AFTER 11 YEARS’ LEGAL BATTLE, THE HIGH COURT HAS DIRECTED THE STATE TO REGISTER A CRIMINAL CASE AGAINST NINE PERSONS INCLUDING EIGHT POLICEMEN FOR ABETTING FOUR PERSONS OF A FAMILY TO COMMIT “SELF-IMMOLATION”
Chak Ram Singh Wala (Bathinda)
Finally after 11 years’ long legal battle, the Punjab and Haryana High court has now directed the State to register a criminal case against nine policemen in the infamous Behman Jassa Singh incident, in which four persons of a family had “immolated” themselves. The then Inspector Mohinder Kumar Ghai, ASI Amritpal Singh, ASI Gurjant Singh, SPO Kaka Singh, Head Constable Mander Singh, HC Surjit Singh, HC Major Singh, PHG Amrik Singh and one Mohinder Singh, are the policemen who were found guilty of fabricating evidence, abetting suicide, dereliction of duty and misrepresenting facts during the judicial probe conducted by the then district and session judge Kuldip Singh. According to case files, a retired policeman Gurjant Singh of Behman Jassa Singh village, who along with his wife and two daughters, had immolated himself on September 29, 2007, when police raided their house to arrest Gurjant and one of his daughters booked in a criminal case lodged against them in 2005. The incident had rocked the state as a number of unions and NGOs had formed a joint front to agitate against the police to get justice for the victims. The family had alleged that cops were hand-in-glove with the persons who got a fake case of attempt to murder registered against Gurjant and his daughter Veerpal Kaur in 2005, with a mention that the Bathinda police used to harass them on behest of the complainants, which finally led to the 2007 tragedy when police raided his house. As the HC directed the state to book all accused cops, Daily Post team on Sunday visited the daughters of Gurjant Singh, who had witnessed the whole tragic scene. Unaware of the HC’s decision, Hardeep Kaur (the eldest among five daughters) accompanied by younger sibling Sukhpal Kaur claimed that tale of sorrows still haunt them as they had witnessed their father Gurjant Singh, mother Jasvir Kaur and two sisters Veer Pal Kaur and Beant Kaur burning alive at their house, when a battery of cops raided their house to arrest Gurjant and Veer Pal Kaur in a case, which was also later found to a be fake during judicial probe.
Notably, at the time of incident, all five daughters of Gurjant Singh namely, Harjeet Kaur, Rampal Kaur, Sukhpal Kaur, Beant Kaur and Veerpal Kaur were unmarried. Among the survived ones, Harjeet got married in 2008 to a national Kabaddi player at Chak Ram Singh Wala but the cops then started pressuring him to persuade his wife to withdraw the case, which he didn’t adhere to. Later, her sister Rampal Kaur, a physically challenged one, got married but she luck became an alleged victim of dowry and later returned to her parental house. While speaking to Daily Post, the girls claimed that her in-laws were also under the pressure of an accused cop, who belonged to the village where she got married. However, after keeping five years with her, Hardeep remarried her. The youngest one Sukhpal Kaur, who also used to stay with eldest sister at her in-laws’ place, has also got married.
Narrating the plight, Hardeep cursed the government as well as their “bad luck”. She alleged, “The government had promised jobs for Sukhpal and Rampal, as they were 10+2 pass. But the promise has not been kept till date.” “We lost everything due to the harassment but even after that the police kept on torturing us mentally. An inspector rank officer, who was also accused of abetment in the incident, had many a times threatened us to withdraw the case. We want justice…,” the sobbing girls said.
It may be recalled that in his recent report to the High Court, the district and session judge, Bathinda, Kuldip Singh, who held the judicial probe has indicted the team of cops for fabricating evidence, abetting suicide, dereliction of duty and misrepresenting facts. The then Sessions Judge had added that the raiding party on September 29, 2007, disconnected power supply to the house, apparently to use “some force”. As a result, “the entire family was scared and Gurjant Singh in order to scare away the police party put some kerosene on himself and on his wife… daughters Beant Kaur and Veerpal Kaur also put kerosene on themselves for the same reason and probably lit the matchstick to scare away the police party. But one of the victims caught fire. Then, the family started embracing each other, probably to save each other, but also caught fire…” When informed about the HC’s recent order to State for booking all accused cops, Hardeep and Sukhpal demanded the case shouldn’t be registered for abetment to commit suicide, as they alleged that the policemen had themselves set their family members of fire. Meanwhile, Bathinda SSP Nanak Singh said that he hadn’t not yet received court’s order copy, but mentioned that orders would be implemented in letter and spirit.
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