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Anti-Khalistan activist shot dead in Punjab

Recipient of Shaurya Chakra award Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who had fought against terrorism in Punjab for years, was shot dead on Friday by unidentified assailants at his native Bhikhiwind village in Tarn Taran district, police said.

Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said Mr. Sandhu was killed by two unknown assailants at his home in Bhikhiwind, at around 7 a.m.

“He died on the spot. A CCTV footage from the area shows that two unknown assailants arrived at the house of the deceased in the morning and one of them entered the premises and fired at Balwinder Singh at point blank range. The details of the vehicle and its registration number are being probed,” said the DGP.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ordered the constitution of a Special Investigative Team (SIT) headed by DIG Ferozepur to probe all angles in attack. The SIT has already formed four special teams to crack the case.

“Three-four bullets were pumped into Mr. Sandhu, the exact details, however, could be ascertained only after the postmortem report, which is awaited,” Jagjit Singh, Superintendent of Police (Investigation), Tarn Taran told The Hindu.

“We have registered the case against unknown persons under Section 302 among other sections of Indian Penal Code, besides Arms Act and investigation was underway. We are investigating the matter from all angles and we are hopeful to of arresting them soon,” he said.

Mr. Sandhu was awarded the Shaurya Chakra in 1993 for his exemplary courage as he alongwith his family strongly opposed the Khalistani movement and terrorism for many years. The Shaurya Chakra is a military decoration, which maybe awarded to civilians also, for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice while not engaged in direct action with the enemy.

Pointing out that Mr. Sandhu has been the target of terrorists earlier also, his wife Jagdish Kaur alleged that his security cover was withdrawn earlier this year even though the family had been on the hit list of terrorists.

Reacting to the allegation Mr. Jagjit said, “During the COVID-19 outbreak there were some (security) changes for everyone. We will check that too.”

According to the Shaurya Chakra citation (1993): “Shri Balwinder Singh Sandhu and his brother Ranjeet Singh Sandhu are opposed to the activities of the terrorists. They are obviously in the hit list of the terrorists. The terrorists have so far made 16 attempts to wipe out the Sandhu family within a span of about 11 months. The terrorists attacked them in groups of 10 to 200, but everytime the Sandhu brothers with the help of their brave wives, Smt. Jagdish Kaur Sandhu and Smt. Balraj Kaur Sandhu have successfully foiled the attempts of militants to kill them. The first attack on Sandhu family was made on 31st January 1990, and the last on 28th December 1991. But the deadliest attack was made on 30th September, 1990. On that day, about 200 terrorists surrounded the Sandhu’s house from all sides and attacked them continuously for 5 hours with deadly weapons including rocket launchers. The attack was well planned and the approach road of the house was blocked by spreading underground gun mines so that no help from police forces could reach them.

“Undaunted, the Sandhu brothers and their wives fought the terrorists with their pistols and sten guns provided by the Government. The resistance shown by the Sandhu brothers and their family members forced the terrorists to retreat. All these persons have displayed courage and bravery of a high order in facing the attack of the terrorists and foiling their repeated murderous attempts.”

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 10:14:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/anti-khalistan-activist-shot-dead-in-punjab/article32874756.ece

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