CBI Acquits for Fake Encounters: Police Officers Have “Benefit of the Doubt”

Principal Tirlochan Singh, retired, holding a picture of his son Shaheed Kulwinder Singh, killed by Punjab Police.

CHANDIGARH, Punjab—The Sikh Nation was met with surprise when a CBI court in Chandigarh announced the acquittals of seven police officers in a 23 year old fake encounter case. Most importantly, SSP Surjeet Grewal from Moga was given the “benefit of the doubt” by the CBI court in the long fought case. Grewal is widely held responsible for extra-judiciously murdering Kulwinder Singh (Kid) in 1989.

Kulwinder Singh was illegally picked up and detained by Police from Phase 5, Mohali on July 22, 2989. According to witnesses present with Principal Tirlochan Singh, father of Bhai Kulwinder Singh, his son was eliminated in a fake encounter and was cremated by the Punjab Police in Sohana on July 24, just two days after being kidnapped from Mohali. Police proclaimed Kulwinder Singh’s body “unidentified” and cremated it without notifying his family.

Earlier, it looked very likely that the senior police officers would be held responsible for killing Bhai Kulwinder Singh (Kid) in 1989, but the court ruling crushed all efforts by the aged father of the victim who had fought the long hard battle alone for his only son. Before brutally murdering Kulwinder Singh, police had tortured him severely. He was first arrested in 1986 and detained for two years by the police. He was kept in police custody for the sole reason of having affiliated with the All India Sikh Student Federation.

The loss of their only son has left Principal Tirlochan Singh’s family in tatters. His wife is said to have died due to depression caused by her only son’s death. Tirlochan Singh is aged and has fought the tough battle against seven prominent Punjab Police officers, namely SSP Gurjeet Grewal, ASI Gurcharan “Singh”, ASI Amarjit “Singh”, ASI Chanan “Singh”, Sub Inspector Birbal Dass, Head Constable Nikka Ram, and Constable Dayal “Singh”.

Martyr Kulwinder Singh left behind his wife, who he had married just four months before being killed in the fake encounter.

The disappearance and illegal cremation of Bhai Kulwinder Singh is similar to thousands of others murdered by the Punjab Police during the genocide of the 1980s and 90s.  Shaheed Jaswant Singh Khalra who was killed in a similar fashion also by the Punjab Police had collected proof of thousands of illegally cremated bodies.  The state of Punjab in India has suffered immensely at the hands of the ruling Governments and no human rights organizations are, to this day, allowed to work freely.  Acquitting 7 police officers in this case on the basis of “benefit of the doubt” is very unfortunate, and a black mark on the face of the Punjab and India Governments.


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