In a development seen as a major shot in the arm for the family of a victim of the 1986 Nakodar police firing incident, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Punjab government and others on the missing “part B of the inquiry report” submitted by Justice Gurnam Singh Commission in 1987 in connection with the police killings 36 years ago.
Four Sikh youths were gunned down by police in Nakodar here on February 4, 1986, while taking part in a peaceful march against the sacrilege of five ‘birs’ (copies) of Guru Granth Sahib. The five ‘birs’ were burnt in Nakodar on February 2, 1986, at a gurudwara.
The Part B of the inquiry report was found missing from the records of the Punjab Assembly when this report was sought by the then leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema during the previous Congress government.
A petition was filed in this regard by Baldev Singh against the state government and others in March 2019 seeking the setting up of an SIT for investigating the disappearance of the Second Part of Justice Gurnam Singh Inquiry Commission Report from the custody of the government.
Baldev Singh is the father of Ravinder Singh, one of the four youths killed in the police firing in 1986. He lives in the US and has come to Punjab recently.
Justice Namit Kumar issued the notice when the petition came up for hearing on Thursday.
“In this petition, which came up for hearing after lapse of a considerable time, we have sought setting up of another SIT to probe the disappearance of Second Part of the commission report from the custody of the government,” said Baldev Singh.
“I have been fighting this case for the past 36 years and today’s development is a big step. I am grateful to Senior Advocate H C Arora who is looking after my case to get us justice,” Baldev Singh said, adding that they have all the right to know what Justice Gurnam Singh found in his inquiry.
The “missing part” had statements of the witnesses, evidence, exhibit files, sworn statements of the police officials, administrative authorities, etc. The secretary of the assembly had informed Cheema about this “missing part” when the previous Congress government was at the helm in Punjab.
When this report was tabled in the assembly way back in 2001 wherein police officials were blamed for unnecessary firing, the then government of Parkash Singh Badal took no action against the accused. During the last government’s tenure, the families of these youths had demanded from the then Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh to table the inquiry report in the Vidhan Sabha for deciding the action taken report (ATR) on this.
In 1986, a peaceful contingent of Sikhs was on its way to recover the burnt ‘birs’ for dignified disposal of them when the police opened indiscriminate fire on the crowd and killed four youths, including Ravinder Singh of Littran, Baldhir Singh of Ramgarh, Jhilman Singh of Gorsian and Harminder Singh of Chlupur.
Justice Gurnam Singh Commission had submitted its report in 1987 which mentioned that the police action was unjustified and unnecessary.
The police had even cremated the bodies after declaring them unidentified despite their parents’ plea to hand over the bodies of their sons.
Baldev Singh said “that Aam Aadmi Party has a chance to get us justice. We had lost our sons 36 years ago, but with this notice from the HC now, they have big hopes from the current dispensation.”