IHRO: Sukhdev Singh 'Babbar' was Killed in a Fake Encounter
March 19, 2006
Source: International Human Rights Organization (Punjab)
Statement by the International Human Rights Organization (Punjab)
Bhai Sukhdev Singh 'Babbar', the chief of Babbar Khalsa International was announced by the police to have been killed in an encounter with the police on the Sahnewal-Dehlon Road in Ludhiana district at 5 AM on 9.8.92, but contrary to the police claim all other reports indicated that Sukhdev Singh was already in police custody. It was in these circumstances that IHRO appointed a four-member team comprising of its General Secretary Mohinder Singh Grewal and Secretaries Gurbhajan Singh Gill, Bhupinder Singh Somal and Harchand Singh Gill to investigate the incident.
The Fabricated Police Version
According to FIR Number: 63 dated 9.8.92 u/s 307/34 IPC, 25/27 Indian Arms Act and 3/4/5 TADA (P) Act of Police Station Sahnewal, "SSP Sidharath Chattopadhya instructed that various militant organisations, especially the Babbar Khalsa International are likely to execute a big action in connection with the Bhog ceremony of the Khalistan Liberation Force Chief, General Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala, so nakabandis were done around Ludhiana. I, along with Shiv Kumar-DSP (D), Narinder Pal Singh-DSP, PP Sabharwal-SP (O), Ganesh-SI (CRPF) and their parties was present at the Dharaur Culvert in the revenue estate of village Nandpur when at 5 AM, a Maruti Car No: CH-01-F/1607 arrived from Dehlon side. Two Sikhs were sitting in the front seats. We signalled them through torchlight to stop but they left the car and, after taking positions on the canal distributary bank, started firing in order to kill the police party but we, in self-defence replied the firing afterwhich I informed the police control room through wireless. From the nearby checkpost, the SSP along with this party came to our help. Firing ensued from both sides with automatic weapons. The militants made me a special target. I used my SLR but the firing from their side was very heavy. Not afraid of losing my life, I continued to fire. When the firing ceased, we found a dead body there. The other man had escaped. One AK-47 rifle with six live rounds was found on the body, while 32 empties were lying nearby. A small diary bearing the name of Sukhdev Singh, Head Sewadar, Babbar Khalsa International was recovered from his person. The escapee had left seven empties of .30 mossier behind. The police fired a total of 203 rounds during the hour long encounter whereas, the militants fired 39 rounds".
The IHRO Findings
According to the findings of the IHRO team, Bhai Sukhdev Singh was living at house number 20, Urban Estate, Patiala in the garb of a contractor as Jasmer Singh Sandhu. On the night of August 8, 1992, the Ludhiana SP(D) , Balwant Singh Gill, on receiving a cue from Chandigarh went to Patiala with a selected police force and rang the call bell of the said house and also gave the 'code word' which was known to a top notch of the Babbar Khalsa and a very few other associates. When the Babbar Khalsa chief descended from the upper storey of the house and opened the gate, the police immediately pounced upon him. After a short scuffle, the Babbar fell down and was overpowered. He was then taken to Ludhiana along with his Maruti Car (CH-01-F/1607). At Ludhiana, he was interrogated and tortured in the CIA staff and the Focal Point police station. In the early hours of August 9 when he was almost dead due to severe torture, he was put in his car and taken to the Dharaur village culvert on the Sahnewal-Dehlon road. At about 5 am, while he was still seated in the car, he was shot dead and his body was thrown out of the car. Later the police made up the story that the Babbar was shot dead in an armed encounter in order to project the 'bravery' of certain police officials like SSP Chattopadhya, SP(D), B. S. Gill, DSP(D), Shiv Kumar, DSP, Narinder Pal Singh, SP(O), P. P. Shabharwal and Inspector Gurjit Singh in anticipation of rewards and promotions.
Points to Ponder
The police story has many holes in its armour. These are some very noteworthy points which make the police story look like reality ridiculous:
• While showing the blood stained rear seat of the car, its broken windows and Sukhdev Singh's turban lying in the car to the newsmen, the overenthusiastic police officials forgot that they themselves, in their madeup story had alleged that the two Sikhs had left the car and taken positions along the distributary bank before the "encounter" started. Then how did the blood and the turban come into the car, which had already been abandoned?
• The police says that the Babbar was identified from a small diary bearing the name of Sukhdev Singh Babbar, Head, Sevadar, Babbar Khalsa International, which was allegedly recovered from his body. Will an underground militant, who was living in the guise of a contractor Jasmer Singh Sandhu for long time, carry along with him a diary with his full real name and particulars written on it?
• Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala, the Chief of the Khalistan Liberation Force, who was killed by mainly the same police party a week earlier, was also alleged to have been identified in an identical manner. Do the militants who encounter this very police party, bring diaries containing their full identity in their pockets to help these police officials in their identification?
• The people of the area heard only seven or eight shots being fired at the time of the "encounter" whereas, according to the police report 342 rounds were fired. How do we account for such a large difference?
• According to the police version, two SP's and two DSP’s were present on a single checkpost, that too on a comparatively unimportant road, whereas the SSP himself was also near at hand. Do such high-ranking officers normally cluster at checkposts on unimportant roads?
• The SSP and the SP (D), who were both present at the time of the “encounter of Sukhdev Singh were also present during Gurjant Singh’s “encounter”. But when most of the other fake or sometimes genuine encounters involving militants of lesser importance are reported, these senior officers are not present there. How is it, that these officers are present at the time and place of only those encounters in which the top ranking Sikh militants are about to involve themselves?