Bapu Baldev Singh, father of 1986 Saka Nakodar martyr Bhai Ravinder Singh Littran, thanked Dr. Iqtidar Cheema, Member Global Steering Committee of United Nations OSAPG, for highlighting the 34 years of DENIAL of justice in 1986 police killings of four innocent Sikh students Ravinder Singh, Baldhir Singh, Jhilman Singh and Harminder Singh during his intervention at the UN Palace of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr. Cheema while addressing 43rd session of the HRC of United Nations has stated “Punjab has also seen such ethnic cleansing of Sikhs in 1980-90s. He referred that on 4 February 1986, in a similar pattern of extra judicial killings four Sikh youth were killed by Indian paramilitary forces in Nakodar, Punjab during a peaceful protest. 34 years have been passed but the families of the victims still to find justice.”
Bapu Baldev Singh stated that four innocent Sikh students were killed by state police and paramilitary forces in Nakodar, Punjab on 4 February 1986 while they were peacefully protesting the desecration of sacred Sikh scripture by miscreants in the City.
Not only did the police fire on the protestors without provocation or threat, they cremated the bodies of the victims in secret, declaring them unidentified and unclaimed, while family members of the victims pleaded for the bodies of their loved ones.
What followed was a systematic cover-up by the police with aiding and abetting by successive governments. The state government only partially released its own judicial inquiry report in the state assembly that too in a clandestine manner on 5 March 2001 with no notification to the victims’ families, leaving out what is suspected to be self incriminating evidence from the police personnel.
The families would only become aware of the existence of this report after 18 years on 13 February 2019, when the state legislative assembly members pressed the state government of its whereabouts while debating an almost identical event that had occurred in October 2015.
We have been trying to get justice, but after 34 years of the incident, it appears that the police have expunged the records and state government is unwilling to release the full report of judicial inquiry into the incident. The aggrieved families have been demanding justice for over three decades but their efforts have been thwarted by what can only be described as concerted effort by police and the government to prevent the truth from coming out.
Our pleas to CM Punjab on 30 July 2018, 18 August 2018, a memorandum via Deputy Commissioner Jalandhar on 26 February 2019 and our requests to have an audience with CM Punjab have gone unanswered.
Our numerous RTI requests to Punjab’s Chief Information Officer State Information Commission, DGP Punjab, Principal Secretary Punjab, Offices of Home Department, CM and Governor Punjab throughout the years haven’t yielded a full and complete copy of the judicial report. State government has failed to undertake any substantive action, to the contrary by their actions the state government and police appear to be trying to keep it buried forever.
Our grievance filed on 12 December 2018 to Governor of Punjab was disposed without providing the Justice Gurnam Singh Report, but instead by providing a response of a Cancelled FIR report No. 54 dated 4 February 1986 by SHO Nakodar, Jaskirat S Chahal.
The FIR was cancelled on 24 March 1987 because Justice Gurnam Singh Panel Report stated in his findings “this is all an afterthought to justify the action of the police.” The FIR was filed in court records on 4 January 1988 by class 1 magistrate Justice Inderjit Singh along with Justice Gurnam Singh judicial report.
The judicial report had been submitted to the state government on 31 October 1986. However, authorities claim that in the court records the report is no longer attached with the cancelled and filed report. Shockingly, Deputy Superintend of Police Nakodar, in a response to our RTI request 1254 dated 19 January 2018 claimed in his letter dated 3 March 2018 that there was no police firing in the city of Nakodar on 4 February 1986.
It has been 34 years since 4 youth were murdered in cold blood by those mandated to protect the citizenry. Parents of the 3 other victims have died waiting for any semblance of justice, we are in our twilight years, there is not a ray of hope for us to see justice done. How long is too long? Were lives of our sons worthless? Is police above the law? What kind of civilization lets killers of innocents roam free and occupy high posts? He asked.