Chandigarh — The surface calm brought about by the patrolling units of the army was exploded here when assailants struck two victims and escaped. Mr. Kishan Lal Manchanda, President Bhartiya Janta Party, Chandigarh unit and Mr. Makhan Singh, a student leader who was considered close to Indian President, Giani ~Zail Singh, were shot dead by the unknown assailants.

Mr. Manchanda was watching T.V. in his home with his family when the assailants entered the room and shot him.

Mr. Makhan Singh had been a dominant figure in the Student politics in Punjab University, Chandigarh. There was serious rivalry between his group and the group led by Shot Dead

Ajaib Singh and Cheema who are reported to be close to the Speaker of Indian Parliament, Mr. Balram Jakhar and former Punjab Chief Minister, Darbara Singh.

Some years back Makhan Singh was shot at and injured in the leg reportedly by the Cheema group, and towards the end of December 1983 Cheema along with a friend were attacked with pistols just outside the Law Department on the Punjab University campus. Both of them were seriously wounded and Cheema had to remain in the hospital for many months recovering from bullet wounds.

Usually knowledgeable sources reportedly believe that Makhan Singh’s murder could be the result of the same old rivalry between these two factions of the Congress (I). Makhan Singh had never criticized the Sikh activists and, had no clash with Sikh Student’s Federation as the latter has practically no organized wing on the campus.

The sources also feel that Manchanda’s murder is the result of a conspiracy to thwart the efforts to solve Punjab problem. They believe that the solution would deprive the Punjab Congress (1) leaders of the preeminent position that they enjoy today. They control the State administration by proxy and have considerable say at the centre. Solution of Punjab tangle would mean surrendering power either solely to Akalis or to BJP Akali dominated opposition combine. Such a _prospect, feel the expert analysts, is too grim to be allowed to develop into a reality. Congress (I) leaders of Punjab, they feel, would never permit peace or solution so long as they feel convinced of their continuous supremacy in Punjab.

They also feel that members of the banned All India Sikh Student’s Federation have no quarrel with BJP. Their grouse, particularly after June attack on Golden Temple and AntiSikh riots in November 84, can only be against the Congress (I) leaders or Sikh traitors. By no calculation the killing of Manchanda appears to be the act of Sikh activists as is being made out by the Government and the biased media.


Article extracted from this publication >>  March 29, 1985