‘Fake’ police encounter that shook Punjab five decades ago - ECAS Punjab

‘Fake’ police encounter that shook Punjab five decades ago

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Vishav Bharti

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27

On the morning of July 28, 1970, the Jalandhar police flashed the information that they had "successfully" averted a plot to assassinate some top political leaders. But the theory soon snowballed into a major controversy as the man who fell to police bullets the previous night was too old to fit into the plot.

The man was Baba Bujha Singh, an 82-year-old freedom fighter-turned-Naxalite, who was allegedly picked up by the police at Nagar village near Phillaur and was killed in a fake encounter.

Monday marks 50 years of the "controversial encounter", the echo of which was heard in the Vidhan Sabha and even shook the conscience of poets.

Bujha Singh, who hailed from Chak Maidas village near Banga, became active in the Ghadar Movement in 1930, along with Bhagat Singh's uncle Ajit Singh and other prominent leaders. Since then, he remained active in the freedom movement and later formed the Kirti Party. When the British government banned the party, he, along with several other leaders, joined the Congress in the mid 1930s. In his later years, Bujha Singh remained active in the Communist movement and was the force behind establishing Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall in Jalandhar.

When the Naxalite movement started in the late 1960s, he joined them and would hold classes on Marxist philosophy for youngsters. "On July 27, 1970, he was on his way to a village near Phillaur on his bicycle to hold a class. He was unarmed and wasn't even carrying a bag, just a few books wrapped in a khadi cloth. The cops apprehended him near Nagar village," said Nawanshahr-based writer Ajmer Sidhu, author of the book Bujha Singh: An Untold Story.

He said Bujha Singh was taken to the Banga Police Station, where he was tortured and killed. "Later, his body was thrown on a canal bridge near Nai Majra village in Nawanshahr and the theory of the encounter was floated."

However, people didn't accept the police theory. The incident rattled the Vidhan Sabha too. As per the House proceedings, Communist leaders Satpal Dang and Dalip Singh Tapiala put the then government in dock.

Later, a commission headed by Justice VM Tarkunde termed the encounter fake.



from The Tribune https://ift.tt/305jklV

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