LUDHIANA: A university Professor was tortured and then shot dead by the police in a staged encounter leading to a strike in the Punjab Agriculture University since the beginning of February and a one day strike in all of Punjab.

Rajinderpal Singh Gill assistant Professor of Horticulture of the Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana was tortured to death and then shown as killed in a fake and staged encounter.

Prof Gill was arrested by the police from his residence from sector 15 in Chandigarh but in the police record he was shown as arrested near Chandigarh while he was driving a tractor. Prof. Gill was sent to interrogation center and was severely tortured. When the police could not extract any information from him, Prof Gill was handed over to the Ludhiana police.

Cruel & Barbaric Police

The Ludhiana police also tried to get some information from Prof Gill through the known methods of torture. When they failed, it is said that Prof Gill was killed in a fake encounter along with two more persons. All the inquiries from the police by the relatives could not provide any information about Prof. Gill. But the fact that he was killed came to light as the same tractor which was taken in custody at the time of Prof. Gill’s arrest, was shown to have been recovered from the place of the incident. Secondly the recovery of the clothes which Prof. Gill was wearing at the time of his arrest confirmed their doubt that Prof. Gill had been killed by police. Justice Ajit Singh Bains President of the Punjab Human Rights Organization told the reporters that his organization would conduct an enquiry into the shooting by the police and would bring the true facts before the public very soon. Justice Bains also added that the cruel and barbarian methods of Punjab police had crossed all the limits of the law.

Prof Gill was known to be very Close to Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale before 1984, After the operation Bluestar, the Indian army bloody assault on the Golden Temple in which thousands of Sikhs were butchered, Prof. Gill began, taking active part in the affairs of the Sikh community.

He was often harassed by the police so he went underground to avoid possible fabrication of cases against him. Later his wife Rajinder Kaur his son, and nephew were taken away by the police. Another nephew who was serving as Captain in the Indian army in 1984 was shot dead by the Indian police. Capt. Gill had been married only a month earlier.

Guide Friend Philosopher

Prof Gill was extremely popular amongst the students of the Punjab Agricultural University. He was a guide friend and philosopher to Sikh youth including Sukhminder Singh Sandhu and Rajit Singh Gill both now under detention New York jail. Mr. Gill and Sandhu told the World Sikh News on the phone “we are very much grieved and feel it a personal loss,”

A wave of anger has run throughout the Sikh world on this barbarous act of the Punjab police. The students of the Punjab Agricultural University immediately after hearing this news. The strike has continued since Feb. 1. On the call of the AISSF all the educational institutions of the state observed complete strike on Feb. 6th and 7th 1989.

S.Gurcharan Singh Dhillon President of the World Sikh Organization expressed his shock and. anguish on this barbaric murder of this young man. He told the WSN that this was a political murder and the government of India would have to bear the consequences. He made a fervent appeal to the Sikhs living abroad to get united to face the challenge of brutality of the Indian government.

Habeas Corpus Filed

According to latest news from Chandigarh, disposing of the Habeas Corpus petition of Prof. Rajinder Paul Singh Gill, Mr. Justice SS. Grewal of Punjab and Haryana high court Chandigarh issued a notice to Director General Police Punjab and SSP Ludhiana to produce him in his court on February 10, 1989. The petition was moved by Mrs. Rajinder Kaur w/o Prof Rajinder Paul Singh Gill. She stated in her petition that the police have physically taken away her husband from their residence at Sector 15, Chandigarh on January 25, 1988. She further stated that her efforts to know the whereabouts of Prof. Gill have shown no results. She further stated that he feared that her husband might be eliminated in some fake encounter. She submitted that one such encounter has already taken place in area of Miran Bet in Ludhiana District on January 26 and FIR no 46, Police station Sadar Ludhiana have already been recorded in this respect. She said that her husband was not involved in any criminal act.

It was further recorded that the students of the Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana are on strike since the beginning of the month and demanding his release. Mr. SS. Giani Advocate appeared for Prof Gill in the court.

The latest reports add that the court has extended the time limit for reply in response to the government’s application.

Article extracted from this publication >>  February 17, 1989