Now murdered in Chicago, Satwinder Singh “Bhola”, son-in-law of fasting Sikh activist Surat Singh Khalsa, was a proclaimed offender (PO) in the 1989 shooting of Rajinder Kaur, daughter of Akali stalwart Master Tara Singh, besides other sedition and terrorism cases.
Bhola who lived on the powerhouse road here before fleeing to the US, was accused along with four other Khalistani militants of firing upon Rajinder Kaur’s car outside Khalsa Senior secondary School on the Multania road here on February 2, 1989. Rajinder Kaur, who had remained member of the Rajya Sabha, and advocate Baldev Singh were killed in the attack.
On June 8, 1991, the court of chief judicial magistrate had pronounced Satwinder Singh PO. Rajinder Kaur and Baldev Singh had come to the school to attend a function and terrorist had prior information of their schedule. As soon as the targets boarded a Fiat car, it came under fire. A man in the backseat saved himself by lying down.
A case under Sections 302 (murder) and 34 (common intent in crime) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC); Sections 25 (punishment for manufacture, sale, transfer, conversion, repair, test, exposing or use of firearms), 54 (renewal of licence) and 59 (possession of unlicensed firearm) of the Arms Act; and Section 3 (punishment for terrorist acts) and 4 (punishment for disruptive activities) of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (prevention) Act (TADA) was registered against the accused. Satwinder Singh was 31 then.
The news of his murder got the Kotwali police station staff searching for his record. “The clippings of news reports about his murder in the US will help us delete his name from the POs’ list,” said an officer at the police station.
Satwinder Singh, who belonged to Taroana village in Bathinda district originally, faced eight other cases related to sedition, terrorist activities, and spreading hatred among communities, in Punjab and Delhi. One of the cases is registered at Delhi’s Parliament Street under TADA since 1986. His neighbours were ignorant of the news of his murder. A woman living opposite said the entire family had moved abroad after renting the house to a man.
On Monday, some unidentified people had killed Satwinder Singh with sharp-edged weapons in a Chicago parking lot near his house in the US city. He was husband of Khalsa’s daughter, Sarvinder Kaur.
Satwinder Singh 'Bhola's' house in Bathinda, Punjab. (HT Photo)
AKAL TAKHT JATHEDAR CONDEMNS MURDER
Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh has condemned the alleged murder of Satwinder Singh Bhola, sonin-law of fasting Sikh activist Surat Singh Khalsa, in Chicago in the US.
“It is a shocking incident and needs to be condemned in the strongest possible words. We are deeply saddened by the incident,” the jathedar said in a statement issued here on Tuesday.
He appealed to the US administration to conduct a thorough inquiry into the crime.
“The murder has raised eyebrows because the target was none other than a close relative of a person who is waging a battle for the Sikh ‘panth’,” he added.
“Was the murder an attempt to derail the movement started by Khalsa for the release of Sikh detainees, who have completed their jail terms? The ‘hidden conspiracy’ behind the murder must be exposed by the US administration,” the jathedar added in the statement.
DAL KHALSA TOO SEES ‘CONSPIRACY’
Condemning the murder of Bhola, radical Sikh group the Dal Khalsa has appealed to the US administration to find out the culprits and unearth the “conspiracy”, if any, behind the killing.
The murder was shocking and painful, said party spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh in a statement.
He emphasised that a thorough probe was required as Bhola was close relative of a person (Surat Singh) who is on fast unto death since January 16, seeking the release of political prisoners who have served maximum prison term.
“Who killed him, who engineered his killing and what could be the motive behind his killing is a mystery and unclear so far,” said Kanwar Pal, while pointing out that the official statement of the US police department in the case was yet to come.
He, however, made it clear that before reaching any conclusion, the Dal Khalsa would wait for the official statement of the American investigation agencies. He expressed the hope that the US investigation team would bring the culprits to the book soon.