will he get Justice ?
21 years on, Bhagat Singh’s kin yet to get justice
Freedom fighter Bhagat Singh's kin have been fighting a 21-year legal battle to get justice for one of their relatives, who is believed to have been killed by the Punjab Police when terrorism in the State was at its peak. He has been missing since 1989.
The family of Surjit Kaur, Bhagat Singh's niece, is hopeful that they will get justice for Kuljit Singh Dhatt, 45, of Ambala Jattan village who mysteriously disappeared in 1989.
Surjit Kaur, who is Bhagat Singh's younger sister Parkash Kaur's daughter, says that her brother-in-law Dhatt was picked up by Punjab Police from Garhi village in Hoshiarpur in 1989, when Sikh terrorism in Punjab (1981-95) was at its peak.
The hope follows this week's Supreme Court directive to the Punjab and Haryana High Court to dispose of the case and to the sessions court at Hoshiarpur to finish the trial in this case by March this year.
Parkash Kaur filed a writ in the Supreme Court in September 1989 following which the apex court set up a judicial commission to inquire into the case. The inquiry report, which indicted Punjab Police officials and stated that the police story about Dhatt’s escape was fabricated, was submitted to the court in October 1993.
“Despite the inquiry report, nothing happened till October 1996 when the Supreme Court ordered that a case of kidnapping against five Punjab Police officials be registered in this case. After scores of hearings and fighting this case for 21 years, including 13 years in the high court, we are still hopeful of justice,” Surjit Kaur told IANS.
The five Punjab Police officers named in the case included Ajit Singh Sandhu, who retired as district police chief in Tarn Taran but later committed suicide May 1997 following cases of killings and human rights violations against him. The others are S.P.S. Basra, now a deputy inspector general, and three station house officers - Sardul Singh, Jaspal Singh and Sita Ram - who were posted in Hoshiarpur district at that time.
Jaspal Singh and Sita Ram were convicted in two other murder cases of the militancy days in Punjab and are at present in prison. Jaspal Singh had filed a case before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, claiming that the Government had no powers to pursue cases against police officials who were engaged in fighting terrorism.