One of the prime accused in RSS leaders’ killings across Punjab, Jagtar Singh Johal, 31, is a British national. Arrested by Punjab Police on Tuesday, Jagtar Singh was born to a Punjabi couple and brought up in United Kingdom who lived with his parents in Glasgow ever since. The Johal family has an ancestral home in Patti Gaggar Mohalla of Jandiala Manjki village of Jalandhar. His grand-aunt, Gurmesh Kaur, lives in that house now.
Sitting alone on a cot in the house and surrounded by villagers, Gurmesh says, “Jasbir (Jagtar’s father) comes here every year. He stays with me for three-four days and then goes back to UK. This year all of them (Jasbir’s family) came here and that is when Jaggi’s (Jagtar Singh) marriage was fixed with a woman of Jagir Sohal village. Jaggi got married on October 18 at Nakodar. He was about to go to Singapore with his wife but police arrested him”.
About the charges against Jagtar, she adds: “My nephew Jaggi (Jagtar Singh) is innocent. He runs a restaurant in UK. One of his two brothers is an advocate in UK. Jaggi can never be involved in such a crime.”
She then goes on to attack the police for snapping her only “source of communication” with her kin in the UK.
“Around 15 policemen came here last evening and searched every nook and corner of this house. I was alone here at that time. Jaggi is born and brought up in UK. He has come here only two or three times in his entire life. Police also disconnected the landline phone – only source of communication that I have to connect with my family members settled in UK,” she added.
Jagtar Singh’s in-laws live at nearby Jagir Sohal village. His mother-in-law, Amandeep Kaur, said, “We knew Jagtar’s parents for long. The family had no criminal past. My son-in-law (Jagtar Singh) is innocent. He has no criminal track record. He is implicated in a false case. Police is harassing not only us, but our relatives too. Police is demanding his passport from us. Police told us that Jagtar used to visit Pakistan frequently. My daughter and son-in-law were going to Chandigarh on November 4, when police stopped their car near Ramamandi in Jalandhar and took him with them. They told my daughter that they were taking him to Faridkot. But, we did not hear anything from them later. We only got to know yesterday that he was arrested on murder charge”.
Asked about her daughter, Amandeep Kaur, said, “My daughter got married a few days ago only and this is what has happened now. She is in deep shock and not in a position to speak to anyone”.
Villagers in Jandiala say that they did not have much contact with Jasbir Singh and his family members since Jasbir had migrated to UK around four decades ago.
“Recently when Jasbir got his son married we were invited to the marriage. We attended it, but have not had much contact with him or his family. It is a shock to us that Jasbir’s son Jagtar is involved in these killings”, said Gurchetan Singh, a villager told Indian Express.
Sukhdev Singh, Sarpanch of Jagir Sohal village said that large number of police personnel had raided Jaggi’s father -in-law, Balwinder Singh’s place on Tuesday evening and their mobile phones were also seized by the police.