JALANDHAR: A petition for registering a criminal case under Section 302/307/34 IPC against the then DM/SSP/SP (Operations) in connection with the infamous Nakodar police firing of 1986 has been filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court today directed council for the petitioner to provide further information:

A criminal petition by Baldev Singh of village Littran, district Jalandhar has been filed seeking the setting up of a SIT (Special Investigation Team), preferably of CBI, for investigation into the killing of four young Sikhs on February 4, 1986, including Shaheed Bhai Ravinder Singh (son of the petitioner). After registering an FIR under Sections 302/307/34 IPC against then DM (Darbara Guru), SSP (Mohammad Izhar Alam), and SP (Operations) Ashwani Kumar Sharma, the matter came up for preliminary hearing today before the High Court bench comprised of Justice Mahabir Singh Sindhu.

The petitioner has alleged that following the desecration and burning of five saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji at Sri Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara, Nakodar on February 2, 1986, a substantial number of Sikhs and organisations gathered in the city of Nakodar on February 4, 1986 in order to collect the saroops and take out a protest march.

The Punjab Police led by Ashwani Kumar Sharma fired 300 rounds on the gathering resulting in four young Sikhs being killed on the spot. The Police received written permission from the DM (Darbara Guru) for conducting postmortems of the dead bodies during the night due to the tense situation. The bodies were subsequently cremated in a clandestine manner, without involving or inviting the parents of the deceased.

On the following morning, the ashes of Shaheed Bhai Ravinder Singh were offered to the petitioner, who declined to accept them. Baldev Singh recorded his protest in writing stating that he could not accept ashes of his son since he had been cremated without the consent of his parents even though they were willing to participate in the cremation.

The then State Government appointed the Justice Gurnam Singh Inquiry Commission, to investigate the matter and submit their findings. The report was submitted on October 31, 1986, but the Government did not disclose the report.

Eventually, the report was placed on the table of Punjab Vidhan Sabha in March, 2001 in a clandestine manner, and the petitioner did not even come to know of it. The petitioner received a copy of the inquiry report, following the efforts of Kanwar Sandhu and H.S. Phoolka, who raised questions in Punjab Vidhan Sabha on February 13, 2019, and were informed by the Chief Minister that the inquiry report stood laid on the table of the House in March, 2001.

Petitioner has submitted that the Judicial Inquiry Commission has severely indicted the three respondents. It has been concluded that before ordering firing on the gathering, A.K. Sharma, did not seek permission from DM, Jalandhar, and did not even inform them, although both of them were sitting at a distance of only one kilometre away.

The gathering was not asked to disburse before police opened fire. Postmortem reports revealed that all the four youths received gunshot wounds to their chests or above. One was shot in the jaw. Police firing was “indiscriminate and ruthless”. Eight persons were injured, and most of them were found to have been fired at upon the upper portions of their bodies. The dead included (i) Shaheed Bhai Ravinder Singh, son of the petitioner; (ii) Shaheed Bhai Harminder Singh (village Chalupur); (iii) Shaheed Bhai Baldhir Singh (village Ram Garh); and (iv) Shaheed Bhai Jhilman Singh (of village Rajewal Gorsina).

The petitioner has compared this killing incident with the Behbal Kalan firing, and has prayed that an FIR under Sections 302/307/34 IPC is required to be registered against the respondents.

The Bench however, asked the Counsel of the petitioner that part 2 of the Commission’s report, which contains affidavits/evidences etc. be also placed on the record of the case. The Counsel has also been directed to file an additional affidavit of the petitioner to make an averment as to whether the Vidhan Sabha had taken any decision on the recommendations made by the Inquiry Commission , and if so, what was the decision.

The Petition shall now come up for further hearing before High Court on April 2, 2019.