January 6, 2012 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Ropar, Punjab (January 6, 2012): Smt. Manjot Kaur, additional sessions judge, today acquitted Bhai Daljit Singh and co-accused, Buta Singh, Baljit Singh Bhau, Balwinder Singh Dekwala and Sukhwinder Singh in a Ropar court on several counts of unlawful activities and the illegal possession of explosive materials and firearms. One of the co-accused, Harminder Singh Cherrian, was however sentenced to three years in prison for the illegal possession of firearms.
On November 15, 2009 at Sadar police station, an FIR was registered under section 25 of the Arms Act, 3 and 4 of the Explosives Act, and 16, 17, 18, and 18B of the Unlawful Activities Act and the co-accused were arrested in relation to this case. Interestingly, Bhai Daljit Singh is not mentioned at all by name in this FIR.
In an attempt to sideline activists like Bhai Daljit Singh from Punjab’s political arena, the administration and police teamed up to implicate him in another false case. According to the police, Harminder Singh Cherrian told police while in custody that Bhai Daljit Singh once gave him a small sum of money to arrange a local religious programme. With this tiny piece of information, Bhai Daljit Singh was tied into a criminal conspiracy completely unrelated to the incident in the witness’ statement and was consequently charged under the Unlawful Activities Act which recently replaced draconian laws like TADA and POTA.
There are several possible motives for the registration of such false cases against Sikh political leaders like Bhai Daljit Singh, but they all relate back to the Indian state’s constant efforts at restraining the resurgence of a movement to reestablish Sikh sovereignty in Punjab. By increasing the number of cases registered against Bhai Daljit Singh, authorities were able to guarantee he would be denied bail and thus sidelined from Punjab politics but more specifically the looming SGPC elections.
Despite the complete lack of evidence against Bhai Daljit Singh, the court proceedings and prosecution continued unabated for two years. Even after the prosecutor, Advocate Sarbjit Singh Bhangu dropped charges against Daya Singh Lahoria in the same case, citing the lack of evidence, and recommended for the same to be done to Bhai Daljit SIngh, the court continued with the prosecution. Despite this blatant judicial mismanagement, Bhai Daljit SIngh was still kept in jail for the duration of the trial.
After his release following a 10 year prison sentence in 2005, Bhai Daljit Singh has been implicated in six false cases – the Ropar case being the fourth he has beaten. Of the two remaining, one is ongoing in Ludhiana, while another in Mansa continues despite a lack of evidence. Although he has been granted bail with regards to the Ludhiana trial, the Mansa court has denied him bail and he remains incarcerated in Amritsar Central Jail.
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