A letter detailing the atrocities of a police officer on a Sikh in New Delhi written by Arvind Kala, a non-Sikh which was published in the Sunday Mail, is reproduced for perusal by our readers.
This story goes back seven years, Pritam Singh then around 40, was a petty cycle shop owner in Subzimandi, and because he was said to brew or sell illicit liquor, the local than a wanted to teach him a lesson.
So on the night of July 16, 1982 the Station House Officer of Subzimandi police, Lakhvinder Singh Brar, arrived outside Pritam Singh’s house with a posse of policemen. Pritam Singh lived on the first floor, so Brar put a ladder on the outside wall and got into Pritam Singh’s house through a window. And within minutes he dragged Pritam Singh to the police station, slapping and hitting him on the way.
At the police station, Brar went berserk. Picking up a lathi and then a steel pipe, he hammered Pritam Singh to unconsciousness. When Pritam Singh came to, consciousness Brar forced him to stand and, along with two other policemen, they stepped on Pritam Singh’s broken feet with their boots on.
Half an hour of this and Brar realized he might have a corpse on his hands. So he had Pritam Singh taken to a police hospital nearby and then to Hindu Rao hospital. Pritam remained there for nine days and spent another seven months in bed at home, both his legs fractured and soft tissue injuries all over his body.
But the real story begins now. His body broken, Pritam Singh ‘wanted just one thing in life: punishment for the man who had tortured him. So he moved a metropolitan magistrate’s court. And the evidence against Brar was so overwhelming that the magistrate committed the case to the sessions court saying Brar had committed an offense under Sections 308 of the Indian Penal Code, which means an attempt to kill.
If a police officer is put on trial for a cognizable offense, he should be suspended. In fact, the rules say he has to be suspended “from the date on which he is sent to trial” Brar was sent to trial on September 20, 1986 that is two and a half years ago, but he wasn’t suspended.
On August 4 last year Pritam Singh petitioned the Delhi High Court, saying it should direct the Commissioner of Delhi Police to suspend Lakhvinder Singh during the pendency of his trial. The High Court admitted the petition and directed the police commissioner to do so.
But Lakhvinder Singh still hasn’t been suspended; He is currently the Inspector in charge of the Special Staff of South Delhi Police. As far as I know, by disobeying the High Court’s directive, the Delhi Police Commissioner has committed contempt of court.
Lakhvinder Singh’s torture of Pritam Singh reads like a horror tale, but it pales when you realize that he is directly responsible for the disappearance of four men. The case has been so well documented that Amnesty International in London is pursuing it.
The brief facts are as follows: Lakhyinder Singh’s special staff had been looking for a burglar named Puran Singh. On April 10 1987. Lakhvinder Singh and some other policemen caught Puran Singh from his house in Hapur, U.P. and brought him to the Lajpat Nagar Police Station along with his wife’s brother, Shyam Singh, an 18 year old boy.
Lakhvinder Singh beat up Puran Singh and Puran Singh died. Witnessing the torture was Shyam
Singh. So that night, Lakvinder , and twothree policemen took Puran Singh’s body in a police vehicle to the Hindon river in Ghaziabad. Accompanying them was Shyam Singh whom police had promised to release. At the Hindon, Shyam Singh was shot dead and both bodies were thrown into the water.
But two more men needed to be silenced, their names were Tilak Ram and Veer Singh and they lived in a village named Burundi in Ghaziabad district. These two in their midtwenties had led the Delhi Police onto Puran Singh in the hope of a reward, They disappeared within a couple of days of Puran Singh’s death and haven’t been heard of since.
So what explains Lakhvinder Singh’s hold that his senior’s don’t act against him? The reason is simple, as police officers of South District will tell you privately. Lakvinder Singh has minted so much money and shared it so freely with his seniors that they’ll do anything to save him. In police jargon he is their Kamaoo beta the son who sends money home.
Talking to policemen I’m not surprised. Gautam Kaul has been reinstated. His is Rajiv Gandhi’s uncle, a first cousin of Indira Gandhis’ He was suspended for dereliction of duty when Karamjit Singh fired that shot at Rajiy Gandhi from a bush inside Rajghat on October 2, 1986.
But I think his negligence was much worse than that of the five security policemen who were suspended after Indira Gandhi assassination and remain suspended still. Indira’s assassination was freakish. How do you protect a prime minister from her own bodyguards? And the five policemen weren’t even there when Satwant Singh and Beant Singh shot Indira.
But in Gautam Kaul’s case he ‘was there when Karamjit Singh’s first shot rang out. Kaul and his men did nothing, Imagining that a scooter or motorcycle has misfired. Not just this Karamyit Singh remained in his concealment for a full one hour and it was only when he fired his second shot that he was caught.
I think the home ministry has done grave injustice to the five policemen who remained’ suspended still. They simply don’t know what will happen to them. Four of them continue to get 75 percent of their salaries but uncertainty about the future has worn them out, the fifth officer retired while still suspended and as far as I know he’s not getting his pension because the government isn’t clear on pension rules for him.
More than, four years have passed, isn’t that long enough to decide a police officer’s guilt and to punish him or acquit him?.