Last week Punjab Police sub inspector Surjit Singh made the sensational disclosure that he and other members of the Punjab Police had engaged in the extrajudicial killings of Sikh youth in the late 80s and early 90s on the orders of senior officers.
Surjit Singh has expressed his fear that he may be harmed or killed for revealing this information.
Through his lawyer, advocate Rajvinder Bains, Surjit Singh filed a petition with the Punjab and Haryana High Court asking for protection from the court.
Surjit Singh’s petition has been made available to the WSO.
The revelations contained in the petition are absolutely chilling and at times, gruesome. They include descriptions of the crushing of one Baghel Singh with a bullet proof vehicle and the murder of Gurcharan Singh by force feeding him a cyanide capsule.
Some of the details from Surjit Singh’s petition are as follows:.
• Surjit Singh was recruited by the Punjab Police in 1989 as constable. After one month he was appointed as SHO (Station House Officer) and told there was a need for “special work/operations.” This is how he was initiated into the world of fake encounters, unlawful detentions, brutal torture and extortion.
• Surjit Singh was compelled by his senior officers to kill youngsters in fake encounters. His supervising officer was Paramjit Singh Gill the then Senior Superintendent of Police, Amritsar.
• Surjit Singh has all the information as to the names of the senior officers who directly either give orders, or sometimes were even present to take credit when the fake encounters took place. After such encounters, often the public and the press were summoned and shown a heavy recovery of arms and ammunition
• Even the so-called “encounters” of known militants/ wanted persons were staged so that there would be no need for the collection of evidence to try them in a court of law.
• Even after a genuine encounter with Seetal Singh Mattwal of the Dashmesh Regiment, Mattewal’s wife Narinder Kaur and brothers Amrik Singh and Darshan Singh were picked up subsequently by officers and killed extra- judicially. They had no role in the encounter or militancy and were innocent victims of the police force.
• The first list of persons those who were killed in fake encounter by Punjab Police under the supervision of Paramjit Singh Gill, the then Senior Superintendent and presently posted as Commissioner of Police, Ludhiana, is below. The petitioner is witness to these killings in this table and contains the list of the persons and other details of those who were killed in extra-judicial killing.
• Some of other fake encounter which Surjit Singh has seen and remembers but whose further details he can collect later are:
• Udham Singh who was caught from Mansa and killed at Dudike.
• Joga Singh Khanpur with his wife Ranjit Kaur both were killed in fake encounter by the police of PS Beas.
• Har Singh Buttar s/o Kashmir Singh was killed in fake encounter at Lopeke by Udham Singh SHO in 1993.
• Baghel Singh s/o Gurdarshan Singh Jatt r/o Khalchian was arrested from Tata Nagar and produced before the court there He was kept at Mal Mandi interrogation center and tortured severely by DS Mann SP (operation) Banga and later killed by showing as accident by running a bullet proof Alwen Nissan vehicle over him repeatedly. Surjit Singh is witness to this horrible crime.
• Surjit Singh has suffered from depression as a result of the murders he witnessed and had contemplated suicide
• Having used Surjit Singh due to his immature age, senior officers of the Punjab Police want to eliminate him so that he does not speak of the activities amounting to murder committed through him by others and many murders committed in which he is an eyewitness.
Surjit Singh’s allegations are very serious and lay bare the reality of human rights abuses by the Punjab Police in the 80s and 90s. We are hopeful that they will be fully investigated and may lead to further details to emerge from other officers.