CHANDIGARH: A few ( police officers who were accused by the Akali Dal(L) in the past of commit ting excesses against Sikhs have not only been retained in important positions in Punjab have also have been promoted by the State Government.

Mr. Gurbinder Singh Bhullar LP.S. was very close to Mr. Darbara Singh and was allegedly responsible for firing from his own stengun at Khui Nath Ki, Chowk Mehta, in 1981 killing nine Sikhs. Several Sikh advocates including Mr. Surjit Singh Barnala and others had then filed affidavits before a commission of enquiry against the conduct of Mr. Bhullar. It was also alleged then that the State Government had been putting pressure on witnesses and was not permitting the commission to come to truthful conclusions. The Akali Dal (L) and other Sikh organizations had demanded registration of a case against Mr. Bhullar under section 302 Cr. P.C.

Respect for law punishment

Disregarding all these factors, Mr. Surjit Singh Barnala promoted Mr. Gurbinder Singh Bhullar as D.LG. and posted him to the most important of ranges, the Jullundur rage.

On the other hand, the State Government has ignored Mr. Jarnail Singh Chahal, Mr. M.S. Bhular and Mr. Sarbjit Singh, all three belonging to the Indian Police Service. Mr. Chahal was sent to Bihar by Darbara Singh while the other two officers also got a raw deal from the previous regime. The Director General, Police, has now noted that Mr. Chahal’s record is unblemished but still he has been ignored. Presumably Mr. Chahal earned the previous Government’s wrath because he is an amritdhari and the then Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr. Tejinder Khanna, and other senior officers hated amritdharis.

The trouble with Mr. M.S. BhuIlar was that he did not kill Sikh youths in fake encounters. Also during the 1983 “rasta roko” campaign he was S.P. of Ropar and refused to carry out the State Government’s order that those sitting in dharna on roads should be riddled with bullets. Ropar was one of the few districts where no Sikh was killed on April 5, 1983. That performance became a reason for an adverse report earned by Mr. MS. Bhullar. It is also reported that Mr. M.S. Bhullar refused to kill two detenus in accordance with instructions given by the then Finance Minister, Dr. Kewal Krishan. The Intelligence Bureau which prodded the State Government against officers like Mr. M.S. Bhullar also then had reported against him.

The State Government appears to have great weakness for officers with black record in the past four years. Mr. Surjit Singh Kahlon who specialized in fake encounters is attached with the Chief Minister as his personal bodyguard.

D.R. Bhatti’s involvement

Mr. D.R. Bhatti who was allegedly responsible for burning “sanchis” at Chando Kalan in 1981 continues to command Hoshiarpur district as its S.S.P. Investigations into the Payal murder case link Mr. Bhatti with the fake encounter and killing of four persons there by the police. Another officer with a far from bright record is Mr. J.P. Birdi who remains the S.S.P. of Gurdaspur district. He faced numerous charges of committing excesses against Sikhs while he was S.P. Amritsar.

Yet another officer of questionable record and conduct is Mr. G.LS. Bhullar who functioned during the turbulent period as S.S.P of Jullundur district. He is at present S.S.P. of Patiala district., Mr. G.I.S. Bhullar staged several fake encounters with Sikh youths. He was in the good books of Mr. Darbara Singh and Chaudhary Darsharn Singh, the two Congress (I) politicians who had specialized in the art of fake encounters.

One reason for the unending mess is the fact that certain officers inimical to Sikhs have managed to control key posts in the Home Department. They make recommendations keeping in view the officers’ anti Sikh record and Mr.

Surjit Singh Barnala signs away almost every paper put up before him. Of the four senior officers in Home Department, none is Sikh although practice in the past was that the department was a mixed affair. The Home Department has not been reorganized despite the fact Mr. Justice Ajit Singh Bains and his committee wrote to the State Government some time ago that officers of the Home Department did not cooperate with the panel and were withholding important files. Mr. M. R. Midha, Director of Prosecution, who is also attached with the Home Department, is intact in his post although the Chief Secretary wrote to the Home Secretary some time ago for terminating his extension.

There is discontent among sections of the Akali Dal against Mr. Surjit Singh Barnala’s functioning. But Mr. barnala’s remark was that “there are so many Bhullars in the police” that he failed to tell one from the other.

Article extracted from this publication >>  December 13, 1985