‘Multani case has reopened wounds’ - ECAS Punjab

‘Multani case has reopened wounds’

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Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14

It has been 29 years, but the helplessness and fear have lingered on. I remember having undergone torture for 17 days when I was kept in illegal confinement as a 16-year-old. The reopening of the Multani case has reopened my wounds and those of my sisters. But at the same time, it has given us hope to once again fight for and seek justice for our brother, Gurmeet Singh, says Ranjit Singh of Pucca Bagh in Ropar.

Ranjit Singh (45) recounts the events that led to the alleged fake encounter of his elder brother on May 4, 1991, allegedly at the behest of the then Chandigarh SSP, Sumedh Singh Saini. It is the fall of the former top cop that has now given him the confidence to seek justice for his slain brother.

Talking to The Tribune, Ranjit said his brother Gurmeet Singh got involved in student politics when he entered college in Ropar in 1988. "He was associated with the All-India Sikh Students Federation and came in the limelight after he organised an 'akhand path' in the memory of certain other youths who were killed in police encounters. Since he was the vice-president of the federation, he came under the police radar. It was after one of his friends was killed that Gurmeet became active in protests against the police. He was picked up by the Patiala Police and booked.

"On his release he decided to stay away from the family so that we would not be troubled by the police. My father had passed away and I lived with my mother and two sisters," he said.

Ranjit said it was a month after their mother passed away that he heard the news of Gurmeet having been killed in a "staged encounter" at a dairy in Sector 45, Chandigarh. "We learnt that Gurmeet was called to the dairy to meet the then SSP of Chandigarh, Sumedh Singh Saini, by an Akali leader. When he reached there along with his friend Baldev Singh of Bhaku Majra village, the police party led by Saini came there and instead of arresting them shot them dead. Later, it was declared as an encounter with armed militants," he said.

He added that the family's ordeal did not end there. In fact, the real trouble started thereon. "Saini was a law unto himself. My uncle, Sadhu Singh, who used to live in a gurdwara, came to take care of the family and started approaching the higher-ups in the police for seeking justice. Our cries for justice did not move the then top police officers, but they informed Saini and thus began the torture and illegal confinement of me and my sisters. My uncle was threatened by Saini and his confidants that if we pursue Gurmeet's case, I too would be eliminated. My uncle decided against pursuing the case," Ranjit Singh said.

He said they lived in perpetual fear. "But now that law seems to be catching up with him, we have approached the Chief Minister and the Director-General of Police, requesting that our case too be taken up for reinvestigation and the guilty be punished. We have sent them letters and are hopeful that justice will be done," he said. Senior officers in the Punjab Police said they were yet to examine the case.



from The Tribune https://ift.tt/35HAQzT

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