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The whistleblower

punjab Updated: Apr 07, 2012 12:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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It was human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra who in 1993-94 brought to light cases of 'unclaimed' bodies being cremated by the police. Khalra, a cooperative bank director, went to the Durgiana Mandir cremation ground in Amritsar for the cremation of Piara Singh of Sultanwind and Amrik Singh Mattewal of Mattewal village, both bank directors who had been killed in police 'encounters'.

Piara was a relative of Panthic Committee member Harminder Singh Sultanwind, while Amrik was the maternal uncle of Sital Singh Mattewal, head of the militant outfit Dashmesh Regiment. Khalra happened to peruse the temple's cremation records and found that Amrik and Piara were listed as 'unidentified'.

Thereafter, he and some of his friends started investigations into the cremation of 'unidentified' bodies by cops in police districts of Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Majitha. It was during the course of these investigations that Khalra 'disappeared' on September 6, 1995.

The Khalra 'abduction and murder' case was probed by the CBI on the directions of the Supreme Court and the guilty were convicted.

His widow, Paramjit Kaur Khalra, pursued the case of 'unidentified' bodies and brought it before the Supreme Court, which ordered a CBI probe.

Talking to HT, Paramjit said, "It is the government's duty to identify bodies in every case rather than order its closure. For families who have suffered trauma all these years, compensation is not enough. The government should appoint a high-level commission of inquiry to punish those who took the law in their hands and killed innocent people in fake encounters. Why has no action been taken against men such as former DGP KPS Gill, on whose directions injustice was done?"