Kotkapura clash: Inquiry ordered into police firing deaths

  • Raghbir Singh Brar, Hindustan Times, Faridkot
  • Updated: Oct 16, 2015 09:49 IST
Takht Damdama Sahib former head priest Balwant Singh Nandgarh (left) in an altercation with SAD (Amritsar) leader Parminder Singh Balianwali during a protest on Goniana road in Bathinda on Thursday. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the deaths in police firing at Behbal Kalan village in this district on Wednesday.

Deputy commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi has entrusted additional deputy commissioner Sonali Giri with the task of holding the inquiry.

Meanwhile, the post-mortem on the body of Krishan Bhagwan Singh, one of the two who were killed in the firing, was conducted at the local Guru Gobind Singh Medical College on Thursday.

While the body of the other victim, Gurdeep Singh, is still lying at home as the family allegedly did not allow the police to take it for post-mortem on Wednesday night. They are waiting for his father Sadhu Singh and brother Jagdeep Singh to return from Kenya.

A large number of people from the village and adjoining areas gathered at the house on Thursday. Most alleged that the police brutality killed him. “Let us know the fault of our child who has been murdered by the police. He was no criminal,” said Gurbaksh Singh, a relative.

“He had gone to the protest site on the link road of Behbal Kalan to serve langar as a tractor trolley from our village had left for it. The police opened fire on peaceful protesters. The police even tried to take away the bodies for post-mortem to the medical college, but we intercepted them,” said Makhan Singh, a villager.

Karam Singh, a relative of the deceased, said, “The police have registered a case against the villagers while no case has been registered in the Gurdeep Singh killing. We want a fair inquiry and justice for the family.”

The family said no official visited them. Villagers criticised a few Akali leaders who tried to convince the family to get the post-mortem done.

In the other village, Mohinder Singh, father of the deceased Krishan Bhagwan Singh, was surrounded by villagers. “My son was our only support. The government must spare a thought for his children,” said Mohinder.

Krishan, who was a granthi, is survived by two sons and a daughter. The family will cremate him once his son arrives from abroad on Friday.

Faridkot SSP Sukhminder Singh said the post-mortem on Krishan’s body had been done.

The government has not announced any compensation for the families of the deceased.

Meanwhile, the police claimed that the unruly protesters assaulted them, following which they fired in self-defence.

Nandgarh demands compensation

Condemning the police action against the protesters, Takht Sri Damdama Sahib former jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh on Thursday demanded Rs 1 crore as compensation for the deceased.

“When the government has announced Rs 1-crore reward for anyone giving a clue in the case, it should also offer Rs 1 crore to the families of the deceased and Rs 50 lakh to the injured,” Nandgarh said at Dhilwan Kalan village.

Nandgarh, protesters clash

Faridkot: A sort of a scuffle ensued between Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) district president Parminder Singh Balianwali and Takht Damdama Sahib former head priest Balwant Singh Nandgarh at a protest site on the Goniana road near the Bathinda branch of the Sirhind Canal, exposing the differences that have cropped up between the two.

Nandgarh was coming to Kotkapura when the protesters asked him to address them. Balianwali alleged that Nandgarh’s saying that he was not in favour of the shutdown had infuriated the protesters. “When I urged him to speak to the protesters to boost their morale, Nandgarh caught me by the beard and pulled it,” he added. Seeing the protesters’ anger, the police whisked Nandgarh away.

Radical Sikh leader Baljit Singh Daduwal also joined the protesters. Nandgarh couldn’t be contacted in spite of many attempts to reach him.

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