CHANDIGARH, Punjab—The Punjab Police have ruled out Delhi Police’s theory linking the murder of leftist leader and Shaurya Chakra recipient Comrade Balwinder Singh Sandhu to the supporters of Khalistan and alleged efforts of “reviving militancy” in Punjab.
Delhi Police’s special cell on December 7 claimed to have solved the murder case which was also investigated by Tarn Taran unit of Punjab Police. It claimed to have arrested five men, allegedly involved in anti-national activities and targeted killings, including that of Sandhu at his home in Bhikhwind village of Tarn Taran district in October this year, after a shootout in east Delhi on morning of December 7.
The cell also claimed to have recovered two kilograms of heroin, three pistols, two cars and Rs.1 lakh from the arrested persons. The men and sleuths from the special cell exchanged 13 rounds of fire, but nobody was hurt in the shootout, its sleuths said while addressing the media at Delhi.
Deputy commissioner of police (special cell) Pramod Singh Kushwah said, “With the arrest and interrogation of the five men we have exposed the nexus of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan, pro-Khalistan radicals, and narco-terrorists who were working together to revive militancy in Punjab and planning a slew of killings, mostly of right-wing leaders in Punjab and Delhi. Narco-terrorism was being used to fund the revival of the militancy”.
Two Sikhs from the Gurdaspur district of Punjab are amongst five persons arrested by the cell of Delhi Police. The other three are Kashmiri men. The Delhi Police claimed that “these two persons were hitmen of gangster Sukhmeet Pal Singh alias Sukh Bikhariwal, who lives in a Gulf nation and has been instrumental in executing the targeted killings on the instructions of ISI and Pakistan-based Khalistan radicals”.
According to the DCP, “the special cell had been receiving inputs since January that ISI, through its K2 (Kashmir-Khalistan) desk, has been funding the targeted killings of right-wing leaders and opponents of terrorism through the spoils of drug trafficking”.
The Delhi Police which is under Hindu right-wing political party BJP-led union government of India, has come up with this theory when farmers’ agitation in which Punjab’s Sikh farmers are playing leading role, is at its peak and giving sleepless nights to the government. The BJP’s IT cell, Hindutva elements and pro-government Indian TV channels are vilifying the agitating farmers terming them “terrorists”, “anti-national elements” and “Pakistan-backed”. However, none of them could prove these allegations against the farmers who are spending day and nights on the roads of Delhi in chilled weather.
Ruling out this theory, Punjab Police which is under the control of the Congress government of Punjab is sticking to the findings of its investigation, which are reiterating that there is no hand of “Khalistani” or “terrorists” behind this murder.
Chandigarh edition of a leading English daily of India has quoted a senior Punjab Police official investigating Sandhu’s killing, as saying, “We have thoroughly investigated the case. So far, we have not found any evidence to prove that it was a case of terrorism. We believe that there is no terror or radical angle to it.”
“Our probe so far has not found any Kashmir link in the case. We don’t know about the theory of Delhi Police. We have checked all the activities of the pro-Khalistani elements but nothing was found,” he added.
Sandhu who was awarded with Shaurya Chakra by the President of India for playing a role against the armed Sikh movement in Punjab in 1990s was shot dead by two unknown persons today morning at his residence at village Bhikhiwind. He was also close to the then infamous Punjab DGP KPS Gill who was also called “Butcher of Sikhs”, going by his photograph with him.
As there was no threat to his life in changed circumstances, his security cover was also withdrawn by the Punjab Police. However, his family and the people who are still vocal against the Sikh militancy that was the result of army attack on the holiest Sikh shrine Harmandar Sahib and Sikh carnage, have forcibly been linking this murder to the supporters of Khalistan since day one. His sons were also booked under criminal cases.
This murder occurred when farmers’ agitation against the Indian government was being intensified in Punjab over the farm laws enacted by it. Former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP from Patiala Dr. Dharamvira Gandhi had said, “Murder of Comrade Balwinder Singh is a conspiracy of anti-Punjab forces to derail the agitation and vitiate the atmosphere of Punjab”.