| Amritsar |
Published: July 25, 2020 11:48:57 am
THE ALLEGED suicide of a 23-year-old priest the identical day he was interrogated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Mohali earlier this month has introduced beneath scrutiny a Punjab police case of sedition and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in opposition to 30 males, largely of their twenties.
The case was registered at Sultanwind after pro-Khalistan slogans have been discovered painted on partitions within the space. Among the accused was the US-based Gurpatwant Singh Pannu of Sikhs For Justice (SFJ). Challan was filed in March 2019. Punjab Police investigated the case for 18 months earlier than transferring it to NIA in April this 12 months.
A perusal of the police challan in opposition to 11 of the 30 accused, who stay in custody, throws up extra questions than solutions.
As per the challan, one of many accused — Bikramjit Singh — stated that his relative Bhupinder Singh from Srinagar had promised to rearrange for weapons to pursue the agenda of Khalistan together with SFJ, which was not banned in 2018.
He had informed police that he may accompany a celebration to raid the houses of Bhupinder Singh and different accused, together with trainer Sukhbir Singh, Davinder Singh, Sandeep Singh and Harjeet Singh, all from Srinagar, to “get well weapons and posters of Khalistan”. While the police booked these males for sedition, they did little to hint them.
Learnt concerning the case solely this 12 months: Accused
The Indian Express spoke to 2 accused in Srinagar — Sukhbir Singh and Davinder Singh — who stated they knew one another and have been social employees.
Both claimed they got here to know concerning the case in opposition to them for the primary time in March this 12 months, after J&Ok police questioned them in reference to the 2018 FIR.
“I’m not conscious of any FIR at Amritsar. Police informed me that my title was in some FIR. There was one other title, Davinder Singh, within the FIR. I additionally knew one Davinder Singh, who’s my pal. I known as Davinder and he was additionally questioned. There are names of three extra individuals from J&Ok within the FIR and police requested us to assist discover them. But we couldn’t discover anybody,” stated Sukhbir.
He added, “I’m stunned on the FIR. I run a training centre for poor college students. I’m a social employee. My spouse and I donated our organs on the day of our marriage ceremony. We run blood donation camps. The Sikh group in Srinagar is aware of me effectively.”
Sukhbir stated he has an M.Ed/M.Phil in biology and 13 years of educating expertise. He calls himself a ‘NEET knowledgeable’ and trains college students for aggressive and civil providers exams.
Davinder Singh stated, “We had invited Bhai Amrik Singh Ajnala to evangelise in our space again in 2017. He had come right here then. That is how we’ve contact with Amrik Singh. But we have been by no means in common contact with him. Recently I requested him concerning the FIR and our names on it. He stated he was additionally not conscious concerning the accused.”
Amrik Singh Ajnala, head of the Damdami Taksal, Ajnala faction, was questioned by the NIA on June 24. There are names of round 15 accused within the police challan who’ve a direct or oblique hyperlink with Damdami Taksal Dera Ajnala. However, Punjab Police by no means questioned Amrik Singh.
Why did police not act if my son had confessed: Mother of accused
Bikramjit Singh’s mom Satnam Kaur claimed that her son by no means made any confession.
“We don’t have any relative named Bhupinder Singh. We are Hindustani. My husband retired as subedar from the Indian Army. My brother Rajinder Singh is in J&Ok police. I belong to Kashmir and obtained married in Uttarakhand. Why did police not arrest Bhupinder Singh if my son had made the confession? Why did the police not arrest different accused to get well weapons when my son had promised to accompany police? It is obvious that…police have cooked up the entire story. Otherwise why would they not arrest the accused and get well the weapons? Because there have been no weapons. Why is Punjab Police doing this? Is there any justice?” she requested.
Police, NIA declare ISI hyperlink
The Punjab Police challan reads that one of many arrested accused — Sukhraj Singh — had allegedly confessed that they have been planning to endure weapons coaching in Pakistan.
According to the NIA FIR, “The module had been motivated by one Javed Khan, an ISI handler based mostly in Pakistan, for conducting subversive actions and pasting of Khalistan/Referendum-2020 posters/banners at completely different places in Punjab and New Delhi.”
However, it isn’t but clear why Punjab Police did nothing to crosscheck the alleged confession statements for 18 months.
“…to gather proof in opposition to the opposite absconding…all 11 accused individuals are required to be examined in judicial custody to unearth the conspiracy hatched to destabilize the unity and sovereignty of Union of India and prayer has been made to permit the Chief Investigation officer of the NIA to look at all named accused at their respective location of judicial custody,” stated the NIA submission in courtroom on June 5, after taking cost of the investigation in April this 12 months.
Following these submissions, the company arrested ‘absconding’ Pargat Singh, who had by no means been questioned by Punjab Police in relation with the case.
Mehar Singh, Pargat Singh’s father, stated, “If my son was such a giant terrorist, why did no person arrest him within the final one and half years? Was he not a hazard then? It exhibits that my son is being implicated in a false case. He was by no means absconding. You can ask the entire village. He was a priest not a terrorist.”
The NIA had informed the Mohali courtroom that Pargat Singh was one of many key conspirators and a recruiter of radical Sikh youth whereas working beneath the instructions of handlers situated overseas to additional the actions of SFJ.
Accused ‘hangs self’
Similarly, Lovepreet Singh of Ratta Khera village in Sangrur was summoned and went to NIA headquarters in Chandigarh on July 13. Lovepreet, who had simply obtained employed as a priest in a village gurudwara, was in contact together with his spouse throughout his journey to Chandigarh, and even despatched her some movies. But on coming back from the NIA workplace in Mohali, he allegedly hanged himself from a fan at Amb Sahib Gurdwara the place he needed to keep the night time.
The household is now demanding investigation into his demise which they’ve linked to the NIA summons.
“Our son was killed. We had no concept about any case in opposition to him. He had just lately obtained a everlasting job as a priest in Barnala village. You can affirm it from the villagers that he was by no means absconding,” alleges Lovepreet’s father.
Didn’t go to J&Ok as a result of legislation and order wasn’t steady there: Police
“We didn’t go to J&Ok as a result of legislation and order was not steady within the state at the moment,” stated former ACP Palwinder Singh, who was dealing with the probe into the sedition case earlier than it was handed over to NIA. when requested why police didn’t observe the lead given by Bikramjit Singh.
Palwinder was just lately transferred as DSP Jalalabad in Fazilka.
He additionally admitted that police didn’t conduct any raids to find Pargat Singh, arrested by NIA from his residence in Muktsar, or Lovepreet Singh, who allegedly dedicated suicide.
The sedition case regarding the ‘Referendum-2020 marketing campaign’, was registered at Sultanwind police station in October 2018. Police registered the preliminary FIR in opposition to Sukhraj Singh, Malkeet Singh and SFJ’s Gurpatwant Singh Pannu on October 19, 2018. During the course of investigation, police named 27 extra accused. Eleven out of the whole 30 accused have been arrested. Subsequently, a chargesheet was filed in opposition to these 11 in March 2019. The case was handed over to NIA on April 5, 2020.
Most of the accused are of their twenties and the police have linked 20 of them to the Ajnala Dera.
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