Hoshiarpur — Former Member Parliament and President of the Punjab wing of the conservative Lok Dal Party Chaudhary Balbir Singh was inspecting the fields of his farm here when two gunmen drove up on a scooter and opened fire with automatic weapons. Balbir Singh was shot. Three times in the neck he died instantly. The gunmen escaped after shooting him down, said the police.

The killing triggered off anti Sikh rioting in the Hindu dominated town of Hoshiarpur. Enraged Hindu mobs killed two Sikhs and set fire to a number of Sikh shops.

Chaudhary Balbir Singh was a fiery personality who had been a dominant figure on the political scene in the town for a long time. He was also associated with educational institutions. K. S. Dhillon, Director General Punjab police, said Sikh freedom fighters have regrouped since the army raid last June on the Golden Temple, the Sikh’s holiest shrine.

Earlier three Hindus were killed in Dhariwal a few miles northwest of Hoshiarpur, and a ruling Congress (I) Party official was killed on May 2. Two other Hindu politicians have been killed in Punjab since late March, Dhillon said.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 17, 1985