BRAHAMPURA, Anrritsar, India: Residents of this village are yet to recover from their harrowing experience at the hands of C.R.P.F. personnel on December 27.
The village Sarpanch, Mr. Daljit Singh (48), himself a victim of the C.R.P.F. wrath, alleged that the security men went on the rampage in the village. They broke open into the house of several villagers, dragged them out, abused and beat up men and molested women.
Badly injured, Mr. Daljit Singh alleged that the C.R.P.F. men set on fire a copy of Guru Granth Sahib in Gurdwara Baba Vasakha Singh.
The Sarpanch had a narrow escape when a security man fired ‘at him when he protested against their conduct. The bullet missed him and hit a wall of the house of NaibSub. Amar Singh. The C.R.P.F. men then entered his house and beat up his wife.
Another villager, Sulakhan Singh, escorted this correspondent to many houses which had bullet marks, broken doors and ransacked articles. Men lay on cots nursing their fractured limbs.
Three defense personnel who had come home on leave were not spared either. Lance NaikGurmeet Singh, his brotherinlaw, Mr. Sudarshan Singh, a policeman posted at the Central Jail, Amritsar, and Gulbagh Singh, A C.R.P.F. Naik, were also beaten up.
C.RP.F. Sub Inspector Ajit Singh, a resident of the village serving in Manipur, was savagely treated. His photographs in uniform shown to the C.R.P.F. men proved to be of little help.
Several families chose to keep quiet about the humiliation their daughters had suffered at the hands of the security men. One woman showed her cheek where a C.RP.F. man had bitten her. Her shirt was smeared with blood. Her husband and father-in-law were beaten up while she herself spent the entire night hiding in cotton stacks.
The security men let loose their fury on Balwant Singh, who is on crutches. He owns a small karyana shop. His wife, Kulwant Kaur, pleaded with the security men on her husband’s behalf but to no avail.
Mr, Sadhu Singh, the village school Headmaster, showed to this reporter his swollen back with blue marks.
Pardeep Singh (26). who had come here from Nathupur village to meet his sister also fell ‘a victim to the wrath of the security men. His left wrist was fractured, his body had bruises and his eyes were puffed up.
The Sarpanch told this correspondent that about 20 persons were you need up and made to sit in the cold night.
A neighbor, Mr. Prem Nath, a veterinary doctor, along with his family members rushed to the Sarpanch’s house to rescue him. Their efforts turned futile.
Another serious case was that of Mr. Gurmukh Singh who lay in a stupor unable to move because of the injuries inflicted on him.
His father, Jarnail Singh alleged that some articles of dowry bought for his daughter were taken away by the C.R.P.F. These included wristwatches. He showed broken crockery pieces which lay scattered in a room.
A Panchayat member, Mr. Charan Singh, was badly assaulted. As his pet dog kept barking it was shot dead by the C.R.P.F.
HOW IT STARTED
It all started with some announcements over the public address system. The caller identified himself after about 15 minutes of warnings as Avtar Singh Brahma, a freedom fighter.
The Sarpanch, giving the sequence of events, said that “Brahma Singh of the Tat Khalsa” wanted that no one from the village should feed false reports to the C.R.P.F.
He also spoke against the running of cigarette and tobacco shops in the village. Since the C.R.P.F. was posted in the village school, Brahma warned the C.R.P.F. against searching houses in the absence of men. If the C.R.P.F. men did not stop humiliating and harassing women, they would be taught a lesson. He challenged them to come and catch him.
Then there was some firing by his group and he disappeared from the village. The C.R.P.F. did not stir out of its camp as long as Avtar Singh was in the village.
Mr. Daljit Singh and several villagers said that the C.R.P.F. should have acted then instead of mustering additional force half an hour later and then beating up people. Even on the loudspeaker Avtar Singh had said that villagers should keep indoors if the C.R.P.F. wanted to encircle and engage him in an encounter.
All villagers named a C.R.P.F. Deputy Commandant, Mr. Mukh Ram Yadav, as “responsible” for the happenings.
Contrary to the general impression, Avtar Singh did not make the announcements from a gurdwara. He had forced entry into the house of a Mazhibi Sikh, Gurdial Singh, who supplies loudspeakers for marriages and other social functions.
There are two gurdwaras in the village. While one is just at the entrance of the village, the other Baba Visakha Singh Gurdwara is in the village interior.
Vasakha Singh Gurdwara granthi, Chanan Singh, said he was in the adjoining room when the C.R.P.F. men came and set on fire the holy book.
An investigation team comprising the acting President of the S.G.P.C., Mr. Harinder Singh and Assistant Secretaries Kulwant Singh Randhawa and Raj Singh reached here. Akali Dal M.P., Tarlochan Singh Tour, also visited the village.
In a joint statement, the leaders condemned the “brutalities” committed by the C.R.P.F. and demanded a suitable action against the guilty officers and jawans.
Mr. Tarlochan Singh said the issue would be discussed at the party meeting in Amritsar on.
The leaders promised financial and medical help to the victims of the “C.R.P.F. attack”.
Though senior officials, including D.I.G., P.C. Dogra, Deputy Commissioner Ramesh Inder Singh and Senior Superintendent of Police Izhar Alam have visited the village, no case has so far been registered against those guilty.
An official said that instructions from the Government were awaited. He also admitted that the C.R.P.F. did not inform the police about the presence of Avtar Singh Brahma in the village.
The Sarhali S.H.O. was informed of it only the next morning. Even the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Tarn Tarran, had no knowledge of the incident till about 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. It was he who reportedly informed the SSP, Amritsar, later in the day.
Two Inspector Generals of Police, Mr. D.S. Mangat and Mr. K.P.S. Gill appointed by the Chief Minister to conduct an enquiry, are expected to visit the village.
The President of the Chief KhaIsa Diwan, Mr. Kirpal Singh demanded a judicial enquiry into the “misbehavior” of the C.R.P.F. “since it is very serious matter”.
In a statement he said, the officials concerned should be given “exemplary punishment” for hurting the Sikh sentiments.
A committee of the Chief KhaIsa Diwan had been constituted to probe the incident.