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Sensational claims, reporting in full swing after arrest of three alleged “Khalistan operatives”

August 6, 2014 | By

Jalandhar/ Punjab (August 06, 2014): With the recent arrest of three alleged Khalistan operatives by Jalandhar police sensational claims by the police and even more sensational reporting of those claims by media is in full swing.

Harpreet Singh alias Harmeet alias Pintu, Karanjit Singh alias Pamma and Sarwan Singh Shabba, were reportedly arrested from Jammu on August 04.

It is notable that almost all sections of Indian Media, including The Tribune (TT) and Hindustan Times (HT) have accepted the “terrorist” label put forth by the Jalandhar police for arrested persons.

The arrested persons being produced in a Jalandhar court on August 05

The arrested persons being produced in a Jalandhar court on August 05

“A day after the Jalandhar (rural) police busted a pro-Khalistan terror module, it has emerged that the arrested terrorists had allegedly been assigned the task of activating sleeper cells”, The Tribune has reported.

Meanwhile there are reports that the arrested persons have already been brought to Punjab. They were produced in a Jalandhar court on August 05, which remanded them in police custody for 9 days.

According to The Tribune “while the police remained tight-lipped”, The Tribune’s unnamed sources said “interrogation of the trio had given several leads, which may help bust the terror network in Punjab”.

A senior police official reportedly confirmed to The Tribune that the trio had been working on the directions of Khalistan Zindabad Force chief Ranjit Singh Neeta and Khalistan Liberation Force head Harminder Singh Mintu.

[The official confirmed that the trio’s aim was to activate the sleeper cells in Punjab, and to motivate them to carry out strikes in the near future. “We will investigate whether they managed to activate any sleeper cell. And if yes, from where are they operating,” he said], The Tribune report reads further.

This is not the first time that Punjab police is making such claims after arresting Sikhs while labelling them as terrorists. The reality of police claims and sensational media reports are yet to be tested by the court trial but the previous experience shows that the police and media claims do not stand right in the trial court.

In 2006 on August 15, Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur and two others were arrested by Payal police while labelling them as “terrorists”. The police had maintained that it was a big achievement as the arrested persons were heading towards Isru to assassinate state’s political leaders. The case was kept pending on trial for eight years and was ultimately found unfounded by the trial court and all persons charged by the police were acquitted.

Similarly, in 2009 Mansa police arrested various persons labelling them as terrorists. The case was registered under UAPA and police maintained that the arrested persons were part of a larger terror module.

At the same time another case under UAPA was registered against the head of a political faction by Ludhiana police. The then DGP Paramdeep Singh Gill had maintained that the arrested persons were conspiring to kill state’s Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal. He repeatedly maintained in the press that there were enough “evidence” against arrested persons to prove the allegations.

Both these cases were found baseless by the respective trial courts of Mansa and Ludhiana.

Though the police accusations should be taken seriously as it is the prime agency responsible for maintaining law and order, but in these cases the credibility of police claims is itself under questions, and such questioning is supported by facts and decisions of trial courts in various cases.

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