JALANDHAR: The families of four Sikh youths killed by Punjab police officers at Nakodar in 1986 allege that the Captain Amarinder Singh led Congress government failed to take any action into the killings despite being promising a probe during the last year general elections.
The families made the statement on Tuesday during a press conference at the Punjab Press Club in Jalandhar on the occasion of 34th death anniversary of the massacre.
Addressing the press conference, Shaheed Bhai Ravinder Singh Littran’s father Bapu Baldev Singh said that Captain Amarinder Singh and Jalandhar MP Santokh Singh had promised a probe into the incident last year, but till date, no action has been initiated
He further alleged the former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had protected officers responsible for the firing and now Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s government was denying them justice, stating:
“There are striking similarities between Bargari sacrilege-Behbal Kalan police firing case and the Nakodar case. In 1986 too, students were peacefully protesting after burning of Birs of Guru Granth Sahib in a gurdwara. In both cases, justice is being denied.”
The families said that the state government is not sharing the second part of Justice Gurnam Singh commission’s report as it failed to trace the case. They demanded that the state government should bring to justice erring officials who were named in Justice Gurnam Singh’s report.
In August last, Punjab and Haryana high court had also ordered the home department of the state government to make available the second part of the commission report to the petitioner.
The four Sikh youth killed by police on 4 February 1986 were Shaheed Bhai Ravinder Singh Littran, Shaheed Bhai Baldhir Singh Ramgarh, Shaheed Bhai Jhilman Singh Gorsian and Shaheed Bhai Harminder Singh Chaluper.
Officers of the Punjab police had fired at people demonstrating against the sacrilege of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji which had been desecrated at Sri Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara, Nakodar on February 2, 1986.
The then Akali government had set up a commission of inquiry to find out if the police firing was unwarranted. The commission’s report was neither made public, nor any action taken on its findings. The report was tabled in the 2001 Punjab assembly by the SAD government.
Bapu Baldev Singh states that after former MLA H S Phoolka and Kharar legislator Kanwar Sandhu raised the issue in the Punjab assembly last year, sleuths of state intelligence department approached him to talk about compensation.
“I told them to arrange a meeting with the CM, so that I could tell him how the four young Sikhs were gunned down. One of them was killed in police custody. Police had even refused to give their bodies for cremation,” he said.
He said they could procure one part of the Justice Gurnam Singh Commission’s report, which was formed by the then Surjit Singh Barnala government to probe the incident, but the second part of the report had gone missing. He said the second part contained affidavits and statements of witnesses which incriminated police officers.
“It is not available in Punjab assembly records. We have been chasing other files related to the case too, but crucial records have gone missing. Punjab government should order a time-bound probe to prosecute officers and find out how the second part of the probe could go missing,” he said.
Advocate Satnam Singh Bains, who has been working on Punjab Documentation and Advocacy Project, said when reports of even the British period were available in records or archives, it was difficult to understand how reports and records of 1986 could go missing.
“Even General Dyer faced court martial. But, in this case, Punjab Police officers were allowed to go scot-free, even as they killed four youths in firing without any provocation. The British government gave compensation to the victims of Jallianwala Bagh,” he said. “In this case also, state government should announce a compensation and order a time-bound probe,” he added.
Elsewhere, students of Lyallpur Khalsa College in Jalandhar held a peaceful demonstration outside the college to commemorate the 34th anniversary of the massacre. The demonstration was attended by family members of the victims alongside students and youth from various organisations.