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After two deaths, former Jaitu SHO apologises

It all started on January 12, when three students of University College, Jaitu – two boys and a girl – were allegedly “picked up” from a bus stand by Gurmeet for “creating nuisance on road” and taken to the police station.

punjab Updated: Feb 06, 2018 10:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Faridkot
Jaitu SHO,University College,Jaitu
Former Jaitu SHO Gurmeet Singh (centre, with red turban and black trousers) apologising to students outside the Jaitu DSP’s office on Monday. (HT Photo)

Former Jaitu SHO inspector Gurmeet Singh, whose moral policing of three students on January 12 started a chain of events that led to the death of two policemen, including a DSP on January 29, apologised to his victims on Monday. Gurmeet, who had skipped two previous occasions to say sorry — on January 27 and January 29 — came in civvies, without security, outside the Jaitu DSP’s office about 1pm. Officially, Gurmeet has only been transferred to the police lines.

“If you feel I made a mistake...I feel sorry. However, I am not that guilty....had met one of the three students and protesters. Rest...I feel sorry again for any mistake I might have made. In the DSP incident, I am not at fault. (‘Je tusi samajde ho ki meri galti hai, tan main usdi sorry feel karda; Baki mera ehna vi kasoor nahi si, kyunki main ohna (protesters) nu pehla milya. Par pher ve mere walo koi galti hai, taan us layee main pher sorry feel karda haan. DSP wali ghatna vich mera koi kasoor nahi hai’,” he told the gathering of 50, that had led protests, seeking the cop’s apology for more than two weeks.

On January 29, two weeks after the initial incident, students were again protesting at the college, when DSP Baljinder Singh Sandhu shot himself in the head, in the middle of the protest.

The three students he had picked up from outside the local bus stand — Navkaran Singh, Usha Rani and Sukhraj Singh — were present. Members of an Action Committee of farmers and students who had pledged to fight for justice were also present. Gurjinder Vidhyarthi, who had led the students’ protests seeking an apology, was also present.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda) president Buta Singh, a member of the action committee, said, “We have accepted his apology and forgive him for his act of detaining and thrashing the students. He has agreed to pay medical bills of students injured on January 29.”

Sequence of events

It all started on January 12, when three students of University College, Jaitu – two boys and a girl – were allegedly “picked up” from a bus stand by Gurmeet for “creating nuisance on road” and taken to the police station. The students’ parents had alleged they were kept in police custody for at least five hours and thrashed.

The students had complained against “moral policing” to the university and students unions had begun protests, seeking action against the SHO.

On January 29, two weeks after the initial incident, students were again protesting at the college, when DSP Baljinder Singh Sandhu shot himself in the head, in the middle of the protest. When the DSP shot himself in the temple, the bullet went through and injured a constable standing nearby, who succumbed to his injuries.

For this incident too, the police had picked up four people, who have since been released. They have also accused the SHO of torture and thrashing. “The police brutality did not end even after the deaths. After being detained, the SHO thrashed us with wooden sticks. We were pulled by our hair and tortured,” Gurvir Kaur, one of those detained and released on January 30, had alleged on January 31. The DSP was cremated with full state honours.

First Published: Feb 06, 2018 10:12 IST