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Saka Nakodar 1986: Kin urge Punjab CM to Make Justice Gurnam Singh Commission’s Report Public

August 6, 2018 | By

Jalandhar: (IP SINGH*) A US-based couple has written to Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and asked him to reveal the contents of a judicial commission’s report on the Behbal Kalan firing-like killing of four Sikh youths in Nakodar, Jalandhar district, on February 4, 1986.

The demand by Baldev Singh and his wife Baldip Kaur, the parents of one of the youths who were killed in police firing nearly 31 years ago, has come close on the heels of Amarinder announcing that the probe report on Bargari sacrilege and Behbal Kalan firing would soon be tabled in the state assembly.

Sirdar Baldev Singh Littran and Mata Baldev Kaur | Photo Credits: Times of India

The couple, who are the parents of Ravinder Singh, said in a letter to the CM that the four youths were killed at Nakodar’s Sherpur bridge during a march over the burning of five birs of Guru Granth Sahib at Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara, Guru Nanak Pura Mohalla. The birs were found burnt on November 2 that year.

At that time too, the Akali Dal government was in power. While Surjit Singh Barnala was the chief minister, Amarinder was the agriculture minister. Three months later, Amarinder and two other ministers had resigned from the cabinet after Barnala sent police to the Darbar Sahib complex.

Baldev Singh and his wife Baldip Kaur hail from Litran village in Jalandhar, but now live in the US. The judicial inquiry was ordered by the state government a day after the four youths were killed. They said the judicial inquiry covered three areas – desecration of five Birs of Guru Granth Sahib at Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara in Guru Nanak Pura Mohalla on February 2,1986; police firing on Sherpur bridge which killed 4 Sikh men on February 4, 1986; and cremation of the bodies of the four deceased “against the Punjab government’s orders”.

The couple mentioned that the enquiry was entrusted to Justice Gurnam Singh, a retired judge of the high court. They said he completed the inquiry on March 29, 1987, but it was never made public. “We, the parents of victim Ravinder Singh of Village Littran, District Jalandhar, Punjab are the only surviving parents and deserve to know what Justice Gurnam Singh found in his inquiry. We hereby request you and the Punjab Government to release it as soon as possible (sic),” the letter reads.

Apart from Ravinder Singh, the other three youths killed in the firing included: Baldhir Singh, Jhalman Singh and Harminder Singh. Their pictures were put on display at the Central Sikh Museum in [Darbar Sahib] some years ago. “We only want justice for the four innocent young men killed in cold blood. Their bodies were cremated in the dark of the night by the police, while the families waited to collect them. The killers continued in their posts and were rewarded with promotions. The government’s own judicial report has remained tucked away from public eye for 32 years. For the sake of justice, the judicial inquiry report should be released. Our only hope is to see justice served before closing our eyes,” said Baldev [Singh] and Baldip [Kaur], while speaking to TOI from the US.

The FIR recorded by the then, SHO Jaskirat Singh Chahal, who later retired as SP, mentioned that Harminder Singh was injured in police firing. A five-member enquiry panel of Internatinal Human Rights Organization, headed by Advocate Dev Raj Sharma, held in its report that persons participating in the procession were peaceful and unarmed and held that the FIR was “a sheer concoction”.

SSP was transferred, 3 cops were suspended

‘They lobbed teargas canisters, then fired at us’

SAD’s Jalandhar Rural senior vice-president, Jagjit Singh Samipur, an eyewitness to the four men’s killing, told TOI on Sunday that members of All India Sikh Students Federation were marching towards the town’s gurdwara from its outskirts when police opened fire on them. “The administration had clamped a curfew in the town after some Shiv Sena leaders had also gathered there. The AISSF and other Sikh activists had announced that they would only go to the gurudwara, but police fired teargas shells at us. As the wind was blowing towards the police cordon, the gas started blowing towards them. They then opened fire at the protesters without firing any warning shots. I saw Baldhir Singh, a friend who I would call Fauji and who hailed from Ramgarh village, falling on the ground and bleeding profusely from the chest,” he said. “He died while looking at us and I picked up his turban. He was the only son of his parents.”

‘One of them was killed in custody’

Samipur said he saw one of the deceased, Harminder Singh, who was studying post-graduation at Khalsa College, Jalandhar, and was the president of its AISSF unit, running back with them. “He also scaled the wall of a saw mill when mounted police were chasing us. Only three youths were killed when police opened fire at us. Harminder had not received any bullet when he entered the saw mill by scaling the wall. However, he was later killed by police, when he was in their custody,” he said. Ravinder’s younger brother Dr Harinder Singh, a doctorate in pharmacology and who works at Stanford University, said that postmortem report of Harminder Singh, a copy of which he provided to TOI, showed that he received a bullet through his mouth and it was found embedded on the third cervical vertebrae on the left side. “It can’t happen without police shooting from point-blank range,” he said. “I am sure that the judicial commission would have taken these things into account; it is important to know the truth behind the sacrilege incident and the firing.”

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