CHANDIGARH, India: The Punjab General Director of Police, J.F. Ribeiro has taken an exception to a Punjab Cabinet Minister for allegedly interfering in the functioning of police and hampering the campaign to arrest those who are indulging in violence.

In an interview with U.N.I., the Police Chief alleged that the Minister has telephoned the district officials of Hoshiarpur and Ropar districts to seek the release of persons arrested for direct involvement in violent acts. “But”, he said “police has successfully resisted this suggestion”.

Ribeiro took exception to the delay in the extradition of Canadian National of Indian origin who was wanted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and was allegedly staying in Punjab. This delay was due to political pressure. He had to interfere to see that wanted person was arrested and handed over to the Canadian authorities.

Meanwhile, Mr. Prem Singh Chandumajra, Minister for Cooperation today defended his rights to interfere in the working of Punjab police if he thought that the police was harassing the innocent persons or committing an illegal action. He was commenting on the Interview given by Ribeiro in which the later criticized the Minister for interfering to get the release of persons wanted for serious crimes like murder and rape.

The D.G.P. said that Prem Singh tried to influence the police chiefs of Ropar and Hoshiarpur. In a statement the Minister asserted that he would continue to speak to district police chiefs. “I may even control Ribeiro if he tries to indulge in illegal acts”, said the Minister.

Prem Singh said that he is a democratically elected representative of the people and a member of a popular government. Let Mr. Ribeiro remember that the State is not under army rule. He, however, denied the charge that he ever tried to get militants released. Youth Akali Dal, of which he is the President, Mr. Prem Singh said is fighting against separatism. Several of their members have been gunned down.

Mr. Ribeiro in raising the issue of the political interference 1s trying to hide his failure to apprehend the militants. Has he arrested the killers of Amarjit Singh, an Akali Legislator, Dr. Kali Charan and those who committed bank robberies, he said.

Article extracted from this publication >>  April 24, 1987