“Though the dark years had ended in Punjab decades ago, for gutsy and daring people like Balwinder Singh, it never did. Threats are always there when you have fought so hard with terrorists on your own,” said Kulwant Singh Rurka, 65, central committee member of the Revolutionary Marxist Party of India (RMPI), who was a close associate of Balwinder. Rurka was general secretary of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) — youth wing of CPI(M) in the 80s, when terrorism was at its peak in Punjab.
“I was general secretary of DYFI when Balwinder was state committee member in 80s. There were repeated attacks on him and he had fought with them a number of times, all alone. It is a unique case that four persons of one family were given Shaurya Chakra (Balwinder, his wife, his brother and brother’s wife). I also faced many threats from terrorists. I even faced murder charges in which I had no role. In 1993, Balwinder had openly objected to irregularities in panchayat elections. Hence, in short, terrorism never ended for people like us who fought against it. I have no security at all and Balwinder’s security was withdrawn. I feel that the government has issues with people who are associated with Left parties and hence, I find the government responsible for this murder. I am really sad to know about this incident,” said Rurka.
He added, “About five years ago, I was speaking at a function in Surrey and I heard voices from the audience — ‘Is he still alive?’. Hence, whether terrorism days were over for the state, the people who fought hard were always at a high risk.”
Balwinder was part of CPI(M) during the terrorism days and around two years ago, he joined RMPI. Darshan Singh Mattu (67), state committee member of CPI(M), said, “When he was in CPI(M), we had worked together and still used to meet each other at many functions. He was a man of his word and was an inspiration for youth in his area when he was state committee member of DYFI. I feel that the government should not have withdrawn security from him while many others still have security. These days, we often read news reports of seizure of weapons, drugs from one or other part of the state. This incident has shaken us all…Balwinder was a real life hero…”
Swarnjit Singh Dalio, 42, former general secretary of DYFI, said, “I met him a couple of times when I started working with CPI(M). In our party, we often hear tales of his bravery. Inspired, I had met him personally a number of times. Punjab has passed through a tough time in the past, now the state government must ensure law and order as already they caused a big loss by withdrawing his security despite the many times he has faced attacks.”
Kulwinder Uddat (38), state body member of CPI(M) said, “We lost a real life hero who was an inspiration for all of us. A daring man indeed. Our party meetings never end without a mention of Balwinder. The DYFI, the youth wing, is often told about our brave leaders who had fought hard during terrorism days and Balwinder used to be the topmost among them. We feel sad that the government did not realise that people who fought in those days of terrorism always need protection. I had also met him 2-3 times and was inspired by his aura. I have no more words to express this loss. I hope the youth of Punjab will value the contribution of this brave hero in fighting against terrorists in the dark days.”
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