CHANDIGARH, India: The first six months of this year witnessed the maximum number of killings in Punjab, with an average of nine persons being killed daily, against three killings per day during the same period last year.

A total of 1,771 people, including families, leaders of various political parties and other organizations and policemen were gunned down during this period. Besides, many of them were freedom fighters killed by security forces. Some Pakistani intruders were also killed.

Violence also touched an all-time high in the neighbouring state of Haryana, About 50. Persons, including one freedom fighter were killed in about half a dozen incidents during this period. A CPI and a BJP MLA escaped assassination attempt.

For four days — January 12 and 28 February 2. And 26 — Punjab was free of violence, the biggest ever number of killings on single day, 44 took place on May 16 about a week after operation “Black Thunder”.

The maximum number of killings this year, 488, was in May. In 1987 it had been 123, in June. The CRPF DIG, Mr. SS. Virk, was allegedly injured by firing from within the Golden Temple complex on May 9. Operation Black Thunder followed, which resulted in the surrender of about 175 Sikhs and the death of over 35 others.

For a few days after the operation “Black Thunder” the freedom fighters lay low. But then the regrouping process started and soon: afterwards they struck in a big way in Punjab, Haryana, and New Delhi. They also changed their strategy and started using explosives in addition to guns and rifles.

The first six months also witnessed attempts to derail trains and a series of bomb blasts in public places, and killing of migrant labourers which forced them to return to their home states.

Article extracted from this publication >> July 15, 1988