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Surinderjit Singh Fauji

The following story is narrated by Surinder Singh himself. Oppression, injustice and brutality of the Indian government on Surinder Singh are an example of how the government targeted and killed thousands of Sikhs in Punjab.

Background

Bhai Surinder Singh
Bhai Surinder Singh is a resident of Fatehabad. Because of his military background, everyone calls him ‘Fauji’ According to him, “While I was in the military I received training to fight the enemy but never did I ever prepare myself to fight the country I considered my own.” He further states that, “Sikh genocide at the hands of the Indian government was pre-planned. The government identified and killed Sikhs in a very organized manner.” Narrating his story he says that in 1986, Hindus of Shiv Sena holding naked swords marched the streets of Fatehabad and shouted that they have captured many Sikh women in Delhi. They challenged the Sikhs to free their women. Many Sikhs including Fauji were enraged and challenged Shiv Sena. This was enough for the government to identify the Sikhs who had some dignity and self-respect. Shiv Sena quickly informed the police and had all Sikhs arrested. This was the beginning of Indian brutality on Fauji.

Atrocities of the Police

The first time the government raided the house of Fauji was on the night of May 23rd, 1986. He was picked up and taken to various police stations over the period of fifteen days. He was tortured using numerous methods and then under National Security Act (NSA) was sent to jail. In July he was bailed out and charges under NSA were dropped. While he was charged under much false litigation, once again he was picked up by the police. This time he was taken to infamous police station of Amritsar where just like thousands of other Sikhs he was tortured but luckily his family members bailed him out by paying large amount of money. A visit to Amritsar police station gave him a glimpse of what the Sikhs had been going through since 1984. In 1991, when the government announced to hold the elections in Punjab, he joined the party “Sant Sipahi Front” of Fatehabad but soon after the government cancelled the elections and increased its brutality even more.

In the same year, S.H.O. of Goindwal police station, Surinderpal, picked up Bachitar Singh, brother-in-law of Fauji. When Fauji went to the police station, he was also arrested. He was tortured there and then sent to many other police stations where his bones were crushed with the wheel, and iron rods were inserted in his stomach. Then he was handed over to B.S.F. He was tortured for many more days. At last B.S.F. claimed that Fauji was innocent and had no links with terrorists but Surinderpal, the police officer, refused to let him go free and said, “What does the BSF know? Fauji and his sister both are terrorists.” Then he was handed over to Taran Taaran police and tortured there. He was charged under TADA for keeping explosives and illegal weapons and sent to Amritsar Security Jail. On April 20th, 1992 he was released on bail. On April 27th he was picked up by Surinderpal (police officer of Goindwal) and Balbir (police officer of Fatehabad). According to Fauji, the police kept on beating him while taking him to the police station. He also stated that Surinderpal kept asking, “Which bastard has bailed you out? Which stupid judge has accepted your bail?”

Fauji was surprised at the acts of the police officers who were making insulting remarks about the law. On one hand, Fauji was being physically assaulted by the police and on the other hand, his wife and family members were seeking justice at High Court but it was all in vain. High Court refused to listen to any pleas and served no justice. Later on, the police picked up wife of Fauji and kept her in jail. She was beaten up and forced to sign on a blank piece of paper. Both were released after paying large sum of money. After getting out of jail, Fauji contacted the army officers and asked for help. They talked to the police and asked them not to bother Fauji again but even low ranking police officers were fully supported by the government and were given higher authority than the army since they were helping the government eliminate the terrorism. The army talk with the police had no outcome and after a week, Fauji’s house was raided by Surinderpal and Balbir. Fauji managed to escape but his wife and daughter were arrested and taken to the police station. There they were tortured severely. Fauji once again sought the help of the Army and the police promised not to bother Fauji and his family again. Despite their promises, they continued to arrest and torture Fauji. Soon after, Fauji left his house and went underground.

An Experience of Fake Encounter

After Fauji left his house, the police started to raid his house everyday and started bothering his family members. Many times, his wife was arrested and tortured in many police stations. She was interrogated without the presence of any female police officers. When Fauji found out about his wife and family members, he decided to go back and meet them. Unfortunately he was captured by Surinderpal on the way back. The police chose December 14th, 1992 to be his last day. Fauji was taken to police station of Chohla Sahib. In the middle of the night, Fauji and six other Sikhs were taken out and tied up. Surinder Singh Fauji realized that the police intended to kill them in a fake encounter and then throw their bodies in the river. All the police officials were drunk. Taking advantage of this, Fauji managed to untie his hands and free himself. Upon reaching the bridge of a river, the police vehicles stopped, took out all the Sikhs including Fauji and had them stand in a line. Then the police fired upon all of them. Fauji was a trained military man. Using his skills, he managed to jump in the river few seconds before the police started firing. After killing all the Sikhs, the police grabbed them all from their legs and threw them in the river. Then they danced in the excitement and shouted slogans of “KP Gill Zindabad”. After a while, Fauji came back to the bridge hoping someone might be alive but by that time, all of them had disappeared in the depths of the river.

Fauji, then, got a ride from a bus driver and reached Ludhiana. He went to his friend, Harbant Singh’s house and told him his story. His friend helped him out financially to seek medical treatment and contacted lawyers Ajit Singh and Navkiran Singh. Both lawyers recorded Fauji’s statements. Fauji also managed to free his wife from B-Division police station by paying huge sum of money. Then both decided to expose the true face of the Indian brutality.

War of Justice

In 1993, Fauji met Simranjit Singh Maan who sent a writ-petition to High Court on behalf of Surinder Singh. Maan also contacted Human Rights Organizations and informed them the story of Surinder Singh. High Court sent summons to the guilty police officers to appear in the court. Seeing the summons, the police officers were surprisingly shocked because in their knowledge they had killed Surinder along with other Sikhs. The police started to pick up every relative of Fauji and started threatening to kill them if Fauji and his wife did not drop their charges. Fauji then with the help of R.S. Sodhi sought justice from Supreme Court. Supreme Court summoned the police officers to appear in the Court. The police had fully support of the government and paid no attention to Supreme Court’s summons and kept harassing Fauji’s family members until he was provided body guards from the C.R.P. Since then, Fauji has been fighting against the same police officers. It is unfortunate the no Panthic organization came forward to help him but that did not discourage him. He claims that he still receives threats from the police and even has been offered bribes to keep his mouth shut but he will continue his war of justice. For him it is not just a war for himself but for all those whom he has seen being tortured and raped in the police stations. He has personally witnessed hundreds of rapes by the police. He states that rapes in the police stations are very common and nothing out of the ordinary. However, he cannot seem to forget one particular conversation between the police officials which shows how cruel the police had become and how far the government could go to eliminate the so-called terrorism. He states:

One day, I saw couple of police officers dressed as Sikh freedom fighters. They had rifles in their hands and their beards were uncut. One guy was telling the other “Last night was very fun. We went to one villager’s house and knocked on the door. From inside one inquired, “Who is it?” We said, “We are from the group of Baba Manochahal.” Then they opened the door. Their daughter- in-law was very beautiful. Our boss picked her and we took the other women of the house and…..”

After telling this story, Fauji starts another one and then another one. He has so many stories that can fill up many books. For him and many other victims, the war continues. It is our responsibility to record the history in its true form and bring the criminals to justice.

Taken from Indian Terrorism on the land of Punjab by Baljit Singh Khalsa

Translated by SikhFreedom.com