HARYANA: Almost 34 years after the massacre of Sikh families in Hondh-Chillar village of Haryana’s Rewari district, in which 32 Sikhs were killed during the 1984 Sikh genocide, the cops who had failed to act at the time are yet to be punished. An armed mob murdered 32 Sikhs and virtually wiped out entire hamlet on November 2, 1984.
Despite several hearings in the Punjab and Haryana High Court of a case seeking action against the four cops allegedly responsible for protection of the area, the Haryana government is yet to inform the High Court about the action it proposes to take against them.
Then Rewari superintendent of police (SP) Satender Kumar, then Jatusana deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Ram Bhaj, then Jatusana station house officer (SHO) Ram Kishore and Jatusana police head constable Ram Kumar were accused of inaction during the incident. Satender Kumar, an IPS officer, had retired as director general in the state’s police department before his retirement.
In July this year, the Haryana government had informed the High Court that it was contemplating action against the cops and the matter was pending with the home department. The case has been heard thrice after that, but the state is yet to inform the High Court whether it intends to act on the recommendations of the Justice T P Garg (retired) commission that recommended strict action against the erring police officers.
Last year, Manwinder Singh Giaspura, a resident of Ludhiana district, had filed a petition in the high court, seeking prosecution of these four cops on the basis of the Justice Garg commission’s recommendations that “revealed the culpability of the cops”.
Justice Garg panel’s report (para-c, page 116) had found that entire investigation into the Hondh-Chillar killings was carried out in a “slipshod manner”. On page 110, while referring to the role of the law enforcement agency, the commission had held that “lack of fear of police was also one of the causes for the happening of such a tragic incident”.
Referring to page 117 of the report, the petitioner had submitted before the High Court that “these cops during the investigation have contradicted each other in their sworn evidence submitted before commission”.
“A complete no-action on the part of the law enforcement agency. What the state of Haryana needs is reform that will make all those agencies entrusted with maintenance of law and order legally liable for mass crimes like the one in village Hondh in district Rewari…The day police officers and law enforcement agencies connected with the maintenance of law and order are dealt with a strong hand by the highest authorities for standing by as innocent people are killed will be the day India can begin to exorcise the ghosts of November 1984,” the petitioner had quoted the Garg panel report while seeking prosecution of cops.
The petitioner also said that records had revealed two persons, Rajbir Singh and Rampal, were arrested in relation to the incident but both were discharged, and no evidence could be collected by cops.
The incident was brought to light in 2011 and the Haryana government had then set up an inquiry commission headed by former high court judge, Justice T P Garg. The commission had submitted its report in 2015.