AMRITSAR: A fact finding team of the Citizens for Democracy, a civil rights group lead by former Maharashtra high court judge, Justice V.M. Tarkunde observed that people are being harassed by the police in Punjab and are being driven into militancy by their high handedness.

Police invariably harassed rural families. The police arrogance has driven rural masses towards militancy, the team said.

Justice Tarkunde said the team visited several villages including Patta, Dhodewal, Fateh Garh, Churian, Lodhi and Panjwari where statements from victims of police excesses were recorded.

He said, there was substance in the report of police excesses by Superintend of Police Gobind Ram. Two police S.P.’s refused to entertain the team on grounds that they were off duty on Sunday.

The team comprised of Justice Tarkunde, Mrs. Salochna Sikri, CED regional secretary Tejinder Ahuja and the CFD regional secretary N.D Pancholi.

The team said police gunned down innocent people, extort money and terrorize the populace. The remedy does not lie with the government which is in a mood nor in a hurry to solve the problem, did Justice Tarkunde say.

The team gave several instances where members of the local village governments (Panchaitis) were beaten up by the police.

The latest such incident was in villages around Hargobind Pur. About 300 village elders and leaders were beaten up by the police on March 10 and 11. “An announcement on public address system asked all males between 11 years ‘old to 50 years to assemble. They were given five lashes each as “parshad,” Tarkunde added.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 24, 1989