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Sandhu's Suicide
Seeking Immunity for the Killers

For the complex political riddle of insurgency faced by Punjab the policemen in the state knew only one solution: death. So the trigger-happy maniacs went on a killing-spree putting to death in cold blood thousands of young men and crowned themselves with success in 'solving' the problem. A top-gun who stalked the killing fields was none other than Ajit Singh Sandhu who was credited with a virtual genocide in Tarn Taran. Now, when the state wants to hide its terrorist face with a democratic mask and tries to regain its hegemony over the alienated people by passing the onus on the policemen for their 'excesses', it is an equally unfathomable riddle for them. The judiciary has come down on a few, very few, cops by putting them inside jails while facing trial and Sandhu was one among them. The mad man could again think of only one solution to this new riddle: he killed himself.

Punjab police and the ultra-right establishment started a different war over this, an angry ideological offensive against all those who don't approve of state terrorism. Leading the pack was KPS Gill. This "super cop's" ire against judiciary is understandable: he was rapped on the knuckles in the infamous Rupan Deol Bajaj episode. The same man has started a `moral' crusade now, firing salvos not only at the courts but strafing against wider targets which include human rights organisations, political parties and all those `who sit in drawing rooms and talk of democracy'. He thunders that his brave officers who risked their lives in fighting terrorists to save the country are being betrayed and penalised. Yet he offers us no clue why his `brave' officers are unable to risk facing a fair trial in the courts and commit suicide instead. He also tries to cover up the fact that most of those `brave' soldiers against whom prosecution has been sanctioned are being tried more for extortionist offences than for those extra-judicial killings which they committed in plenty.

While both Congress and BJP were engaged in a slanging match inside the Punjab assembly against each other as to who let down the Punjab police more, both the parties showed remarkable oneness in exonerating Punjab policemen of their crimes. Also coming to the aid of a distraught KPS Gill were Union Home Minister Indrajit Gupta and CPI(M) General Secretary Surjeet. In taking up the cudgels on behalf of the notorious Punjab police they were not merely out to score political points against Akali-BJP govt. in a shortsighted manner. At the height of counter-insurgency these parties refused to condemn state terrorism and made only a mild criticism of the police excesses and now when the courts want to pull up a few guilty policemen for excesses they squeal about 'demoralisation' of the police. No wonder, Gill finds in them his closest allies.


Home > Liberation Main Page > Index July 1997 > ARTICLE