 un-identified bodies in Punjab and the disposing of their dead bodies in a clandestine manner from 1984 till 1994. He had collected clear evidence that in the districts of Amritsar and Gurdaspur alone, there were as many as 3000 such cases of young men, who were cremated as ‘unidentified terrorists’ without any information given to their families. He was in the process of unearthing more facts and figures and making similar revelations regarding other districts as well. He had also collected evidence that around 2000 policemen in Punjab had been killed by the police itself for not co-operating in counter-terror operations. He had found that the police had burnt more than 1400 bodies in the cremation grounds of Amritsar, Patti and Taran Taran in the year 1992 only by stating that they were unclaimed or unidentified. He also disclosed in a press release that during the period Ist June, 1984 to the end of 1994 about 2000 bodies had been cremated as unclaimed in the cremation ground near Durgiana Mandir in Amritsar alone. On the basis of his investigations, Khalra firstly approached Punjab & Haryana High Court by way of a Public Interest Litigation seeking independent inquiry into the allegations of Cremation of un-identified bodies by Punjab police. The High Court in its usual fashion challenged his locus standi and dismissed the petition as being too vague. He then decided to approach the Supreme Court. At the same time, a human rights organisation, Committee for Initiative on Punjab filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court alleging large-scale disappearances in Punjab during the militancy period. On their petition, the court issued notice to the State of Punjab. Khalra was assisting this organisation and continued with his investigations in other parts of the State. During this time, he had been receiving direct and indirect threats from the police officials of Amritsar district, particularly from Tarn Taran’s Senior Superintendent of Police Ajit Singh Sandhu. The latter had warned that unless he stopped his activities, he would also become an ‘unidentified body’. But Khalra refused to take to flight, and stuck with his human rights work in his native region. On the morning of September 6, 1995, the armed commandos of Punjab police kidnapped Khalra from outside his house in Amritsar. He then too became ‘missing’. The SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu had fulfilled his word. A bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Kuldip Singh treated a telegram of Gurcharan Singh Tohra, regarding abduction of Khalra, as a petition for the writ of habeas corpus and issued notice to the Punjab authorities. The S. P. Sukhdev Singh Chhina of Amritsar city filed affidavits to claim that Khalra was not wanted in connection with any case and that the police had not arrested him. Other officials also filed affidavits to maintain that the Punjab authorities were making all efforts to trace Khalra, contending at the same time that he might have become a victim of inter gang rivalries. SSP Sandhu of Tarn Taran also filed a statement to deny that he had ever threatened Khalra. On 15 November 1995, the court ordered a CBI inquiry into the disappearance of Khalra. After the CBI submitted its report on Khalra’s abduction and disappearance, holding nine officers of the Punjab police under SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu responsible, the court directed their prosecution on charges of conspiracy and “kidnapping with intent to secretly and wrongfully confine a person”. But it’s surprising that a human rights activist striving for upholding the human rights has been done to death and the police officials who committed the heinous crime have been charged only with kidnapping, a woefully insufficient charge in the face of evidence which proved brutal murder after subjecting torture. Due to lesser serious charge framed against them, all the accused in the case have been enlarged on bail by the Court, inspite of serious allegations of tampering with the witnesses and implicating them in false cases against the police officials. Very recently, one key witness in the Khalra abduction case, Rajeev Randhawa was falsely implicated in a bank dacoity case, but was discharged by the court for lack of evidence. On the other side, the petition of Committee for Information and Initiative on Punjab was also referred to the C.B.I. for holding inquiry into the cremation of un-identified bodies in Punjab. In 1996, the C.B.I submitted its interim report disclosing that 984 illegal cremations had been done in Taran Taran alone. The C.B.I. then issued a general public notice in the newspapers inviting public to assist in the inquiry. On 10 December, 1996, the C.B.I. submitted its final report. But the report was kept in sealed cover and not allowed to be seen by anybody. However, the Court’s order dated 11 December, 1996 disclosed that the CBI has been able to identify 2097 illegal cremations-585 fully identified, 274 partially identified and 1238 unidentified, carried out by the State agencies. Supreme Court in its order observed, ” the report discloses flagrant violation of human rights on a mass scale.” While referring the National Human Rights Commission to examine the whole matter and determine all issues, the Supreme Court authorised the Commission to act as its organ and widened its powers. But after prolonged deliberation and discussions on different issues of dispute between the parties, the Commission made a detailed order that it had the jurisdiction more than provided under the Protection of Human Rights Act, because as per the Supreme Court Judgment, it was a body sui-juris with wide powers as the Supreme Court has in similar matters. After the Union of India went to the Supreme Court for clarification of its earlier order and Supreme Court referring back the matter to the Commission after a delay of ten months, the Commission sat for another three months to formulate the modalities of proceedings and ultimately held that ” the petitioners contend that the Commission is required to inquire into all incidents of what are referred to as “extra-judicial elimination” or “involuntary disappearances”, “fake encounters”, “abductions and killings” etc. alleged to have been committed by Punjab Police during the decade of 1984-1994. The Contention of the Union and the State of Punjab on the other hand is that the inquiry is restricted only to 2097 cases of cremation of the bodies–585 fully identified 274 partially identified and 1238 unidentified in the police districts of Amritsar, Taran Taran and Majitha. In our view the Commission would restrict its inquiry to “cremations” of 2097 bodies within the three police districts of Amritsar, Taran Taran and Majitha.” Even after the August 1999 order of the National Human Rights Commission limiting its scope of inquiry into the “illegal cremations” in only three police districts, not even a single sitting or hearing has taken place till October, 2000 to proceed with the investigation, which is a matter of rejoice for the Punjab police and a sad display of lukewarm response of the Commission to the Punjab problem. It gives ample reason to doubt the integrity and intentions of the Commission in finding out the truth behind the gravest form of human rights violation in the State where hundred and thousands of sons of mothers and brothers of sisters had been mercilessly killed and burnt like dead wood. Is this the justice Indian Constitution guarantees to every citizen?

9.         The role of National Human Rights Commission and Punjab State Human Rights Commission in providing necessary relief to the victims of human rights violation has been very negligent. The National Human Rights Commission which was established in 1994 had not taken up more than fifty cases of violation in Punjab and in very few cases have ordered compensation to the next of the kin of killed person. There is no instance on record where the Commission had ordered the prosecution of the erring police officials. Actually, the National Human Rights Commission has been inflicted with few maladies, most important of which is non-transparency in its working. The complainant is never informed about the decision of the Commission, nor afforded any opportunity of personal hearing or to lead evidence in its support. Undue weightage is given to the Police denials. The Commission does not come with its annual report, although it is mandatory to submit annual report every year to the Parliament which will be placed before the Parliament by the Central Government alongwith action taken report. Interestingly, the Commission has not been able to submit its annual report for the year 1999 even till the end of 2000, due to reasons best known to it. The Punjab State Human Rights Commission is no better than the National Human Rights Commission. (For detailed information about the functioning of the Commission, see Chapter Six).

10.       In 1998 all the human rights organizations of Punjab joined hands and formed a Committee for Co-ordination on disappearances in Punjab for finding the causes and effect of the State repression and doing justice to the families of victims. The Committee (in short called “C.C.D.P”) decided to hold first ever three day public hearing of “PEPOLE’S COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN PUNJAB”. Three retired high court judges having a record of their contribution in the field of human rights viz. Justice D.S.Tewatia, Justice H.Suresh and Justice Jaspal Singh were made the members of the bench. The Commission held its sitting from 8th to 10th August, 1998 in Chandigarh and issued notice to more than a hundred police officials against whom complaints relating to Custodial deaths, fake encounters and illegal detention were filed with cogent piece of evidence. The manner in which the Commission conducted its proceedings and the wide publicity given to it by the media, baffled police authorities and they raised a war of words against the People’s Commission. A High Court lawyer filed a Petition in Public Interest seeking a ban on the People’s Commission in the Punjab & Haryana High Court. The High Court took up the petition unexpectedly and issued notice to the respectable judges of the Commission without thinking that the Hon’ble judges were more respectable and senior than the one calling them to the court. After prolonged hearing for more than two years, the Division bench of the High Court imposed a blanket ban on the further sittings of the People’s Commission and gave wholly absurd grounds for such a harsh judgment. They even denied, to be fair, the right to voice one’s grievances in the garb of upholding the institution of judicial system.

11.       In a very surprising but sad judgment in the era of human rights awareness, Justice K.S.Grewal of the Punjab & Haryana High Court granted regular bail to three senior police officers of Punjab police who are accused in a case of abduction and forced disappearance of an alleged militant, Sukhdev Singh alias Sukha. The three police officers are DSP Ramesh Chander(then SHO Police Station Sohana,Distt.Ropar), DSP Jagtar Singh(then SHO Police Station Ropar) and S.P. Mohinder Singh Chahal on 3rd April, 2001. Mrs.Kamaljit Kaur, wife of Sukhdev Singh alias Sukha had filed a Writ Petition in the High Court in 1996, seeking a CBI probe into the disappearance of her husband in 1993. The High Court considered the gravity of the allegations made in the petition and ordered a CBI inquiry in 1998. The CBI had registered a First Information Report on September 29, 1998, under Sections 364,365,344 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code against DIG Sanjeev Gupta, the then SSP Ropar, DSP Ramesh Chander and DSP Jagtar Singh, the then SHO of P.S.Sohana and S.P. Mohinder Singh Chahal, Ropar and started a thorough probe into the allegations leveled in the Petition. The CBI inquiry revealed that Sukhdev Singh alias Sukha was called to Police Station Sohana by the then SHO Ramesh Chander to meet the then SSP Sanjeev Gupta on 18th March, 1993. Sukha alongwith his friend Jaspal Singh, the Sarpanch of Village Raipur, Distt.Ropar, had gone to the Police Station Sohana, but only Jaspal Singh returned back, while Sukhdev Singh was detained in the Police Station Sohana till March 29, 1993. Thereafter he was shifted to CIA Staff, Ropar but brought back to Sohana on April 29, 1993 and was kept there till July 4, 1993. Surjit Singh, younger brother of Sukhdev Singh used to visit him daily to provide food, clothes etc. However, Sukhdev Singh was again taken to CIA staff, Ropar after July 4, 1993 by the then SHO Ropar, Jagtar Singh and thereafter his whereabouts are not known. The CBI after conducting detailed investigation filed a Chargesheet in the Court of Sh. Jaspinder Singh Heyer, Special CBI Judge, Patiala on February 1, 2001.The DIG Sanjeev Gupta who is an accused in the case applied for anticipatory bail in the case and Sh.Birinder Singh, Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala stayed the arrest of the police officer till February 19, 2001 which was extended till February 26. On this date, the Judge while staying the arrest of the officer till March 4, ordered him to surrender before the Special CBI Judge and apply for regular bail on February 28. Thereafter the accused moved a regular bail application before Sh.S.N.Aggarwal, Sessions Judge, Patiala. The Sessions Judge Patiala granted regular bail to Sanjeev Gupta on March 2. Similarly SP Mohinder Singh Chahal, DSPs Jagtar Singh and Ramesh Chander also applied for interim bail before Sh.Birinder Singh, Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala. The Judge while staying their arrest on March 15, till March 21 directed them to surrender before the Special CBI Court and apply for regular bail. They did so, but the Special CBI Judge, Mr. J.S.Heyer dismissed their applications on March 16. They moved the Sessions Court, Patiala but were declined bail by even that court on March 21. Aggrieved by that order, the trio had moved an anticipatory bail application before the Punjab & Haryana High Court, which was allowed by Justice K.S.Grewal, vide his order dated 3rd April, 2001. In his order, the Judge recorded that “since the incident is eight years old and the wife of Sukhdev Singh kept silent for four long years, therefore, there is no possibility of accused misusing the concession of bail. The evidence is circumstantial in nature and the police officers have not absconded and there is no likelihood of their absconding from the process of law. They are allowed the concession of bail on the condition of furnishing bail bonds in the sum of Rs. 1 lac each with one surety of the like amount and they should deposit their passports with the trial court forthwith”. According to Criminal law experts, few strange things have been witnessed in this particular case. It’s the first case where the anticipatory bail applications of the accused were repeatedly rejected, but the magistrate or even the Sessions Judge failed to order their arrest in custody after their so-called surrender. At the top of it, the High Court overlooked the fact that in the event of dismissal of their anticipatory or regular bail applications, the accused should have been in judicial custody in consonance with the provisions of Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. But none of the accused underwent even a day’s custody, inspite of their prayer for bail being declined more than once. The ground made by the High Court is itself unwarranted. If the time gap between the incident and the launching of prosecution is material for considering the concession of bail, then thousands of poor undertrials under NDPS Act or TADA Act deserves to be given similar concession. And if delay in approaching the court seeking justice is also considered an important factor in the eyes of law, then almost all the police officers facing trial in the cases of fake encounters, summary executions and forced disappearances also deserve to be released forthwith, because the CBI had taken many years before launching prosecution against the police officers. That’s why even a single police officer accused of human rights violations in the militancy period has not been arrested. Human rights activists are at loss to understand the indifferent approach of the lower and even the higher judiciary in the State. Orders like this will certainly have serious repercussions and give fuel to the fire in the sordid situation being rebrought again in the State. Nonetheless it has given wrong signals in the Police force where policemen will consider themselves even more powerful and free from the law.

JUDICIARY IN ACTION

After speaking much about the lackadaisical and negative role of the Indian judiciary towards various issues of human rights in Punjab, it would be a grave mistake, if we do not discuss, few cases of judicial activism and the positive role played by few judges in coming to the rescue of the victims. It is believed that in a situation where most of the judges used to raise irrelevant and wholly technical objections while throwing petitions of ‘illegal detention’, ‘disappearance’ and ‘fake encounter’, there were very few judges, who heard the matters sympathetically and where the police failed to give satisfactory explanation for their wrong, they ordered a judicial or C.B.I. inquiry to find out the real truth. Following are among the many cases in which the Courts conducted itself with due diligence and a degree of fairness in its proceedings:

1.         On 1st November, 1993, Justice A.H.Ahmadi of the Supreme Court took Suo moto notice of a news item “Killed once, twice …..” when Sarabjeet Singh alias Surjit Singh of Valtoha was killed by the policemen at point blank range, after he was found alive at the post mortem table. The C.B.I. inquiry ordered by the apex court found four policemen responsible for the murder of Sarabjeet Singh. Jora Singh, Additional Sessions Judge, Amritsar after trying the four policemen for more than four years, held only S.I. Sita Ram guilty of kidnapping and murder of the deceased and sentenced him to 10 years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs.2000. His three gunmen were however, acquitted of the charge.

2.         The Supreme Court ordered a C.B.I. inquiry into the disappearance of three youths Nishan Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Jagjit Singh on December 7,1992 by Punjab police. A Superintendent of Police, Kuldip Singh and DSP Chaman Lal besides others are facing criminal trial for kidnapping and destroying vital evidence in a Patiala Court.

3.         On 31st January, 1993 Sarwan Singh of Village Ladhuwal in district Gurdaspur surrendered before the then DIG (Border Range) D.R. Bhatti, because he was an accused in a murder case. The DIG assured his relatives that Sarwan Singh would not be harmed. But he was tortured to death in CIA Staff, Gurdaspur on 3.2.1993 and later on was shown to have escaped from police custody during an armed ambush by militants on the police party. The relatives of the deceased finding foul play approached the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ordered a judicial inquiry by a Sessions Judge. The Sessions Judge although belied the police version as a cock and bull story, did not say as to whether the deceased was killed by the police or not. However, the Supreme Court closed the matter without any relief in 1998 and the inquiry report is gathering dust in the registry of Supreme Court even though it could reveal many startling facts regarding the modus operandi of the police in the matter.

4.         In 1992, four ladies were arrested by the Punjab police on the charge of pick-pocketing and tattooed “jeb katari” (pick-pocket) on their forehead. The High Court took suo moto notice of the incident and ordered a C.B.I. probe and the guilty policemen were tried for the offence and compensation was granted to the victims.

5.         On September 24, 1994, Punjab & Haryana High Court ordered the registration of case for murder against Inspector Lakha Singh and eight other policemen of Hoshiarpur. The charge against the police was that Bagicha Singh, a village granthi and was picked up by the police party for allegedly having links with one Raminderjit Singh of Jalandhar, an alleged terrorist. He was so badly tortured that he died of excessive torture in Police Station Hariana in district Hoshiarpur. H.P.Handa, Additional Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur after a prolonged trial ultimately convicted Inspector Lakha Singh, S.I. Harpal Singh, H.C.Harbhajan Singh and Surinder Singh, Constables Satnam Singh, Raj Pal Singh, Sodhi Singh, Amarjit Singh and SPO Amarjit Singh and sentenced each of them to 20 years rigorous imprisonment with fine of Rs.2000 each.

6.         On a public interest litigation filed by a Delhi Lawyer, B.L.Wadhera, the Supreme Court ordered a C.B.I. probe into the killing of a couple, Lachmi Singh alias Bashir Ahmed and Renuka alias Sakina Begum, in their house in Tiljala locality of Calcutta by a police party led by Bhatinda S.P. S.K.Singh on May 17,1993 and disposing of their bodies without the information of West Bengal government. The infamous case commonly known as ” Tiljala encounter” shook the nation’s conscience. The CBI after inquiry put to trial five police officials including an S.S.P. and D.S.P. in a Sessions Court at Calcutta. After trial, the Court sentenced all of them to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court’s fear that “human life has virtually no value to the officers who wear the uniform and are supposed to be protectors of human life” has proved justified with this judgment.

7.         On August 28, 1999 the Punjab & Haryana High Court ordered a judicial inquiry into the disappearance of Mukhtiar Singh of Verka in District Amritsar who was reportedly picked up by a police party on December 20,1990 and thereafter his whereabouts were not known. According to the police, he was killed in an encounter on February 3, 1991. The inquiry conducted by C.J.M. Amritsar is in progress.

8.         Similarly another judicial inquiry was ordered by the High Court into the disappearance of Amarjit Singh of Village Landran in district Ropar, on June 25, 1992 by Punjab police.

9.         The High Court had earlier ordered a C.B.I. inquiry into the killing of two police constables Rajwinder Singh and Mukhtiar Singh in 1992. After the inquiry by CBI found enough evidence to start criminal proceedings for murder against Inspector Amrik Singh and S.I. Ajit Singh. The two are facing murder trial in a Sessions Court at Hoshiarpur.

10.       In March, 1993 Maninder Singh of Sangrur was picked up by a police party headed by Bhawanigarh SHO Harinder Pal Singh and done to death in fake encounter. The High Court firstly ordered a C.B.I. inquiry into the incident and thereafter a judicial inquiry which held that Maninder Singh had been eliminated by the police. Now all the seven accused policemen are facing trial for murder and kidnapping in the Court of Sessions Judge, Patiala.

11.       The High Court yet ordered another C.B.I. inquiry in May,1997 into the abduction of Paramjit Singh of Hoshiarpur in 1992 where three police officers are expected to be brought to the dock.

12.       On the orders of the High Court in 1996, C.B.I. chargesheeted the Additional Director General of Punjab Police, Daljit Singh Bhullar and four other police officers for murdering three persons, Paramjeet Singh Sahota, his cousin Satnam Singh and driver Vikram Singh for personal dispute in Mohali in September, 1995. All the five are still facing trial in the case but have succeeded in obtaining bail from the court.

13.       Balbir Singh of Nabha in district Patiala was picked up by a police party on July 27,1996 and taken to CIA staff, Nabha. After torturing to death, his dead body was thrown into the Sirhind Canal bridge by the police. Later on, the police alleged that he had escaped from police custody and jumped into the canal and died. The High Court ordered a C.B.I. probe into the death of Balbir Singh in May, 1997.

14.       Another C.B.I. inquiry regarding the death of Harjit Singh of Taran Taran in October, 1992 was ordered by the High Court in July, 1997. Harjit Singh, according to his father, Kashmir Singh was picked up by Taran Taran Police and was tortured in Mal Mandi Interrogation Center in Amritsar. A warrant officer appointed by the High Court even found him in the cell, but before he could act, the boy was whisked away. The High Court ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident, but the Sessions Judge did not give any concrete finding. Thereafter, the Court ordered a C.B.I. inquiry to go into the circumstances under which the boy was eliminated.

15.       A judicial inquiry was ordered into the death of Dalbir Singh of Ropar district on March 11, 1992 by the High Court. While his father Shiv Ram stated that his son was picked up from his residence, the police alleged that he was killed in a police encounter on March 13, 1992.

16.       Inder Singh, a businessman of Patiala was murdered by his wife and her paramour. But the police took his business partner Kuldip Singh into custody on April 22, 1994 and Inspector-Incharge C.I.A. Staff, Darshan Singh Mann demanded Rs.1.5 lakh as bribe, otherwise he threatened false implication in the murder case of his partner. Kuldip Singh supplied one lakh bricks for the palatial house of Darshan Singh free of cost, but later complained to the Senior authorities. An inquiry into the allegations proved that Darshan Singh was actually a Sub-Inspector, but secured promotion to the post of DSP by killing people in anti-terrorist drive. It was also established that he was indulging in extortion in the area. He was therefore, demoted to the rank of Sub-Inspector. The High Court ordered the registration of a criminal case against him.

17.       Yet another judicial inquiry was ordered by the High Court in the case of fake encounter of Swaran Singh of Payal in Ludhiana district on 5th July, 1993. He had dared to contest the assembly election against Beant Singh, the then Chief Minister. He was liquidated by torturing to death, but termed it as ‘escaped from police custody”. A compensation of Rs. 50,000/- was also ordered by the High Court to the next of kin of the deceased.

18.       On the orders of the High Court, a criminal case of kidnapping and murder was registered against Inspector Kashmira Singh, ASI Teja Singh and HC Amarjit Singh of Police Station Faridkot, for the custodial death of Mandeep Singh of Faridkot in 1993. According to the F.I.R. Mandeep was picked up by the three policemen from his house on December 9,1993 and kept in the police station for 11 days. On 20th Dec., they threw his dead body outside his house.

19.       Nirmal Singh, Sarpanch of Hothian village in Taran Taran district was kidnapped in 1991 by Punjab police and thereafter his whereabouts were not known. The Supreme Court ordered a C.B.I. inquiry into the incident and thereafter a F.I.R. of abducting Nirmal Singh was registered against thirteen police officials of Taran Taran.

20.       Interestingly, as per a C.B.I. counsel, more than eight criminal cases of abduction and murder were registered on court orders against many police officials of Taran Taran police district alone since 1995.

21.       High Court also took up the matter of the elimination of three businessmen of Ludhiana by the then SSP, Ludhiana, Sumedh Saini in 1994 and ordered the prosecution of Sumedh Saini, SP Sukhminder Singh Sandhu and Inspector Paramjit Singh and Balbir Chand Tiwari, after a judicial inquiry found them involved in the murder of the three persons.

22. High Court also ordered a murder case against the then Superintendent of Police, S.P.S. Basra of Hoshiarpur after a C.B.I. inquiry found him and two others guilty of kidnapping Kuljit Singh Dhatt of district Hoshiarpur in July, 1989.

23.       Ajit Singh Sandhu, the then SSP, Taran Taran and eight other police officers were ordered to be prosecuted for the murder of Jaswant Singh Khalra, a human rights activist by the Supreme Court in 1995.

24.       DSP Jaspal Singh of Ropar and three other policemen are facing trial in connection with the abduction and killing of Kulwant Singh Saini Advocate, his wife and two years old child of Ropar in police custody in 1994. The Supreme Court had ordered a C.B.I. inquiry into the incident when all the lawyers from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh went on a two month long strike against the dastardly killings by Punjab police and ultimately the C.B.I. revealed that the advocate was tortured to death while in illegal custody and since his wife and child were witnesses to the gruesome murder, they were also killed and thrown into the Sirhind Canal alongwith their vehicle.

25.       On the directions of the Supreme Court, the Bathinda police had registered a case of murder against Punjab police Inspector Gurjeet Singh and 10 others for murdering Paramjit Singh of Bathinda in 1992 and later branding him as terrorist. A judicial inquiry was conducted by Sessions Judge, Bathinda who indicted the police officials for murdering Paramjit Singh.

26.       High Court also ordered the registration of a murder case against Inspector Gurjeet Singh for killing Gurmail Singh of Village Akkanwali in district Bathinda in 1993.

27.       The High Court firstly ordered a C.B.I. probe into the elimination of seven family members of Baba Charan Singh, a religious person of Taran Taran in 1993 and then ordered the C.B.I. to prosecute the then SSP, Ajit Singh Sandhu and other police officials in connection with the crime. It is the same case when it was highlighted by the media that the police indulged in large scale loot and plundered the house of the Baba. The driver of the Baba was torn into two pieces by tying his legs with two jeeps and driving them in opposite directions. The judicial inquiry conducted by the Sessions Judge, Amritsar although exonerated the police officials, but the High Court on the basis of CBI inquiry ordered the prosecution of the police officials for murder.

28.       The High Court had ordered the C.B.I. to investigate a case of alleged police encounter on 25 January, 1994 in which two young persons of Village Kahnuwan were killed. The C.B.I. found 28 police officials including SP Vivek Mishra and DSP Baldev Singh responsible for the murder and filed chargesheet in the CBI court at Patiala.

29.       The judicial inquiry into the fake encounter by Punjab police in 1993 in which Gurbaj Singh alias Baja was killed, held the police officials responsible for the fake encounter. On receipt of the inquiry report, the High Court directed the State of Punjab to pay a compensation of Rs.1.5 lakh to the dependants of the deceased.

30.       The National Human Rights Commission, Delhi had directed the Punjab police in 1993 to register murder case against ex-SSP Harinder Singh Chahal and S.I. Darshan Singh and SPO Sarabjeet Singh, for killing a Constable Basant Singh of Sangrur district and on its orders, a murder case was registered against the three in 1997.

31.       The death of Kulwinder Singh alias ‘Kid’ of Mohali, in a fake encounter near Chandigarh in July, 1992 was taken to the High Court by his headmaster father Tarlochan Singh. The High Court firstly marked a C.B.I. inquiry. Thereafter a judicial inquiry was ordered to be conducted by Sessions Judge, Chandigarh. The judicial inquiry held the Punjab police responsible for the fake encounter. Thereafter the High Court has now ordered the trial of seven police officials including Inspector S.S.Grewal, SI Birbal Dass, ASI’s Amarjeet Singh and Chanan Singh, HC’s Gurcharan Singh and Nikka Ram, besides Constable Dayal Singh.

DRACONION LAWS :-

Draconian laws enacted during the past years had reduced the State to a trynnical police state curbing all constitutional freedoms of the people guaranteed in the Indian Constitution. The Central government with a view to perpetrate more heinous crimes upon the innocent people had enacted the most draconian law, Terrorist and disruptive activities act (TADA) in 1984 only for dealing with the situation in Punjab. Later on it was applied in other parts of the country. Another law which was mostly used during the Operation Blue Star was the National Security Act,1980. These acts alongwith a whole lot of similar acts had given unquestionable authority to the police to kill anybody and arrest anybody without trial for months and even years together.

Under National Security Act, a person can be jailed without disclosure of reason, without trial and without redress for two years in Punjab. His detention can be extended from time to time for an indefinite period. The grounds of detention may fall within any of the wide rubrics such as maintenance of public order, the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community, the security of the state or of India etc. This kind of judicial terrorism practiced in the name of fighting with “extra-ordinary situation of ‘proxy war’ would remain a blot on constitutional justice in India. The Custodians of the state power have much to answer to the bar of world opinion for their barbaric statutes and its application against their own men. This authority to arrest and detain a person for unlimited period was seen by many jurists as highly unethical and unwarranted. Justice Krishna Iyer had once said in this context that ” the power of detention without trial, when vested with the executive, is an enemy of civil liberties and has been an imperial weapon to hit below the belt whenever open justice has been processual nuisance for authoritarian.”

T.A.D.A.– HANDCUFFING THE HUMAN RIGHTS

Another draconian act, meant only for the State of Punjab, Terrorist and disruptive activities act, 1984, popularly known as TADA was passed in the form of a presidential ordinance in 1984. This act made gross departures from the ordinary notion of public trial. Anybody could be termed as a terrorist at the whims and fancies of the third rate policeman and put behind bars for unlimited period. Possibility of granting bail was the rarest of rare.” Bail not jail” is the general rule which has been adopted in the criminal trials which began with the presumption of innocence in favor of the accused. But in Punjab, the rule was changed into: ‘jail not bail’. Anybody raising a voice of dissent against the policies of the government was being booked under this act, although due to lack of any evidence or ingredient to frame the charge, most of them were simply discharged after a long incarceration. According to this act, the appeals against the decisions of the designated courts under TADA could only be made to the Supreme Court and not to High Court even though the trial court was a Sessions Judge. About this Act, Justice Krishna Iyer observed, ” The Rowlatt Act is far fairer and whatever the situation in Punjab, a pan Indian criminal procedure prescribed by this special legislation must shock the conscience of those who hold humanist values of justicing inalienable.” He further said, ” Prima facie, the anatomy of the Terrorist and disruptive activities act is incredibly terrorist in operation. Legal terrorism is not an answer to illegal terrorism, and if the hit list tactic of the extremist is horrendous the police operated and politically fuelled hit list of the executive extremist may be doubly deadly. It wears the garb of law and has, therefore, a mareecha mein of jurisprudence. Secondly, the people who are clawed by this law are larger in number, weaker as victims have no remedy under the law since the law itself turns lawless.” Another jurist pointed out that the procedural provisions of the TADA are unjust and unreasonable not only in regard to the accused, but in regard to the society as a whole. In the first place, the TADA provisions lead to unjustified arrests of innocent persons, their detention in police and judicial custody for long periods and their conviction even when they may be innocent. The injustice thus caused leads to intense dissatisfaction among the relations and friends of the person accused and tried under the TADA and thereby swells the ranks of terrorist gangs. The arbitrary powers given by this act to the police are justly described as amounting to state terrorism which is clearly counterproductive because it fuels the fumes of terrorism. The repressive legislation, unprecedented in its ferocity, was fraught with danger because it could treat as terrorist all those who would normally come under the category of dissenters. The law soon came to be used by the ruling congress party for narrow political ends.

The TADA was grossly mis-used in Punjab. According to the intelligence agencies, around twenty five thousand people were booked under TADA since its enactment all over the country out of which more than fourteen thousand persons were arrested in Punjab alone. Surprisingly, most of the accused who were brought to trial under this act were acquitted due to lack of evidence. The police justification of large acquittals that the witnesses were intimidated and influenced holds no ground, because in many cases the witnesses were only policemen and still the accused were acquitted. A pointing case of mis-use of this draconian legislation is of Baljit Singh of Chandigarh who had broken a small stone called “Shivling” in a ground near his house, where some hindus were planning to built a temple. He was arrested under TADA for attempting to commit an act of terrorism and was shown to have raised Khalistan slogans. The Chandigarh designated trial court while acquitting him passed strictures against the Chandigarh police for having booked him under TADA, as no ingredients of a terrorist act were made out. But before this judgment came, the poor fellow had already undergone two years of his valuable life in jail.

Pathetically, inspite of TADA being withdrawn few years ago, hundreds of youth are languishing in Punjab jails without any trial. Would anybody listen to their wails for a speedy trial and disposal of their cases ?

CHAPTER SIX

PUNJAB STATE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

– A CRITICAL ANALYSIS

The human rights situation in Punjab is no better than in other parts of the country. Succumbing to public demand, the State Government constituted the Punjab State Human  Rights  Commission  with  its headquarters  at  Chandigarh in May 1997. Justice Vinay Kumar Khanna, a former Chief Justice of Guwahati High Court, was appointed its Chairperson. Justice J.S.Sekhon, a former High Court judge, T.S.Cheema, M.S.Chahal and Maninder K.Mattewal, were appointed its members for a term of five years. Incidentally, none of the appointees had any previous record in the field. These appointments made purely on political considerations, baffled many human rights activists and serious doubts were being raised on the integrity and credibility of the members. The five members of the Commission, without any humanist approach were given the onerous task of promoting and protecting the human rights of the subjects, making a mockery of the institution. The staff of the investigation wing of the Commission is from the State police. One Additional Director-General of Police, with a  battery  of  Police inspectors as investigators have been provided to assist the Commission. An annual fund of Rs. 3 crore earmarked for the  Commission with Rs.20,000/- being spent monthly on each member of the Commission, it has become a white elephant for the State government .

Without much fanfare, the Commission, started its functioning in July, 1997. In the hope of getting some relief to the still unhealed wounds , the people welcomed the Constitution of the Commission. Various Human Rights organizations addressed complaints and representations to the Commission airing their views about the wrong done to the people, and advised it to restore the faith of the people through its transparent working and unimpeachable integrity, so that it may bring a deterrent effect on the State Police and no policeman could dare to take the Law into his hand. In its utterances and promises at public platform, the members of the Commission did speak of rendering speedy and effective justice, but in practice they behave so arrogantly and with hostility that the purpose of its constitution has been miserably defeated. Anticipating trouble in opening the floodgates of litigation against Punjab police, the Commission in no equivocal terms drew the attention of all concerned to their limitation under Section 36(ii) of the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993 which bars the jurisdiction of the Commission inquiring into any matter after the expiry of one year from the date on which the act constituting violation of human rights is alleged to have been committed. It was also made known that the Commission does not have any authority or power to make any order to the State Government or State Police. At the most, it could simply make a recommendation to the State Government but such recommendat-ion would not be binding on the State Government. But inspite of this meaningless jurisdiction, the Commission speaks of rendering speedy, inexpensive and effective redressal to the victims.

Although the Constitution of the Commission could not fulfill the election manifesto of Shromani Akali Dal made during elections in 1997 because the Commission lacks jurisdiction to look into one year old complaint of human right violation, whereas hundreds and thousands of complaints relate to the period 1979-1997. Still the people hoped that the Commission would serve the purpose of atleast preventing further abuse of their human rights. They had been pleading in vain to the State Government to help them in the continuing transgression of their fundamental rights by the Punjab Police. Famous poet Qateel Shifai, aptly described the state of their mind in his words, –

Manzil na de Chirag na de, Honsla to de,

Tinke  ka  hi  Sahi tun , magar asra to de.

(Don’t lead me to destination, neither the light,

but give some courage, may it be a small grassroot,

but do give some support)

As the wise saying goes, our character is the result of our conduct. During the past three years of working, the Commission received about 5000 complaints of human rights violations in the State. In almost all complaints filed before the Commission, allegations of illegal detentions, custodial deaths, Police highhandedness, land grabbing by policemen and interference of Police in civil disputes were highlighted. Out of these, majority of the complaints were simply dismissed in favor of Police officials on one or the other technical grounds, such as non-prosecution of complaint, matter being sub-judice in a court of law or pendency of departmental inquiry against the police official. Ironically, there had been at least twenty six custodial deaths in the State during the last three years. Not even in a single case, the Commission was able to heal the wound of the victims’ family and failed to render effective redressal to the kith and kin of the victims. Rather few social organizations which took up the matter before the Commission on the basis of newspaper reports were called upon to prove their locus standi as the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993 does not provide for the filing of a Public Interest Litigation.

In 1998 alone, out of 2000 odd complaints received by the Commission, more than fifteen complaints related to Custodial deaths, hundred more to illegal detention of women and stripping in the Police Stations, illegal detention of old people in connection with land disputes, and other cases of Police highhandedness. Unfortunately, the lackasidiscal approach of the Commission towards the continuing human rights violations in the State, brought home the message that the Commission is more interested in paper work, than in rendering speedy and effective justice. Police officials were seldom called by the Commission and in few cases where the Police Inspector or a Deputy Suprintendent of Police was summoned by the Commission, due regard was given to his position. Not many inquiries, into various complaints were marked by the Commission. Every inquiry was conducted by the Police Inspectors of Punjab police. Expectedly, the inquiry gives clean chit to the erring cops. One cannot loose sight of the fact that for reasons best known to it, the Commission did not make any recommendation to the State for initiation of criminal proceedings in the court against even a single police official inspite of finding prima facie evidence. There are more than one example to support this statement. Naturally, people got the message that the Commission has a soft corner for the police officials and it is too reluctant to take any action against them, whatever heinous crime they had committed. Many village folk even expressed their anguish at this indifferent attitude of the Commission by raising slogans and crying loud and high in the well of the retiring room turned court of the chairperson and members. Any compensation, if at all awarded, was recommended to be paid from the State Exchequer without punishing the guilty police officials with exemplary punishment. The net result of this undue favor was that officers like Inspector Budh Singh of CIA staff Bhatinda and Sub-Inspector Balwant Singh Majitha, SHO of P.S. Central, SAS Nagar, Mohali are still continuing with their criminal activities unabated inspite of being indicted by the Commission more than twice. Budh Singh was held guilty of stripping and torturing an old widow Amarjit Kaur and her son Navdesh Kumar in August, 1997 and he has now recently been booked for the third time for serious offences under IPC. S.I. Balwant Singh Majitha was indicted for his highhandedness with a religious preacher of Phase IX, SAS Nagar, Mohali in June, 1998 and was ordered to be transferred outside Distt.Ropar. But inspite of best efforts of the commission, he remained posted at the same Police Station for many months and is at present promoted to a nearby police station.

During the same time, the Commission started deputing its members to visit different jails in the State to have first hand account of the conditions of inmates lodged therein. But interestingly, as the Chairman of the Commission puts, the Commission lacks jurisdiction to enter a jail without intimation to the State government and know the ground realities inside the jails and real conditions under which the inmates live. In compliance of the provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act, the Commission gives a week’s prior notice to the jail Suprintendent and the District Magistrate concerned and on the day of inspection they visit the jail alongwith the jail Suprintendent or the District Magistrate concerned. It goes without saying that their inspection to the jail proved to be more of a show-off than achieving any fruitful result except making a heavy bill of out-station conveyance charges. When queried from the Chairman of the Commission, whether he has tasted the unbaked and unhygienic food served to the prisoners daily, he said they are aware of it but find themselves helpless. The Commission also finds itself in a quandary when asked as to whether it had sought amendments in the Act enabling them to visit the jails without information to the jail authorities and order for better living conditions to the prisoners. Horrors of the horror, even after more than twenty five inspections to different jails in the State, the Commission is unable to improve jail conditions and force the State Government to take effective steps to prevent the overcrowding of all jails in the State. According to a Civil Writ Petition filed in the Punjab & Haryana High Court by an N.G.O. almost every jail in the State, houses more than double the number of prisoners permitted to be kept in the jail manual. But the Commission has failed to do justice to those poor and indigent prisoners whose voice remains in the stone walls of inhuman jail conditions. The plight of the common man, whose fundamental rights are being transgressed every day by the devils in uniform does not disturb the Commission at all. Allegations of favoritism to the police force by the Commission are too serious to be ignored. There is sufficient evidence on record to say that the scales of justice are deliberately weighed in favor of the police officials, who can afford the best lawyer and influence the members of the Commission, whereas the victims may be deprived of their rights guaranteed under the Constitution. The situation has undoubtedly put the protectors of human rights in a bind.

Many non-governmental human rights organizations working for the cause have filed more than a hundred complaints relating to custodial deaths, rape in police custody, custodial torture and other custodial crimes committed upon the citizens by the Punjab police. Prominent among these organizations were Lawyers For Human Rights International, Lawyers For Social Reforms, Punjab Human Rights Organisation, World human rights protection council and few others, besides thousands of victims of human rights violations. Lawyers For Human Rights International have filed more than twenty five complaints on the basis of newspaper reports during 1997-98, but the commission did not respond appropriately. The ultimate result was that cases of human rights violations continued in the State (for details see appendix – II).

DECISIONS :-

After stretching the complaint for more than a year or so, the Commission usually dismisses it on the ground of non-prosecution of the case. In case where the complainants persued the complaint vigorously, long and unnecessary adjournments were granted to the State for filing their reply. Interestingly the police official against whom allegations of human violations were made were never summoned by the commission. Even in the cases of heinous crime of custodial death, while the State police forthwith supply a copy of the video film of the postmortem along with inquest report, the Commission takes the case very leniently. It does not view the video film of postmortem of a custodial death, to get to the truth. The request of the complainants for inspection of the video film is cold bloodily turned down. In every case of death of an undertrial in jail, the State comes with the pet story that the deceased was suffering from mental depression and in a fit of frustration he committed suicide by hanging himself in the cell. In many cases, where allegations of death in Police custody are well founded, the State pleads innocence on the ground that the deceased fearing action by the police in a complaint of theft against him, committed suicide by consuming poisonous substance placed in the police station or the place of detention. In few other cases, the Punjab police comes with the duly sworn affidavits and statements of the relatives of the victims or fabricated witnesses expressing their desire to withdraw the complaint before the Commission. But the malady of the situation arouses when the Commission dismisses the complaints blaming lack of material evidence on record, inspite of finding a prima facie case of death due to Police torture. Under these circumstances, there seems no room to hope of getting justice from the Commission.

A complaint filed by an N.G.O. Lawyers For Social Reforms relating to the custodial death of Sham Lal of Village Ajnali, Distt.Fatehgarh Sahib on 5th September, 1997, was dismissed on October 1, 1999. The Commission held that –

” ….Consequently there is no option but to conclude that the victim had suffered these injuries obviously either at the hands of the Police officials or at the hands of the P.S.E.B. employees. The factum that the entire village blocked the traffic along the G.T.Road and insisted on the registration of a case against the officials at fault also spells about the truthfulness of this conclusion as the spontaneous reaction in a particular situation is the best yardstick with the judicial forum to appraise the direct evidence.

……It is unfortunate that even after the dawn of Independence about half a century back, the basic character of the nation has not emerged as even the relations of the deceased have wilted under the pressure of the police. To crown it all, it is noticed by the Commission in all the cases of custodial deaths or torture or rape that the senior officers of the police force manning the districts are prone to give shelter to the misdeeds of their subordinates for the reasons best known to them. The matter does not rest here as even the medical officers posted in the districts are also amenable to the influence of the police. Although the medical evidence and other circumstances discussed above do make out a case that the victim had suffered injuries either at the hands of the police officials or at the hands of the P.S.E.B. employees or both, yet due to lack of evidence it is difficult to pin down the liability of the actual culprits or offenders. It being a case of sudden reaction to the situation by the said officials during the performance of their duties, the provisions of Section 34 IPC are of no help to them. Under these circumstances, the commission is not in a position to even award interim compensation to the dependents of the deceased as it is difficult to hold as to whether the P.S.E.B. or the State Govt. would be liable to pay such compensation. Moreover, the provisions of Sub-Section(3) of Section 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 are meant for granting immediate interim relief to the victim or the members of his family obviously in those cases where the dependents of the family of the victims come forth to justify the making of such recommendation on the basis of their financial position and total dependency on the income of the victim. Thus in view of the above referred circumstances, no action is called for by the Commission in this matter.”

Another case of Custodial death of Jagan Nath alias Jagnoo, a poor dalit of Village Pasla, Distt.Jalandhar on 31st August, 1997, filed on behalf of the victims’ family, met the same fate. The Commission while dismissing the complaint on October 21, 1999 observed that –

“……A perusal of F.I.R. No.53 dated September 3, 1997 got recorded by Mr. Sharad Chohan, SP(City) Jalandhar for offences under Sections 302/342 IPC regarding the death of Jagan Nath, reveals that it is primarily based on the injuries found on the dead body during autopsy. He has also referred to the injuries on the person of the deceased. In their statements, recorded by the investigator as well as by Inspector D.K.Dwesar of the Investigation wing of the Commission, Ranjha Ram, father of the deceased, Ms.Manjit Kaur, daughter of the deceased and Sant Ram, brother of the deceased had stated that Jagan Nath suffered from epileptic fits at the Bus Stand, Goraya. When they were present there, after the compromise arrived at the Police Station, Goraya, relating to harassment of the daughter of Sant Ram, and that Jagan Nath had suffered many falls during the epileptic fit on the metalled road which resulted in his suffering the injuries and the death. None of the witnesses has stated that the victim was left by them at the said Police Station or that his dead body was found there. Under these circumstances, due to lack of evidence, it cannot be said that the victim had suffered injuries at the hands of the Police although the nature and number of injuries found during post-mortem examination do reveal otherwise that these could not be suffered by a fall against hard substance/surface during an epileptic fit. The doctor, who conducted the autopsy however, opined that the possibility of suffering these injuries due to a fall against a hard substance couldn’t be ruled out. So, there is no option but to conclude with a heavy heart that due to lack of evidence it cannot be said that Jagan Nath had died due to police torture, the commission is not in a position to award any compensation to the dependents of the deceased especially when they are not coming forth to claim such compensation. It appears that the parties have settled the matter privately. The complaint stands dismissed as such.”

On April 22, 2000 an old man Ram Kumar , son of Sadhu Ram of Ludhiana reportedly died in Police custody in the naka( barrier) on the Fatehgarh -Sirhind Road in Fatehgarh Sahib. The police alleged that on being apprehended, the deceased, who was a dreaded criminal consumed cyanide potassium capsule and died on the way to hospital. But the version of the Complainant before the Commission was that the deceased was tortured badly and when his condition became critical, he was forcefully administered potassium cyanide as a result of which he died. The Commission while accepting it as a case of custodial death, rejected the complaint and held that-

“The state of the victim at the time of his apprehension while accompanying the marriage party of his son can be well imagined in the background of his being suspected in a heinous crime like robbery with murder. The testimony of Sonu, son of the victim, and Mrs. Kaki, the wife of the victim, shows that he was a man of desperate criminal character who used to indulge in heinous crimes. Thus, it is plausible that he had kept the cyanide poison for consumption in such like contingency instead of facing the harassment of interrogation or the final outcome of the judicial proceedings. Under these circumstances, the availability of potassium cyanide and he having consumed it cannot be said to be a suspicious circumstance as alleged by the learned counsel for the complainant. Therefore, no case is made out for issuing any direction to the State government in this matter.”

On June 14, 1998 Baljit Kumar a roadside vendor of Patiala was picked up by a police party in Patiala on a complaint of his neighbour and taken to the police station where he was subjected to inhuman torture and when his condition became serious, he was let off. Succumbing to his injuries, Baljit Kumar died in Civil Hospital, Patiala on 17th June, 1998. An N.G.O. filed a complaint before the Punjab State Human Rights Commission seeking a detailed and independent inquiry into the custodial death of Baljit Kumar. The Commission after many hearings ultimately came to the conclusion that –

“After the receipt of report of the Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala wherein he had candidly admitted that the injuries were given to Baljit Kumar deceased by Punjab Home Guards Inderjit Singh and Bikramjit Singh by means of a rifle butt and a hocky stick, respectively the Commission decided to summon the widow of the deceased for recording her statement. But inspite of best efforts, Mohinder Kaur, the widow of Baljit Kumar has not come before the Commission. In the face of these facts, the commission is of the view that further processing of the complaint would tantamount to flogging a dead horse. In view of the stance adopted by the widow of the deceased and his other close relatives, the commission has no option but to accept fait accompli with which it has been presented by the police. In view of the above discussion, the complaint does not call for any further action.”

The complaint filed by Sher Singh, a religious preacher of SAS Nagar, Mohali, Distt.Ropar against his illegal detention and harassment by the Station House Officer of Police Station, Mohali on 13th April, 1999 was dismissed by the Commission in favour of the Police officials vide its order dated August 4, 1999. It reads that –

“Admittedly, as per the report of the SSP Ropar, Sher Singh complainant is in possession of the house in dispute-may be in his capacity as Sevadar (housekeeper).The civil court having granted an order of Staus-quo regarding the property in dispute, there is no question of making any further recommendation to the State Govt. by the Commission especially when an efficacious remedy is available to the complainant under Order 39 rule 2-A of the C.P.C. to file an application before the concerned civil court regarding the violation of the above referred order of status quo. Thus the complaint stands finally disposed off as such.”

Another complaint filed by Ashok Kumar of Ambdekar Colony, in village Palsora near Chandigarh in October, 1997 was dismissed in limine for non-prosecution, alike hundreds of other complaints on the same ground.

The toothless functioning and favorable attitude of the Commission towards State agencies have mired its role. Even the State government is not taking the activities of the Commission seriously. In many cases where the Commission has ordered the payment of compensation to the next of kin of those killed in custodial violence, the State government refuses to comply the orders on one or the other ground.

In the case of Custodial death of Pala Singh of Village Bhai Bakhtaur in Bhatinda district on Ist September, 1997, the Commission after concluding that the deceased consumed poison in police custody and during interrogation the investigating officer was certainly negligent in allowing the deceased to pick up the insecticide in the room where he was detained, held the kin of the deceased entitled to a compensation of Rs.50,000/- to be paid by the State government within two months, with liberty to recover the same from the police officials at fault. This order was passed on June 9,1998, but inspite of repeated adjournments granted for complying with the said order, the Commission ultimately passed the following order on April 27, 2000:

“It is strange that despite the specific orders dated March 1, 2000 of the Commission that the decision by the High Court in CRM will have no bearing on the recommendation of the Commission, as in that petition filed by the brother of the deceased Pala Singh he had alleged that it was not a case of suicide by the victim but a murder case, whereas the Commission has awarded compensation by holding that the concerned police officials of P.S. City Mansa were negligent in not ensuring the safety of the victim in the police lock-up as per provisions of the Punjab police rules. Thus, there is no bar for awarding compensation to the dependants of the deceased. Thus, the lop-sided attitude adopted by the State for the payment of petty amount of Rs.50,000/- to the dependants of the deceased is not appreciated. Therefore, the State government should apply its mind to the detailed order of the Commission and release the compensation to the dependants of the deceased promptly.”

Interestingly, even after granting extension of more than six months to the State by the Commission, the compensation has not been paid to the dependants of the deceased till date.

In yet another similar case of Custodial death of Milkhi Ram, son of Piara Ram in Central Jail, Ludhiana on July 24, 1998 for want of proper medical treatment in jail, the Commission after prolonged hearings concluded that –

“…..the Commission is of the view that there is in fact no gross negligence indicated on the part of the Superintendent. Jail and therefore the commission does not recommend any action against him in this regard. But the doctor is therefore, guilty of some negligence though not clearly proven to be guilty of any gross negligence. Action against him by way of his transfer has already been taken by the department and the Commission recommends that he should in addition also be warned to be more careful in future. As regards the compensation for this custodial death, the Commission is of the view that since no gross negligence on the part of the authorities has come to light and the deceased was an old patient of Asthma from which he finally died, a compensation of Rs.30,000/- would be fair. The compliance be made within thirty days from the receipt of order.”

The said order was passed on June 25, 1999. But the State government expressed its inability to comply with the said orders and is delaying the payment of a meagre sum of Rs.30,000/- to the dependants of the deceased on one or the other flimsy ground.

Devinder Singh alias Bhola, a poor driver of village Hassanpur in district Ropar died in police custody in October,1998. Three of his friends were badly tortured in CIA Staff, Ropar on the suspicion of concealing a gun in the village. The father of the deceased filed a complaint in the Commission seeking adequate compensation for the death of his son. The Commission ordered an interim compensation of Rs. 2 lakh to the father of the deceased and Rs.30,000/- each to the three persons who were subjected to torture by the police. Recently a sessions court of Ropar have convicted four police men for the custodial death of Devinder Singh and sentenced them to life inprisoment for the dastardly crime. Awfully the commission did not play any role in ensuring justice to the victim in this case, expect the grant of above said compensation.

Tarlok Singh,(37) an undertrial in a murder case lodged in Central Jail, Gurdaspur died under mysterious circumstances in Central Jai, Gurdaspur on 27th August,1999. The jail authorities alleged that he had committed suicide by hanging himself in the cell, but his wife and other inmates challenged the police version and alleged foul play into the death. His widow Sukhwinder Kaur with the assistance of an N.G.O. filed a complaint before the Commission seeking a detailed inquiry into the custodial death and for adequate compensation, besides suitable punishment to the guilty jail officials. In its sixteen page detailed order, the Commission even after receiving a statement of Nishan Singh, another undertrial lodged in the next cell of the deceased to the effect that “the deceased had abused the pharmacist saying that by not providing him the requisite medicine, he is out to kill him and that on the night of the incident, the jail pharmacist Harish Chander had come to the cell of the deceased two or three times and at about 12 or 1 midnight he heard the shrieks of Tarlok Singh when the outer door of the cell was opened and Harish Chander pharmacist indulged in the said act”, the Commission did not agree with the story of killing the deceased in jail custody. The Commission held that-

” The magisterial inquiry report of Ld. S.D.M. Gurdaspur reveals that non-compliance of the instructions contained in the Punjab Jail Manual by the jail authorities had resulted in affording an opportunity/inducement to the victim to commit suicide. Thus, this lapse on the part of the authorities had certainly resulted in affording an opportunity to the victim to commit suicide. To crown it all, the doctor incharge of the jail hospital has also not complied with the provisions of Para No.145 of the jail manual as well as section 29 of the Prisons Act, because he was supposed to visit the inmate of a cell daily, whereas the S.D.M. Gurdaspur has rightly found in his report that as per the evidence recorded by him, the jail doctor used to pay a visit to the cells once a week.

…..Under these circumstances, there is no escape but to infer that the above-referred negligence in not inspecting the solitary cell of the deceased properly by the concerned deputy superintendent jail and not keeping proper vigil as per the requirement of Prisons Act and the jail manual, had resulted in the loss of valuable life of Tarlok Singh and the negligence on the part of these jail officials cannot be said to be that grave as would fall within the mischief of Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code. However, it does call for a departmental action against the officials at fault. The Superintendent, Central Jail, Gurdaspur in his report has also stated that suitable departmental action is being taken against the jail officials at fault. Thus, no direction in this regard is required to be given by the Commission.

…….Keeping in view all these circumstances of the case, this Division bench of the Commission is of the considered view that an interim compensation of Rs.2 lakh is required to be recommended to be paid to the dependants of the deceased.

Inspite of this exoneration of the jail officials from the charge of causing death by negligence(304-A) and payment of a small sum of money as interim compensation, the State government refused to comply with the commission’s order on the ground that it would not be in public interest to comply the orders of the Commission. This stand was conveyed by the State of Punjab in a writ petition filed by the widow of the deceased.  The High Court strongly rejected this ground and directed the state to respect the order of the commission and pay the compensation awarded by it to the widow of the deceased.

Many human rights activists feel that the poor and hapless litigants are forced to file petitions in the High Court seeking compliance of the Commission’s order by spending thousands of rupees. They argue that if they have to ultimately knock the doors of the High Court, then why to waste time and energy in approaching the Commission. It would not be unjust to expect that when the commission finds itself toothless to get its orders complied, it becomes its onerous duty to approach the High Court and seek the compliance of its order or tell the State government in unequivocal terms that it is better to wind up the body and save crores of rupees from going down the drain annually. But none among the Hon’ble members of the Commission has time and concern to overcome this impediment.

In the case of Custodial death of Hargobind Singh of Barnala, on February 7, 2000, the Commission dismissed the complaint observing that –

” The perusal of the file reveals that this State Commission had taken cognizance of the matter on receipt of Fax message dated February 9, 2000 of SSP, Barnala, through IGP Litigation on that very day i.e. February 9, 2000. But the assistant registrar of the National Human Rights Commission has informed on July 21, 2000 that the National Commission has taken cognizance of the Custodial death of Hargobind Singh. Consequently, under the provisions of proviso (i) to Sub-section (5) of Section 21 of the Act, this commission is not competent to enquire into this complaint, as the National Human Rights Commission has already taken cognizance of the same. Therefore, the complaint stands disposed of as such.”

One among the many irregularities in the functioning of the commission, noticed by many is that while a particular case is heard by a single member of the Commission holding Court in the retiring room, the order passed in that complaint at the end of the day bore the signatures of all the five members, as if all the members had conducted the proceedings. This practice of obtaining signatures of other members who had not heard the case is improper and raises an accusing finger at the working of the commission. Secondly, the delaying and toothless functioning of the commission makes it cumbersome like a civil court where nothing except paper transaction is carried on. Observing a soft heart towards police force, one could not expect any adverse order against the force from the Commission, and if at all a daring step is taken, the toothless procedure and lackadaisical approach of the Commission prevents justice from being delivered to the victims. One feels perturbed over the gory incidents of gross violations of human rights committed by the State agencies occurring every day, but the honorable members of the Commission do not move a wee bit. It has no regrets for the kith and kin of hundreds and thousands of victims of human rights abuses who suffer the wrath of state agencies for being a believer in rule of law. Dismissing a complaint of custodial torture having horrible witness account of illegal detention and beating by the policemen in limine for non-prosecution is palpably unfair and attracts a violation of human right of the complainant by the commission itself.

In the infamous case of stripping a poor widow Amarjit Kaur of Bhatinda in front of her son Navdesh Kumar on August 21, 1997 by Inspector Budh Singh of C.I.A. Staff, Bhatinda, a complaint was filed before the Commission on behalf of the victim by a social organization, and the Commission instead of directing stern action against the erring policemen, reluctantly recommended the State government to pay a meager sum of Rs.30,000/- to the victim contrary of categorical direction by the Supreme Court of India that if any public servant is found guilty of mis-conduct the costs or compensation so awarded to the victim shall be recovered from the erring official.

In May,1998 one undertrial Tarlochan Singh, son of  Tirath Singh, lodged in Central Jail, Patiala had made a complaint to the High Court regarding the illegal racket of sale of medical certificates in the jail enabling the rich and influential undertrials to “take rest” in Rajindra Hospital, Patiala for years together and denial of proper medical aid to the poor prisoners. Specific instances and documents were supplied by him. On the basis of his revelations, High Court issued the notice to the Jail Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent and Medical Superintendent of Central Jail, Patiala. Firstly, they tried to pressurize the undertrial to withdraw his complaint, but when he refused to oblige, he was suddenly shifted to Maximum Security Jail, Nabha on 2nd October,1998 and pressure was put on him in the Nabha jail also, but when he refused to budge, on the Diwali night of 19th October,1998, the jail authorities branded him at his back by writing their respective names with the help of an hot iron rod. A dirty cloth was put into his mouth to prevent him from raising cries. After he was medically examined on the orders of the Judicial Magistrate, Patiala and news reports being published in all major newspapers of the region, the Commission took up this case on the complaint of the undertrial. He was ordered to be produced before the Commission. The erring jail officials were also given opportunity to put their defence. Tarlochan Singh produced the affidavits of three eye witnesses, the jail wardens who were on duty on the ill-fated night who testified that the above named three officials had branded Tarlochan Singh in their presence. A hand written confessional statement of Deputy Superintendent of Central Jail, Patiala, Capt. S.P.Singh admitting a conspiracy to brand Tarlochan Singh was also filed. Even the Assistant jail Superintendent of Maximum Security Jail, Nabha where the tragic incident had happened deposed before the Commission, corroborating the allegation of branding him by the jail officials of Central Jail, Patiala. The other side, also filed many documents and statements of the other inmates and jail wardens contending that he had branded his back himself in order to take revenge from the jail authorities. Even after hearing the case for more than two years, the least the Commission could pass was to order the immediate transfer of the erring jail officials of Central Jail, Patiala. But the guilty jail official obtained a stay order from the High Court. Awfully, the said official who had been proved guilty in the inquiry by the Commission is still enjoying posting in the same jail, making the order of the Commission virtually redundant. But the Commission has failed to award even a paltry compensation for the sufferings bore by the under trial. The Commission must at least keep in mind that, he who defends an injury is next to him that commits it.

The greatest malady that faces the Punjab State Human Rights Commission today is that human rights have not been understood in its right meaning and place by the Commission. And this pedestrian mistake vitiates the whole purpose of the institution and justice remains a distant dream for the victims. The Judges of the Commission behave arrogantly and to them every case is an unnecessary burden. Instead of directing their authority towards the restoration of faith and confidence in the institution of law in the minds of the people, it demonstrates their belief in camouflaging opinion with silky platitudes. As has been noticed by many jurists and human rights activists who remained associated with the Commission for past some time, the ways and means adopted by it fell short of the required zeal in addressing the most piquant question of nailing the hardened police officials who have the tendency of acting beyond the pale of law. Often accused of being a soulless, heartless, mindless and misdirected body, it is reeling under a grip of legal chaos and jurisprudential failure. Not only the awareness of the problem but a concerted effort to find the solution is urgently required.

This long divagation is a backdrop to conclude that the administration of injustice cannot be sold as administration of justice once the masses become conscious. The activities of the Commission, ostensibly framed by the State Government is exposing its hidden purpose day by day. The Commission with its jaundiced eye is known more as a forum for tampering justice rather than restoring the Rule of Law. It might be true that the Commission has succeeded in its pursuit of pleasing the State government by making undue favors to the men of their force, but it is also a fact that it has miserably failed to deliver goods and in the process has evoked serious allegations of bias, favoritism, arbitrariness and illegality from all corners.

A few cardinal principles which call for immediate observance by the commission,  to win the confidence of the people and learn the task of justicing must be practised viz….institutional independence, individual integrity, management skills, apart from social justice. It must also bear in mind are that Punjabis have their own scale of tolerance and one should not stretch it to its last inch. The distressed people have not been able to come out of the decade long turmoil even till today, and should not be treated so badly that may add to their sufferings.

Till then, how so ever loud the Commission beats the drum of human rights, it cannot remove the stains of browbeating the cause of human rights and shielding the corrupt and rowdy police officials involved in heinous crime resulting in gross human rights violations, lest it re-consider its hidden agenda and adopt a harsh attitude against the erring officers of State agencies.

CHAPTER SEVEN

PEOPLE’S COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

IN PUNJAB

Frustrated over their long pending demand of a judicial commission to probe the decade long violence in the State, all the human rights bodies formed a Committee for Coordination on disappearances in Punjab (C.C.D.P.) in November, 1997. An air of distrust and dissention was built and the State government was caught in a quandary, but it turned a blind eye to this demand of the people. When all efforts of the human rights groups failed and ultimately they lost patience with the ball rolling the right way. In a jam packed press conference attended by all the member organizations of C.C.D.P. at Chandigarh on 8th April, 1998, the formation of People’s Commission was announced.

This declaration expectedly raised unprecedented undercurrents in Political circles as well as in the police force. This ensued heated charges and counter-charges between human rights activists and the State agencies. Most prominent among the persons speaking against it were the former Police chief, K.P.S.Gill, BJP leader, Laxmi Kanta Chawla and Maninderjit Singh Bitta of Indian National Congress. K.P.S.Gill, known as a staunch supporter of the fascist theory of immunity for his officers who transgressed law on the pretext of fighting terrorism in the State, could not digest the historical declaration and exposed his venomous view point, in an article titled “Truth lies with People and not Commission” wherein he wrote :

“…. We have thus a commission of three retired Judges, drawn from outside and unfamiliar with the ground realities of Punjab, who are to review the mountains of evidence relating to a decade and a half of turbulence and terror within eighteen months.  But the institutional context within which the commission is to operate is so manifestly partisan, so intrinsically linked to one of the most duplicitous actors in Punjab’s age of terror, that the trust of its inquiries are a foregone conclusion.

……. I have reportedly demanded a fair and impartial investigation of the events that kept Punjab at the brink throughout the 1980’s and into the early 1990’s; an investigation that would not stop at conveniently scapegoating the police, but would go beyond to discover the murderous web of Political conspiracies that gave birth to terrorism; one that would create the basis to bring surviving terrorist, some of whom still swagger around the Punjab in Political garb, to justice; one that would honestly confront the inquiry and amoral opportunism of religious institutions and pretenders, especially of the SGPC; and one that would expose and help punish the unconscionable defalcation and cowardice of every arm of governance, specifically the bureaucracy and the Judiciary-other than the uniformed services.”

It was  clearly an outburst born out of desperation. The above thought indicates that although serious trouble had now brewed in the police cadre, something essential seemed to gather force from the constitution of the People’s Commission. Mr. Gill made it sound as if the Police force was facing an army of terrorists. It seems extraordinary that such a small number of Human Rights activists would be able to bring the Police force to its knees. But the Human Rights activists were not amused by such utterances whether it came from the Advocate General of Punjab or the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal himself, because it was not a secred that the People like K.P.S.Gill and the men of his ilk have completely lost the power of thinking and reasoning. They think the only way to discredit the Human Rights defenders is to abuse them. They also feel that maligning the Judiciary and degrading the morale of the Human Rights activists is a legitimate task of the people like him, but these incidents are engineered to elicit maximum and uncontrolled reactions involving government in full glare of the media.

Mr. K.P.S.Gill, had veriforously spoken ill of the People’s Commission. It sounds a bit bizarre, as the allegations of humiliation and demoralizing situation have come from a person who himself is a convict, and bore on his shoulders, the burden of a conviction for a pat on a lady bureaucrat’s bottom. No other person in the State’s political history has been so mediocre and yet had a sudden rise and equally sudden fall as Mr. Gill. Only a few months ago, all those who were calling him “Supercop” were busy writing his obituary. To call him a “crusader of peace” or a “brave warrior” is to give him undue credit. In fact, he has been a failure all his life. Apart from being a conniving manipulator, he is also corrupt to the core. There is very little conviction in his voice when he murmurs against the People’s Commission.

While setting the stage for holding first ever historical sitting of a People’s Court, under the name and style of ” People’s Commission on Human Rights Violations in Punjab” the three day proceedings was notified to be held from 8th to 10th August,1998 at Chandigarh. Former Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, Mr. Justice Devi Singh Tewatia (Retd.) as its Chairman, Mr.Justice Hosbet Suresh (Retd.) and Mr.Justice Jaspal Singh (Retd.) were appointed as its members respectively. The terms of reference given to the Commission were :

“To examine the complaints of illegal abductions, custodial torture, enforced disappearances, summary executions and enmasse illegal cremations and to give its findings on :

(a)        Whether from 1979 to 1997 the agencies of the State carried out and tolerated directly or indirectly any of the above mentioned atrocities and thereby committed violation of human rights as guaranteed under the Constitution of India and various International covenants and declarations;

(b)        Whether the State agencies/individuals prima facie committed any offence under the law of the land or international law.

(c)        To suggest the remedies available to the victims of the aforementioned atrocities including their entitlement to compensation from the State and its agencies.”

Before formally announcing the holding of first Public hearing by the People’s Commission, in a last bid to persuade the State government, a delegation of human rights bodies met the Chief Minister of Punjab at his residence on 4th August,1998 and handed over to him a list of 2,851 persons found “missing” in Police records or either killed in fake police encounters and demanded a Judicial Commission to probe these official excesses. They even offered to wind up the proposed People’s Commission, but in the event of failure of the State Government, it warned that they would go ahead with the planned sitting of People’s Commission. But the State government did not pay any heed seriously and it was decided to hold the three day Public hearing from August 8, 1998 to August 10, 1998.

HISTORY RE-WRITTEN : PROCEEDINGS OF THE  PEOPLE’S COMMISSION

Date     : 8th August, 1998:

Venue : Conference Hall, Gurudwara Sahib, Sector 34, Chandigarh.

The Court room was decently decorated and the wall behind the dais bore the banner ” The People’s Commission” . Three chairs for the Judges with separate microphones affixed to the dais, table tops, pen-stand and every item of need, besides three powerful Air-Conditioners were giving the impression of a Court room of the High Court.. The sitting arrangement for more than five hundred people was suitably made in the Hall. Separate arrangement for the Panel of Lawyers and the Press media was also impressive. A separate room for the registration of  fresh complaints with three lawyer  investigators led by Mr. Harshinder Singh, Advocate and assistants was provided for the purpose. The opening day of the historical sitting of the People’s Commission started at 10 .30 a.m. with flickering still and Video cameras trying to capture the best scene of the event. The convention hall of the Gurdwara Sector 34, Chandigarh completely resembled a High Court. The three Judges namely Mr. Justice Devi Singh Tewatia (Retd.) at the center as Chairman, Mr. Justice H. Suresh (Retd.) at the left and Mr. Justice Jaspal Singh (Retd.) at the right as members respectively occupied their seats and commision started its proceedings. Two stenographers took down the notes, with one Secretary calling the names of the people addressing the Court. Amid pin drop silence, the first speaker to address the Commission was a leading Supreme Court Lawyer and torchbearer of Women cause Ms. Indira Jai Singh, who spoke on every issue of human rights in Punjab during her hour long speech explaining the roots of the Punjab Problem, instances of Law protectors turning into Law breakers and ending with some suggestions to the Commission for its proceedings.

After that, Mr. Amar Singh Chahal, President, Lawyers For Human Rights, International, Mr. Justice Ajit Singh Bains (Retd.) Chairman of Punjab Human Rights Organization, Mr.Gurtej Singh, a former I.A.S. Mr. Ranjan Lakhanpal, Advocate, Mr.Ram Narayan Kumar, Convener, Coordination Committee on Disappearances in Punjab, Mr. Simranjit Singh Mann Akali leader and many others placed their submissions before the Commission in the post-lunch session which continued till the rise of the Court at 4 p.m. The commission also framed rules for its future functioning. Concluding the first day’s sitting, the Chairman, Justice D.S.Tewatia, observed that the speakers in the morning session on the next day should confine to “general presentation” of the causes and cases. Prominent persons attending the commission proceedings on the first day included Mr. Simranjit Singh Mann, Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, Justice Kuldip Singh, Human Rights Activists, Lawyers, Journalists and large number of victims of State repression whose tale of woes have gone unheard all these years. The proceedings during all the three days were exclusively in English and it successfully attracted every section of the society. Almost every political party whether in favor or against it sent its representative to view the functioning of the so-called extra-judicial court.

9th August,1998: Chandigarh

The commission started its proceedings on the second day at 10.30 a.m. with presentation of particular cases of “disappearances” during the period 1979-1997. Legally drafted complaints supported by duly sworn affidavits of the complainants and documentary evidence including the affidavits of the witnesses in whose presence the victim was picked up or taken by the Police were read over by the lawyers on the microphone. The names of Police officers responsible for the crime were prominently mentioned along with the role of each of them in the particular case. The counsels namely Mr. Rajvinder Bains, Mr.Puran Singh Hundal, Mr.Navkiran Singh and Mr.Arunjeev Singh Walia all practising Lawyers of Punjab & Haryana High Court explained every case and the set of events which led to the disappearance of the victims. After hearing the counsel and considering the evidence on record of each case, Mr.Justice D.S.Tewatia, speaking on behalf of the Commission issued notices to the State of Punjab, through Home Secretary, the Director General of Police, Punjab and individual Police officer allegedly responsible for the crime . He ordered a copy of the notice to be sent separately to the Director General of Police returnable by 23.10.1998.

10th August,1998: Chandigarh

The concluding day of the Commission’s working witnessed unprecedented Public support and large gathering. It was largely attended by the Press, leaders of Political parties and next of kin of those killed or disappeared. Thousands of people thronged the registration room to register their complaints along with documents and evidence. The proceedings of the Commission was video recorded throughout.

At the end of the third day’s sitting, the Secretary of the Commission announced the holding of second sitting of the Commission at Sukhdev Singh Hall, Punjab Agricultural University Campus, Ludhiana from 23rd October,1998 to 25th October,1998. And the Court was adjourned till then. (Later on this date was postponed for reasons best known to the organisers of the People’s commission.

PEOPLE’S COMMISSION VS HIGH COURT

In an unsuccessful attempt to scuttle the effort to find out the truth behind the decade long violence in the State, one Lawyer of Chandigarh filed a Petition in so-called Public Interest in the Punjab & Haryana High Court in September,1998 seeking a ban on the activities of the People’s Commission and for a stay on the proposed next sitting of People’s Commission in Ludhiana on 23rd October,1998. The Petition which later came out to be the handiwork of anti-human rights forces, interalia alleged that ” by sitting over judgments passed by the Law Courts of competent jurisdiction in cases of alleged excesses during the period of militancy, as per article 5(2) of the rules framed by the People’s Commission, an attempt is being made to set up a parallel judicial system which may have the result of subverting the judicial process of the country as well as causing a serious threat to the survival of the Republic of India.” It further alleged that “the functioning of the People’s Commission to carry out its avowed object shall bring the system of administration of justice in the country into disrepute and will amount to interference in the administration of justice.”

The Petitioner also tried to take every benefit from the provocative statements issued by the then Advocate-General of Punjab, Mr. Gurdarshan Singh Grewal and the BJP Minister, in the Punjab Cabinet, Mr. Balram Ji Dass Tandon, against the People’s Commission and laid down its own question of law as to whether an extra-constitutional body like the People’s Commission is entitled to byepass the judicial process and the system of administration of justice as enshrined in the Constitution of India ? Different political parties including Indian National Congress, Bhartiya Janata Party, Communist Party of India, Rashtriya Savyam Sangh (RSS) etc. streneously and studiously opposed the activities of the People’s Commission so that the truth behind the genocide of Sikhs in Punjab could not be brought to light.

The Division bench of the High Court, issued notice to the Chairman of the People’s Commission and other parties, without hearing even a single word of argument from the Petitioner’s Counsel. It is noteworthy that the same bench had to their credit many orders of dismissal of Public Interest Litigation in limine relating to Custodial death, false encounter, and rape by Policemen, during the days of State repression in the State. This undoubtedly boosted the morale of Punjab Police, especially Mr. P.C. Dogra, the then D.G.P. of Punjab Police whose public outcry against the Human Rights organisations in Punjab had  defamed many human rights activists of being “terrorists with pen-bomb”. Organisations and political parties known for their anti-human rights stance rose high up in arms and without caring a wee bit about the sub-judice nature of the case came down heavily upon the Commission by making unwarranted statements. Strangely, the High Court which had taken strong notice of the mis-reporting by press earlier, ignored these statements.

The Petition came up for further hearing before the bench consisting Mr. Justice R.S.Mongia and Mr. Justice S.S.Sudhalkar on 25th September,1998 where the Committee for Co-ordination on disappearances in Punjab(which formed the People’s Commission)filed an application seeking permission to be impleaded as intervenor in the said Writ Petition. In the said application the C.C.D.P. (Co-ordination Committee on disappearances in Punjab) stated that since the activities of the People’s Commission are under judicial scrutiny of the Hon’ble High Court in the present Civil Writ Petition and because the People’s Commission has been formed by the it, the C.C.D.P. being a necessary and interested party, may be permitted to join in the Petition as respondent. The case was then further adjourned. On an even date, the State of Punjab, filed the reply stating that –

……The People’s Commission is a private body which has no legal sanction behind it.

…….So far the functioning of the People’s Commission has not created any law and order problem or infringed any law and there is no occasion for the State to interfere into the affairs of this private body.

_____ The Government is closely watching the situation arising out of its functioning and is keeping a strict vigil and will interfere whenever any cause or situation warranting intervention of state arises.

……. Under Section 36(2) of the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993, the National Human Rights Commission or the Punjab State Human Rights Commission are prohibited from inquiring into any matter after expiry of one year from the date on which the act constituting violation of human rights is alleged to have been committed. The State Government is of the opinion that this period needs to be extended upto ten years. The Government proposes to take up the matter with the Union of India to get the necessary amendment made in Section 36(2) of the Act so that complaints regarding human rights violations of the last ten years can be taken up by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission.

…….The Government is of the view that a private body like the People’s Commission which has no legal sanction and no power to award punishment or compensation will serve no useful purpose. However, in view of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India, the State cannot interfere with such private initiatives as the People’s Commission, unless its functioning infringes any law or otherwise gives rise to a law and order problem. “

In its reply filed by the Union of India, before the High Court ,Mr.Rohtash Singh, Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi submitted that –

……The Union of India has sought a factual report about the activities of the People’s Commission from the State Government and would act appropriately if any action is warranted on its part on the basis of the said report.

……. The Union of India has no specific comments to offer on various paragraphs of the petition except that some of the activities of the People’s Commission tend to encroach upon the judicial function of the State and have no force of law.

…… The People’s Commission in issuing notices to public servants in the State of Punjab, to depose before it is completely illegal and has no force of law, and after obtaining a report from the State Government, the Union of India would have no hesitation in advising the State of Punjab to ask its officers to ignore these notices.

…….In view of the above submissions, Union of India also feels that the Hon’ble High Court should also take cognizance of the extra-constitutional nature of functions and activities of the People’s Commission and restrain it from doing anything which may amount to encroaching upon the judicial function of the State. “

At this stage, three citizens of Punjab, namely Mohan Singh, Narinder Singh and Ajit Singh all residents of District Gurdaspur in Punjab joined hands with the Petitioner and filed another Civil Writ Petition challenging the functioning of the People’s Commission on the grounds that —

……After almost a war like situation in Punjab in this one and a half decade in which thousands of lives were lost, peace ultimately settled down and guns fell silent. However, certain elements who could not digest this prevalence of peace and calm atmosphere in Punjab , set-up mock courts without any sanctity of law for misguiding innocent people of Punjab by issuing notices/Summons to various authorities in Punjab. This was done with a clear cut intent to subvert the administration of justice and to inflame communal passions in Punjab to which semblance of law and order had recently returned.

…… it dawned upon them that setting up of this People’s Commission shall certainly lead to revival of terrorism in Punjab. Surprisingly, the Government of Punjab and Union of India remained a mute witness to the activities of the People’s Commission and no action has been taken for banning such a Commission which is capable of arousing communal passions amongst the people and also of spreading seditious propaganda.

……. The State Government has not even deemed it fit to register cases against those members of the People’s Commission who are openly subverting the administration of justice and acting as law unto themselves.”

After going through the submissions of the State of Punjab and Union of India mentioned in their separate replies, the case was listed for arguments. Meanwhile, another application for permission to become a party to the petition was moved by one Advocate, Mr. Surjit Singh Sood, President of Consumer and Citizens Liberty Organization, Jalandhar wherein he submitted that –

“……The  State of Punjab has suffered greatly for the last about two decades because of suppression of civil liberties by the members of the Police force in the State of Punjab under the malignant guidance of the then Governments of Punjab and Center ruled by the Indian National Congress.

…….. The citizens of Punjab had always been demanding that either the Central Government or the State Government should establish a commission of enquiry to fix responsibility for the death of several thousand persons at the hands of police and the so-called extremists in the period under review, but no such commission has been established so far. It is a matter of pain for the ordinary citizens of Punjab that even after the establishment of the popular government of Shromani Akali Dal in Punjab such a commission has not been established so far although Shromani Akali Dal is the only organization which has been tirelessly agitating and pleading the cause of civil liberty in the State of Punjab and through out India.

…….The said three gentlemen carry a reputation of great honesty, integrity and love and respect for the cause of justice and also for the cause of sovereignty and integrity of India.

……. The writ petition filed by the Petitioner is a clumsy effort to somehow down and cloud the integrity and intentions of the People’s Commission.

…….The applicant has special knowledge of the sufferings of citizens of Punjab in the wake of Operation Blue Star and thereafter as he was the counsel incharge for the defence of 365 innocent persons who were arrested from the precincts of holy Golden Temple Complex, Amritsar between 3rd and 6th June,1984 and were detained in various jails and finally in Jodhpur Central Jail. The applicant is also specially aware of the efforts of the then Governments of Punjab and Center to thwart the successful effort of Advocates of those detainees in Jodhpur Central Jail as the applicant and his team of lawyers were threatened, insulted and hampered in the defence of those hapless detainees whose only fault was that they had been working on duty as Sewadars or had gone as devotees to the holy precincts of Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar on the day when Operation Blue Star was conducted which was the martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev, the 5thGuru of the Sikhs.

……..This is the genuine feeling of the applicant that the Civil Writ Petition filed against the People’s Commission has been filed at the instance of police officials, bureaucrats and others who have been guilty of committing heinous crimes in the State of Punjab and who are afraid of the finding by the Commission that they had committed atrocities on the citizens and took the law into their own hands.

…….The establishment of the People’s Commission is a common and most appropriate action in a democratic society. Its establishment is in the greatest interest of democratic functioning of India. Citizens of India especially the citizens of Punjab shall be greatly benefited by the enquiry to be conducted by the said People’s Commission.

……. The People’s Commission has adopted very correct and appropriate attitude in inviting all the persons against whom allegations of extra-judicial killings, torture, and atrocities have been made to present their case before it.

…… In case the High Court directs the ban on the activities of the People’s Commission, the integrity and sovereignty of India which is dearer than life to the applicant shall suffer an irreparable damage. “

In its next hearing, the High Court allowed the above mentioned two applications filed by the C.C.D.P. and Mr. Surjit Singh Sood, Advocate and impleaded them as respondents.

In its endeavor to sidetrack the issue of legality of the Commission’s functioning the State of Punjab argued before the High Court that since it has forwarded the proposal to amend Section 36(2) of the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993 to the Union of India whereby the Limitation for entertaining complaints by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission would be extended to 10 years, and the said proposal is being examined by the Union Home Ministry and some more time may be granted to the State Government to do some extra efforts in getting the amendment at the earliest.

During the Course of argument on one hearing, the Counsel for the Co-ordination Committee on Disappearances in Punjab agreed to the suggestion that if the Union of India makes an amendment in the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993 empowering the State Human Rights Commission to hear complaints pertaining to incidents of human rights violation earlier to one year, they will wind up the People’s Commission. The counsel of the C.C.D.P. even went to the extent of  giving an undertaking that it would not hold the future sittings of the People’s Commission till the decision of the present petition before the High Court. Feeling overjoyed over this undertaking, the parties to the petition agreed to adjourn the case for awaiting the response of Union of India to the proposal forwarded by the State of Punjab with regard to the amendment in the Section 36( 2) of the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993. The case was adjourned to 24.12.1998.

Expectedly, the undertaking given by the counsel for the C.C.D.P. and adjourning the future sitting of the People’s Commission on 28th November,1998 in Amrtisar sine die , arouse feeling of discontent among the fellow organizations in the C.C.D.P.  Lawyers For Human  Rights International being the first body to express annoyance over this arbitrary and unwarranted decision said that even if it is presumed that the there is an amendment in the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993, there would be no change in the situation as the People of the State have lost faith in the “toothless and in-effective” functioning of the State-sponsored Punjab State Human Rights Commission, due to its biased attitude towards the Punjab Police. It also argued that during the two years of its constitution, when the P.S.H.R.C. has not been able to show the desired results, what justice it could give to the victims whose cases date back to 1988 or 1990.

Many human rights activists associated with the working of the People’s Commission felt that for the sake of argument, if the High Court bans the People’s Commission, the purpose behind the formation of the Commission would be vindicated as it  would  cry loud and high at every  forum that the human rights situation in the State has gone so abysmal low that the people are even deprived of the fundamental right to speech and expression and that the Government of India and the Indian Judiciary does not want to bring before the world the truth behind the mass genocide of the Sikhs in Punjab. Notwithstanding some misunderstanding among the human rights organisations over the indefinite postponing of the future sittings of the People’s Commission, the work of documentation of cases of disappearance and collection of evidence and data continued in the secretariat of the People’s Commission at normal pace.

On February 4,1999, in its rejoinder filed on behalf of Union of India, Sh. Alok K. Srivastava, Director, Ministry of Home Affairs, Union of India submitted in the High Court that the proposal of the State of Punjab to amend the section 36(2) of the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993 to extend the limitation period from one year to ten years has been finally rejected by the Government of India, on the ground that by extending the limitation period from one year to ten years, it would open the flood gates for litigation and allegations which would be beyond the capacity of either the National Human Rights Commission or the Punjab State Human Rights Commission to handle. Even at present both these Commissions are overcrowded with complaints filed by victims of human rights violations.

This rejection of the proposal by the Government of India gave a good ground for the propounders of People’s Commission to argue that it was for this reason that an independent Commission was greatly needed. Even the opponents of the People’s Commission adopted sympathetic approach towards it. With this rejection, the role of Central as well as State Government came under severe criticism . It was felt that the Central as well as State government do not want to expose the people behind large-scale human rights violations in Punjab. Every element opposing the People’s Commission  got an opportunity to raise a war of words in the media and influence the mind of the bench hearing the petition and  the stage was set for final battle of Human Rights activists Vs. anti- Human Rights lobby in the Court room of Mr. Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr. Justice Amar Dutt.

JUDGMENT DAY: HIGH COURT BANS PEOPLE’S COMMISSION

Amar Dutt, J. for himself and G.S.Singhvi J.

By this order, we are disposing of three Civil Writ Petitions as common questions of law and fact are involved in the same. These petitions have been filed primarily for issuance of a writ in the nature of mandamus to the Union of India and to the State of Punjab for taking appropriate action against the People’s Commission by prohibiting it from carrying out the objects set out in its constitution and from holding its scheduled sittings.

Sudarshan Goel, is a practicing advocate and a member of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association since 1979. He says that he does not have any personal interest and he is not affected by the working of the People’s Commission but he has invoked the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India because the working of the Commission has seriously eroded the people’s confidence in the majesty of law. He further says that this petition represents the sentiments of millions of citizens of India especially the persons living in the State of Punjab and surrounding areas who are interested in upholding the majesty of law and ensuring that the administration of justice is not tampered with or interfered with in any manner. He has referred to the news reports regarding the setting up of the Commission under the Chairmanship of Mr. Justice D.S. Tewatia, former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr. Justice H. Suresh, a retired Judge of Maharashtra High Court and Mr. Justice Jaspal Singh, retired Judge of Delhi High Court as its members. The Commission, it is alleged has been set up by 20 odd organizations and political outfits engaged in work related to the preservation and protection of civil liberties and human rights who had decided to form an umbrella organization in the name of the Committee for Coordination on Disappearances in Punjab (for short, the Committee).

The petitioner’s case is that even though the Commission does not have any authority in law of land to summon any person or to make adjudication on the complaints filed before it and its decisions, judgements and orders are not enforceable in any Court of law, to achieve the object set out in the agenda prepared by the Committee, the Commission had issued summons to many police officers calling upon them to answer the charges which have been leveled against them and to defend themselves before the Commission and it had held sittings from August 8 to 10, 1998 at Gurdwara in Sector 34, Chandigarh and the next sitting of the Commission is scheduled to be held from October 23 to 25, 1998 at Ludhiana. This functioning of the Commission, according to the petitioner, amounts to setting up of a parallel judicial system and will result in subverting the established judicial process in the country and may pose a serious threat to the survival of the Republic of India. It is likely to bring disrepute to the system of administration of justice and amounts to interference with the same. The findings that may be recorded by the Commission are likely to be used for the purpose of publicity and may only result in demoralizing the officers who at the risk to their lives curbed militancy and restored normalcy in the State of Punjab. Petitioner has made reference to the demand made by none else than Shri Balramji Dass Tandon who is a member of the Council of the Ministers of Punjab that the Commission should be restrained from summoning the officers. A reference has also been made to the letter written by then Advocate General, Punjab, Shri G.S. Grewal in which he decried the setting up of the Commission.

Doubts regarding the validity of the Commission had also been expressed by the Communist Party of India. In view of all these circumstances, the petitioner prays for the grant of relief in the terms already indicated herein before.

In response to the notice issued by the Court, some of the respondents have filed written statements.

The Union of India, asserted that the functioning of the Commission tends to encroach upon the judicial functions of the State. It has also asserted that India has a very strong and independent judicial system and institutions like National Human Rights Commission who are seized of the various complaints that have arisen out of the situation which prevailed in Punjab during the period of trans-border terrorism in the State. According to the Union of India, the Commission has no role to play other than assisting the judicial Courts and the National Human Rights Commission in its capacity of a private initiative. It has also been asserted that the action of the Commission in issuing notices to public servants are illegal and the officers have been advised to ignore the same. In the end it is asserted that the Court should restrain the Commission from doing anything which encroaches upon the judicial functions of the State.

In the written statement filed by State of Punjab, it has been averred that the commission is a private body having no legal sanction behind it and it has no power to compel appearance of government officials who are entitled to ignore the notices and the so called summons issued to them. At the same time it has been averred that the functioning of the Commission had not created any law and order problem or infringed any law so as to call for interference by the State in the affairs of this private body. The State, it is submitted, is fully alive to its constitutional and legal obligations and is closely watching the situation arising out of the functioning of the Commission and would interfere whenever any cause or situation arises warranting intervention by the State. It has also submitted that the Government of India as well as the State of Punjab has set up National Human Rights Commission. Both these Commissions examine and investigate complaints relating to violations of human rights as also the negligence on the part of any public servant in preventing such violations and a number of complaints pertaining to Punjab are under consideration before these Commissions. Further, the stand of the State of Punjab is that in view of the provisions contained in Section 36 (2) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the National Commission or the State Commission are prohibited from interfering with any matter after the expiry of one year from the date on which the act constituting violation of human rights is alleged to have been committed. Still further, the State of Punjab has averred that in view of the availability of the effective statutory bodies which can exclusively enquire into the allegations of violation of human rights as also in view of the availability of civil and criminal Courts and constitutional remedies under Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution of India and effective statutory bodies like National Human Rights Commission and the State Human Rights Commission constituted under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 who can enquire into the violations of human rights, the People’s Commission will not serve any useful purpose. However, the stand of the State is that in view of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution particularly under Article 19, the State cannot interfere with the private initiatives such as People’s Commission unless these infringe any law or otherwise give rise to a law and order problem.

The People’s Commission itself was served through its Chairman but none has put in appearance on its behalf. Instead an application was moved on behalf of the Committee for permission to intervene. This application was allowed and an affidavit was filed by Shri Ram Narayan Kumar, a Convener of the aforesaid organization in which preliminary objection has been taken regarding the maintainability of the present writ petition on the ground that petitioner has no locus standi to invoke the writ jurisdiction. It is also submitted that the Commission derives its legitimacy from the guarantees under Article 19 (1) of the Constitution of India which are sacrosanct and can only be curtailed if the exercise of the right is in conflict with imperatives of national security as indicated in Article 19 (2) of the Constitution of India. In the exercise of right to collect information guaranteed under the Constitution, the Commission has been constituted to inquire into the complaints of human rights violations that are made before it. It has been averred that perusal of the terms of reference of the Commission would indicate that all proceedings of the Commission would conform to the rules made under the Commissions of Inquiry Act and the procedure laid in these rules and the principles of natural justice. The Commission, it has been submitted has no intention of dealing with or commenting upon pending matters. Since all the members of the Commission have been high functionaries of the Indian Judiciary, it was improper for the petitioner to raise doubts about their honesty of purpose.

According to the Intervenor, the People’s Commission has been set up:

a)         To develop a voluntary mechanism to collect and collate information on serious human rights abuses committed by the State agencies, and to pursue for justice.

b)         To evolve a workable system of State accountability.

c)         To lobby for India to change the domestic laws in conformity with UN instruments on torture, enforced disappearances, accountability, compensation to victims of abuse of power and other related matters.

d)         To initiate a debate on vital issues of State powers, its distribution, accountability and to work for a shared perspective on these matters with concerned organizations and movements all over India.

According to him, these aims and objectives are also in consonance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All persons under any form of detention or imprisonment and the UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.

It is also submitted that right to know is a citizen’s right. The freedom of information is fundamental to all fundamental rights. A People’s Tribunal gathering information, collecting relevant materials on an event of public importance, sorting them out judicially, marshalling the evidence and conveying the whole testimony so gathered, in the shape of a report, is the discharge of public duty of the highest order. No one can, under the laws of India, stop the right to give or receive information, except where it is mischievously intended to interfere with or skew the course of judicial justice. It is also submitted victims of police repression cannot be prevented from expressing themselves to the People’s Commission and the officials from whom enquiries are made are free to ignore or entertain the queries whereupon it will be open to the People’s Commission to reach its conclusions even without their participation. It is also submitted that to say that People’s Commission aims at setting up a parallel judicial system to subvert the judicial process is irrational in as much as the Commission is not going to deal with or comment upon any pending matter. As regards decided cases, it has been urged that any judgement delivered by the Court of law is always open to critical analysis and scrutiny. In view of this, if any one has brought to the notice of the Commission that the Courts have been instrumental in defeating or demeaning the fundamental rights of the citizens, the Commission would be within its legal rights to examine such judgements in decided cases. In its enthusiasm to justify the setting up of the Commission, the Intervenor has submitted that the judiciary has often been acting under the erroneous perception of limitation of authority to enforce fundamental rights. In a society that tends to relegate human rights to a place secondary to considerations of political expediency, the judiciary has a crucial role that holds the balance between democracy and dictatorship, between life and death for thousands. Its integrity cannot survive if we place its actions beyond all public scrutiny. After all, we have an established history of political manipulation and interference with the judiciary, which has explicitly aimed to destroy its independence and integrity. It is acknowledged that our judiciary with its beleaguered judges, its backlog of cases, corruption, nepotism and political appointments vitiating its capacities for integrity, courage and dignity is in an unenviable position. We also know how the officers of the executive and the security agencies have held judiciary’s attempts to enforce human rights with disdain and even outright hostility. For justifying this, he has relied upon the comments made by many International Organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Asia and Federation of  International des Ligues des Droits de L’Homme who commented Indian judiciary lacking the teeth or the will to bring justice in extraordinary situations that occured in places like Punjab. On the basis of these averments, it is asserted that the writ petition is devoid of any merit and should be dismissed.

Learned Deputy Advocate General, Punjab made a statement that the State Government has already decided to move the Central Government to make suitable amendments in Section 36 (2) of the 1993 Act so that the State Human Rights Commission can take cognizance of the complaints of human rights violations relating to the incidents that took place prior to a period of one year. Sometime thereafter, Shri Ashutosh Mohunta, counsel for the Union of India stated out that the proposal sent by the Government of Punjab for amendment of Section 36 (2) of the 1993 Act had not been accepted by the Government of India. Thereafter, further arguments were heard and the order reserved. At that stage also, we had given time to the learned Advocate General/ Deputy Advocate General, Punjab to inform the Court whether the Government is willing to constitute an independent Commission under the Commission of Enquiries Act to look into the circumstances related to terrorist violence and the violations of human rights. In reply, the counsel representing the State asserted that the Government of Punjab has again approached the Central Government for amending Section 36 (2) of the 1993 Act. On August 13, 1999, the counsel for the Union of India stated that the Government of India has once again rejected proposal sent by the Government of Punjab. Learned Advocate General also stated that the State Government had taken a decision not to constitute a Commission under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952.

We shall first deal with the preliminary objections raised by Co-ordination Committee for Disappearances in Punjab and the Intervenor to the maintainability of the writ petition on the ground that no writ lies against a private body like People’s Commission and in any case the petitioners do not have locus standi to seek a restraint order against the functioning of the People’s Commission. The other objection of the Intervenors is purely hypothetical and conjectural and has been evinced at a premature stage, which renders the petitions frivolous and vexatious.

In our opinion, the objection to the locus standi of the petitioners deserve to be rejected. The petitioner, Sudarshan Goel, Jatinder Pannu may not have been directly affected by the activities of the militants in Punjab but the other petitioners namely Ajit Singh, Mohan Singh and Narinder Singh are direct sufferers of the actions of the militancy. They have lost their near and dears at the hands of the militants. Therefore, it is not possible to accept the submission of the counsel for the non-official respondents and intervenors that the petitioners should be non-suited on the ground of locus standi. Otherwise also, we do not find any valid ground to decline consideration of the petitioners’ case on merits. The objection raised to the maintainability of the petitions has to be seen in the light of the fact that the petitioners have approached the Court for issuance of a writ in the nature of mandamus directing the Union of India, State of Punjab to restrain respondent no. 3 from acting in a manner which would amount to subversion of the judicial system prevalent in the State. The main allegation of the petitioners that the constitution of the Commission is nothing but an attempt to set up a parallel system of adjudication of matters like of a particular character, which if allowed, will shatter the faith and confidence of the people in the existing judicial system.

It is difficult to comprehend as to how a private body can be allowed to do so. Neither any functionary of the State nor any private individual can be allowed to arrogate power to adjudicate and decide the disputes and usurp judicial powers. Apart from this, the Charter framed by the Intervenor includes a clause which empowers the Commission to reopen the decided cases cannot be done without following the due procedure of law. Moreover, in our opinion, neither any functionary of the State nor any private individual can have the right to arrogate unto itself the power to adjudicate and decide the disputes except when permitted by law, enacted by the Parliament or the State Legislature. We are, further of the view that power sought to be conferred on the Commission, if upheld, would amount to an attack on the established system in which orders and judgements of the Court are treated as final unless the same are reversed, modified or set aside by the appellate Court(s) or reviewed by the Court concerned. The Charter, according to which the Commission is going to work certainly impinges upon the functioning of the State and, therefore, we do not find any cogent reason to non-suit the petitioners by holding that he does not have the locus standi. For taking this view we draw support from the decision of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in T. Anjaneyulu and another Vs. D.T. Naik and others AIR 1997 A.P. 237. We shall now deal with the main issue as to whether the People’s Commission as set up by the Charter framed for governing its functioning and released by the Intervenes impinges upon any of the functions which the State Executive is obliged to discharge in relation to the collection of information and investigation into any violations of human rights for eventual adjudication by the Judiciary. According to the Intervenors, which is a body that claims to be responsible for the initiative, the setting up of the Commission does not in any way impinge upon the functioning of the Judiciary. The Commission operates only as an information gathering body which has been set up to tabulate the cases where excesses were committed by the State agencies in Punjab in between the years 1979 to 1997. The Committee asserts that this function the Commission is entitled to carry out in the exercise of the right of information guaranteed to an individual by Article 19 of the Constitution.

While there can be little dispute about the submission that right of a citizen to freedom of speech has by judicial precedents been extended to that he has a right to receive and disseminate information and the recognition of this right is not even disputed on behalf of the petitioners in the petitions. We will have to determine whether this right confers on an individual or group of individuals a right to assume to himself or themselves the right and obligation to receive complaints regarding any misdemeanor committed by State officials and after investigating these indict the persons responsible for the same. With this end in view it becomes necessary to advert to the Rules of the People’s Commission on Human Rights Violations in Punjab which have been framed by the Committee indicating the parameters within which the People’s Commission would function. From a perusal of the above provisions, it becomes clear that People’s Commission apart from receiving and tabulating the complaints of persons who claim to be victims of human rights violation at the hands of the State and its functionaries during the period extending from 1979 to 1997 can have the complaints investigated by the Investigators attached to the Commission who will after going into the allegations submit a report, which is termed as indictment to the Chamber of Judges. The Chamber of Judges then can call upon the person against whom the complaint is to present himself whereupon the Chamber of Judges explain the indictment and record the evidence in his presence affording an opportunity to the person so indicted to cross examine the same.

From the above discussion, it is apparent that the People’s Commission is in fact trying to achieve under the garb of exercise of this right something much more than receiving and disseminating information which the citizen is entitled to as has been held in Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. Of India and others Vs. Cricket Association of Bengal and others 1995 (2) SCC 161 and in fact what the Commission is arrogating on itself is the function enjoined on the State executive and the judiciary especially under the Cr.P.C. as well as under the Protection of Human Rights Act of receiving information, having it investigated into and adjudicated upon by the machinery set up by the State for the purpose. By setting up the Commission and framing the Charter, the Interveners have tried to project the Commission as a judicial body which will function side by side with the official machinery of the State to go into the grievances that any person may have against the acts of omission and commission impinging upon the human rights that might have been done by the State functionaries during the period extending from 1979 to 1997 because Article 21 of the Constitution provides that no one shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except by procedure established by laws. This effort of the Committee in as much as it seeks to set up a parallel machinery and lay down procedure for investigation into the trial of human rights violation is nothing but affluent to the system envisaged by the Constitution of India. In a way the Commission seeks to arrogate to itself powers conferred under the Constitution upon the judiciary and statutory bodies like Human Rights Commission, therefore, cannot be sustained even though the initiatives taken by the Intervenor for receiving information regarding human rights violations for the purposes of tabulation may in itself be a laudable effort. Its attempt to undermine the authority of various institutions of the Constitution cannot be approved.

The assertion that Commission has been set up only after SAD/BJP Government had failed to carry out its electoral promise of setting up of a Commission to go into human rights violations and also to determine the reasons for unrest which prevailed in the State of Punjab during the period from 1979 to 1997 would by itself call for sanction on the part of the initiatives which impinge upon the obligation of the State to investigate into, for adjudication upon the complaints that may be received by it in relation to the excesses alleged to have been committed by the functionaries of the State during this period because it would always be open to the Committee to have information and after tabulating these as violations, approach the State for getting investigation conducted into them and in case the response of the State was not adequate to have approached the Courts for redressal of their grievances. It is not disputed before us and as a matter of fact it has been brought out in the pleadings that a number of cases have been initiated against the functionaries of the State for human rights violations committed by them during this period in one such case which was initiated at the behest of Paramjit Kaur against the State of Punjab and others the Hon’ble Supreme Court had ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate into the abduction and disappearance of Shri J.S. Khalra, General Secretary, Human Rights Wing of Shiromani Akali Dal and cremation of thousands of dead bodies by the police in Amritsar District. On the receipt of the report, the Apex Court requested the National Human Rights Commission to go into the matter. In view of this, instead of setting up the People’s Commission to go into the human rights violations and making an effort to project it as a parallel judicial body, the Intervenors should have limited themselves to the collection of information of alleged human rights violations and after tabulating them should have presented before the State for a detailed enquiry into it and if need be should have taken the assistance of the Court. The setting up and projecting of People’s Commission as a parallel judicial body which also performs the functions of the State regarding receiving of complaints and investigation into them can also not be justified in view of the fact that the same may adversely affect the public order, discipline and the society and encourage the setting up of similar Commissions by other individuals or groups of individuals and thereby undermine the public peace, safety and tranquility of society.

The matter can be looked from another angle. The upholding of such a private initiative in view of the provisions of Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution which ultimately affects the constitutional guarantees provided under Article 21 of the Constitution cannot be encouraged. Where two fundamental rights come into conflict and one is sought to be extended to the extreme and logical conclusion at the expense of the other, the Court will be slow to recognize and upholding such an extension of the fundamental right which impinges upon and restricts the purview of the other fundamental right.

Another aspect of the case which has been debated before us is the failure of the Government to set up an independent Commission under the Commission of Inquiries Act which according to the respondents had occasioned the setting up of the People’s Commission to some extent justifies its existence. While the State of Punjab has taken a categorical stand against the setting up of the Commission under the Commission of Inquiries Act but they had time and again highlighted their effort to seek an amendment to the provisions of Section 36 (2) of the Protection of Human Rights Act by the Central Government. During the period, the petition remained pending before us that the State Government had made several unsuccessful attempts to persuade the Central Government to increase the limitation from one year to ten years. Although it is none of our function to go into the validity of the refusal of the Central Government to accede to the request of the State Government yet it would not be out of place to consider the propriety of limitation in the light of the circumstances that the Commission is called upon to enquire into violations of human rights which as already indicated by us comprised of the right relating to life and liberty, equality and dignity of an individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and are enforceable by the Courts in India. These rights which are enshrined in Chapter III of the Constitution are sacrosanct in case an individual seeks to enforce them by approaching the High Court through a writ under Article 226 of the Constitution or approaches the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution they would not be subject to narrow law of limitation which is sought to be incorporated in Section 36 (2) of the Act.

Looked at from another angle the heinous offences of abduction and murder, they would not be covered under the law of limitation provided in Section 467 Cr.P.C. and will be subject to the limitation of one year. The complaints of heinous nature like murder, abduction, rape etc. can be taken cognizance of the Criminal Courts in India without any limitation standing in the way. Furthermore, in appropriate cases which came up before the High Court or the Supreme Court, a request can always be made to the National Human Rights Commission or the State Human Rights Commission set up under the provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act for going into alleged human rights violation and in such a case neither the National Human Rights Commission nor the State Human Rights Commission would be bound by the limitation provided under Section 36 (2) of the Act. This is apparent from the fact that in Writ Petition (Crl) No. 497 of 1995 (Paramjit Kaur Vs. State of Punjab and others) decided on 12.12.1996, the Apex Court requested the National Human Rights Commission through its Chairman to examine the matter in accordance with law and determine all the issues raised before the Commission by the learned counsel for the parties and when the objection regarding the limitation under Section 36 (2) of the Act was raised before the National Human Rights Commission, it was overruled with the following observations:

“The order of the Supreme Court must be so read as to effectuate it. The Commission, the Governments and the parties are expected to act in aid and effectuation of that order and not to frustrate it. The order must be construed reasonably and harmoniously. The expression “to have the matter examined in accordance with law” is not necessarily the same thing as to function strictly within the limitations of the Act.” The Supreme Court made the order in exercise of the plenitude of its jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution. That for the parties and the Commission, has the effect and force of law. The reasonable way to construe the order and effectuate it is to hold that the Commission was referred to only for purposes of identifying it as the body to which the Supreme Court was turning, in this instance for the protection of fundamental rights. Once the identification was made, it became a body sui-generis as the one chosen by the Supreme Court for carrying out its behest. The shackles and limitations under the Act are not attracted to this body as, indeed, it does not function under the provisions of the Act but under the remit of the Supreme Court. The provisions of the Act do not bind or limit the powers of the Supreme Court in exercise of its powers under Article 32. It is, therefore, reasonable to hold that the Supreme Court designated the Commission as a body sui-generis to carry out the functions and determine issues as entrusted to it by the Supreme Court. To read the order otherwise is to render it otiose.

In view of the above discussion, we do not consider it necessary to deal with the large number of judicial precedents cited at the Bar by the learned counsel for the parties on the ambit and scope of Article 19 (1) and Article 21 of the Constitution of India. We also refrain from making any observations on the propriety of the persons who at one time held high constitutional offices to take up assignment, which according to the petitioners, directly impinges upon the authority of the Constitution. In our opinion, it is for the holders of such constitutional offices to decide whether after having taken oath to maintain and preserve the constitution and its institutions it will be appropriate for them to associate themselves with the activities, which undermine the authority of the State, established by law.

In the result, all the three writ petitions are disposed of in the following manner:

People’s Commission and the Intervenors are restrained from holding public sittings or making investigations into the cases, which have already been decided by the Courts or are pending before the Courts. They are also restrained from issuing summons to the officers of the Government and other agencies to appear before the Commission for the purpose of so called investigation/inquiry into the complaints of alleged violation of human rights committed by the functionaries of the State. It is however, made clear that this order will not prevent respondent no. 3 and the Intervenors from collecting information regarding the violation of human rights, if any, by the State and its agencies and approach the Court for reference of such cases to the State Human Rights Commission and the National Human Rights Commission for appropriate consideration.

sd/-

Amar Dutt J.

G.S.Singhvi J.

A JUDGMENT SANS REASONING – A Critical Study

The Judgment imposing curbs on the activities of the People’s Commission by the Court was widely criticized in the media as well as legal fraternity. It was a directionless, unreasoned and politically motivated judgment and many times, the judge seemed to have run amock in expressing his venomous approach against the Sikh struggle in Punjab during the decade long violence. It threw to winds the protection under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution of India, which guarantees freedom of speech and expression. The activities of the People’s Commission had remained fully within the ambit of ‘liberty’ granted under Chapter III of the Constitution of India. It is in fact a right to hold one’s opinion on the basis of some fact-finding inquiry. It was said that a non-official body like the commission is not competent to examine such complaints, which is the function of State agencies only. The critic’s assumption is not un-warranted and flies in the face of any number of such commissions which have enquired into matters of public importance both in this country and outside. The Commission was just like the independent Commission headed by Mr. Justice Hosbet Suresh in Mumbai for finding truth behind the Mumbai-riots in 1993 after which the Mumbai Government constituted Sri Krishna Commission under the Commissions of Inquiry Act. When the activities of that independent Commission were not taken as unlawful, then how could the People’s commission on human rights violations in Punjab, be called unlawful? The curb on the activities of the People’s Commission amounts to pre-censorship, which is unconstitutional and illegal. The formation of the People’s Commission was an attempt to achieve the legitimate goal by invoking one’s right to action. Further, the activities of the People’s Commission should have been banned only if there was any threat to public safety or if the interest of the State and its subject demanded such action. And before that the State has to give specific reasons for such decision, but going through the affidavit of the responsible authority of the State Govt., it shows that the activities of the People’s Commission have not transgressed article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India. The High Court also ignored the argument that the Commission neither aimed at becoming a Court nor supplanting a Court of Law and had never subverted the Rule of Law.

It also completely escaped the Court’s notice that the primary and sole purpose of creating a Constitution, Rules and Regulations of the People’s Commission was to ensure transparency, fairness in its deliberations and discussions. The Commission had brought three retired Judges of the High Courts only with the aim that since these legal luminaries would be the best persons to understand the constitutional limits of the Commission and they would adopt fairness at every step. The notice issued by the Commission and published in all newspapers calling upon all the policemen against whom a complaint had been filed, to answer to the charges leveled against them, was a step towards its purpose of providing opportunity to every person against whom allegations were being made to present their views. With a view to prevent any act of coercion for the police officials, the notice had used the term ” requested” and not “directed” which proves that the People’s Commission understands its limitation.

It needed pointing notice of the Court, that the People’s Commission was formed only because the State failed to fulfill its obligation of constituting a Judicial Commission to go into the causes and finding out the persons or individuals responsible for such carnage. Had the State Government constituted an independent Commission under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, the C.C.D.P. would not have taken the cudgels to form the People’s Commission. Even at one stage, Mr. Justice G.S.Singhvi asked the Advocate-General of Punjab, to  make their stand clear on the question, as to whether the party which heads the State Government today had at any time promised to form such a judicial commision during the polls and if yes, then why it failed to fulfil that promise ?

Inspite of the high court’s order, we must say that the constitution of the People’s Commission and its function in finding out the truth behind the decade long violence, was justified and in accordance with the law of the land. The court made great mistake in accepting the Locus-Standi and Bonafide of the Petitioner-Advocate who had filed the Petition in the garb of Public Interest, but showed private interest of the persons who are to be affected by the findings of the Commission. The petition had been filed with the malafide intention to sabotage the sincere attempts of the human rights organisations in its effort to uncover the truth.

In all democracies, it is accepted without debate that people have an inherent right to know the truth about human rights violations and in the absence of any official enquiry, there will be people’s commissions. Another untenable argument for banning the people’s commission is that it is not wise to reopen old wounds. This is a most astounding preposition, completely contrary to human rights jurisprudence and international covenants. The danger of permitting extra-legal action in justifying flagrant violation of human rights will be a permanent danger to the life and security of a common man. As it is, the Punjab police even now feels itself free to indulge in illegal acts.

CHAPTER EIGHT

ACCOUNTABILITY OR IMMUNITY ?

During the period 1988-1994 when State repression was at its peak, the Punjab police enjoyed unbridled powers and remained outside the orbit of the law. It had become so ruthless that taking a life had become their favorite sport. They considered themselves to be the law. The Station House Officer of a police station considered himself to be a lord and the SSP, the king. They were accountable to none. Kill anybody, brand him a ‘hardcore terrorist’, write a false F.I.R. of an ‘encounter’, hold a press conference, get your photograph published in the newspaper and get rewarded with a cash prize and out of turn promotion, was their favorite modus operandi. They had no fear of law and had the full backing of the administration. The institutions of the State viz.. bureaucracy, judiciary and legislature had maintained sphinx like silence when the police did what it liked. No institution tried to speak on behalf of the common, innocent people, who suffered and sacrificed in silence and lived in perpetual fear of the policemen or the gun totting terrorists. No Judge could take suo moto notice of what was happening and being reported in the media. In that hour of uncertainty and fear-psychosis only the fasted gun was alive. But when for the first time, the Supreme Court took suo moto notice of a news item in a newspaper in 1993 wherein horrible tale of the cold blooded killing of Surjit Singh alias Sarabjeet Singh of Valtoha, by Sub-Inspector Sita Ram was described, the police force was taken aback. The law of the land began to find its grip; it girdled and grilled the policemen who began to be arraigned. It was a shocking reality for them when the Supreme Court marked a CBI inquiry into the incident where the boy was alive in the hospital after a so-called encounter and the policemen took him away and brought him back after few minutes, this time dead, by shooting him from point blank. The Supreme Court held the police party guilty of cold-blooded murder and the policemen were brought to trial on the orders of the Supreme Court. Thereafter, an ‘avalanche’ of writ petitions began to be filed in the Supreme Court and High Court of Punjab & Haryana, alleging ‘disappearance’ and ‘fake encounter’. Various human rights bodies also got encouraged and started preparing documentation of cases of police excesses. While the Supreme Court took cognizance of very few cases of ‘fake encounter’ and ‘disappearance’ where evidence pointed a crime of very heinous nature, like the one relating to the murder of seven members of a family of Inder Singh by DSP Baldev Singh Sekhon to settle personal enmity, and the disappearance of Sarwan Singh of Gurdaspur in 1993. But sadly enough, the high court refused to hear any petition against Punjab police and discouraged the people from approaching the court for redress against police brutality. What to say of denying justice to poor people, even the Complaint of a Senior IAS lady officer, Rupan Deol Bajaj against the then Police Chief, K.P.S. Gill on serious charges of outraging her modesty was dismissed by the High Court on flimsy ground. The fight for the right continued for eight long years and ultimately the Supreme Court after eight years set-aside the High Court order and directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chandigarh to try the Police Chief for the offences committed by him. He was ultimately convicted and the sentence was even upheld by the appeal court. Those days, the judges of the High Court and lower magistracy were so scared and even convinced of the so-called achievements of the K.P.S.Gill that they saw a messiah in him and a traitor in human rights lawyer talking of police brutality. They always favored the policemen in the judicial battle against the human rights violations. But soon the circumstances changed and human rights organisations and lawyers brought the court nearer to reality and reminded them of their solemn oath to the Constitution and compelled by the public outcry, the judges started hearing the petitions describing gory tale of police excesses. Pretty soon, many cases of police excesses started coming up before the Supreme Court and Punjab & Haryana High Court. Out of one hundred petitions filed by the victims of State repression every day, an average of three to four petitions received fair hearing and CBI or judicial inquiries were ordered by the High Court. This development baffled the Punjab police who found itself in the dock for the first time. In the swirling currents of law and investigation by the CBI, the policemen began to experience the sense of asphyxia. Serious undercurrents started brewing at the subordinate level. An atmosphere of panic and anxiety surrounded the police force and everybody was trying to save himself from the court’s lashing. A committee of Senior Police authorities was formed to find out ways to tackle the ‘litigation gun’ as they call it. Several measures including creation of secret fund and a special litigation branch in the State administration with top criminal lawyers being retained for fighting the cases of cops facing trials, were taken. The tainted police officials were posted at the place where they could conveniently tamper with the evidence against them. The concession of bail was made a rule for them while it was an exception for rest of the countrymen. Even Policemen accused of murder were granted bail by the High Court or even the Sessions Court without much reluctance in such matters, throwing to winds the guidelines laid down by the apex court. The policemen succeeded in wining over the petitioners or their witnesses sometimes by intimidation of false implication and sometimes by offering huge sum of money, out of the secret fund created by the Punjab police. Lawyers doing many such petitions on pro-bono basis were faced with embarrassing situation when their clients expressed willingness to withdraw, inspite of CBI bringing forth unimpeachable evidence against the police officers in the CBI inquiry. Consequently, from 1989 to 1992, out of the 240 odd petitions filed against police excesses more than half of them were withdrawn by the aggrieved parties. The Courts were also not interested in taking suo moto notice of the CBI inquiry and allowed the petitions to be withdrawn. By that time, the tainted officers of Punjab police started taking the matter of judicial activism seriously and launched a planned and massive campaign to malign the judiciary and the human rights activists. During this time, the High Court and the Supreme Court were flooded with large number of petitions relating to police excesses, ‘fake encounter’ and ‘disappearance’. According to available data and study conducted by our team, as many as 149 petitions were filed against the Punjab police in 1993 and 174 in 1994, in the High Court. This number rose to 773 in 1995 and 1034 in 1996. About 125 petitions were pending in the Supreme Court and 1156 in the High Court till 1997, and either judicial or CBI inquiry were marked in about 176 petitions. Till May 2000, according to the Litigation and Prosecution department, more than 3055 writ petitions were filed in the High Court against the Punjab police in connection with police excesses, out of which about 2300 petitions were dismissed for various reasons, like bare denial by the police in kidnapping or arresting the detainee, lack of information about the police officials who took the detainee and other legal hassles. Judicial inquiries have been marked in more than 98 cases. Incidentally, more than twenty five petitions describing gory details of the police excesses were admitted by the Supreme Court or High Court where only one officer, namely Ajit Singh Sandhu, the former district Police Chief of Taran Taran was involved in committing heinous crimes, by the CBI But the locals say that the number of the victims of the ruthless police officer were much more than this. He was even arrested in 1996 in the infamous murder case of Kuljit Singh Dhatt, Sarpanch of Village Ambala Jattan in district Hoshiarpur, who was a relative of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, the famous martyr of India. Dhatt was arrested in July, 1989 on murder charges by the then Superintendent of Police, S.P.S. Basra on the orders of S.S.P. Ajit Singh Sandhu, because Dhatt’s father-in-law Dharam Singh, an Superintendent of Police, was resisting police excesses. This made Ajit Singh Sandhu furious and he targetted Kuljit Singh Dhatt. Dhatt was shown to have escaped from police custody on July 25, 1989. But the CBI inquiry indicted both Basra and Ajit Singh Sandhu for eliminating Dhatt. Sandhu was beaten in Amritsar jail by other inmates before being released on bail in 1997. Among the many cases registered against him on court orders, the most talked about cases related to the elimination of the entire family of Gurbachan Singh Manochahal, Chief of Bhindranwale Tiger Force of Khalistan including his old mother, torturing to death seven members of the family of Baba Charan Singh of Taran Taran, disappearance of Harjinder Singh Dhillon, an Akali worker of Taran Taran in June, 1992 and kidnapping and “disappearance” of Jaswant Singh Khalra, a human rights activist in 1995 and case relating to cremation of thousands of un-identified bodies in Taran Taran cremation grounds, Patti and Majitha police districts. Not bearing the burden of inhuman acts done by him, he got frustrated at his repeated indictment in court cases, and ultimately threw himself before the running Himalayan Queen Express on May 23, 1997 after leaving a suicide note mentioning, “it is better to die than to live a life of humiliation” and became a hero of the devils. Strangely, the person who felt trigger happy on killing hundreds of people including women and old men proved to be so coward that he could not bear the desperation of being in the dock. This surprising act had started a fresh debate about the means adopted by the Punjab police to wipe out militancy from the State. Many human rights activists termed it as an act of cowardice and born out of guilty conscious. But there were still many who found the ‘human rights lobby’ responsible for his death. The fact still, remains that he was perhaps the most disliked person on the earth. Almost all the newspapers covered the mis-deeds of the ruthless officer after his death. A team of ‘Pioneer’ newspaper after visiting Taran Taran, the home town of Ajit Singh Sandhu, to see the aftermath of the suicide of Sandhu, found that there was nobody to praise his acts of omission or commission. The newspaper wrote:

“The Suicide of Ajit Singh Sandhu has burst open the suppurating wounds, squeezing the puss into the blood and implanting iron in their hearts-they are not willing to forgive or forget the atrocities perpetrated on them by Sandhu and his men, openly deriding the suggestion of their mentor, KPS Gill, that those who waged the battle for the country be granted immunity. Bhagwant Singh, an old villager told that “there are 43 proven cases against Sandhu. Those who hail him as a good man inspite of these facts ought to be hanged.” Another farmer Subedar Mohan Singh, said, ” the police were no less than terrorists, abducting people to extort money from the families. Sandhu was the worst; after receiving the ransom he’d kill them anyway.” Some people citied newspaper reports that when a suspect was taken to Sandhu, he’d smile warily at the subordinates and declare, “The fish in the river are dying of hunger.” This was the signal for the police to exterminate the person and dump him into the river.”

While many termed his suicide as a “natural fallout of his own deeds, the beleaguered police officers involved in extra-judicial killings and other atrocities successfully used his death as an excuse to seek immunity for their past actions. The atmosphere was charged with controversy when, K.P.S.Gill, the former Police Chief and the mentor of Sandhu, bursted in his venomous letter to the Prime Minister on 31 May, 1997. He wrote:

“…But the best of men who put their lives on the line, having survived the guns of the terrorists, find themselves targets of a sustained and vicious campaign of calumny, of institutional hostility and state indifference. The ultimate irony is that the instruments and institutions of democracy are, today, arrayed against the very people who made democracy possible in Punjab.

…..It appears almost as if the State is discriminating between terrorists and policemen, in favour of the former.

…..At the same time, the doctrine of equality before law is invoked to incarcerate police officers with the very terrorists they fought and protected the nation from.”

Placing a good case for immunity, in the same breadth, he said,

“Lest any of this be misinterpreted or misrepresented as a plea for ‘immunity’, let me state explicitly that I am not asking for immunity, either for any member of the Punjab police or for myself.” Lambasting at the judiciary, he said, ” What is to be said of judges who failed to consider overwhelming evidence of the most heinous crimes ? Who failed to administer justice according to the laws of the land for over a decade in terrorist-related cases ? A constitutional commission should be set up to examine the records of judicial processes and judgments during the years of terrorism in Punjab; to identify the judicial officers who failed to discharge their Constitutional obligations and to honor their oath to dispense justice without fear or favour; and to take suitable action to ensure that the judicial and criminal justice system does not collapse or fail ever again in the fact of lawlessness.” He further said that he was not in favour of amnesty for the police. “Let the trials of cops go on. Before the verdict of the courts, no cop should be arrested. All policemen should be given financial and legal help so that they could plead their cases without any difficulty.” Is this anything short of immunity, Mr. Gill?

Few other policemen like suspended superintendent of Police, S.P.S. Basra and Jaspal Singh, suspended DSP are under severe depression due to a large number of cases filed against them in various courts. Jaspal Singh, earlier boasting of eliminating about 100 terrorists and accused in the Khalra abduction case, painfully argues that he did not fight terrorism for personal gains. It was to save Indians and India.” S.P. Vivek Mishra, one of the main accused among the 28 undertrial policemen in the case of killing four youth in fake encounter in Kunjar village of Gurdaspur in 1994, laments, “Facing the legal aftermath of bona-fide anti-terrorism is more tortuous than facing the terrorists’ bullets. This is a terrorism of a different kind aimed at demoralizing the police through petitions.” Few other supporters of the police force argue, “If today there is peace and a process of development in the region, much of its credit goes to the Punjab police. They took great personal risks to save the lives of the people and the honor of the nation. They deserve our gratitude and not a sneering treatment.”

It may be true that the police had committed some excesses not deliberately, but as unthinking, instant over-reaction to a dangerous situation faced by them. But even then, nobody can accept it as a genuine excuse. State terrorism is no answer to combat terrorism. End cannot justify the means. State terrorism will only provide legitimacy to terrorism. That will be bad for the State, the community and above all, the rule of the law.

But the general public and human rights activists think otherwise. They outrightly reject as absurd, the argument of KPS Gill that the police force was justified in taking the law into its hands because it was a war like situation and everything is fair in war. It would be a grave folly to hold the human rights activists responsible for Sandhu’s death. Why Mr.Gill is so afraid of human rights activists. He says that earlier his men were facing gun-totting terrorists but now they are facing an army of terrorists in human rights activists. Paying a wild obituary to Sandhu, Navkiran Singh, the daring lawyer of Chandigarh, who brought many policemen to justice said, “If you feel sad about Sandhu’s death, you should also feel sad about Hitler’s death.” In their view, calling people like Ajit Singh Sandhu as a “crusader of peace” is to give him undue credit. As for his victims, he was a dreaded mercenary in uniform and corrupt to the core. It is said that when Sandhu used to go on transfer from Taran Taran to some other place, he used to take a large number of detainees alongwith him, whom he had kept in illegal detention. The outbursts of KPS Gill accusing the judiciary for opening flood gates of litigation against his men, is being seen as another feeble attempt to champion the cause of insurgent men in uniform who looted money, killed innocent people, fulfilled their lust for flesh and claimed rewards for ‘eliminating’ terrorists at his behest. Justifying the initiative of the courts in punishing the policemen, Justice Ajit Singh Bains, Chairman of Chandigarh based Punjab Human Rights Organisation says, “When under the pretext of fighting terrorism the whole families which had nothing to do with crime were simply abducted and tortured to death for the personal satisfaction of the individual officers, the courts functioning under our Constitution can have no option except to punish them in accordance with the law.” Another human rights activist says,” Many policemen behaved like tyrants during the period of militancy. It would be a folly to call them heroic those who stage-managed encounters to earn quick promotions and for getting the reward on someone’s head. According to their victims, people like KPS Gill and Sandhu treated the ordinary citizens as enemies and killed them mindlessly. If people like him are to be treated like heroes then it is an insult to the inquiry commissions and the judiciary who have found substantial allegations against him. It is said that men like Sandhu took orders from Delhi and many a times those orders were wrong. Why should a policeman take wrong orders from the wrong persons ? If one wrong has been done should another be repeated by defending people like Sandhu and KPS Gill ? Commenting over the easy death of Sandhu, Late Lt.Col. Partap Singh, Co-Convener of Movement Against State Repression, Punjab said, ” He took the extreme step knowing fully well that the goddess of retribution had finally caught up with him. In his suicide note, the late police officer stated: “It is better to die than to live a life of humiliation.” Did he forget the thousands of innocent people whom he subjected to not only humiliation but also far worse inhuman treatment? ” Lt.Gen. Harwant Singh in his article “Police and human rights”, aptly described the situation in Punjab during those days. He wrote: ” …Yet many hold an altogether different view and speak of Sandhu’s acts of commission, corruption and barbaric methods of torture, kidnapping and ransom, fake encounters, elimination and custodial deaths etc. which would put to shame any civilized society. It is alleged that of the 43 odd criminal cases against him, many had little to do with terrorism.

……To contend that the administration and the judiciary in Punjab had retreated into hiding and should now be taken to task for their cowardice, is to beg the question. The administration and the judiciary can deliver only when the police and security forces are able to restore order and the rule of law. The fact that there was a period when there was no law and order in parts of Punjab is indicative of the failure of the police and security forces in the first place.”

In response to the death of Sandhu, a doctor of Amritsar, R.S.Pannu, wrote in the columns of Editor’s mail in Tribune in June, 1997:

“The death of Sandhu is a sad affair. But the excesses he committed during his tenure as SSP, Taran Taran on innocent public in the name of fighting terrorism is a painful story. In 1986, when I was the SMO of Civil Hospital, Taran Taran, I was also subjected to lot of harassment and complications for not issuing false post mortem reports to the stage-managed encounters. I was even implicated in false cases of robbery by Sandhu. It was only with God’s grace and the Courts’ protection that I was saved from his clutches.”

One thing which we all must bear in mind is that security personnel like Sandhu, who transgressed the limits of law while fighting terrorism in Punjab should be prosecuted as there is no provision under the Constitution to grant amnesty to officers guilty of unlawful conduct, whether in the name of nation’s security and integrity. The officers who had been decorated and rewarded with double promotions for ‘eliminating’ terrorists should also be made accountable for their acts of lawlessness. Can anybody tell us, who gave these policemen the authority to bump off anybody they like and claim a reward for killing a hardcore terrorist? While gallantly coming to the defence of his men facing prosecution with many points to prevent their undue prosecution and harassment, Mr. KPS Gill appears to have no mind to understand the basic question, whether the Indian Constitution and law permitted the police to act unlawfully in any situation, even under the circumstances, he claimed to be in ? As a matter of fact, Sandhu’s final act should awaken the Indian Police to perils of expediency and illegitimacy in the performance of its duty. It should also drive home the message that nobody would do anything substantial to help them in facing the inevitable nemesis with dignity and fortitude, inspite of the acts being done for the security and integrity of the nation. The pointing finger raised by the guilty policemen at the role of judiciary is highly condemnable. They demand an inquiry into the role of judiciary. But why judiciary alone? A thorough probe into the entire gamut of anti-terrorist operations in Punjab is urgently needed. It is a matter of record that most of the suspects booked under TADA got acquittals. It may be because the judiciary was afraid of the terrorists or the police investigations were shoddy. If you will probe one aspect, you will have to see the other aspect also. Is the Punjab police or for that matter, KPS Gill willing to accept such inquiry. Moreover, how can an indictment of the judiciary condone the extra-constitutional actions of the police?  It has also to be understood that the existing laws and legal system amply empower the police force, to effectively discharge its duty of defending the society in abnormal situations. Even if it is not so, by no means, the police could and should take over the combined powers of all sectors of criminal justice system and resort to extra-legal methods to handle situations. Further more, immunity to policemen who committed excesses hits at the roots of our democratic system. Moreover, it must be remembered that these policemen are not facing trial for eliminating militants but for killing innocent persons, or using law enforcement machinery to settle personal scores. Here is one example: Among the prominent police officers seeking immunity and who went on hunger strike in Amritsar jail following Sandhu’s death is DSP Baldev Singh Sekhon, convicted for kidnapping seven members of a family, including a child and an old woman, moving them to different stations following his transfer and killing them later. Should people like this DSP get immunity or should he face the due process of law ? Giving blanket immunity, as demanded, would surely bring serious repercussions. It would tantamount to creating rogue fighters. It would be a blot on the nation’s pride. Even most of the guilty police officers admit that ” Yes, we often killed terrorists after arresting them, because we had no choice. The judiciary had collapsed and the judges would either grant bail or just go away on leave.” To say this is not to deny that state sponsored terrorism was prevailing in its ugliest form during those days and the human rights became the first casualty in such a situation. Sandhu’s suicide may be tragic to few, but to condone blatant acts of highhandedness could spur fresh alienation among the people, which nobody is willing to afford. We, for one, don’t need selective tampering with the law. We need to see that proper systems are in place. No civilized order can turn a blind eye to the human rights of innocent citizens who get caught in one or the other kind of terrorism. The argument of the police that immunity should be granted to those officers who acted in bonafide discharge of their duty in the state’s fight against militancy has to be rejected at the threshold. How can even the bonafide mistakes in the discharge of duty be condoned when there is no way out in the law. Anyway, how does one know whether the actions were bonafide or not? Only judicial probe can reveal that. There is a clear effort to stall these by raising the bogey of demoralization. Can anybody condone the excesses of the nature committed by Punjab police? Even if it was a war like situation in the state, can every act of the force deserved to be condoned even during war, because even in that situation, international conventions governed human rights?

Lest it be misunderstood that we are ignoring the dastardly acts of terrorism committed by militants, we wish to bring the record straight. If the acts of violence committed by militants are condemnable, the acts of people like Ajit Singh Sandhu were more condemnable, because it were committed by the men who were supposed to forbid it. Another important aspect of the matter is that if the police force is checked with strong hand, the realization that they are accountable for their deeds as much as any other human being would hopefully make them think twice before doing what has virtually become a habit with them.

It would be a great folly to deny that several persons were eliminated by the Police in Punjab, by means not necessarily legal. Many of them were not killed in encounters, they were simply tortured cruelly for eliciting information about the militants. The police adopted the most hated practice of meeting violence with counter-violence. The State and the police acted in unison in this case. It also cannot be denied that in such a situation, several police officers enriched themselves. In one respect they were following the example of the militants themselves. Many police officers had resorted to unabashed loot and there were also many instances of innocent people being harassed and forced to sell their lands and property for paying police officers to ensure their freedom. People were harassed or held up in false cases for extorting money. Do such police officers deserve amnesty? Such persons should certainly be tracked down and brought to book. There is no question of taking a sympathetic view in such cases on the plea that the accused police officers had done great service in curbing militancy. What is imperative and very important is that till a judicial commission is appointed to look into every aspect of the Punjab problem, no body should talk of granting immunity to the police officers facing from the wrongful actions done by them in the name of national integration and a war like situation.

CHAPTER NINE

CONCLUSION

From what has been stated in the foregoing chapters, one fact has been established beyond doubt that there is some basic mistake in understanding the genesis of Punjab problem. The politician-police nexus played a wicked game and made the situation turn worse. Instead of viewing the problem in the right perspective, they mishandled the situation as a mere “Law and order problem” and deliberately did not go to the roots of the problem, which lie in the anarchic and anti-public policies of the rulers. Even if the leaders like Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale were instrumental in getting the situation going out of control, it cannot escape our mind that the attack on Golden Temple by the Indian Army and the mass genocide of Sikhs in Delhi and other parts of the country in November, 1984, played more dangerous role in aggravating the situation. It could be understood from few instances in hand. Firstly, the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own security guards who were incidently Sikhs. They had no personal grudge or enmity to settle against her. As a matter of fact, they were known as most trusted security guards and what they did was simply an outburst of the hatred against the Prime Minister for ordering the attack on their highest religious shrine and killing thousands of innocent pilgrims and destroying rare and valuable Sikh scriptures. Secondly, Sukhdev Singh alias “Sukha” and Harjinder Singh alias “Jinda” killed General A.S.Vaidya in Pune only to take revenge for ordering the Indian Army to attack Golden Temple, which they respected the most. None of the assassins had any personal grudge or enmity against their prey, nor the act was intended to create terror in the minds of the general public. It was thought to be an act for restoring the glory of the Sikh religion, because it is a historical fact that nobody can live long after attacking the Golden Temple of the Sikhs. The Sikh consider it a martyrdom to prefer death after eliminating every person responsible for the dastardly act of attacking their highest religious shrine, the Golden Temple, Amritsar. Thirdly, hundreds of Sikh army men deserted from their duty and marched towards the Golden Temple to protect the shrine and the religion. It is altogether a different story that whether they were killed or arrested and tried for court martial, but all these incidents were the outcome of a religious fervor and extreme annoyance at the discriminatory policies of the government. So, it was essentially a political rather than a “Law and order” problem. And the most tragic part of it is that nobody tried to solve it and instead tried to add fuel to the fire by either rewarding those who committed atrocities on Sikhs or by giving them cabinet berths in the Central government. These acts certainly aroused hatred in the minds of people which fueled them to take the gun which culminated in the turmoil of an unprecented magnitude. The discussion in earlier chapters is only an indication of the sordid situation. No one, except the victim, could imagine the pain and agony which the people of the state suffered for over a decade.

Different organs of justice system, instead of performing their task showed no or very little concern at the increasing incidents of police atrocities. The political scenario of the State was allowed to degenerate to fulfill the wicked policies of the vested interests. Human rights were placed at the backseat  and a life had no value in this sordid situation. The misery of the people is still the same as was in the past i.e. an animal waiting for his turn to be butchered after the other. Every evil of the system has undermined the authority of the law in such a manner that there is no way out for the people to even expect a minimum of fair and impartial trial from the Court. The situation has become so disturbing that nobody is even allowed to raise his voice against this atrocious attitude of the government. It is considered an offence to speak against the police highhandedness and whosoever dares to speak against it, becomes a soft target for the police and booked under NSA or NDPS Act etc.

The memories of those days still create panic in the villages of Punjab and haunt the people at night. Only in the hope of getting relief from those dark days, the people had voted for Shromani Akali Dal which has failed to fulfill even a single promise made with the people. The people are engulfed in a dilemma and fear of revival of terrorism in the State is gaining ground, only because justice has been consistently denied to the people and no attempt has been made to heal their wounds and. Political participation of the people in the administration has remained abysmal low even after restoration of popular rule in the State. Similar is the position of police highhandedness, corrupt and non-transparent policies at the administrative level. Wails of People in rural areas is a cry in the wilderness for getting even the minimum of basic living amenities. Funds are being mis-used for personal gains and grants reach the wrong hands, stalling the development work. The most piquant question of unemployment has remained unaddressed all these years. Another problem is assuming proportion because flocks of migrant labourers have descended and permanently settled here and the original habitants have been reduced to minority. These migrants forcibly occupy government land and after few years when they become a strong vote bank for the politicians, they are given alternative site on private land acquired by the government from the rural belt of the State. This menace is also affecting the social life of the common citizen.

Every concerned citizen is worried and looks out for a permanent solution to the Punjab problem and gives different arguments in this direction. In our considered view, the Punjab problem is a religio-political problem and has to be solved through a political initiative and with serious efforts. The first thing, the State government must do is, to bring a complete re-shuffling in the police administration. Police personnel who were given out of turn promotions for their acts of “bravery” in fighting terrorism should be brought back to their own rank and those facing court cases or CBI inquiries or even departmental proceedings should be suspended, pending trial or inquiry. The secret funding to aid the police officials in court cases should be stopped forthwith and complete data with regard to the properties and income of each police official should be maintained and strict action should be taken against evrey public servant found possessing property disproportionate to his known sources of income. This would go a long way in bringing transparency in the police force and restoring their battered image in the eyes of common man. Further, there should be an agency within the force to ensure accountability in the force. Un-necessary police districts created during the militancy period should be disbanded and those police officers who are posted at a single station for the last many years should be shifted in order to curb malpractice and corruption.

Then there is great need to heal the wounds of the people. The Shromani Akali Dal has to ultimately address this demand, if it has to retain its vote bank and regain lost glory among the people. The Punjab problem is undisputedly two dimensional: Post Blue Star and the Pre-Blue Star phase. The attack on the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine, was taken as an attack on the Sikh religion itself and the Sikh conscience. The question in the mind of every right thinking person in and outside Punjab has been that when Jallianwala Bagh massacre, a tragedy of much smaller magnitude was perpetrated by General Dyer, even an alien government was forced to appoint an inquiry commission that put Dyer in the dock. Whereas the Indian Army assault resulted in wanton destruction and loss of life many times more than at Jallianwala Bagh, no impartial inquiry has been instituted by the so-called Panthik Government. This contrast is too disturbing, glaring and humiliating to be forgotten by the Sikhs. Therefore a judicial commission should be constituted to find out the persons responsible for desecration of the holiest Sikh shrine Golden Temple and other 40 Sikh shrines in Punjab in June 1984 and guilty must be punished . The scope of inquiry of the Commission should be widened to pin-point the persons responsible for the mass genocide of Sikhs in Delhi and other parts of the country in November, 1984 after the assassination of Indira Gandhi on 31st October, 1984 and recommend penal action against them. The redressal of excesses committed by Punjab police during 1984-95 is also an important task of the Commission. It must inquire into the causes and effects of the killings of hundred and thousands of people in the State and should trace the role of Police, civil and Judicial administration in failing to check State repression, its abetment and prolongation. The Commission whose members should be persons of unimpeachable integrity, must also go into the following questions and give their detailed finding on each issue:

(a)        Whether from 1979 to 1997 the Punjab police carried out  directly or indirectly any fake encounter, summary execution, forced disappearance, illegal detention, torture and other kinds of atrocities resulting in the violation of human rights as guaranteed under the Constitution of India;

(b)        Whether the State agencies/individuals have prima facie committed any offence under the law of the land.

(c)        To suggest the remedies available to the victims of the aforementioned atrocities including their entitlement to compensation from the State and its agencies.

(d)        Whether the State judiciary committed any irregularity or failed in its duty to do justice or favored any particular person or agency while discharging its function.

Nobody would have any objection if the scope of inquiry is even extended to include the examination of the records of judicial processes and judgments during the years of terrorism; to identify the judicial officers who failed to discharge their constitutional obligations and to honor their oath to dispense justice without fear or favour; and to take suitable action to ensure that the judicial and criminal justice does not collapse or fail.

There cannot be two opinions that situation in Punjab requires a sound, long term political solution. There is the spectre of armed revolution by the militants seeking an independent Sikh homeland. This extreme step is clearly the result of betrayal, gross injustice and brutality of the Congress government against the Sikhs. Even those Sikhs who are against the formation of Khalistan are increasingly getting disillusioned by the policies and actions of the present rulers. No Sikh can be a passive on-looker when he sees his community being humiliated, its places of worship destroyed and desecrated, its traditional institutions decimated and its youth killed or jailed. There is virtually no law to protect the innocent against the cruelty perpetrated by the massive deployment of police, para-military and other agencies who seem not to be accountable for their actions.

It is thus imperative to find a long lasting solution to the Punjab problem. Few suggestions could prove helpful in this direction, if serious efforts are made by the concerned parties.

Firstly, the solemn commitment made before Independence for creation of an autonomous Sikh State within India should be honoured. It will result in India emerging a stronger rather than a weaker country. If Jammu & Kashmir demand similar autonomy, there’s no harm in granting it without any bloodshed.

Secondly, general amnesties for all detainees held under TADA or political charges, should be given.

Another step for the restoration of permanent peace in the State would be to extend the limitation period from one year to ten years, for filing complaints before the Punjab State Human Rights Commission by way of State notification and give it more teeth by making the compliance of its orders compulsory, otherwise there is no fun in wasting huge amount of Rs.3 crore annually from the State exchequer on a defunct body with no teeth and authority over police force. By extending the limitation period from one year to ten years, many victims of the yesteryears would be able to approach the Commission for redressal of their grievances. The argument against this relaxation that it would open floodgates of litigation, is absurd and to be outrightly rejected, because justice can not be denied to anybody simply because it would increase the workload of the commission. Moreover, when there is no limitation in the Code of Criminal Procedure, then why the Commission has been handcuffed with only a period of one year for hearing a complaint of human right violations.

If the State government does not behave sensibly and respond positively, they would be digging their grave for all times to come.

APPENDIX I: SURVEY CHART
ALPHABETICAL LIST OF 838 DISAPPEARED/KILLED PERSONS AS RECEIVED BY COMMITTEE FOR COORDINATION ON DISAPPEARANCES IN PUNJAB
SL.NO.
NAME
FATHER’S NAME
VILLAGE & P.O.
DISTRICT
DATE OF ABDUCTION/
KILLING

1

Ajit Singh Boota Singh Jathedar Bhakthana Boharwala PO. Bhakthana Tulian Gurdaspur 21/06/91

2

Ajit Singh Late S. Jata Singh Bhajauli PO. Allapur Ropar 25/02/89

3

Ajit Singh Balkar Singh Kaptgarh PO. Sosran Kalan Amritsar 30/04/92

4

Ajit Singh Mangal Singh Behla PO. Rataul Amritsar 08/06/92

5

Ajit Singh Narian Singh Kairon Amritsar 12/03/92

6

Ajmer Singh Jagir Singh Sihora Ludhiana 04/03/94

7

Ajmer Singh Late S. Maghar Singh Khanpur H.No. 1245 Ropar 09/10/91

8

Ajmer Singh Gurmukh Singh Bhuchar Khurd PO Bhuchar Kalan Amritsar 08/08/87

9

Amandeep Singh Balraj Singh Vill. Madhre PO. Udanwal Gurdaspur 25/03/91

10

Amar Singh Harchand Singh Aloar Arakh PO. Bhawanigarh Sangrur 27/10/91

11

Amar Singh Major Singh Talwandi Dasundha Singh Amritsar 08/12/92

12

Amarjit Singh Inder singh Alal PO. Mulowal Sangrur 09/11/92

13

Amarjit Singh Hajura Singh Dhilwan Sangrur 10/10/91

14

Amarjit Singh Gulzar Singh Hans Kalan Ludhiana 26/02/92

15

Amarjit Singh Tarlochan Singh Kheri Salabatpur Ropar 16/10/91

16

Amarjit Singh Dara Singh Gagrewal Amritsar Unspecified

17

Amarjit Singh Late S. Balam Singh Gauslan Ludhiana 20/05/94

18

Amarjit Singh Late S. Sohan Singh (Subedar) Kohala Amritsar 25/1/88

19

Amarjit Singh Gurbakhsh Singh Noohon PO. Ghanauli Ropar 07/02/93

20

Amarjit Singh Late S. Harbans Singh Kairon Amritsar 25/11/92

21

Amarjit Singh Late S. Gurmel Singh Mehal Kalan Sangrur 03/05/93

22

Amarjit Singh Nachhater Singh Landran Ropar 26/06/92

23

Amarjit Singh Late S. Hardial Singh Gagon PO. Bhaku Majra Ropar 29/12/92

24

Amarjit Singh Dharam Singh Varpal Amritsar 03/06/84

25

Amarjit Singh Longia Preetam Singh Malakpur Ropar 28/08/89

26

Amarjit Singh Sandhu Arjan Singh Marari Khurd PO. Marari Kalan Amritsar 14/09/91

27

Amrik Singh Faqir Singh Amargarh Sangrur 01/10/92

28

Amrik Singh Sewa Singh Kauli Patiala Unspecified

29

Amrik Singh Mohinder Singh Varpal Amritsar 03/06/84

30

Amrik Singh Bhan Singh Ghanauri Kalan Sangrur 31/05/92

31

Amrik Singh Sulakhan Singh Narli PO. Khalra Amritsar 02/01/89

32

Amritpal Singh Avtar Singh Rajomajra Sangrur 22/03/92

33

Angrej Singh Gulzar Singh Sanghna Amritsar Unspecified

34

Angrej Singh Dara Singh Gagrewal Amritsar Unspecified

35

Angrej Singh Sewa Singh Amritsar PO. Chire Wala Chowk Amritsar 13/07/92

36

Arjan Singh Ajaib Singh Paracha Gurdaspur 05/06/91

37

Arjan Singh Boor Singh Sehnsra Kalan Amritsar 06/03/92

38

Arur Singh Late S. Bhamma Singh Manochahal Kalan Amritsar 15/12/92

39

Atam Parkash Singh Mewa Singh Manak Majra PO. RangeelPur,
9/19,PAU,Ludhiana
Ropar 09/03/91

40

Atamjit Singh Mavi Dr.Gurbachan Singh Mavi   Ludhiana 05/02/91

41

Atma Singh Naurang Singh Mano Chahal Kalan Amritsar 27/08/92

42

Avtar Singh Banta Singh Thetherke PO. Dera Baba Nanak Gurdaspur 03/06/89

43

Avtar Singh Veer Singh Roopowali Gurdaspur 24/12/87

44

Avtar Singh Sampooran Singh Mohmmadpur PO. Bahadurgarh Patiala 05/04/91

45

Avtar Singh Sewa Singh Sanghna Amritsar Unspecified

46

Avtar Singh Naib Singh Rangian PO. Morinda Ropar 18/01/91

47

Avtar Singh Saudagar Singh Kalanaur Gurdaspur 05/03/91

48

Avtar Singh Jarnail Singh Man Khaira Gurdaspur 06/09/89

49

Avtar Singh Gurbakhsh Singh Amritsar, 35-F, Jodh Nagar, Gali No.3 Amritsar 06/06/84

50

Avtar Singh Gurdev Singh Badla PO. Kotla Badla Fatehgarh Sahib Unspecified

51

Avtar Singh Kundan Singh Ludhiana, H.No.289,
Shaheed K.S. Nagar
Ludhiana 15/03/88

52

Avtar Singh Karnail Singh Akar PO. Sehra Patiala 12/02/93

53

Avtar Singh Telu Singh Fatehgarh Sivian Ludhiana 01/08/92

54

Babu Singh Jota Singh Boparai Kalan PO. Khasa Amritsar 09/11/91

55

Bachan Singh Mastan Singh Dalla Ludhiana 22/12/92

56

Bachan Singh Late S. Heera Singh Silh PO. Garanga Ropar 09/10/91

57

Bachitter Singh Late S. Bachan Singh Silh PO. Garanga Ropar 09/10/91

58

Bahadur Singh Late S. Hari Singh Bakhtari PO. Bhawanigarh Sangrur 20/12/92

59

Bahadur Singh Kartar Singh Jionda PO. Rampura Bhatinda Unspecified

60

Bakhtawar Singh Banta Singh Mulowali PO. Dera Baba Nanak Gurdaspur 07/07/93

61

Balbir Kaur Tarlok Singh Thande PO. Jwala Flour Amritsar 24/02/87

62

Balbir Singh Bhagat Singh Shahura Amritsar 11/02/88

63

Balbir Singh Bhag Singh Indergarh Ferozepur 23/12/93

64

Baldev Singh Prem Singh Eesee PO. Meemsan Sangrur 18/04/93

65

Baldev Singh Bhajan Singh Gagrewal Amritsar Unspecified

66

Baldev Singh Virsa Singh Sarchur Gurdaspur 23/10/89

67

Baldev Singh Jagir Singh Kairon Amritsar 25/11/92

68

Baldev Singh Jangir Singh Burj Dhilwan PO. Ubha Mansa 04/10/91

69

Baldev Singh Karnail Singh Raja (Nai) Bhikhiwind Amritsar 12/07/89

70

Baldev Singh Sajjan Singh Sakhira Amritsar 06/07/90

71

Baldev Singh Achhar Singh Bhamri Gurdaspur 12/11/91

72

Baldev Singh Late S. Harbhajan Singh Sheikh Chakk PO. Lalpur Amritsar 25/02/88

73

Baldev Singh Budha Singh Ghariali PO. Ghariala Amritsar 21/04/89

74

Baljeet Singh Krishan Singh Salana Jeevan Singh
Sala PO. Salana
Fatehgarh Sahib 14/06/90

75

Baljeet Singh Gurcharan Singh Lehra Bega PO.
Bhucho Mandi
Bathinda 02/11/92

76

Baljeet Singh Hari Singh Malluwal Kalan Amritsar 07/08/91

77

Baljinder Singh Gurmej Singh Sodhi Wala Ferozepur 18/03/91

78

Baljinder Singh Virsa Singh Kalanaur Gurdaspur 22/03/93

79

Baljinder Singh Sadhu Singh Partap Nagar Bathinda, Ph.0164-280610 Bathinda 19/02/92

80

Baljinder Singh Darshan Singh Khanowal PO.
Pucca Shehar (Chamiari)
Amritsar 14/04/90

81

Baljit Singh Late S. Mohan Singh Chachowali PO. Jaintipur Amritsar 27/08/92

82

Baljit Singh Ajmer Singh Lashkari Nangal
PO. Guru Ka Bagh
Amritsar 02/01/93

83

Baljit Singh Darshan Singh Sohal Amritsar 15/07/91

84

Baljit Singh Ram Singh Bhujrawal PO. Jhabal Kalan Amritsar 27/11/92

85

Baljit Singh Kunan Singh Jagrian Gurdaspur 04/01/92

86

Balkar Masih Suraj  Masih Pabarali Kalan Gurdaspur Unspecified

87

Balkar Singh Sadhu Singh Sahpur PO. Batala Amritsar 12/05/88

88

Balkar Singh Bacahan Singh Kaler PO. Raja Sansi Amritsar 21/04/91

89

Balkar Singh Kartar Singh Takhu Chakk Jandoke
PO. Jandoke
Amritsar Unspecified

90

Balkar Singh Bhagat Singh Natt PO. Chahal Kalan Gurdaspur 20/07/92

91

Balraj Singh Swaran Singh Manal PO. Kurad Sangrur 05/08/92

92

Balraj Singh Mahinder Singh Sarhali Jalandhar 29/03/89

93

Balraj Singh Sukhdev Singh Kotla Gujjaran Amritsar 27/08/89

94

Baltej Singh Ajmer Singh Poohla PO. Nathana Bathinda 12/05/92

95

Balwant Singh Bawa Singh Pabarali Khurd PO. Paracha Gurdaspur 01/11/88

96

Balwant Singh Dara Singh Dhapei Gurdaspur 26/02/91

97

Balwinder Kumar Late Chaudhary Ram Kaler PO. Rajasansi Amritsar 02/05/92

98

Balwinder Singh Charan Singh Jalalabad Amritsar 16/03/92

99

Balwinder Singh Sadha Singh Mulowali PO. Dera Baba Nanak Gurdaspur 22/03/93

100

Balwinder Singh Shangara Singh Nikko Saran PO. Talwandi Rama Gurdaspur 30/04/92

101

Balwinder Singh Bawa Singh Thetherke PO. Dera Baba Nanak Gurdaspur 12/10/86

102

Balwinder Singh Harjit Singh Lalpur PO. Kalanaur Gurdaspur 22/03/93

103

Balwinder Singh Amar Singh Jhabhal Kalan Amritsar 04/10/92

104

Balwinder Singh Darshan Singh Sanghna Amritsar Unspecified

105

Balwinder Singh Karnail Singh Rangian PO. Morinda Ropar 22/02/94

106

Balwinder Singh Gurdial Singh Veela Tejan Gurdaspur 04/08/92

107

Balwinder Singh Shamsher Singh Bhama Kalan PO. Uppal Ludhiana 18/08/91

108

Balwinder Singh Avtar Singh Jhabal Khurd PO. Jhabal Kalan Amritsar 08/03/93

109

Balwinder Singh Bachan Singh Gandhi Nagar PO. Nogwan Thagu Udham Singh 17/06//89

110

Balwinder Singh Sukhdev Singh Vill. Kanderori Kangra (H.P.) 05/05/92

111

Balwinder Singh Naurata Singh Pamaur Fatehgarh Sahib 20/01/93

112

Balwinder Singh Charan Singh Sultanwind Amritsar 03/05/92

113

Balwinder Singh Prem Singh (Retd. Subedar) Panjaula PO. Mianpur Ropar 17/11/92

114

Balwinder Singh Karaj Singh Manochahal Kalan Amritsar 22/03/93

115

Balwinder Singh Tarlok Singh Chohla Sahib Amritsar 15/06/92

116

Balwinder Singh Gurmej Singh Sakhira Amritsar 20/03/93

117

Balwinder Singh Dalip Singh Kalu Dian Jhugian PO. Bhangala Amritsar 01/11/92

118

Balwinder Singh Pal Singh Varpal Amritsar 03/06/84

119

Balwinder Singh Sohan Singh Jatana PO. Bela Ropar 04/09/91

120

Balwinder Singh   Gumtala, Amritsar Amritsar 04/10/92

121

Bawa Singh Tarsem Singh Mohalla Guru Ka Khooh, Tarn Taran Amritsar Unspecified

122

Bhabhinder Singh Harbhajan Singh Kamalpura Ludhiana 06/06/84

123

Bhagat Singh Uttam Singh Salempur PO. Ghanauri Kalan Sangrur 17/06/93

124

Bhagwan Singh Chitan Singh Kumbharwal Sangrur 20/12/93

125

Bhagwan Singh Gurdev Singh Hinsowal Ludhiana 25/05/93

126

Bhan Singh Gurdit Singh Ranghar Nangal (Nawan) Gudaspur 29/08/92

127

Bharpur Kaur Preetam Singh Jakhepal PO. Bhawanigarh Sangrur 29/09/91

128

Bhola Singh Mithu Singh Tiona Bhatinda 25/10/92

129

Bhupinder Singh Hardial Singh Doomwali PO. Sangat Mandi Bhatinda 24/07/91

130

Bhupinder Singh Amar Singh Rangian PO. Morinda Ropar 29/09/93

131

Bhupinder Singh Naranjan Singh Balad Kalan Sangrur 22/06/91

132

Bhupinder Singh Sukhdev Singh Bhawanigarh Sangrur Unspecified

133

Bhupinder Singh Dilawar Singh Amritsar Amritsar Unspecified

134

Bhupinder Singh Dalbir Singh Sidhu Jandiala Jalandhar 18/12/92

135

Bhupinder Singh Joginder Singh Alipur PO. Chheetan Wala Patiala 20/08/92

136

Bhupinder Singh Balwant Singh Yamuna Nagar, H.No.920-C Yamuna Nagar Unspecified

137

Bhupinder Singh Harbans Singh Balpurian PO. Bal Gurdaspur 08/04/92

138

Bikkar Singh Prithi Singh Gurbakshpura PO. Tibba Sangrur 20/12/93

139

Bikkar Singh Jagroop Singh Ghunsan Sangrur 12/11/92

140

Boor Singh Visakha Singh Sehnsra Kalan Amritsar 27/08/92

141

Boota Singh Jagir Singh Dugri PO. Dhotian Amritsar 25/10/87

142

Boota Singh Darbara Singh Ghaniye Ke Bangar Gurdaspur 14/02/92

143

Boota Singh Baggar Nirvail Singh Sur Singh Amritsar 21/03/89

144

Budh Singh Babu Singh Mangewal PO. Kurad Sangrur 27/07/92

145

Budh Singh Kandal Singh alias Kahn Singh Jagjit Pura Sangrur 15/03/93

146

Buta Singh Gurdeep Singh Bhoora Kohna Amritsar 29/08/93

147

Buta Singh Kaur Singh Moom Sangrur Unspecified

148

Chamkaur Singh Sohan Singh Rode Moga 21/04/93

149

Chamkaur Singh Harbachan Singh Badla PO. Kotla Badla Fatehgarh Sahib 17/01/91

150

Chamkaur Singh Sajjan Singh Rajo Majra Sangrur 20/10/91

151

Chamkaur Singh Nazar Singh Naraingarh Sohian

PO. Gehal

Sangrur 01/12/93

152

Chand Singh Late S. Nachhatter Singh Chowki Mann Ludhiana 29/09/93

153

Channan Singh Harbans Singh Bhole Ke Gurdaspur 01/04/88

154

Channan Singh Kartar Singh Ghariala Amritsar 12/03/93

155

Charan Singh Bhagat Singh Gosalan Ludhiana 17/05/94

156

Charan Singh (Baba) Late S. Banta Singh Pandori Rehmana PO. Takhat Mal Amritsar 23/04/93

157

Charanjeet Singh Avtar Singh Rampura Phool Bathinda 06/04/91

158

Charanjit Kaur   Chhandra Ludhiana 16/06/92

159

Charanjit Singh Gurmej Singh (Ex-serviceman) Gagrewal Amritsar Unspecified

160

Charanjit Singh Tara Singh Sangatpur Bhoki PO. Kalan Majra Patiala 25/07/92

161

Charanjit Singh Channa Ram Kishan Jhalian Khurd Ropar 04/09/91

162

Chhinda Singh Hajara Singh Varpal Amritsar 03/06/84

163

Chhinderpal Singh Gurmej Singh Manihala Jai Singh PO. Katcha Pucca Amritsar 21/07/91

164

Daat Kaur Malagar Singh Dhotian Amritsar Unspecified

165

Dalbir Singh Channan Singh Talwandi Goraya PO. Dera Baba Nanak Gurdaspur 27/03/89

166

Dalbir Singh Kapoor Singh Khadoor Sahib Amritsar 24/10/92

167

Dalbir Singh Dasandha Singh Dhaliwal PO. Cheema Khuddi Gurdaspur 22/04/93

168

Dalbir Singh Late S. Harbhajan Singh Dhardeo Amritsar Unspecified

169

Dalbir Singh Sardool Singh Varpal PO. Vadde Varpal Khurd Amritsar 04/07/86

170

Dalbir Singh Gurmukh Singh Behlolpur Tandian Ropar 06/02/91

171

Dalbir Singh Jassa Singh Khela, PO. Fatehabad Amritsar Unspecified

172

Daljit Singh Sukhwant Singh Gokhuwal PO. Batala Gurdaspur 07/07/93

173

Daljit Singh Pirat Singh Jhawan Hoshiarpur 23/10/90

174

Daljit Singh Bakhtawar Singh Pathreri Jattan Ropar Unspecified

175

Daljit Singh Sher Singh Sohana Ropar 16/11/92

176

Dalveer Singh Shiv Ram Bhauwal PO. Ropar Ropar 11/03/92

177

Dalvir Singh Balwant Singh Dhandra PO. Bararwala Sangrur 22/11/93

178

Dalwinder Singh Achhar Singh Khiala Khurd PO. Khiala Kalan Amritsar Unspecified

179

Darbara Singh Basta Singh Bhambri PO. Khamano Fatehgrah Sahib 13/11/93

180

Darbara Singh Chainchal Singh Ramdas Arian PO. Ramdas Amritsar 18/04/88

181

Darshan Singh Tarlok Singh Longowal Sangrur 28/06/92

182

Darshan Singh Amar Singh Barnala Sangrur 18/03/93

183

Darshan Singh Man Singh Goslan Ludhiana 24/10/93

184

Darshan Singh Jagir Singh Lasoi Sangrur 16/08/92

185

Darshan Singh Hardial Singh Dalla Ludhiana Unspecified

186

Darshan Singh Ujagar Singh Sohian Ludhiana 18/02/91

187

Darshan Singh Mahinder Singh Sehke PO. Guara Sangrur 05/10/92

188

Deputy Singh Dhillon Late Bishan Singh Sangrur Sangrur 16/10/93

189

Devinder Singh Achhat Singh VPO. Kakkar Amritsar Unspecified

190

Devinder Singh Gurdev Singh Dhangrali Ropar 05/01/91

191

Devinder Singh Malkit Singh Rajeana Moga 29/04/92

192

Devinder Singh Gian Singh Lehran Ludhiana 20/08/93

193

Devinder Singh Late S. Gurbachan Singh Kheri Salabatpur Ropar Unspecified

194

Devinder Singh Manjit Singh Amritsar City,Ghannupur Kala Amritsar 14/08/89

195

Dhanna Singh Mehar Singh Ghunsan Sangrur 12/11/92

196

Dhanna Singh Piara Singh Bariar Kapurthala 12/07/89

197

Dharam Singh Mukhtar Singh Jaura Amritsar 02/04/91

198

Dharam Singh Piara Singh Kashtiwal Gurdaspur 28/12/92

199

Dharam Singh Mangal Singh Bhangali Ferozepur 25/07/91

200

Dharamvir Singh Late S. Harnam Singh Kammoke PO. Butala Amritsar 12/05/95

201

Dilbag Singh Tasvir Singh Ghania Ke Bangar Gurdaspur 07/12/91

202

Dilabagh Singh Ravel Singh Bhakthana Tulian Gurdaspur 21/12/91

203

Dilbagh Singh Naranjan Singh Kohali Amritsar 06/01/91

204

Dilbagh Singh Dalip Singh Jhabal Amritsar Unspecified

205

Dilbagh Singh Ram Singh Kuharka Amritsar Unspecified

206

Dilbagh Singh Mehnga Singh Pheruman Amritsar 13/08/92

207

Dilbagh Singh Kartar Singh Varpal Amritsar 06/08/84

208

Dwarki Kaur Atma Ram Kurali, Ward No. 5 Ropar 30/08/91

209

Ekam Singh Narang Singh Hathan Sangrur 20/11/87

210

Gian Singh Lal Singh Lakha Singh Awan Amritsar 01/02/94

211

Gian Singh Milkha Singh Sajada Amritsar 27/05/92

212

Gulab Singh Gurmel Singh Dhamot Kalan Ludhiana 08/06/87

213

Gulab Singh Dhian Singh Lehra Ludhiana 10/09/93

214

Gulshan Kumar Chaman Lal Tarn Taran, Jandiala Road Amritsar 22/06/93

215

Gulwinder Singh Balwant Singh Khadoor Sahib Town Amritsar 10/02/93

216

Gulzar Singh Achhar Singh Khiala Khurd PO. Khiala Kalan Amritsar 18/04/87

217

Gulzar Singh Mahinder Singh Dhandra PO. Bararwal Sangrur 10/12/91

218

Gulzar Singh Teja Singh Kharar, H.No. 1700-B Ropar 08/04/91

219

Gulzar Singh Tara Singh Sandhu Manj Phaguwal PO. Ladhowal Ludhiana 04/03/88

220

Gura Singh Pal Singh Sur Singh Amritsar Unspecified

221

Gura Singh Late S. Pal Singh Sur Singh Wala Amritsar Unspecified

222

Gurbaj Singh Mahinder Singh Mehndipur Amritsar 17/06/89

223

Gurbhej Singh Mukhtar Singh Gagrewal Amritsar 10/10/92

224

Gurbir Singh Swaran Singh Panjwar Khurd Amritsar 15/12/92

225

Gurbogh Singh Bachan Singh Bhame Kalan Mansa 05/06/90

226

Gurcharan Singh Jeet Singh Rajo Majra Sangrur 15/11/87

227

Gurcharan Singh Raghvir Singh Daun Kalan Patiala 31/07/88

228

Gurharan Singh Bahadar Singh Rode Moga Unspecified

229

Gurcharan Singh Mukhtiar Singh Dhanaula Sangrur Unspecified

230

Gurcharan Singh Tehal Singh Panaichan PO. Sanghlo Fatehgarh Sahib 29/10/91

231

Gurcharan Singh Ganda Singh Nagoke Amritsar 18/06/93

232

Gurcharan Singh Gurdev Singh Rongla PO. Sidhuwal Patiala 21/05/92

233

Gurdarshan Singh Mann Jagjit Singh Mann Gehri Bar Singh PO. Mehsar Khana Bathinda Unspecified

234

Gurdeep Singh Chamel Singh Rumana Chak PO. Tarpai,268,Ward Amritsar 14/07/91

235

Gurdeep Singh Charan Singh No.11,Singhpura Road, Kurali Ropar 06/03/93

236

Gurdeep Singh Ajit Singh Kairon Amritsar Unspecified

237

Gurdeep Singh Mukhtar Singh Jeobala Amritsar 23/07/92

238

Gurdeep Singh Jagir Singh Randhawa Bhauwal PO. Ropar Ropar 08/09/92

239

Gurdeep Singh Bola Surjit Singh Halwara Ludhiana 09/07/90

240

Gurdev Singh Santa Singh Moom Sangrur Unspecified

241

Gurdev Singh Harnek Singh H.No. E-9 Tripri Town Patiala 25/10/91

242

Gurdev Singh Sulakhan Singh alias Shah Panj Graeen Gurdaspur Unspecified

243

Gurdev Singh Gurbachan Singh Dhirpur PO. Dialpur Jalandhar 01/07/87

244

Gurdev Singh Gurmit Singh Kale Ke Amritsar 14/11/92

245

Gurdev Singh Lakha Singh Riali Kalan Gurdaspur 17/07/89

246

Gurdev Singh Late S. Harbhajan Singh Dhardeo Amritsar 21/09/90

247

Gurdev Singh Gurdial Singh Kaunke Kalan Ludhiana 25/12/92

248

Gurdev Singh Late S. Santokh Singh Raipur Kalan Amritsar 25/10/92

249

Gurdev Singh Ajit Singh Vill. Jamarai Amritsar 09/04/91

250

Gurdev Singh Late S. Banta Singh Pandori Rumana PO. Pandori Takhat Mal Amritsar 20/08/92

251

Gurdev Singh Balvir Singh Kot Khalsa Amritsar 14/08/89

252

Gurdial Singh Amar Singh Kauli Patiala 27/05/92

253

Gurdial Singh Karnail Singh Nawan Pind PO. Bhagowal Gurdaspur 23/04/88

254

Gurdial Singh Channan Singh Ghariala Amritsar 12/03/93

255

Gurdial Singh Late S. Sucha Singh Dhotian Amritsar 09/10/92

256

Gurdial Singh Mahinder Singh Lal Pur Amritsar 11/07/91

257

Gurinder Singh Jaswant Singh Khairabad PO. Phool Khurd Ropar 26/07/89

258

Gurinder Sigh Bakhshish Singh Baserke Gillan Amritsar 05/08/91

259

Gurjant Singh Dhanna Singh Rureke Kalan Sangrur 05/04/92

260

Gurjant Singh Gurnam Singh Dhilwan Sangrur 03/04/92

261

Gurjant Singh Joginder Singh Dhadogal Sangrur 29/04/93

262

Gurjit Singh Bhag Singh Kamma PO. Isru Ludhiana Unspecified

263

Gurjit Singh Surjit Singh Barnala, Rahi Basti, Nanaksar Sangrur 15/08/92

264

Gurlal Singh Joginder Singh Kaleke Sangrur 21/07/92

265

Gurmeet Singh Balmit Singh Bharthala Nawanshahar 12/11/88

266

Gurmeet Singh Gian Singh Bopa Rai Kalan Amritsar 21/11/90

267

Gurmeet Singh Lakha Singh Kaleke Amritsar Unspecified

268

Gurmeet Singh Ravinder Singh (Ghari Wala) Rajo Majra Sangrur 15/05/91

269

Gurmeet Singh Darshan Singh Tugalwala Gurdaspur 07/02/84

270

Gurmeet Singh Choohar Singh Guru Ki Wadali Amritsar Unspecified

271

Gurmeet Singh Dhanna Singh Chhaju Majra Colony PO. Landran Ropar 27/02/92

272

Gurmeet Singh Nachhatter Singh Mehraj Bathinda 22/03/91

273

Gurmeet Singh Kartar Singh Boparai Kalan PO. Khasa Amritsar 10/01/92

274

Gurmeet Singh Late S. Bachan Singh Ganja PO. Dorangla Gurdaspur 15/03/93

275

Gurmeet Singh Bhan Singh Sur Singh Amritsar 01/08/88

276

Gurmej Kaur Ujagar Singh Manochahal Kalan Amritsar 15/09/92

277

Gurmej Singh Sulakhan Singh Chachowali PO. Jaintipur Amritsar 15/08/92

278

Gurmej Singh Sant Singh Dhilwan PO. Kotli Soorat Malli Gurdaspur 24/06/86

279

Gurmej Singh Jaswant Singh Dharamkot Randhawa Gurdaspur 31/01/91

280

Gurmej Singh Lakha Singh Pabarali Kalan PO. Paracha Gurdaspur Unspecified

281

Gurmej Singh Chanan Singh Marhian Wala Gurdaspur 06/06/84

282

Gurmej Singh Late S. Kehar Singh Sakhira Amritsar 20/03/93

283

Gurmel Singh Hamir Singh Kumbharwal Sangrur 28/04/91

284

Gurmel Singh Gurdial Singh Dhangrali Ropar 23/07/91

285

Gurmel Singh Tej Singh Aluna Palla Ludhiana Unspecified

286

Gurmel Singh Zora Singh Raipur Mansa 08/09/91

287

Gurmel Singh Ajit Singh Khiala Kalan Amritsar 05/03/88

288

Gurmel Singh Hari Singh Kotla Nihang Ropar 24/12/91

289

Gurmel Singh Jagir Singh Bhauwal PO. Ropar Ropar Unspecified

290

Gurmit Singh Jagroop Singh Barnala Sangrur 17/03/93

291

Gurmit Singh Lakhbir Singh Jalalabad Amritsar 15/03/92

292

Gurmit Singh Bhucho Lakha Singh Bhucho Mandi Bathinda 14/10/90

293

Gurmukh Singh Preetam Singh Manupur Kalan Ludhiana 28/11/91

294

Gurmukh Singh Kundan Singh Zafarwal Gurdaspur Unspecified

295

Gurnam Singh Ajaib Singh Kotla Sultan Singh Amritsar Unspecified

296

Gurnam Singh Late S. Sardul Singh Mehta PO. Singhpura Gurdaspur 02/04/92

297

Gurnam Singh Bua Singh Gunopur PO. Saidowal Khurd Gurdaspur 26/02/92

298

Gurnam Singh Thakar Singh Dulachipur PO. Kalha Amritsar Unspecified

299

Gurnam Singh Late S. Shingara Singh Daabawala Kalan Gurdaspur 11/12/88

300

Gurnam Singh Daleep Singh Pabarali Khurd PO. Paracha Gurdaspur Unspecified

301

Gurpal Singh Babu Singh Mangwal Sangrur 30/11/92

302

Gurpal Singh Bela Singh Gagrewal Amritsar 09/04/92

303

Gurpreet Singh Bahadar Singh Datewal PO. Kot Isse Khan Ferozepur 19/04/92

304

Gursahib Singh Ajit Singh Mandiala PO. Boharu Amritsar 22/01/90

305

Gursewak Singh Dalbara Singh Kotla Nihang Ropar 17/08/95

306

Gurtej Singh Hamir Singh Ghuman Kalan Bhatinda 11/07/92

307

Gurvel Singh Ajit Singh Khiala Kalan Amritsar 06/03/88

308

Gurvinder Singh Harbhajan Singh Dhadiala Natt Gurdaspur 17/07/89

309

Gurwinder Singh Joga Singh Ludhiana, H.No.2846 Ludhiana 18/09/93

310

Gurwinder Singh Kaur Singh Kumbharwal Sangrur 10/09/92

311

Hakam Singh Jagdev Singh @ Gama Bhaini Kalan PO. Himmatana Sangrur 23/10/92

312

Halvinder Singh Inder jit Singh VPO. Kakkar Amritsar 22/09/92

313

Hamir Singh Hardev Singh Asron Nawanshehar 22/09/92

314

Hansa Singh Late S. Teja Singh Khiala Khurd PO. Khiala Kalan Amritsar Unspecified

315

Harbans Singh Mangal Singh Kumagar Basti PO. Piareana Ferozepur 28/01/93

316

Harbans Singh Taru Singh Wajidpur Badhesha PO. Mahamadpur Sangrur 14/01/91

317

Harbhajan Singh Santa Singh Bibi Pur Patiala 28/07/90

318

Harchand Singh Jagat Singh Salana Jeevan Singh Wala Fatehgarh Sahib 17/09/91

319

Harcharan Singh Surjit Singh H.No. 152/B Azad Nagar Sirhind Road Patiala 05/06/90

320

Hardeep Singh Darshan Singh Rajo Majra Sangrur 25/02/94

321

Hardeep Singh Gopal Singh Dharamkot Randhawa Gurdaspur 27/10/92

322

Hardeep Singh Harbans Singh Parowal Gurdaspur 04/06/86

323

Hardeep Singh Late S. Prem Singh Balaspur Ludhiana Unspecified

324

Hardeep Singh Jora Singh Hamidi Sangrur 02/02/93

325

Hardeep Singh Inder Singh Chakk Sahu PO. Ghugiana Faridkot 20/05/93

326

Hardev Singh Garib Singh Rurke Kalan Sangrur 13/04/92

327

Hardev Singh Late S. Sulakhan Singh Panjgraeen Gurdaspur 18/03/91

328

Hardev Singh Ajmer Singh Poohla PO. Nathana Bathinda 08/04/91

329

Hardev Singh Mahinder Singh Thatha PO. Ema Kalan Amritsar 27/09/92

330

Hardev Singh Narinder Singh Dehriwala  PO. Baba Bakala Amritsar 23/09/92

331

Hardial Singh Hari Singh Dhotian Amritsar 18/08/88

332

Hardip Singh Kartar Singh Dhindsa PO. Kot Todar Mal Gurdaspur Unspecified

333

Hari Krishan Jagdev Raj Kali Ke Sangrur 20/06/92

334

Harinder Singh Piara Singh Kohali Amritsar 15/07/90

335

Harjinder Singh Gurmel Singh Charhi Kalan Fatehgarh Sahib Unspecified

336

Harjinder Singh Amarjit Singh Adowali PO. Ranger Nangal Gurdaspur 02/04/92

337

Harjinder Singh Lal Singh Manuke Ludhiana 04/05/93

338

Harjinder Singh Gurmit Singh Butala Amritsar 08/06/92

339

Harjit Kumar Harbans Lal (Vaid) Phool Town Bathinda 19/10/92

340

Harjit Singh Jarnail Singh Chakk Ramsingh Wala PO. Bhucho Mandi Bathinda 12/11/91

341

Harjit Singh Pooran Singh Valtoha Amritsar 11/09/91

342

Harjit Singh Jarnail Singh Janherian Patiala 07/04/91

343

Harjit Singh Balbir Singh Sultanwind Amritsar 11/02/93

344

Harmanpreet Singh Harbhajan Singh Verka Amritsar 24/05/92

345

Harmeet Singh Joginder Singh Bhauwal PO. Ropar Ropar Unspecified

346

Harmej Singh Labh Singh Gill Kalan Bhatinda 23/07/91

347

Harminder Singh Ajit Singh Shahpur PO. Tajpur Ropar 26/05/91

348

Harnam Singh Kartar Singh Haji Gate Bhatinda 16/12/91

349

Harnam Singh Gura Singh Sanghna Amritsar 02/11/91

350

Harnek Singh Naranjan Singh Dalla Ludhiana 17/05/89

351

Harnek Singh Gurnam Singh Mallha Ludhiana 16/06/93

352

Harpal Singh Jarnail Singh Bhame Kalan Mansa 31/10/91

353

Harpal Singh Bhagwan Singh Bhindran PO. Hermitage Sangrur 22/12/92

354

Harpal Singh Jagir Singh Zafarwal Gurdaspur 26/04/89

355

Harpal Singh Malkiat Singh Chaunta Kalan PO. Jhalian Khurd Ropar 28/01/91

356

Harpal Singh Makhan Singh Jammu, Simbal Camp Jammu 28/04/94

357

Harpal Singh Chanchal Singh Gagrewal Amritsar 01/12/90

358

Harpal Singh Mann Didar Singh Gharkhna PO. Mannki Ludhiana 14/06/90

359

Harphul Singh Piara  Singh Jeobala Amritsar 23/07/92

360

Harpinder Singh Jaswant Singh (Retd. Hav.) Hargobindpura Bhatinda Unspecified

361

Harpreet Kaur Ajit Singh Sultanwind Amritsar 25/06/92

362

Harpreet Singh Gurmit Singh Butala Amritsar 02/04/93

363

Harpreet Singh Gurdev Singh Badla PO. Kotla Badla Fatehgarh Sahib 28/08/91

364

Harsimranjit Singh Avtar Singh Datarpur Ropar 30/08/91

365

Harvinder Singh Kartar Singh Tahla Sahib PO. Maur Mandi Bhatinda 19/04/92

366

Harwinder Singh Gurdeep Singh Dhanetha Patiala 29/03/93

367

Heera Singh Dial Singh Kasel Amritsar Unspecified

368

Hoshiar Singh Harpal Singh Leharka PO. Chawinda Devi Amritsar 12/08/89

369

Inder Singh Naranjan Singh Shahpur Goraya Gurdaspur 02/02/92

370

Inderjit Singh Harbhajan Singh Sanghna Amritsar 13/06/91

371

Inderjit Singh Mahinder Singh Maulvi Kot PO. Paracha Gurdaspur Unspecified

372

Inderjit Singh Bachan Singh Jatana PO. Bela Ropar 10/06/88

373

Inderjit Singh Gurbakhsh Singh Rattan Garh Ropar 16/04/89

374

Inderjit Singh Harchand Singh Sohian Ludhiana 27/07/92

375

Iqbal Singh Bachint Singh Bahga PO. Garhdiwala Hoshiarpur 24/06/93

376

Jadwinder Singh Joginder Singh Fattu Dhinga Kapurthala 06/06/84

377

Jagbir Singh Sardul Singh Nagoke Amritsar 04/03/93

378

Jagdeep Singh Krishan Singh Rajo Majra Sangrur 02/02/93

379

Jagdeep Singh Joginder Singh Amritsar, Bahadur Nagar, H.No.3477 Amritsar Unspecified

380

Jagdev Singh Gurbakhsh Singh Kapial Sangrur 07/12/91

381

Jagir Singh Gurbakhsh Singh Kalanaur Gurdaspur 13/04/92

382

Jagir Singh Late S. Darshan Singh Kallu Sohal PO. Dehriwal Daroga Gurdaspur 08/06/84

383

Jagir Singh Dharam Singh Sehnsra Kalan Amritsar 21/09/89

384

Jagir Singh Mohan Singh Kala Afghana Gurdaspur 08/01/92

385

Jagjit Singh Santokh Singh Kesar Singh Wala Bathinda 25/02/92

386

Jagjit Singh Pooran Singh Manuke Ludhiana 21/05/93

387

Jagjit Singh Zora Singh Jagraon Ludhiana 21/06/93

388

Jagjit Singh Amar Singh Booh PO. Fattu Dhinga Kapurthala 06/06/84

389

Jagjit Singh Avtar Singh Kanwal VPO. Khajiala Gurdaspur 23/04/88

390

Jagraj Singh Mahinder Singh N.Ho.1543/, B-II Sector 60 Mohali Ropar 14/01/95

391

Jagseer Singh Arjan Singh Surjitpura PO. Barnala Sangrur 17/04/91

392

Jagtar Singh Dalip Singh Kairon Amritsar Unspecified

393

Jagtar Singh Surjit Singh Galowal Bahga PO. Garhdiwala Hoshiarpur 22/10/92

394

Jagtar Singh Dharam Singh Khiala Khurd PO. Khiala Kalan Amritsar 25/03/93

395

Jagtar Singh Maghar Singh Kuharka PO. Shahbazpur Amritsar 04/04/91

396

Jagwinder Singh Sarwan Singh Sirhind City Fatehgarh Sahib 06/05/90

397

Jang Singh Atma Singh Nathewala PO. Nathuwala Garbi Moga 24/06/92

398

Jang Singh Atma Singh Nathewala PO. Nathuwala (Garbi) Moga 24/06/92

399

Jarnail Singh Bachan Singh Bhame Kalan Mansa 16/03/93

400

Jarnail Singh Naranjan Singh Badla PO. Kotla Badla Fatehgrah Sahib 30/06/93

401

Jarnail Singh Ranga Singh Booh PO. Fattu Dhinga Kapurthala 21/05/92

402

Jasbant Singh Maghar Singh Kaul Chheli PO. Bhullar Heri Sangrur 22/06/92

403

Jasbir Singh Preetam Singh Burj Wali Gali, Mustafabad, Amritsar Amritsar Unspecified

404

Jasbir Singh Harnek Singh Manuke Ludhiana 29/04/93

405

Jasbir Singh Gurbaksh Singh Vill. Madre, PO. Udanwal Gurdaspur 18/03/91

406

Jasbir Singh Joginder Singh Amritsar, H.No.3477, Bahadur Nagar Amritsar 16/08/89

407

Jasmer Kaur Bachan Singh Salempur Ropar 30/08/91

408

Jasmer Singh Jagir Singh Khant Fatehgrah Sahib 29/06/92

409

Jaspal Singh Late S. Rachan Singh Garanga Ropar 07/06/89

410

Jaspal Singh Bhagat Singh Natt PO. Chahal Kalan Gurdaspur 30/03/92

411

Jaspal Singh Fajui Jarnail Singh Sihaura Ludhiana Unspecified

412

Jasvir Singh Nirmal Singh Doraha PO. Doraha Mandi Ludhiana 30/12/90

413

Jasvir Singh Bhupinder Singh Pandori Bibi Hoshiarpur 04/01/93

414

Jasvir Singh Gurdev Singh Kakara Sangrur 27/03/92

415

Jasvir Singh Ajit Singh Hargana Fatehgrah Sahib Unspecified

416

Jasvir Singh Sukhdev Singh Khuddi Khurd Sangrur Unspecified

417

Jaswant Singh Sewa Singh Sanghna Amritsar 04/04/90

418

Jaswant Singh Mohan Singh Chand Ke PO. Dharmkot Bagga Gurdaspur 03/08/90

419

Jaswant singh Roor Singh Kalanuar Gurdaspur Unspecified

420

Jaswant Singh Nachhattar Singh Budhsingh Wala Moga Unspecified

421

Jaswant Singh Darbara Singh Chaklan Ropar 06/11/92

422

Jaswant Singh Gurmel Singh DeharPO. Chamkaur Sahib Ropar 24/03/93

423

Jaswant Singh Isar Singh Bhaini (Bhajan Singh) PO, Patti Amritsar 13/07/91

424

Jaswinder Singh Ajaib Singh Jahangir PO. Kaheru Sangrur 01/02/93

425

Jaswinder Singh Late S. Mohan Singh Chachowali PO. Jaintipur Amritsar Unspecified

426

Jaswinder singh Shiv Ram, Bhuwal PO. Ropar Ropar 29/10/91

427

Jaswinder Singh Braham Singh Rajoana Ludhiana 27/03/92

428

Jaswinder Singh Mangal Singh Singhpura Amritsar Unspecified

429

Jatinder Singh Dilawar Singh Amritsar Amritsar 31/08/90

430

Jatinder Singh Harnek Singh Sohian Ludhiana 28/08/87

431

Jatinderpal Singh Amrik Singh N.No2210, Phase X, Mohali Ropar 16/01/88

432

Jeet Singh Chanan Singh Sidhwan Dona Kapurthala 17/09/91

433

Jeet Singh Sajju Singh Dadhera PO. Kalyan Patiala 21/11/91

434

Jeet Singh Pooran Singh Gagrewal Amritsar Unspecified

435

Jeevan Jot Singh Lakhwant Singh Hans Nagar Bathinda Bathinda 30/07/93

436

Jhilmil Singh Preetam Singh Dehar Ropar 17/09/91

437

Jinderpal Singh Ram Saroop Gagar Pur Kaithal 18/08/91

438

Joga Singh Joginder Singh Kakara Sangrur 19/02/93

439

Joga Singh Gurcharan Singh Sur Singh Amritsar 01/08/89

440

Joginder Kaur Kirpa Singh (Husband) Panjwar Khurd Amritsar 03/10/92

441

Joginder Singh Darshan Singh Folariwal Jalandhar 28/03/92

442

Joginder Singh Boota Singh Kalanaur Gurdaspur 17/04/92

443

Joginder Singh Late S. Wassan Singh Sanghna Amritsar Unspecified

444

Joginder Singh Bains Babu Singh Bains Guru Teg Bahadar Nagar Bathinda Bathinda 26/07/91

445

Kala Singh Amrik Singh Bega Lehra PO. Bhucho Mandi Bathinda 30/05/92

446

Kamaljit Kaur Piara Singh Butala Amritsar 29/02/92

447

Kamaljit Singh Naranjan Singh Ghaniye Ke Bangar Gurdaspur 19/04/93

448

Kanwaljit Singh Bhagwan Singh (Capt. Retd.) Bhatinda, Guru Arjun Dev Nagar Bhatinda 27/07/92

449

Kanwaljit Singh Gulzar Singh Verka Amritsar 24/05/92

450

Kanwaljit Singh Joginder Singh Amritsar, Ramsar Road, H.No.7 Amritsar 14/02/91

451

Karaj Singh Makhan Singh Thande PO. Jwala Flour Mill Amritsar Unspecified

452

Karnail Singh Sukhdev Singh Tibba Sangrur 08/04/91

453

Karnail Singh Bachan Singh Khanpur Barring PO. Suron Patiala 22/05/91

454

Karora Singh Dial Singh Badwali PO. Rattan Garh Ropar 26/05/91

455

Kartar Singh Swaran Singh Mann PO. Ghariala Amritsar 30/04/92

456

Kartar Singh Aasa Singh Behla PO. Rataul Amritsar 08/06/92

457

Kartar Singh Bali Singh Chuglewal Amritsar Unspecified

458

Kashmir Singh Gulzar Singh Dander Amritsar 02/01/91

459

Kashmir Singh Dalip Singh Dhun, Dhahe Wale Amritsar 24/12/92

460

Kashmir Singh Labh Singh Bhame Kalan Mansa Unspecified

461

Kashmir Singh Sucha Singh Sathiala Amritsar 29/08/92

462

Kashmir Singh Charan Singh Kuthali PO. Behrampur Gurdaspur 18/03/93

463

Kashmir Singh Bhullar Late S. Dalip Singh Amritsar, H.N.102, Gali 9, PO. Vijay Nagar Amritsar 03/11/90

464

Kesar Singh Jangir Singh Balad Kalan Sangrur 02/06/91

465

Kesar Singh Banta Singh Pandori Rehmana PO. Pandori Takhatmal Amritsar Unspecified

466

Kewal Singh Sukhdev Singh Burj Gill PO. Phul Bathinda 22/03/91

467

Khem Singh Fauji Nachhattar Singh Balad Kalan PO. Bhawanigarh Sangrur Unspecified

468

Khushwinder Singh Shamsher Singh Booth Garh PO. Morinda Ropar 21/07/89

469

Kiranpal Singh Sewa Singh 1446/21 Phase XI Mohali Ropar 21/03/92

470

Kirpa Singh Surain Singh Panjwar Khurd Amritsar 03/10/92

471

Kirpal Singh Gurdial Singh VPO. Benra Sangrur 02/02/93

472

Krishan Kumar Lajja Ram Rajo Majra Sangrur 25/09/92

473

Kulbir Singh Major Singh Simbal Majra Nawanshehar 15/03/92

474

Kulbir Singh Khush Hall Singh Jatana PO. Bela Roapr Unspecified

475

Kuldeep Singh Joginder Singh Vill. Sangha Amritsar 26/06/93

476

Kuldeep Singh Swaran Singh Kotla Sahian PO. Bhullar Gurdaspur 12/05/88

477

Kuldeep Singh Jarnail Singh Bopa Rai Kalan Amritsar 12/12/92

478

Kuldeep Singh Ajaib Singh Amrali PO. Hawara Kalan Ropar 24/10/90

479

Kuldeep Singh Nirmal singh Lodhi Majra Ropar 14/01/93

480

Kuldeep Singh Mehar Singh Sahora Ludhian 03/02/93

481

Kuldeep Singh Jagir Singh Fatehpur Badeshe Amritsar 06/07/92

482

Kuldeep Singh Kartar Singh Kuhali PO. Rai Chakk Gurdaspur 25/03/91

483

Kuldeep Singh Tar Singh Dansingh Wala PO. Sawai Mehma Bathinda 30/01/93

484

Kuldeep Singh Rachan Singh Manak Majra PO. Rangeel Pur Ropar 09/03/91

485

Kuldeep Singh Tarlok Singh Usman Shaheed Hoshiarpur 03/09/91

486

Kuldeep Singh Massa Singh Varpal Amritsar Unspecified

487

Kuldeep Singh Gill Sikandar Singh Gill Gill Ludhiana 13/06/92

488

Kuldip Singh Kartar Singh Kuthala Sangrur 17/10/92

489

Kuldip Singh Makand Singh Tibba Sangrur 08/04/91

490

Kuldip Singh Joginder Singh Bhullarheri Sangrur 31/05/93

491

Kuldip Singh Sucha Singh Thikriwal PO. Cahrhi Fatehgarh Sahib 24/02/94

492

Kuldip Singh Nand Singh Fatehabad Amritsar 08/04/91

493

Kuljinder Singh Harbans Singh Kheri Salabatpur Ropar 02/02/92

494

Kulwant Singh Mohan Singh Maur Khurd PO. Maur Mandi Bhatinda 23/03/94

495

Kulwant Singh Late S. Shingara Singh Kotli Soorat Malli Gurdaspur 22/05/89

496

Kulwant Singh Bachitter Singh Lehra Bega Bathinda 22/12/92

497

Kulwant Singh Sohan Singh Booh PO. Fattu Dhinga Kapurthala Unspecified

498

Kulwant Singh Jagir Singh Bhanuwal PO. Ropar Ropar 13/01/93

499

Kulwant Singh Ajit Singh Kairon Amritsar 23/09/92

500

Kulwant Singh Prem Singh Balaspur Ludhiana 12/02/92

501

Kulwant Singh Bahadur Singh Sehke PO. Guara Sangrur 20/01/94

502

Kulwant Singh Sajjan Singh Burj 169 PO. Raja Taal Amritsar 29/11/92

503

Kulwant Singh Fauja Singh Varpal Amritsar 03/06/84

504

Kulwinder Singh Gulzar Singh Sanghna Amritsar Unspecified

505

Kulwinder Singh Late S. Mohan Singh Chachowali PO. Jaintipur Amritsar 27/08/92

506

Kulwinder Singh Ajaib Singh Otthian Amritsar 20/12/91

507

Kulwinder Singh Amrik Singh Kalanaur Gurdaspur 27/11/88

508

Kulwinder Singh Bachan Singh Mastkot PO. Dargabad Gurdaspur 22/06/91

509

Kulwinder Singh Late S. Kaka Singh Palla Aluna Ludhiana 09/06/92

510

Kulwinder Singh Harnek Singh Kapial Sangrur 31/07/93

511

Kulwinder Singh Balvir Singh Dhuri, Guru Nank Nagar Sangrur 03/06/94

512

Kulwinder Singh Late S. Bachan Singh Silh PO. Garanga Ropar Unspecified

513

Kulwinder Singh Tara Singh Pheruman Amritsar 08/12/93

514

Labh Singh Bhupinder Singh Doomwali PO.  Sangat Mandi Bathinda Unspecified

515

Labh Singh Chhota Singh @ Sukhdev Singh Rajo Majra Sangrur 22/03/92

516

Lakha Singh Virsa Singh Algon Kothi PO. Kothi Amritsar 17/03/87

517

Lakha Singh Swaran Singh Mannan PO. Aima Kalan Amritsar Unspecified

518

Lakhbir Singh Late S. Bhan Singh Sanghna Amritsar 02/06/92

519

Lakhbir Singh Mahinder Singh Khiala Khurd PO. Khiala Kalan Amritsar 28/07/87

520

Lakhbir Singh Sardool Singh Varpal Amritsar 02/06/84

521

Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu Late S. Balbir Singh Anandpur Sahib, Academy Road Ropar 19/07/91

522

Lakhvir Singh (Patwari) Bachan Singh Kapial Sangrur 12/08/92

523

Lakhwinder Singh Bua Singh Gehri Mandi Amritsar 08/06/91

524

Lakhwinder Singh Joginder Singh Sanghna Amritsar Unspecified

525

Lakhwinder Singh Chanan Singh Behla PO. Rataul Amritsar 08/06/92

526

Lakhwinder Singh Ajaib Singh Adliwala Amritsar 27/05/91

527

Lal Singh Apar Singh Kotla Gujjaran Amritsar 27/08/89

528

Lehmbar Singh Sukhdev Singh Khaddi Khurd PO. Hindiaya Sangrur 18/01/93

529

Maan Singh Sarwan Singh Dehar PO. Chamkaur Sahib Ropar 15/03/91

530

Maghar Singh Labh Singh Thuliwal Sangrur 18/10/92

531

Maghar Singh Mukhtiar Singh Ladewal PO. Jabbo Majra Sangrur 24/08/91

532

Mahinder Kaur Kashmir Singh (Husband) Panjwar Khurd Amritsar Unspecified

533

Mahinder Singh Karam Singh Bhappal Patiala 12/02/93

534

Mahinder Singh (Bijliwal) Mohan Singh Bijliwal PO. Sarwali Gurdaspur 15/11/91

535

Major Singh Kaka Singh Changali Sangrur 15/02/92

536

Major Singh Dasaundha Singh H.No.2559 Mehna Mohalla Bathinda Bathinda 28/04/91

537

Major Singh Jaswant Singh Sur Singh Amritsar 11/07/90

538

Major Singh Karnail Singh Kamalpur Patiala 25/05/90

539

Major Singh Ujagar Singh Rattangarh Ropar 13/02/92

540

Major Singh Darshan Singh Sahoora Amritsar 14/09/87

541

Major Singh & Mohan Singh Mohan Singh & Ganga Singh Kot Hirde Ram PO. Chawinda Devi Amritsar 10/07/84

542

Major Singh (Sarpanch) Late S. Kartar Singh Burj Kalara PO. Hathur Ludhiana 03/05/93

543

Makhan Singh Kehar Singh Wiring Suba Singh Amritsar 20/03/93

544

Makhan Singh Kabal Singh Chaura Gurdaspur 05/04/93

545

Mal Singh Prithi Singh Gurbakshpura PO. Tibba Sangrur 10/01/94

546

Malkeet Singh Saroop Singh Alowal PO. Balowal Hoshiarpur 08/03/93

547

Malkeet Singh Bhinder Singh Rajo Majra Sangrur 02/02/93

548

Malkeet Singh Amar Singh Budhapur PO. Phool Khurd Ropar 11/03/92

549

Malkeet Singh Late S. Santa Singh Chappar Chiri Khurd PO. Landran Ropar 30/07/93

550

Malkit Singh Baldev Singh Virk Kalan Bathinda 01/03/92

551

Mandeep Singh Mehar Singh Kharar Ropar 15/06/92

552

Mandeep Singh Surjit Singh Halwara Ludhiana 08/07/90

553

Mangal Singh Swaran Singh Butala Amritsar Unspecified

554

Mangal Singh Ujagar Singh Pabarali PO. Paracha Gurdaspur 15/11/91

555

Mangal Singh Dula Singh Bhangali Ferozepur 07/08/91

556

Mangal Singh Kartar Singh Adliwala Amritsar 31/05/91

557

Manjinder Singh Late S. Mukhtar Singh Gagrewal Amritsar 25/09/91

558

Manjinder Singh Ajit Singh Tarn Taran Amritsar 21/04/92

559

Manjit Inder Singh Gurdev Singh Bhai Roopa Bathinda 10/10/91

560

Manjit Kaur Chanan Singh Sehnsra Kalan Amritsar 17/02/93

561

Manjit Singh Sohan Singh H.No.273, Phase VII, Mohali Ropar 16/01/88

562

Manjit Singh Iqbal Singh VPO. Nangali Amritsar 24/02/92

563

Manjit Singh Sardool Singh Tanda PO. Tur Amritsar 31/05/92

564

Manjit Singh Sucha Singh Alipur Arian PO. Patiala Patiala 01/01/93

565

Manjit Singh Sukhdev Singh Nathana Bathinda 24/10/91

566

Manjit Singh Late S. Harbhajan Singh Dhardeo Amritsar 17/09/91

567

Manjit Singh Gurbachan Singh Lohara PO. Pratapura Jalandhar 12/08/92

568

Manjit Singh Balbir Singh Alawal Pur PO. Bhambli Gurdaspur 19/03/91

569

Manjit Singh Late S. Japan Singh Lahal Dudhrai PO. Bhala Pind Amritsar 30/04/92

570

Manmohan Singh Ranjit Singh D-127 Thermal Colony Bhatinda Bathinda 10/05/92

571

Manmohan Singh Narinder Singh 110, Nawi Dana Mandi, Jalandhar City Jalandhar 05/08/87

572

Manna Singh Gurdeep Singh Nathewala PO. Nathuwala Garbi Moga 16/08/92

573

Manpreet Kaur Ramdass Singh Jatana PO. Bela Ropar 30/08/91

574

Mastan Singh Budha Singh Kalanaur Gurdaspur Unspecified

575

Mehma Singh Gulzar Singh Dhilwan Sangrur 14/12/92

576

Meja Singh (Baba) Late S. Banta Singh Pandori Rehmana PO. Takhat Mal Amritsar Unspecified

577

Mithu Singh Surjit Singh Kot Dunna Sangrur 03/09/91

578

Mohan Singh Surjan Singh Khanpur PO. Kharar Ropar 01/02/91

579

Mohan Singh Santa Singh Fattu Dhinga Kapurthala 06/06/84

580

Mohan Singh Baldev Singh Araincha PO. Doraha Ludhiana 05/02/91

581

Mohan Singh Surjan Singh @ Sajjan Singh H.No.2042, Agwar Gujran, Jagraon Ludhiana 03/05/93

582

Mohinder Singh Ram Rakha Singh Balian Sangrur 06/03/93

583

Mohinder Singh Arjan Singh Bhai Bakhtaur PO. Maisar Khana Bathinda 27/09/92

584

Mohinderpal Singh Manjit Singh Amritsar, H.N.1334/III-21, Gali Jeevanmal Amritsar 14/02/91

585

Mukand Singh Bhajan Singh Dhaula Sangrur 12/12/91

586

Mukhtiar Singh Mahala Singh Pakhoke Sangrur 11/03/93

587

Mukhtiar Singh Jagir Singh Leharka Amritsar 28/12/90

588

Mukhtiar Singh Balwinder Singh Bhago Kawan PO. Magar Mudian Gurdaspur 02/04/93

589

Nachhattar Singh Balkar Singh Mann PO. Ghariala Amritsar 18/02/92

590

Nachhatter Singh Kartar Singh Raiwal Bet PO. Lohian Khas Jalandhar Unspecified

591

Naginderpal Singh Bhupinder Singh Doomwali PO. Sangar Mandi Bathinda 24/07/91

592

Nahar Singh Atma Singh Alipur Khalsa PO. Mahamadpur Sangrur 04/06/93

593

Nahar Singh Inder Singh Pamaur Fatehgarh Sahib 12/01/85

594

Naib Singh Sardara Singh Gill Khurd PO. Balianwali Bathinda 09/09/91

595

Narain Singh Bant Singh Dhilwan Sangrur 14/12/92

596

Narain Singh Mohinder Singh Paracha Gurdaspur Unspecified

597

Naranjan Singh Dalbir Singh Kalanaur Gurdaspur 01/08/91

598

Naranjan Singh Sher Singh Chabba Amritsar 25/02/92

599

Narinder Siongh Baldev Singh Dangarh Sangrur 16/07/92

600

Narinder Singh Hukam Singh Thathi Khara PO. Doburji Amritsar 17/07/91

601

Narinder Singh Mehar Singh (Sukhdev Singh) Dawali PO. Jandiali Jalandhar 28/12/94

602

Narinder Singh Inder Mohan Verma Bhago Majra Ropar 23/08/92

603

Narinder Singh Lakhwinder Singh Batala Gurdaspur 12/08/89

604

Narinder Singh Balwant Singh Vegowal Amritsar 11/04/94

605

Nasib Kaur Dal Singh Thuliwal Sangrur 18/10/92

606

Nasib Singh Preetam Singh Dahir Ropar 21/03/93

607

Navroop Singh Kashmir Singh Burj Rai Ke PO. Sirhali Amritsar 03/12/92

608

Nazar Singh Bachan Singh Dhilwan (Nabha) Sangrur Unspecified

609

Nehru Singh Natha Singh Dansingh Wala PO. Mehma Sawai Bathinda 30/01/93

610

Niranjan Singh Boor Singh Behla PO. Rataul Amritsar 08/06/92

611

Nirbhai Singh Dharam Singh Alal PO. Moolowal Sangrur 14/10/91

612

Nirmal Singh Sukhdev Singh Rajo Majra Sangrur 11/02/93

613

Nirmal Singh Joginder Singh Nepal PO. Jastarwal> Amritsar 12/08/88

614

Nirmal Singh Piara Singh Dhotian Amritsar 14/11/98

615

Nirmal Singh Sarpanch Mohan Singh Hothian Amritsar 25/10/92

616

Nirvail Singh Atma Singh Manochahal Kalan Amritsar 08/08/92

617

Nirvair Singh Jagir Singh Kotla Bajja Singh PO. Dadiala Nazara Gurdaspur 08/11/89

618

Nirwair Singh Jagir Singh Bhauwal PO. Ropar Ropar 06/04/93

619

Nishan Singh Ajit Singh Pabarali Kalan PO.  Paracha Gurdaspur 27/01/91

620

Nishan Singh Bahal Singh VPO. Raniya Amritsar 06/07/89

621

Pala Singh Taru Singh Wajidpur Badhesha PO. Mahmadpur Sangrur Unspecified

622

Palijit Singh Chamel Singh Rumana Cahk PO. Tarpai Amritsar Unspecified

623

Paltej Singh Chamel Singh Ramana Chak PO. Tarpai Amritsar Unspecified

624

Palwinder Singh Gurbachan Singh Gehlan PO. Mehsampur Sangrur 19/05/93

625

Palwinder Singh Ajit Singh Khalehra PO. Gehri Mandi Amritsar 15/04/88

626

Param Satinderjit Singh Sawinder Singh Gambhir Jangla PO. Nash Chak Gurdaspur 18/05/92

627

Paramjit Singh Joginder Singh Gehla Bagha Patti PO. Mahisampur Sangrur 19/05/93

628

Paramjit Singh Harnam Singh Heera Nagar, PO. Netaji Nagar, Salem Tabri Ludhiana 08/09/90

629

Paramjit Singh Late S. Naranjan Singh Dhamot Ludhiana Unspecified

630

Paramjit Singh Gurmukh Singh Talwandi Nahar Amritsar 21/05/92

631

Paramjit Singh Gurmel Singh Manuke Ludhiana 30/04/93

632

Paramjit Singh Gurdit Singh Guru Gobind Singh Nagar Bathinda Bathinda 17/07/92

633

Paramjit Singh Chand Singh Mahi Nangal PO. Rama Mandi Bathinda 28/04/91

634

Paramjit Singh Tehal Singh Fazalabad Gurdaspur Unspecified

635

Paramjit Singh Darshan Sigh (Ex-Subedar) H.No.10-L, Model House, Jalandhar Jalandhar 05/09/95

636

Paramjit Singh Sawinder Singh Mallian Amritsar 18/05/91

637

Paramjit Singh Harnek Singh Phoolewala Moga Unspecified

638

Paramjit Singh Harchand Singh Sohian Ludhiana 10/05/89

639

Paramjit Singh Narinder Singh Bahmani Wala Amritsar 14/06/93

640

Paramjit Singh Mohan Singh Sur Singh Amritsar 16/03/88

641

Pardeep Singh Beant Singh Malhi Baoli Inderjit Gurdaspur Unspecified

642

Pargat Singh Avtar Singh Bhangali Kalan Amritsar 22/04/92

643

Pargat Singh Preetam Singh Sur Singh Amritsar 16/09/89

644

Pargat Singh Charan Singh Sur Singh Wala Amritsar Uspecified

645

Parivar Singh Dalip Singh Dalla Ludhiana 12/12/90

646

Parjinder Singh Parminder Singh Sehnsra Kalan Amritsar 10/05/93

647

Parminder Singh Bant Singh Gill Kalan Bathinda 23/07/91

648

Parminder Singh Piara Singh H.No.13, Gurnam Nagar Amritsar 19/11/92

649

Parminder Singh Hardeep Singh Jhabal Kalan Amritsar 09/10/92

650

Parminder Singh Amrik Singh 1263 Phase 3B-II, Mohali Ropar 07/05/91

651

Piara Singh Bhagwan Singh Alo Arakh PO. Bhawanigarh Sangrur 29/09/91

652

Piara Singh Meja Singh Jeobala Amritsar 23/07/92

653

Piara Singh Surain Singh Tibbar Gurdaspur 21/07/90

654

Pipal Singh Gurbachan Singh Dholewal Ferozepur 08/08/91

655

Prabhjit Singh Harnek Singh Phoolewala Moga Unspecified

656

Prem Singh Dalladi Ghuman Singh Dalladi PO. Nabha Patiala Unspecified

657

Pritam Singh Bhan Singh Narpur PO. Chor Sidhwan Gurdaspur 13/12/88

658

Prithipal Singh Sucha Singh Gokalpur Amritsar 26/11/91

659

Punjab Singh Bachan Singh VPO. Khajala Gurdaspur 13/08/91

660

Punjab Singh Mahan Singh Dhapei Gurdaspur 11/12/91

661

Rachhpal Singh Late S. Jagir Singh Kalanaur Gurdaspur 23/03/92

662

Rachhpal Singh Late S. Banta Singh Kalanaur Gurdaspur 14/11/86

663

Rachhpal Singh Hari Singh Faridkot Faridkot 19/03/93
           

664

Rachhpal Singh Anokh Singh Jhander Amritsar 07/10/92

665

Rachhpal Singh Chhandra Late S. Ranjit Singh Chhandra Ludhiana 11/06/92

666

Raghuveer Singh Bant Singh Goslan Ropar 28/10/92

667

Rajbir Singh Preetam Singh Zafarwal Gurdaspur 27/04/89

668

Rajinder Singh Nachhatter Singh Balad Kalan Sangrur 12/08/92

669

Rajinder Singh Saudagar Singh Fategarh Sivian Ludhiana Unspecified

670

Rajinder Singh Late S. Ajmer Singh Khanpur, H.No.1245 Ropar 09/10/91

671

Rajwinder Singh Kashmir Singh Panjwar Khurd Amritsar 21/02/95

672

Rakesh Kumar Vishwa Mitter Chachowali PO. Jaintipur Amritsar 21/12/92

673

Ram Saroop Singh Hukam Singh Sihora Ludhiana 15/05/91

674

Ram Singh Gurmail Singh Daun Kalan Patiala Unspecified

675

Ram Singh Late S. Gura Singh Sur Singh Wala Amritsar Unspecified

676

Ram Singh Bahadar Singh Varpal Amritsar 03/06/84

677

Ram Singh Billing Himmat Singh Dhadogal Sangrur 03/01/92

678

Ranbir Singh Manshahia Jarnail Singh Manshahia Dabwali Road Bathinda Bathinda 10/09/91

679

Randhir Singh Sinder Pal Singh Amargarh Dhuri Road Sangrur 24/03/93

680

Randhir Singh Mastan Singh Dangian Ludhiana 13/02/94

681

Randhir Singh (Jathedar) Chanan Singh Mal Chak PO. Kang Amritsar 15/05/92

682

Ranjit Kaur Rachan Singh Gharuan Ropar 15/05/92

683

Ranjit Singh Gurdev Singh Jakhlan Sangrur 31/07/94

684

Ranjit Singh Swaran Singh Bhambri PO. Khamano Fatehgarh Sahib 10/07/91

685

Ranjit Singh Kirpal Singh Thetharke PO. Dera Baba Nanak Gurdaspur Unspecified

686

Ranjit Singh Lal Singh Guara Ludhiana 25/11/91

687

Ranjit Singh Late S. Sampooran Singh Chhandra Ludhiana 02/10/91

688

Ranjit Singh Inder Singh Nagoke Amritsar 29/01/93

689

Ranjit Singh Gurdev Singh Chowki Mann Ludhiana 01/10/93

690

Ranjit Singh Sardara Singh Pathan Majra PO. Gharam Patiala Unspecified

691

Ranjit Singh Harnek Singh Bathinda, 22162, Gali No. 11/1 Bathinda Unspecified

692

Ranjit Singh Pala Singh Datarpur PO. Rattangarh Ropar Unspecified

693

Ranjit Singh Sewa Singh Kaler Mangat PO. Luddar Amritsar 12/09/92

694

Rattan Singh Virsa Singh Amam Nagar PO. Karhali Patiala 20/11/95

695

Ravinder Singh Bela Singh Dugalwal Gurdaspur 12/07/91

696

Resham Singh Bhagwan Singh Booh PO. Fattu Dhinga Kapurthala 06/06/84

697

Resham Singh Tara Singh Kuharka PO. Shahbazpur Amritsar 11/12/92

698

Resham Singh Bakshish Singh Amritsar, PO. Vijay Nager, Gali 8, H.N. 55-56 Amritsar 02/11/90

699

Rulda Singh Dharam Singh Atari PO Bela Ropar 08/02/93

700

Rupinderjit Singh Bhajan Singh Kang, Patti Talwandi Di Amritsar 01/06/92

701

Sadhu Singh Bant Singh G.T.B. Garh Rode Moga 01/06/92

702

Sadhu Singh Teja Singh Phoolewala Moga 18/06/87

703

Sahab Singh Dara Singh Gagrewal Amritsar Unspecified

704

Sahib Singh Piara Singh Kashtiwal Gurdaspur 16/05/92

705

Sahib Singh Piara Singh Kaleke Amritsar 14/11/92

706

Sahib Singh Kirpal Singh Sangan Kaithal (Haryana) 06/06/84

707

Sahib Singh Late S. Soorta Singh Sahoora Amritsar Unspecified

708

Salwant Singh Mukhtar Singh Jeobala Amritsar 31/07/91

709

Salwinder Singh Mangal Singh Singhpura Amritsar Unspecified

710

Salwinder Singh Shabaig Singh Manihala Jai Singh PO.Kutcha Pucca Amritsar 30/08/92

711

Salwinder Singh Late S. Sucha Singh Dhotian Amritsar Unspecified

712

Santokh Singh Saroop Singh Behla PO. Rataul Amritsar Unspecified

713

Santokh Singh Sher Singh Saron Sangrur 04/07/91

714

Sarbjit Singh Jauhal Balvir Singh Jauhal (Jathedar) Jauhal Hoshiarpur 10/09/87

715

Sarbjit Singh Balbir Singh Bhadarvadh Sangrur 10/07/93

716

Sardara Singh Late Bur Singh Kaleke PO. Khilchian Amritsar 10/11/91

717

Sardool Singh Late S. Pooran Singh Rahal Chahal PO. Sangatpur Amritsar Unspecified

718

Sardul Singh Aasa Singh Gagrewal Amritsar 29/07/93

719

Saroop Singh Preetam Singh Nangal Khunga Hoshiarpur 26/05/89

720

Sarup Singh Santokh Singh Fatehpur Badeshe PO. Mian Wind Amritsar 26/05/89

721

Satgur Singh Kaku Singh Palasaur PO. Bhalwan Sangrur 20/07/90

722

Satnam Singh Harbans Singh Dalla PO. Leel Kalan Qadian Gurdaspur 02/06/92

723

Satnam Singh Gulzar Singh Jalalabad Amritsar Unspecified

724

Satnam Singh Prem Singh Mahadian Fatehgarh Sahib 10/08/88

725

Satnam Singh Jarnail Singh Kairon Amritsar 04/06/92

726

Satnam Singh Sohan Singh Dhapei Gurdaspur 26/02/91

727

Satnam Singh Mahinder Singh Jallupur Khaira Amritsar 10/03/93

728

Satpal Singh Satyal Late S. Surjit Singh Stayal H.No. 250, Satyal Niwas Ropar 21/09/92

729

Saudagar Singh Kartar Singh Mangewal PO. Kurad Sangrur 26/07/90

730

Savinder Singh Joginder Singh Bagge Khurd PO. Bagge Kalan Amritsar 05/09/87

731

Sawinder Pal Singh Jeevan Singh Jaura Amritsar 02/04/91

732

Sawinder Singh Dalip Singh Athwal PO. Fatupur Dehar Gurdaspur 20/06/93

733

Sawinder Singh Pooran Singh Kale Ke PO. Khilchian Amritsar 27/03/93

734

Sawinder Singh Amar Singh Kalanaur Gurdaspur 05/11/87

735

Sawinder Singh Bhagat Singh Padde, PO. Pheruman Amritsar 03/04/91

736

Sewa Singh Late S. Cheta Singh Gharuan Uchand Ropar 18/09/92

737

Sewak Singh Balkar Singh Kala Afghana Gurdaspur Unspecified

738

Shamsher Singh Chhota Singh Aloa Rakh PO. Bhawanigarh Sangrur 27/02/94

739

Sher Singh Bakhshish Singh Khiala Kalan Amritsar 27/02/94

740

Shingara Singh Jagar Singh Bega Lehra PO. Bhucho Mandi Bathinda Unspecified

741

Shingara Singh Atma Singh Booh PO. Fattu Dhinga Kapurthala 06/06/84

742

Shingara Singh Boota Singh Rose PO. Pakiwan Gurdaspur Unspecified

743

Sikandar Singh Harnek Singh Lehra Bega PO. Bhucho Mandi Bathinda 30/05/92

744

Skattar Singh Niranjan Singh Behla PO. Ratual Amritsar 08/06/92

745

Sohan Singh Butter Phoola Singh @ Tar Singh Dan Singh Wala Bathinda 29/01/93

746

Soma Tirath Ram Ghanupur PO. Chheharta, Bhangali Wala Khu Amritsar 27/03/89

747

Suba Singh Late S. Lakha Singh Shahpur Goraya Gurdaspur 08/11/90

748

Suba Singh Gurbachan Singh Shakoor Ferozepur 28/03/91

749

Subash Singh Diwan Singh Jathuwal Amritsar 10/04/91

750

Subeg Singh Dhian Singh Sur Singh Amritsar 21/03/89

751

Sucha Singh   VPO. Thande Gurdaspur 13/08/91

752

Sucha Singh Teja Singh Pabarli Kalan PO. Paracha Gurdaspur 05/06/91

753

Sucha Singh Pal Singh Varpal Amritsar 14/03/92

754

Sudagar Singh Late S. Hari Singh Bakhtari PO. Bhawanigarh Sangrur 20/12/92

755

Sudama Singh Sahib Singh Dheri Ludhiana 19/03/88

756

Sukh Sagar Singh Jatinder Singh Beehla Sangrur 18/08/93

757

Sukhbir Singh Khalsa Tara Singh Sujo Nawanshehar 26/04/94

758

Sukhbir Singh Kunnar Jagpal Singh Kot Gangu Rai Ludhiana 26/04/94

759

Sukhchain Singh Santokh Singh Mann Khehra Gurdaspur 18/03/91

760

Sukhdeep Singh Darshan Singh Rajo Majra Sangrur 15/05/92

761

Sukhdev Singh Bhan Singh Vill. Dhotian Amritsar 04/12/92

762

Sukhdev Singh Santa Singh Moom Sangrur Unspecified

763

Sukhdev Singh Late S. Kesar Singh Qadian Gujran PO. Shahpur Goraya Gurdaspur 27/08/91

764

Sukhdev Singh Sudagar Singh Daun Khurd PO. Boharpur Janherian Patiala 09/09/91

765

Sukhdev Singh Shingara Singh Kala Afghana Gurdaspur Unspecified

766

Sukhdev Singh Mahinder Singh Maulvi Kot PO. Paracha Gurdaspur Unspecified

767

Sukhdev Singh   Main Bazar, Ghanupur Amritsar 31/10/92

768

Sukhdev Singh Chanchal Singh Vill. Naurangabad Amritsar 26/07/90

769

Sukhdev Singh Sardool Singh Sur Singh Amritsar 01/11/93

770

Sukhdev Singh Late S. Nachhatter singh Chowki Mann Ludhiana 29/09/93

771

Sukhdev Singh Sher Singh Sohana Ropar 13/11/92

772

Sukhdev Singh Dan Singh Baba Bhan Singh Kothe Sangrur Unspecified

773

Sukhdev Singh Surjit Singh Loham Ferozepur 05/07/89

774

Sukhdev Singh Karam Singh Chachowali PO. Jaintipur Amirisar 03/01/94

775

Sukhdev Singh Late S. Sardool Singh Sur Singh Amirisar 01/11/92

776

Sukhdev Singh Lali Sulakhan Singh Panjgraeen Gurdaspur 29/05/91

777

Sukhjinder Singh Ajaib Singh Vill. Janian PO. Bundala Amirtsar 29/05/91

778

Sukhjit Singh Harpal Singh Rajo Majra Sangrur 04/02/93

779

Sukhmandar Singh Major Singh Dalla Ludhiana 20/07/92

780

Sukhpal Singh Jagir Singh (Babe Ke) Kala Afghana Gurdaspur 13/08/94

781

Sukhraj Singh Hazara Singh Gagrewal Amirtsar Unspecified

782

Sukhwant Singh Preetam Singh Bamb PO. Rai Mall Gurdaspur Unspecified

783

Sukhwant Singh Kartar Singh Marhian Wala PO. Batala Gurdaspur 05/02/91

784

Sukhwant Singh Kashmir Singh Lohar PO. Jauhal Dhahe Wala Amritsar 28/04/92

785

Sukhwinder Kaur Ram Singh Kala Afghana Gurdaspur Unspecified

786

Sukhwinder Singh Ram Dhan Singh Wajidpur Badeshan PO Mahamadpur Sangrur 08/07/93

787

Sukhwinder Singh Gian Singh Nambardar Mallian Amritsar 13/12/91

788

Sukhwinder Singh Niranjan Singh Chaura PO. Dera Baba Nanak Gurdaspur 05/05/93

789

Sukhwinder Singh Punjab Singh VPO. Kakkari Amirtsar 09/08/91

790

Sukhwinder Singh Shingar Singh Batala Gurdaspur Unspecified

791

Sukhwinder Singh Randhir Singh Masani PO. Nadampur Sangrur 24/06/92

792

Sukhwinder Singh Atar Singh Kohali Amritsar 26/11/86

793

Sukhwinder Singh Darshan Singh Fatehgarh Sahib Fatehgarh Sahib 13/04/88

794

Sukhwinder Singh Dildar Singh Khela PO. Fatehabad Amritsar 18/04/93

795

Sukhwinder Singh Mahinder Singh Manihala Jai Singh PO.Kutcha Pucca Amritsar 24/01/90

796

Sukhwinder Singh Bhatti Tara Singh Badbar Sangrur 24/01/90

797

Sulakhan Singh Late S. Sohan Singh Panj Graeen Gurdaspur 29/05/91

798

Sulakhan Singh   Vill. Bhakna Amritsar 31/10/92

799

Sulkhan Singh Kulbir Singh Hemraj Pur Gurdaspur 09/05/92

800

Suleman Khan Jora Khan Sehna Sangrur 14/12/90

801

Sumitter Singh Faqir Singh Mulanwal Gurdaspur Unspecified

802

Surinder Singh Ram Chand Chunni Kalan Fatehgarh Sahib 28/09/90

803

Surinder Singh Nachhattar Singh Dhandra PO. Barawal Sangrur Unspecified

804

Surinder Singh Late S. Veer Singh Sur Singh Amritsar Unspecified

805

Surinderpal Singh Inder Singh Dhudhipura PO. Naushehra Majha Singh Gurdaspur 03/02/88

806

Surjan Singh Surain Singh Tibbar Gurdaspur 04/01/92

807

Surjit Singh Amar Singh Kathu Sangrur 16/04/92

808

Surjit Singh Dharam Singh Attari PO.Bela Ropar 08/02/93

809

Surjit Singh Mahinder Singh Sanghna Amritsar 02/06/92

810

Surjit Singh Sher Singh Guru Har Sahai Ferozepur Unspecified

811

Surjit Singh Inder Singh Tharu Amritsar 02/07/93

812

Surjit Singh Mahnider Singh Bhamri Gurdaspur 11/12/91

813

Sukhwinder Kaur Hardial Singh Sultanwind Amritsar 07/09/92

814

Swaran Kaur   Dhindsa PO. Kot Todar Mal Gurdaspur 06/06/84

815

Swaran Singh Kartar Singh Naubad Mari PO. Algon Kothi Amritsar 06/06/84

816

Swaranjit Singh Channan Singh Aladinpur Amritsar 12/11/87

817

Talwinder Singh Hardial Singh Tola Nangal PO. Raja Sansi Amritsar 20/11/90

818

Tara Singh Wasawa Singh Sagarpura PO. Chaudharywala Gurdaspur 24/12/87

819

Tara Singh Sandhu Ishar Singh Manj Phaguwal PO. Ladhowal Ludhiana 13/07/87

820

Tarlochan Singh Late S. Harbhajan Singh Sadhpura Chogawan Amritsar 08/10/90

821

Tarlochan Singh Daulat Singh VPO. Ghuman Ludhiana 18/01/91

822

Tarlochan Singh Man Mohinder Singh Kapial Sangrur 21/09/92

823

Tarlochan Singh Kundan Singh Ludhiana, H.No. 289, Shaheed K.S. Nagar Ludhiana Ludhiana 15/03/88

824

Tarlochan Singh Jagit Singh Sehke PO. Guara Sangrur 13/03/93

825

Tarlok Singh Khalsa Gajjan Singh Rurka Kalan Ludhiana 27/06/90

826

Tarsem Singh Ashar Singh Sanghna Amritsar 01/09/92

827

Tarsem Singh Sohan Singh Vero Nangal PO. Rangar Nangal Gurdaspur Unspecified

828

Tasbir Singh Jathedar Anoop singh Dander Amritsar 09/09/91

829

Tej Kaur Harnek Singh (Husband) Lehra Bega PO. Bhucho Mandi Bathinda 02/09/91

830

Teja Singh Basant Singh Fatehgarh Sivian Ludhiana 01/08/92

831

Tejinderpal Singh Sukhdev Singh VPO.Satkoha Gurdaspur 24/04/91

832

Tejpal Singh Hazara Singh Bhaku Majra Ropar Unspecified

833

Veer Singh SundarSingh Jahangir PO. Kaheru Sangrur 10/02/93

834

Vir Singh Mahinder Singh Kaler PO. Raja Sansi Amritsar 10/02/93

835

Virsa Singh Jagir Singh Booh PO. Fattu Dhinga Kapurthala 09/10/92

836

Waryam Singh Nazar Singh Bure Nangal PO. Rangar Nangal Gurdaspur 05/09/90

837

Yadvinder Singh Bhajan Singh Bhawanigarh Sangrur 23/08/91

838

Yadwinder Singh Angrej Singh Harike Pattan Amritsar 25/12/92

APPENDIX-II

LIST OF CUSTODIAL DEATHS

DURING 1997-2001

 

1.         Vijay Kumar, died in District Jail, Kapurthala on 13th January, 1997.

2.         Ranjit Singh hanged himself in Central Jail, Sangrur on 14th February, 1997.

3.         Kashmir Singh, a Youth of village Pandori Rukman near Hoshiarpur, was abducted from his house alongwith his father Ajit Singh by a police party headed by Sub-Inspector Gulzar Chand, SHO of Police Station Taran Taran on 14th March, 1997 and after dropping his father, killed him in fake encounter. Later on, the Sessions Court at Hoshiarpur held it to be a fake encounter and sentenced the accused policemen to life imprisonment for the dastardly act. The National Human Rights Commission also awarded a compensation of Rupees five lac to the next of kin of the deceased.

4.         Jaggar Singh of Kotduna village in District Sangrur, died in Police Custody of P.S. Dhanaula, District Sangrur on July 20, 1997.

5.         Amrit Singh (45), an undertrial in Central Jail, Jalandhar died in judicial custody on the intervening night of August 14-15, 1997.

6.         Pala Singh, son of Gurcharan Singh, a resident of village Bhai Bakhtaur, District Bathinda was killed in Police Station Kot Fatta, Distt. Bathinda on 30th August, 1997, allegedly by consuming poison kept in the police station. The Punjab State Human Rights Commission awarded an interim compensation of Rupees fifty thousand to the next of kin of the deceased.

7.         Jagan Nath alias Jagnoo son of Ranjha Ram, a resident of village Pasla in Jalandhar district was killed in Police custody of P.S. Guraya, Distt. Jalandhar on 1st September, 1997. Painfully, the complaint filed in the Punjab State Human Rights Commission was dismissed for no valid reasons.

8.         Sham Lal son of Banta Singh, a resident of village Ajnali, District Fatehgarh Sahib was beaten to death by a police party of P.S. Gobindgarh on 5th September, 1997. Ironically, the Complaint was dismissed by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission was dismissed.

9.         Babu Ram (25), a resident of Malerkotla was killed in Police Custody of P.S. Ahmedgarh, District Malerkotla on September 12, 1997.

10.       Manfool Ram, a dalit of village Dakha, District Ludhiana died in Police custody of P.S. Mullanpur Dakha, District Ludhiana on October 3, 1997.

11.       Natha Singh, a daily wage labourer of Sangrur died in judicial custody at District Jail, Sangrur in October, 1997.

12.       Bhagwan Singh, (35) a resident of village Jhuge Lal Singh, District Fazilka died in Police custody of P.S. Fazilka (Sadar) on October 24, 1997.

13.       Bhola Singh, a resident of village Matti in District Mansa died in Police custody of P.S. Mansa on October 26, 1997.

14.       Tirath Singh son of Narinder Singh Kler, a resident of village Kler, District Amritsar died in Amritsar jail in November, 1997.

15.       Hukam Chand died in Central Jail, Patiala on December 13, 1997.

16.       Gurjet Singh, an undertrial lodged in Central Jail, Patiala died in the jail on 25th April, 1998.

17.       Baljeet Singh (24) son of Nahar Singh, a resident of village Burj Dhilwan, District Bathinda was killed in Police Custody of Police Station Maur, District Bathinda on 21st July, 1998.

18.       Lakhwinder Singh alias Lakha (35), a resident of village Ratoke in District Taran Taran was killed in police custody of P.S. Sarhali, District Taran Taran on August 17, 1998.

19.       Satnam Singh, a resident of Jalandhar District, died in Police custody of P.S. Adampur, on August 16, 1998.

20.       Sunil Kumar Munjal, a resident of Abohar died in Central Jail, Ferozepur on May 12, 1998.

21.       Kulwant Singh (55), an undertrial, resident of Patiala died in Central Jail, Patiala on October 1, 1998.

22.       Surinder Dass, an undertrial allegedly committed suicide in Central Jail, Patiala on 27th September, 1998.

23.       Jagdish Rail Jain (49), a resident of Bathinda died in Police Custody of P.S. Paras Ram Nagar, Bathinda on 26th September, 1998.

24.       Tarlok Singh, an undertrial lodged in Central Jail, Gurdaspur allegedly committed suicide in the jail on 27th August, 1998.

25.       Paramjit Singh, son of Pritam Singh died in Police Custody of P.S. Dakha, Ludhiana on April 7, 1998.

26.       Jagsir Singh (25), a resident of village Bilaspur, District Faridkot died due to Police torture in P.S. Bilaspur on May 28, 1997.

27.       Dr. Om Parkash Jail, an eye-specialist of Ludhiana died of heart attack due to Police beating at his residence by an Assistant Sub-Inspector of CIA Staff, Moga on April 25, 1998.

28.       Bhil Ram, an undertrial and a resident of Ludhiana died in Central Jail, Ludhiana on 23rd July, 1998.

29.       Karnail Singh (60), a resident of village Jagatpura in District Taran Taran died due to beating by policemen in P.S. Chabal, Taran Taran on August 22, 1998.

30.       Satnam Statti (22), a resident of village Khurdpur in District Jalandhar died due to police torture in P.S. Kathar in District Jalandhar on August 15, 1998.

31.       Narinder Singh (18), a resident of village Fatehpur, District Amritsar was beaten to death by the police of P.S. Amritsar on 30th June, 1998.

32.       Rajinder Singh, an undertrial lodged in Central Jail, Patiala died in the jail on April 7, 1998.

33.       Kala Singh, a resident of village Shadipur Mommian, District Patiala was killed in police custody of P.S. Patran, District Patiala on September 21, 1998.

34.       Ravi Kumar Verma, a migrant lobourer of Ludhiana died in Police custody of P.S. Division No. 4, Ludhiana of April 17, 1998.

35.       Jasbir Khan (25), a resident of village Sohana, District Ropar was beaten to death in Police custody of P.S. Sohana on January 26, 1999.

36.       Devinder Singh alias Bhola (21), a resident of village Hassasnpur in District Ropar was tortured to death by policemen of CIA Staff, Ropar on September 18, 1999. The three policemen responsible for the gruesome killing have been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Sessions Judge, Ropar.

37.       Gurbhej Singh (21), a resident of Amritsar died in police custody of P.S. Amritsar on December 11, 1999.

38.       Joginder Singh, a resident of village Kaler Kalan, District Gurdaspur died in Central Jail, Gurdaspur on December 12, 1999.

39.       Joginder Ram, died in Bathinda Central Jail on 21st February, 2000.

40.       Sonu (18), son of Hira Lal, a dalit labourer of Abohar was tortured to death in Police custody of P.S. Abohar on August 23, 2000.

41.       Bagga Singh, a resident of Naushehra Pannuan was tortured to death in Police custody of P.S. Naushehra Pannuan, Distt. Amritsar on the intervening night of July 15 and 16, 2000.

42.       Dalip Singh (50) son of Ranjit Singh, a resident of village Mithubasti in Jalandhar district died in Central Jail, Jalandhar on May 25, 2000.

43.       Raj Singh, a convict died in Central Jail, Bathinda on 22nd April, 2000.

44.       Darshan Singh, a convict died in Central Jail, Jalandhar in May, 2000.

45.       Surinder Singh (50), a resident of village Khankhana in Nawanshehar who was undergoing ten years imprisonment in Central Jail, Patiala died in jail on April 12, 2000.

46.       Sangram Singh (40), an undertrial lodged in Central Jail, Amritsar died in Jail on February 13, 2000.

47.       Parvinder Singh (30), an undertrial lodged in Central Jail, Patiala died in jail on April 9, 2000.

48.       Gora Masih, son of Sohni Masih, a resident of village Sanehia in Batala District and lodged in Central Jail, Gurdaspur died due to TB on October 31, 2000.

49.       Surinder Singh, an undertrial lodged in Central Jail, Gurdaspur, died in the jail on November 1, 2000.

50.       Balbir Singh (23), a resident of Sangrur was killed in Police custody of P.S. Sangrur on September 2, 2000.

51.       Pawan Kumar, a dalit youth aged 27 years, resident of Hoshiarpur died in Police Custody of P.S. Model Town, Hoshiarpur on December 28, 2000.

52.       Budh Singh (35), a resident of village Dargapur in District Taran Taran died in police custody of P.S. Naushehra Pannuan, District Taran Taran on July 15, 2000.

53.       Dalbir Singh (40), a resident of Jalandhar was shot dead in Police custody at P.P. Maqsoodan, District Jalandhar on April 29, 2000.

54.       Kirpal Singh (35), convict lodged in Central Jail, Patiala died due to TB in jail on April 6, 2000.

55.       Raju, a dalit youth on Ludhiana was beaten to death in Police Custody of CIA Staff, Ludhiana on October 13, 2000.

56.       Sarwan Singh (35), a resident of village Bootan in District Kapurthala died in Police Custody of P.S. Subhanpur, on December 2, 2000.

57.       Ram Kumar, son of Sadhu, a resident of Ludhiana died in Police Custody of CIA staff, Sirhind, Distt. Fatehgarh Sahib on April 23, 2000.

58.       Chuhar Singh, a resident of village Gogon in District Hoshiarpur died in Police custody in P.S. Mahilpur, District Hoshiarpur on September 9, 2000.

59.       Pheera Singh (53), an undertrial lodged in Central Jail, Ludhiana died in judicial custody on August 31, 2000.

60.       On January 1, 2001 an undertrial Jagdish Singh died under mysterious circumstances in Bhatinda Central Jail.

61.       On January 5, 2001 a youth Iqbal Singh was killed in the Police custody at Muktsar. The Police called it a suicide death, while people alleged it to be a custodial death.

62.       On January 7, 2001 an undertrial Ranjodh Singh (35), died while in Police custody at P.S. Muktsar. According to Police, when he was being taken for production in court, he complained of chest pain and soon thereafter he died. But the inmates of Muktsar jail says that the victim was hale and hearty when taken out and he was beaten to death in police custody.

63.       Surinder Pal, a resident of Batala in Distt. Gurdaspur was killed in Police Custody on January 7, 2001. He was picked up by Hoshiarpur police and brought to Dasuya Police Station in Hoshiarpur and tortured due to which he died. The Police said that he committed suicide by hanging in the police lock-up. No One has been arrested so far.

64.       On 7th January, 2001, Avtar Singh, a youth of Ludhiana was shot dead by Inspector Gurmeet Singh Pinky of Punjab Police under the influence of liquor for over a small issue of giving passage to pass through the street where the Police Inspector had his house.

65.       On 2nd February, 2001, a Pakistan prisoner, Farookh was killed in Amritsar Central Jail by other inmates.

66.       On 7th February, 2001 a poor Dalit Youth Jaspal Singh of vill. Saheri in P.S. Morinda, Distt. Ropar died in Police custody at Morinda Police Station.

67.       A dalit youth, Madan Lal (32), died in Police Custody on 15th Feb. 2001 in Police Station Kapurthala.

68.       A poor mason named Rakhdev, hailing from Uttar Pradesh was killed in a Police encounter in Ludhiana on 19th February, 2001.

69.       A dalit youth Maninderjit Singh, resident of Vill. Kohali, district Amritsar was beaten to death by the police on March 6, 2001.

70.       A life convict Pardeep Singh alias Deepa (27), died in Central Jail, Patiala on March 13, 2001.

71.       Nahar Singh, a 35 year old dalit youth died in Police Custody at P.S. Khanna, Distt. Ludhiana on March 27, 2001.

72.       Malkiat Singh died in Central Jail, Patiala on May 18, 1999.

73.       Gurnam Singh, an undertrial lodged in District Jail, Kapurthala died in the jail on May 25, 2001.

74.       Karnail Singh (35), died in Police Custody of P.S. Haibowal Distt. Ludhiana on 16th May, 2001.

75.       Amarjit Singh Son of Charan Singh, a resident of Moga was tortured to death in P.S. Jagraon Distt. Ludhiana on June 2, 2001.

This list is inclusive and not conclusive.