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Sikh killed by cops in fake encounter 20 years ago, family still fights for justice

September 29, 2014 | By

Batala/Gurdaspur, Punjab: Two decades after Gurdaspur resident Sukhpal Singh was eliminated by the Punjab Police in a fake encounter in 1994, his family says they will not give up their fight for justice. Sukhpal Singh’s widow Dalbir Kaur, his father Jagir Singh and son Jugraj Singh are living in penury. Fearing threat to their life, the family had to sell property at their ancestral village Kala Afgana (in Gurdaspur) and shift to Batala. However, the money was spent on a long legal battle and Dalbir Kaur’s illness.

Dalbir Kaur said four persons came to their house in Kala Afgana and forcibly took away her husband on the plea that the Majitha police wanted to question him in a case.

Dalbir Kaur (extreme left) with her family members in Batala

Dalbir Kaur (extreme left) with her family members in Batala

“We waited for four days but he did not return home. Our pleas to the police went unheard,” she recalled. “Days later, the media reported that a notorious terrorist, Gurnam Singh Bandala, had been killed in an encounter in Ropar. We then realised that the police had killed Sukhpal, claiming that he was Bandala,” said Jagir Singh. Bandala was nabbed by the police three years later in 1997.

The state government has done nothing to identify the youth killed by a police team headed by then deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Paramraj Umranangal in the fake encounter.

Jagir Singh said his wife Gurbachan Kaur had met Bandala in jail. He had told her that the police had killed Sukhpal. “My wife died later, heart-broken.”

Alleging that the police was dilly-dallying a probe into the matter in a bid to shield its officials, the family filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court last year, demanding a probe by the CBI or any independent agency.

Recently, the family members had their statements recorded with a special investigating team (SIT) headed by Additional Director-General of Police IPS Sahota.

Dalbir Kaur said her elder son Balraj Singh had died in a road accident three years ago. “ I have no money to educate my younger son Jugraj Singh,” she said, her voice choking. Dalbir Kaur, her son and father-in-law are living with her brother.

Sukhpal Singh’s mysterious disappearance

  • Sukhpal Singh of Kala Afgana in Gurdaspur district was taken from his house in August 1994 by a team led by then DSP Umranangal

  • He did not return; his family says their pleas to the police went unheard

  • Days later, the family learnt that terrorist Bandala had been killed by the police in an encounter

  • The family suspected that it was Sukhpal Singh and not Bandala who had been killed

  • Bandala was later arrested by the police in 1997 and put behind bars

  • Sukhpal ’s family moved the High Court for a probe into the matter

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