The residents of Devinderpal Singh Bhullar's native village are in a state of shock and anger after the Supreme Court on Friday rejected the appeal for commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment.
Though immediate family members of Devinderpal do not reside in his native village, many of his relatives residing in Dialpura Bhai Ka have termed it as “grave injustice”.
The residents fear that Bhullar might meet the same fate as Afzal Guru.
It was a long journey for Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, from a mechanical engineer to a terrorist, now facing gallows after the Supreme Court rejected his mercy plea for commuting death sentence to life imprisonment.
Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, a hardcore terrorist of Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) was sentenced to death by Supreme Court, for triggering a bomb blast near the office of Youth Congress of India in New Delhi in 1993, and killing nine persons and injuring 29, including the then Indian Youth Congress president, Maniderjit Singh Bitta.
Investigations by Hindustan Times revealed that Devinderpal Singh is known to have been involved in some of the well-planned bombings and other crimes.
He was one of the mastermind to execute the first RDX attack to blow up the car of, Sumedh Singh Saini, then SSP of Chandigarh, (now director general of Punjab Police) who was known for combating terrorism in Punjab, in which many security personnel were killed on August 29, 1991 though Saini himself escaped.
According to police records, Devinderpal was allegedly responsible for a series of communal attacks, notably the massacre in Ferozepur bound train near Jagraon.
Police also named him for being allegedly involved in the abduction of Romanian ambassador, Mr Radu, in Delhi bank dacoity and attack on CIA staff at Ludhiana, reveals police records.
However, apart from these accounts of brutality, little is known about Devinderpal, or how this brilliant country lad from Dialpura Bhai Ka village took to terrorism.
Investigations revealed after passing his matriculation from Jalal village high school of Bathinda district with distinction, Devinderpal joined Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana and completed his BE (mechanical).
Immediately after that, he joined as an instructor in a polytechnic college in Ludhiana, but was soon forced to resign due to ill-health.
Then he shifted to Chandigarh and joined as an assistant engineer in a computer firm in 1990, where he came into contact with Amarpal Singh alias Badesha, an event that changes his life. There was no looking back after that.
Devinderpal Singh, a promising engineer, was swept away by a surge of religious emotion following Operation Bluestar, investigations revealed.
From assuming fake identities like Saleem, Deepak Sunil Kumar, Anil Aggarwal and Manish, Devinderpal lived a life of a criminal.
But during this times, he had been booked by Chandigarh police under section 302/307 of IPC, 3/ 4 of Explosives Act and under various sections of TADA for his attack on the life of Sumedh Singh Saini.
Devinderpal had established close contacts with Dr. Sohan Singh, chief of Panthic Committee (Baba Sohan Singh), other infamous terrorists like Daljeet Singh Bittu, Paramjeet Singh Panjwar, Daya Singh Lahoria, and Manjinder Singh etc.
Devinderpal Singh was also remained in constant touch with Gurjant Singh Budh Singh Wala, Navneet Singh Kadian Dr. Pritam Singh Sekhon, Lakhbir Singh Rode etc.
But when the police net closed in on terrorists after the formation of Beant Singh government in Punjab, Devinderpal fled to Germany using a fake passport.
However, his eventful innings as one of the Punjab’s most dreaded terrorist came to end on December 17, 1994, when the immigration authorities arrested him for using fake passport. He was deported to India, where he was nabbed by the Indian police.
Villagers express anger, shock
When Hindustan Times team went to Dialpura Bhai Ka, a remote and nondescript village of Bathinda district, the native village of Devinderpal on Friday after the apex court verdict, the team found his house locked and his cousins have been looking after family land.
The villagers informed that Bhullar residence had been locked since last 20 years, except few occasions when his mother visited.
As the villagers were expecting media to come, they were directing everyone to the village Gurudwara where people had gathered to deliberate about the development.
The villagers, in state of shock rued that the prayers made at the village Gurdwara for the acceptance of the appeals before the Supreme Court have gone unanswered.
On inquiries HT team came to know that the Balwant Singh Bhullar, father of Devinderpal Singh, posted as senior auditor examiner at audit office, Faridkot and his maternal uncle, Masad, were picked up by the cops, and their whereabouts are not known till date.
Devinderpal Singh’s relatives alleged that they were killed by the police in fake encounter. His mother Upkar Kaur and wife Navneet Kaur , who somehow went underground and resurfaced in US after some time and made frequent visits to India to pursue the case of Devinderpal.
Devinderpal got married to Navneet Kaur from Buraj Kahan Singh Wala village in Amritsar district on September 20, 1991. She was serving as a hostel warden in Bathinda based private school, before migrating to US.
Many people opined that Devinderpal got, what he did, but what about the justice regarding the torture and disappearance of Devinderpal’s father and his maternal uncle?
“It is ironical that court had denied to hear the case of disappearance of Balwant Singh after the police torture on the basis that we made a delay in filing the case. Today court ordered to hang Bhullar just because they feel that ‘delay’ does not matter,” said Mukhtiar Singh.
“If you want to hang Bhullar, you are free to do so. But first you must hang those dreaded cops, who are responsible for this tragic end of story of Bhullar’s family,” added Mukhtiar, a cousin of Bhullar. His leg was mutilated after the torture inflicted on him along with Balwant Singh Bhullar, father of Davinder.
“You can hang Bhullar. But bring back his father first. Bring us the person who for mutilated leg of Mukhtiar Singh,” alleged Joginder Singh who allegedly had a head injury during the torture. He claimed that he still had sleepless nights due to head injury.
“Bhullar just reacted to what police did to his family. Even after he was arrested, Sumedh Saini did not allow us to plough our fields for 7 years in row. Can you explain us why they did so? There are double standards in this country,” said Ranjit Singh, nephew of Bhullar.
"Punjab chief minister Parkash singh Badal is equally responsible for this verdict. He did not make the efforts to save him. Once he went to Delhi. On returning back when asked what center reply on Davinder Pal Singh’s case, Badal replied, Oh! I forget that issue,” alleges Baba Hardip Singh of Panch Pardhani.