From Our Special Correspondent


In flagrant violation of RajivLongowal accord, the government of India is continuing with its policy of giving exemplary punishment to all those Sikh deserters who had left the army units for Amritsar after the invasion of the Golden Temple. On October 18 twenty Sikh Jawans and Junior officers were dismissed and sentenced to varying degrees of rigorous imprisonment through a general Court Martial. The order was passed by the Court Martial Chairman Col. Manohar Lal. (Central Government had already decided to disband the crash 9 Sikh Regiment from September 1, 1985). Those who have been sentenced were charged with proceeding to Amritsar along with their army on June 7, 1984 and also with instigating 385 other Sikh soldiers to join them. Six Sikhs sentenced to 10 years each are Kewal Singh, Pargat Singh, Zail Singh, Anand Singh, Sharanjit Singh and Sobha Singh. These soldiers had clashed with the Indian Army near Ganga Nagar. In this clash some soldiers were killed and about twenty wounded. Out of them 316 Sikh soldiers were convicted by a lower court to sentences up to 2 years.

Through another Court Martial Naik Jaspal Singh has been sentence to life imprisonment while Naik Gurbachan Singh gets 14 years, Surjit Singh 12 years, Hayildar Balwant Singh 14 years, Naik Kuldip Singh 12 years and Pritain Singh Barsian, Kuldip Singh Majitha, Naik Sarwan Singh (Ferozpur), Naik Karam Singh (Patiala), Harphool Singh (Bhatinda), Ln. Naik Balwinder Singh, LN. Naik Jarnail Singh, LN. Naik Baljit Singh all get 10 yeears each; Havildar Jarnail Singh gets 12 years and LN. Naik Piara Singh, Sepoy Chanan Singh, (Jammu), Sepoy Jagtar Singh, Sepoy Avtar Singh, Sepoy Ranjit Singh and Sepoy Gurmail Singh were sentenced to 7 years each. Only one Sikh was declared innocent.

On October 19, eight Sikhs belonging to 18 Sikh Regiment were sentenced to four years rigorous imprisonment each in a Court Martial at Jammu. Those punished include Havildar Kewal Singh, LN. Maik Harbans Singh, Sepoy Chanan Singh, Sepoy Udey Singh, Sepoy Sukhdev, Sepoy Karnail Singh, Sepoy Harbhagwan Singh and Sepoy Bhupinder Singh.

 The cases against the remaining soldiers of this Regiment are still pending. All those who have been convicted are being sent to far off Army jails and their relatives are not permitted to meet them.

Article extracted from this publication >>  October 25, 1985