May 12, 2016 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
New Delhi: Senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) met Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh to seek CBI probe into brutal murder of seven Sikh detainees and beating of 21 others (also Sikh detainees) by Pilibhit jail authorities.
MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, S. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Balwinder Singh Bhundar, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) chief Manjit Singh GK, DSGMC general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa and former chairman minorities commission Tarlochan Singh met Rajnath Singh and handed him over a memorandum demanding CBI probe into the Pilibhit jail incident.
Pilibhit jail killings case:
Pilibhit jail killings is a clear example of Indian state’s police of impunity for culprits of brutal human rights abusers.
On the intervening night of November 8 and 9, 1994 twenty-eight Sikhs detained under TADA were brutally beaten up by jail staff led by the then jail superintendent Vidhyachal Singh Yadav. Six persons were brought dead to the Pilibhit District Hospital and one critically injured Vichitra Singh was referred to King George Medical College in Locknow where he died 12 days later. The remaining 21 persons, who were injured in this incident and were admitted to the hospital with serious injuries were sent back to the prison after they recovered.
A case was registered against the jail staff under murder charges but it was withdrawn by the UP government in 2007.
According the The Tribune (TT) (May 9, 2016): The jail authorities had then claimed that the TADA detainees had been injured and some of them died in a clash with the jail staff, “who had aborted their bid to escape from jail”.
However, the then Pilibhit bureau chief of Hindi daily Amar Ujala, Vishwamitra Tandon, recalls that the bodies and the condition of the injured prisoners suggested no such clash. “It was clearly a one-sided affair where the jail staff had suffered superficial injuries while the prisoners had been tied and beaten to death or incapacitated. The first edition of my newspaper had given a headline which spoke of TADA prisoners dying in a clash with the jail staff. I persuaded my office to change the headline, calling it outright custodial killing,” remembers Tandon.
SAD Badal silent on impunity for human rights abuses in Punjab:
A number of reports by human rights groups of international stature have documented the details of blatant human rights abuses committed by Indian security forces, including the Punjab police, in Punjab during 1980s and 1990s.
Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) had come to power in 1997 with a promise to bring the culprits to justice but on the contrary after grabbing the power, SAD (Badal) formed a litigation cell to defend the human right abusers.
The culprits of human rights abuses were rewarded with promotions and were protected from trials by SAD Badal government. The case of former Punjab DGP Sumedh Saini is a glaring example of ‘policy of impunity’ extended by the SAD Badal government as the Badal government did not only appointed Sumedh Saini as DGP of Punjab but also protected him from criminal prosecution in a murder case- where Saini was facing CBI FIR for eliminative relatives of Sikh political prisoner Prof. Davinderpal Singh Bhullar.
The Badal government also suffered deliberate failure to take notice of exposure of massive human rights violations by former cop Gurmeet Pinky in a video interview with senior journalist Kanwar Sandhu.
Moreover, if we talk about recent cases, the Badal Government has also been protecting the killers of Bhai Jaspal Singh Gurdaspur, a 18 years old Sikh student who was shot dead by the Punjab police on March 29, 2012. Similarly, the government seems to have dumped away the issue of killing of two young Sikhs by Punjab police in firing at Behbal Kalan village on October 14, 2015.
In this situation the SAD Badal faces a serious question that while it was quick to take notice of media reports about 1994 killings of Sikhs in Pilibhit, why it has turned blind eye to equally horrifying and large scale massacre of Sikh youth in Punjab during 1980s-90s. Why the government did not act against those who shot dead Sikh youth during Badal government’s own regime in recent years.
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