The case of Ravinder Singh

Published : Nov 07, 2003 00:00 IST

What Reduced to Ashes says

Unlike other cases listed in the book, Reduced to Ashes admits the killing of Ravinder Singh had nothing to do with the police. Instead it asserts that the case was of "murder inspired by sectarian hate". On May 14, 1992, Ravinder Singh's father Raghbir Singh told the book's authors that he left for the shrine of Baba Budha Sahib along with his wife Narinder Kaur and their children. Two Nirankari Sikhs took objection to his playing Guru Gobind Singh's hymns on a tape recorder. A scuffle ensued and one of the two, Satpal Singh, said "that he would murder the whole Sikh community if he had the power because of the way the Sikhs had murdered the Nirankari Guru." Later that morning, Satpal Singh and his son Daljit Singh dragged Ravinder Singh by the hair into their factory, and shot the victim five times, and then beat him as he died.

The record

FIR 169 registered at the Sadar police station in Amritsar records that Ravinder Singh was shot only once, with a .315 bore rifle. It also claims that Ravinder Singh was carrying a weapon, a 7.65 mm pistol, which he used to threaten Satpal Singh, demanding the keys to his scooter. Finally, the FIR records the recovery of a fake identity card from Ravinder Singh's body, showing him to be the employee of Amritsar city's long-defunct Nagar Nigam Transport service. Raghbir Singh moved a Sessions Court in 1993 against what they claimed was the murder of Ravinder Singh. Satpal Singh and Daljit Singh were, however, acquitted. They then filed an appeal before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The family told the authors of Reduced to Ashes that the appeal was rejected on the technical grounds of its being filed more than six months after the lower court decision. The two accused, however, say they are in possession of court records, which show the High Court waived this six-month stipulation, heard the appeal, and rejected it on merits. After Ravinder Singh's killing, Reduced to Ashes admits, a post-mortem was carried out and the family members attended the cremation - making it clear that this particular case has nothing to do with either disappearances or illegal cremations.

Eyewitness testimony

Sitting in the company of a Youth Congress (I) leader and a Shiromani Akali Dal Youth Wing leader, both affiliated to the orthodox Khalsa Panth, Daljit Singh was irate about what he sees as defamatory allegations. "First of all, neither I nor my father harbour any hate towards any community," he says, "and secondly, we are a vulnerable minority here. If anyone had been stupid enough to shout hate slogans against Sikhs in those days, there would have been a riot within minutes.

Ravinder Singh was a terrorist, who we have no regret about shooting, because he tried to steal from us and would one day or the other have come back to kill." Daljit Singh also denies that Ravinder Singh was staying with relatives close to his own home in Bhai Laloji Nagar.

"The family made up this story to try and explain away what he was doing near my home first thing in the morning," Daljit Singh insists, "but they were exposed in court. It is sad someone has given them a platform to vent all these lies again."

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