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Fact finding report of LFHRI in the incident of police firing which took place in Gurdaspur on 29th March 2012

May 17, 2012 | By

Advocate Navkiran Singh of LFHRI with Gurdaspur police firing victim Ranjit Singh

Ludhiana, Punjab (May 17, 2012): Lawyers for Human Rights International is a Human Rights body. It has recently released a fact-finding report regarding 29 March, 2012 Gurdaspur incident where Punjab police opened fire on Sikhs and a Sikh Youth Jaspal Singh was received fatal bullet injuries while another Ranjeet Singh was badly injured.

Sikh Siyasat has received the copy of this report that is reproduced below in verbatim:

Fact finding report of LFHRI in the incident of police firing which took place in Gurdaspur on 29th March 2012

Dated: 16th May 2012

Brief background of the matter:

That on the event of fixing of the date of execution of death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajoana for 31.3.2012, the people of Punjab decided to show their resentment to the hurriedness being shown by the administration to hang Balwant Singh, and even ignoring the pendency of the matter in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The Chief Minister of Punjab had to move to the Central Government for staying the execution of Balwant Singh in such a manner.

That in the city of Gurdaspur certain miscreants belonging to Shiv Sena gave beatings to some of the agitating Sikh youth and took off their turbans and showed disrespect to the same. The police registered FIR No. 62 dated 28.3.2012 under Section 341/323/427/ 295A/148/149 IPC at Police Station City Gurdaspur against the Shiv Sena activists who are named in the FIR.

That on 29.3.2012 the Shiv Sena gave a call for Gurdaspur Bandh, due to registration of criminal case against them. Whereas outside Gurudwara Ramgaria, Tibri Road Gurdaspur around 20/30 young Sikh boys collected and sat down on the road and started doing Simran (saying prayers), demanding arrest of the accused Shiv Sena activists who had taken off the turbans of the Sikhs. While on the other side Shiv Sena activists who were in large numbers, tried to impose the Bandh in the City of Gurdaspur. While these Sikh youths were sitting on the road, without blocking the traffic, as is very much apparent from the video clippings available with the petitioner/organization and is also available in the internet and they demanded that the Shiv Sena activists should be arrested in the case registered against them i.e. FIR No. 62 dated 28.3.2012.

That as will be very much clear from the CD the police force which was being headed by the SSP Gurdaspur Mr Varinder Pal Singh, Naib Tehsildar Mr Salwan, DSP and Inspector and below ranks which were almost 100 in number they all started initially firing in the air, at which those young boys who were sitting in the road started running helter and skelter and thereafter the police started firing directly towards those Sikh youths and resultantly one Sikh youth namely Jaspal Singh died on the spot being hit by a bullet of AK 47 which entered his body from back side and another clean shaven Sikh boy who was not even part of the young boys agitating and who was leaving after closing of the shop where he was working also suffered a bullet injury, as the bullet entered from his back and exited from the front. Jaspal Singh the Sikh youth died in the incident and Ranjit Singh was seriously injured due to police firing.

The police registered FIR No.63 which is under Section 302 on 29.3.2012 at Police Station City Gurdaspur and later on added with the offences of Section 120-B IPC on 30.3.2012. It is pertinent to mention that no FIR has been registered regarding the attempt to murder of Ranjit Singh.

That in the present case the agitators were sitting peacefully on the side of the road and not even creating any hindrance on the double road in front of the Gurudwara and were reciting prayers and Un provoked straightaway firing by the police without resorting to any warning or Lathi charge and straight way firing initially in the air and then directly towards the running away agitators definitely requires a thorough and a deep probe.

Findings of the inquiry held by Lawyers for Human Rights International:

1. That the facts and circumstances show that there has been a serious lapse on the part of the civil administration which inspite of knowing that the situation in Gurdaspur Town being very sensitive and explosive, deputed the lowest of the low ranking civil servant i.e. Naib Tehsildar and the Deputy Commissioner of Gurdaspur inspite of the having knowledge that there were chances of clash between Shiv Sena and the Sikhs, opted to attend the Kissan Mela being held in Gurdaspur on 29.3.2012 and which clearly shows the total failure and mal administration on the civil side.

2. That the video recordings which are available on the U-Tube and the versions collected from the people present on the spot at the time of incident it has come to light that the SSP of Gurdaspur namely Mr. Varinder Pal Singh and the Naib Tehsildar Mr. Salwan totally exceeded in their powers and incited the gun totting police officials to open gun fire, in order to disperse a small crowd of around 30 young men who were peacefully squatting on the road and demanding the arrest of the Shiv Sena people, who had committed serious offence by taking of the turbans of three young boys and inspite of an FIR being registered against them under Section 295-A. The demonstrators were well within their legal rights to demonstrate and the said demonstration was totally peaceful and was not causing any hindrance to the general public and was not worthy of being declared as illegal, what to talk of being fired upon by the police.

3. That the manner in which the police officials fired from their official weapons like pistols, revolver and AK 47 rifles firstly in the air and then directly aiming at the running young boys by following them in the streets, shows the totally lack of respect of human life on the side of Punjab police and clearly shows a failures on the police and district administration to control the situation.


1. That the enquiry being conducted by Divisional Commissioner Shri S.R.Ladhar should be expedited and the LFHRI alongwith the family at this right moment feels that the enquiry is moving in a free and fair manner and so it is worthy of participation to bring the truth to justice.

2. That the victim family does not feel confident about the bonafide of the enquiry being conducted by the SIT being headed by the DIG Border Range into the incident which led to the death of Jaspal Singh and seriously wounding of Ranjit Singh, because till date the police has not been able to show their bonafide that they are conducting the investigation in a free and fair manner. The doubts in the mind of the victim’s families have reason’s, because the police is still continuing with their stand, that Jaspal Singh did not die due to firing from a official weapon and are also denying that the bullet which went through and through the body of Ranjit Singh was also fired from an official weapon. Their stand that someone from the crowd fired at the victims and the police not being responsible for killing and wounding of the victims, shows that the investigation being conducted by the police is far from free and fair.

3. That at least what the police was expected was to come clean by identifying the weapon with which Jaspal Singh was fired upon, as the police was having the bullet extracted from the body of deceased Jaspal Singh and it was not a difficult task for the Punjab police to identify and trace out the assailants and concerned weapon. The possibilities of the bullet even being replaced with another bullet cannot be ruled out. The victim families feel that the police is all out to go out of the way to help the police officials who are guilty of the crime.

4. That it has also come to light that the police has manufactured a statement of Gurcharanjit Singh, who is father of deceased Jaspal Singh, showing Gurcharanjit Singh as an eyewitness to the incident of killing of his son. Gurcharanjit Singh when confronted with his statement was surprised that such a statement has been recorded by the police and recollects signing on blank papers at the time of the post mortem examination and release of dead body of his son at the hospital and it seems that the said statement has been manufactured by the police to weaken the case. It is also surprising that the police has recorded a DDR on the basis of the statement of Gurcharanjit Singh, whereas the police always records 161 Cr.P.C. statements of the witnesses, after registration of FIR, which are unsigned documents. Why the police recorded a DDR on the basis of signed statement of Gurcharanjit Singh, a witness also shows that the police since the very beginning has been trying to manipulate evidence in order to exonerate themselves.

5. That in the present case the truth would be only revealed through CBI, as police officials right from the rank of SSP to constables are party to the crime and it is not expected from the police to prosecute their own police officials, as the earlier experiences in such cases show. Only an independent agency like CBI would be able to bring out the truth and prosecute the police officials responsible for act of killing Jaspal Singh and grievously injuring Ranjit Singh.

6. The victim families have no confidence in the SIT, as nothing has been done by the Special Investigation Team and the police is leaving no stone un-turned to threaten / win over the witnesses. So producing the witnesses before SIT, which is moving in a biased manner would be putting the witnesses at risk of bodily harm. The victim families at this stage only show faith in CBI, for which a petition has been already filed in the Hon’ble High Court by LFHRI.

7. It is also a serious matter that the Shiv Sainiks who by taking off the turbans of the Sikh youth inspite of them being named in the FIR registered against them since 28th March 2012, no effort has been made to arrest them. Though the state of Punjab has enhanced the sentence of section 295-A ( hurting the religious sentiments of another community ) to be punishable for 10 years and has also made amendment in the code making Pre-Arrest bail not maintainable in these offences, but the police of Gurdaspur has shown no interest in arresting the Shiv Sainiks. This shows that the Punjab Govt is feeling weakness in able to rein the communal element operating as Shiv Sainiks in Punjab.

Navkiran Singh Advocate
General Secretary
Lawyers for Human Rights International

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