Shaurya Chakra awardee and Left leader Balwinder Singh shot dead in Punjab’s Tarn Taran
Balwinder was on the hit list of terrorist outfits yet his security was withdrawn last month, family suspects it’s a terror attackUpdated: Oct 16, 2020, 21:00 IST
Tarn Taran Two motorcycle-borne men shot dead Left leader Balwinder Singh, 55, at Bhikhiwind, 25km from Tarn Taran, on Friday morning. Balwinder Singh was a Shaurya Chakra awardee for fighting against terrorism in Punjab in the ’90s.
Balwinder, a Revolutionary Marxist Party of India (RMPI) district committee member who was on the hit list of terrorist outfits, was at home when the two men fired six bullets at him around 7am and fled, police said.
Balwinder’s family runs Evergreen Senior Secondary School in Bhikhiwind, once a terror hot-spot, and his residence is on its premises. “As per routine, my husband got down from the first floor to open the outer gate. We realised that there had been firing only after 5-7 minutes and found him in a pool of blood in the office situated near the gate,” said Jagdish Kaur, his wife.
The assailants knocked on the door first. On opening it, one of the assailants fired indiscriminately at Balwinder, said Dhruman H Nimbale, Tarn Taran SSP, who rushed to the crime scene. Balwinder’s wife, Jagdish, is also a district committee member of the RMPI that Mangat Ram Pasla leads
SECURITY WITHDRAWN DESPITE APPEALS
RMPI leader Chaman Lal Darajke said Balwinder’s security was taken back last month. He said they had requested senior police officials to restore security, but to no avail. “He was against the terrorism and had been attacked 44 times,” Darajke said.
As per his wife, who stood by him to fight against terrorism, over 40 FIRs have been registered in attacks on their family. The previous one was in December 2018 when unknown persons fired at their house.
Sources said a gunman had been deployed for the security of the family, but he was not with Balwinder at the time of attack. Kaur also blamed the police, claiming, “The police withdrew security even as we were on the hit-list of terrorists.”
FOUR SHAURYA CHAKRAS AWARDED TO FAMILY
Tarn Taran was among the worst-hit districts during militancy. Balwinder and his family members—wife, older brother Ranjit Singh and brother’s wife Balraj Kaur were awarded for their bravery by the President in 1993. “His is the only family in the country that has been awarded four Shaurya Chakras for showing unique courage and valour when his wife and he were activists of the Communist Party of India. Documentaries have also been made on his family,” said Drajke.
Balwinder is survived by wife, two sons, Gagandeep Singh and Arshdeep Singh, and a daughter. They have expressed suspicion that Balwinder’s killing is a terror attack. “We don’t have any kind of personal enmity. This is a clear-cut attack by terrorists. I have fought against terrorism. Now, when he has been martyred, I will give a tougher fight to get the justice,” said Kaur.
Asked on the terror attack angle, the SSP said, “We are investigating the matter and cannot say anything about it.” The RMPI’s state leadership has condemned the murder of the party leader and sought justice.