People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXI

No. 15

April 15, 2007

Murderous Attack On

CPI(M) Patiala District Secretary

 

IT is amazing how the rights and even lives of the poorest people are under threat today as globalisers show scant concern for the marginalised. And when someone stands up to those violating their human rights, they can even be murdered with impunity. Virtually no state in the country is free of elements who are prepared to kill for a price.

 

The murderous attack on Inderjit Singh Bhagrana, CPI(M) district secretary of Patiala in Punjab on April 4 is a shocking example of this. He was brutally attacked by seven or eight men led by Shamsher Singh alias Lala, the son of the former village pradhan of Bhagrana village in broad daylight. Shamsher Singh is alleged to be part of a gang of hired killers in close coordination with the local police. The reason for the attack is that Shamsher Singh had raped a young dalit girl of the 10th class at Yadav Dhaba in Sirhind after kidnapping her from her home village in March 2004, after which, when her father complained, he beat him up, fracturing his arm, and even beat up the doctor who examined her. Hearing of this, Inderjit Singh, who was the sarpanch of the village, took up the issue and ensured Shamsher Singh would not terrorise the area and suppress witnesses by challenging his attempt for bail in the Supreme Court. Eventually the criminal was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. What is shocking is the police did everything in its power to ensure bail for this criminal, but could not prevent his incarceration after the intervention of the Supreme Court. 

 

In September 2006 he came out on parole but he failed to return. Not only were the highest police officials in the district and state informed of this fact and of the failure of the police to arrest him despite his being present in the village, but letters were sent to the then chief minister of Punjab, the prime minister and the president, but nothing was done. Finally, when the Congress government of Punjab lost the election, eight criminals, some of them hired murderers, made a brutal attack on him in broad daylight in the village, stopping his car while he was on his way to a funeral, smashing its windscreen and attacking him with rods daggers and a heavy hammer. He has received 17 wounds with a sharp instrument and six with a blunt one, and a number of fractures on his hands and legs. But the quick response of the people of the village who rushed to save him prevented his murder.

 

The idea was obviously to terrorise the villagers by showing them that Shamsher Singh could flout the law at will with the police behind him for that is the only reason why the man was able to jump parole and freely move around in the village. Today, however, his whole family have fled the village because of the public outcry against them.

 

The joint secretary of AIAWU and CPI(M) central committee member, Suneet Chopra, visited Inderjit Singh on April 8 in the emergency ward of a Chandigrah hospital where he is undergoing treatment.

 

Later in a statement Suneet Chopra demanded that the present chief minister of Punjab come forward the arrest Shamsher Singh and his fellow-culprits, institute an enquiry into the criminal-police nexus in the district and suspend the local police before such an enquiry is undertaken and punish the guilty. We also demand adequate police protection and no less than Rs 10 lakh compensation out of the chief ministerís fund to the young victim, Baljinder Kaur and her father Ajaib Singh, so that they can begin to repair the damage done to their lives. Failing that, the union will throw itself into a mass movement to expose the criminal-police nexus and attacks on dalits in Punjab today. (INN)