HAILING FROM a family where his father was allegedly murdered by his younger brother, Jaswinder Singh aka ‘Rocky’ had started transforming into a politician after being branded as a dreaded gangster for over two decades. Son of a farmer, Mohinder Singh, and a native of Jhugian village in Fazilka, Rocky was the eldest son, with a brother and sister.
A pass-out of a government school, Rocky was ambitious and as his friends say “he chose the other way” to achieve those ambitions.” It was at a cloth shop of his close friend Pawan Sharma in Fazilka, for whose cremation he went to Chandigarh Friday, that Rocky entered the world of crime.
“It was at Pawan’s shop almost 20 years ago that a clash took place. Rocky attacked the opposite party with swords and later both Rocky and Pawan absconded from Fazilka. Later, Pawan settled in Chandigarh. Rocky went to Uttar Pradesh for sometime but later returned to Fazilka in 2011. It was then that Fazilka came to know about a ‘gangster’ Rocky who was all over on local TV channels and in the list of police’s most wanted,” said Vicky Chhabra, an acquaintance of Rocky.
But it is only a year before Rocky contested the Punjab Vidhan Sabha polls in 2012 as an Independent candidate that he came back to Fazilka to settle there. “Before getting jailed for being allegedly involved in the murder of another gangster Prabhjinder Singh Dimpy in Chandigarh, Rocky kept shuttling between Uttar Pradesh and Chandigarh. He was once a close aide of UP-based gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari,” said another friend of his.
The ‘other side’ of Rocky was his faith in babas (Godmen). Whenever any baba visited Fazilka, he arranged their visit at his home. Residents of Fazilka say that it was after he decided to contest 2012 polls that he started showing off this ‘other side.’
“It won’t be wrong to say that he had turned into a sort of Robin Hood of Fazilka. He used to help the poor people these days and accompanied them to government offices. Prior to 2012 when we heard of clashes every other day, it reduced significantly after the polls,” said Nand Lal Goyal, a Fazilka resident.
Rocky’s home is near Badha lake in Fazilka and his family owns ancestral agricultural land in Jhugiyan village. Relations within the family were never cordial, claimed neighbors.
“Rocky’s father Mahinder Singh was murdered allegedly by his younger brother, Roman. But Roman was eventually acquitted of the charges. His mother was unhappy with both the sons. Rocky and Roman never got married,” said a neighbor.
‘Jabar juram de khilaaf dat jayiye, bhrishtachaar atey nashey nu jad to mitaaye; aao rall mill pyaar di saanjh wadhaiye’, is what Rocky wrote described his motive as on his Facebook account. (Let us raise voice against injustice, let us remove corruption and drugs from roots and live in harmony).
He also described himself as ‘Fazilka de vikaas layi sangharsh sheel naujavan (A youth struggling for development of Fazilka).
Even as Rocky was considered close to Shiromani Akali Dal MP Sher Singh Ghubaya and also attended his son’s wedding, Rocky was at the front leading the protests against liquor baron Shiv Lal Doda demanding his arrest in the Bheem Tank murder case — a Dalit whose limbs were chopped off. Rocky had also extensively campaigned for SAD candidate Ghubaya in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. There were at least 22 cases of murder, attempt to murder, extortion, kidnapping etc. registered against Rocky over the last two decades. However, at present, only two cases were pending against him, while he was acquitted in rest of the cases.
Rocky was considered close to a few BJP MLAs from Rajasthan. In 2013, Rocky was spotted outside Parliament with the then Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, while he (Rocky) was a proclaimed offender in the Punjab police records at that time.
In 2012 Punjab Vidhan Sabha polls, Rocky secured over 39,000 votes but lost to BJP’s Surjit Singh Jyani by 1,600 votes. He had fielded his associates in the Municipal Council polls in 2015, but none of them won.