FOR MANY millennia, for historical and geographical reasons Punjab has been the gateway to the Indian sub-continent. Even before independence in which Punjab (and Bengal) were partitioned, Punjab has been the laboratory of Indian politics. Yet, mainstream India chooses not to acknowledge Punjab’s situation or its plight.
While the liberals choose to ignore Punjab, the Left chooses to side with the Indian state, the Hindu right wing considers that it was police and its high-handedness that brought peace to Punjab after its dark decade and a half 1978-1993.
The ones who hold this opinion advocate the so called ‘Punjab model’ advocated by former Punjab DGP KPS Gill. They believe this model of crushing militancy with an iron hand can bring peace in other trouble torn parts of the nation where citizens are at loggerheads with the state and the battles are armed – North East, Kashmir, Bastar and so on.
They do not acknowledge that while police did some work, it was also notorious for its extra-judicial terror, disappearances and killings of innocent people. The fact is that Punjab saved itself from further harm through emphatically a people’s stance against militancy, not police’s high-handedness.
Yet, the liberals, the Left, the right-wingers keep listening to the Punjab police version of what is going on in Punjab and forming their opinion: Khalistan threat, Pakistan fermenting trouble, smuggling of drugs, and so on.
This is now playing out in the case of former Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini. Saini has been the blue-eyed boy of his boss DGP KPS Gill and even former Panjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal. In fact, it was the Badals who appointed him DGP of Punjab Police until the cases of sacrilege of religious texts in Bargari, Faridkot in 2015.
Earlier, Saini has even been close to the Congress Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. Saini enjoys Z+ security by the government of India and Punjab funded by ordinary tax payer’s money. Z+ is a security detail of 55 personnel – 10+ NSG commandos and police personnel – and a security box and a jammer vehicle.
Over the last few years two cases are going on in courts over Saini. One is by Amar Kaur, who aged 103 years passed away a few years back without getting justice. In that case, in March 1994 her son Vinod Kumar disappeared from the custody of the Ludhiana Kotwali police station along with his brother-in-law Ashok Kumar and driver Mukhtiyar Singh. They had been detained from February 23, 1994 till March 3, 1994. Saini was then SSP Ludhiana.
In the other case from 1991, Balwant Singh Multani, a former a junior engineer with Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation, was abducted and he disappeared. At the time of the incident, Saini was Chandigarh SSP. Last month, Section 302 Indian Penal Code – Murder was added in the case after two co-accused policemen turned approver against Saini.
On Friday, Justice Suvir Sehgal of Punjab and Haryana High Court recused from hearing anticipatory bail plea of the former DGP Punjab on the run. The High Court judge did not record any reason for recusal and referred the matter to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and High Court for listing the same before another bench.
Earlier on Wednesday, another High Court Justice Amol Rattan Singh had recused from hearing Sumedh Saini’s petition seeking either quashing or transfer of Multani case to CBI. This too was without any recorded reasons. The same is now listed for a hearing on September 7.
Recently Saini’s wife had written to the Punjab government that their security was being withdrawn. The government has refuted the facts. Last night, Saini went underground along with his wife. Saini’s whole security paraphernalia is at his home but he is not to be found.
This shows how the all-knowing Punjab Police, on whose statements and opinions the rest of the country forms its opinions about Punjab, is actually clueless about what is going on the ground. It was the same with the recent hooch tragedy which killed over 120 people. The question really is: is the police truly unaware? If that be so, what is the police doing?
Saini’s disappearance in spite of Z+ security reveals the unholy nexus between police and politicians and clearly points at their utter disregard for law or citizens. The question then is: what does a citizen do with democracy when its leadership is complicit in perpetuating the status quo – denial of justice?
Is it a wonder then that what happened in Punjab in its ‘dark decade’ later happened in Gujarat and is now happening in Uttar Pradesh? Extra-judicial killings were recently celebrated in Telangana and Madhya Pradesh. This is the price we pay when citizens of the nation believe the state narrative instead of the people’s voice.
Also Read: Red Beacon and Punjab Police
Disclaimer : PunjabTodayTV.com and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors’ right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabTodayTV.com or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.
Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.
— Team PT