NEW DELHI, India, Jan. 24, Reuter: Gunmen wounded Kabul Singh, a senior politician. A freedom fighter, Bhupinder Singh, died soon after his arrest. The police alleged that he bit a cyanide capsule and died. The sources close to the militants, however, discounted police version and maintained that Bhupinder Singh was killed by the police after his arrest by administering cyanide capsule to him. They said that police have changed their tactics from fake encounters to cyanide killings in view of the universal condemnation of fake encounters.

Police in northern India were on maximum alert against increased violence and because of the fears that there may be attempts to disrupt India’s National Day festivities on Tuesday.

Roadblocks were set up on all approaches to the Delhi capital territory and police issued warnings to residents to check their vehicles for explosives planted by militants.

All India Radio said three gunmen armed with AK47 assault Rifles attacked Kabul Singh, a senior leader of the main Sikh political party, the Akali Dal. Singh was shot four times and was reported in serious condition in hospital.

Singh was a former President of the powerful Sikh Temples Management Committee which serves as a quasi-Parliament for the 16 million Sikhs in north India. A previous attempt on his life was made in March, 1986, the radio said.

The Press Trust of India (PTI), said Bhupinder Singh, alleged by police to be an Area Commander of the “Khalistan Commando Force”, bit a cyanide capsule and died just after his arrest in the Sikh holy city Amritsar on Sunday.

PTI also said police shot two freedom fighters in an encounter in Ferozepur district on Sunday. Ten people, including seven members of a family, were killed in violence on Saturday.

At least 105 people have been killed in Punjab so far this month in violence set off by Sikhs fighting for a separate Sikh homeland in North India called “Khalistan” the land of the pure.

Article extracted from this publication >> January 29, 1988