August 14, 2010 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
[NOTE: Following is the translation of Letter written by Advocate HS Phoolka to Giani Gurbachan Singh, Jathedar, Sri Akal Takhat Sahib. Original Letter was written in Punjabi]
Singh Sahab Giani Gurbachan Singh Ji
Sh. Akal Takht Sahib
And the Respected Jathedars of other Takhts
Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh.
Since November 1984, with the blessings of the Guru, I have been vehemently pursuing the cases relating to the Sikh Genocide. I have been pursuing these cases since the past 26 years and during this period I have not charged any fee for the cases or taken any kind of a donation. In 1985, I was paid a meager amount of Rs. 15,000/- by DSGMC and after that since 1986 till today, I have neither received any money from the Gurdwara Committee, nor from any other organization for these cases.
It is very unfortunate that certain Sikh leaders of Delhi, under a deep rooted conspiracy to shield the guilty Congress leaders have started a campaign to malign me. They are alleging that I have been paid crores of rupees and I am not following these cases in the interest of the community, but solely for my own personal benefit.
Now, when these cases have reached their peak and Sajjan Kumar is badly caught and strong proofs are emerging against Kamal Nath, at this delicate moment, they have intensified their campaign to malign me so that the support I get from the media and the legal circle is adversely affected. The conspiracy is to involve me in defending myself against this malicious propaganda and hence distract me from these cases.
I have always given more importance to the cases of 1984 Genocide over all my other cases. When Sajjan Kumar’s cases have reached their peak, I have been devoting all my time only to these cases. The conspiracy is to distract my attention at such a critical juncture.
Like other Senior Advocates, I could have also made a lot of money by devoting all my time to my commercial practice. But instead of making money, I preferred to take up this social cause as my moral obligation. Not only did I put my practice at stake, but also my life by facing the perpetrators of the Genocide head on, all by myself.
I have never accepted any security for my protection. Justice Ranganath Misra had ordered the Police to provide me with security, but I refused to accept the offer. I was of the view that if I keep gunmen around me for my protection, it would demoralize the victims. With what face would I ask widows of victims to not get scared and to testify fearlessly. My strength was that I would stand alone, without any outside support. That is why since 1985 I would go everywhere to courts and relief camps, all by myself on my motorcycle. This is what boosted the morale of the victims and demoralized the other side. Following my example, many young boys and girls and retired army officials started visiting relief camps by themselves. They even started visiting areas of Bhagat and Sajjan Kumar. I was happy that my decision to not accept security proved to be correct.
In 2004, during my debate with Jagdish Tytler on NDTV, when he threatened to kill me, I was offered VIP security by a senior officer who told me that the President of SGPC and the Chief Minister of Punjab have written a letter to the PM, Dr. Manmohan Singh stating that I be given security and hence PMO issued orders for my security. I again refused to accept any security. This was again a delicate moment when the cases were about to reopen and the Nanavati Commission report was due for submission. The officer while leaving said that he salutes me and that even though I have refused security, he would on his account carry out full investigation as to who and from which quarter do I face danger. Thereafter, I kept receiving calls from the Home Ministry enquiring if I have changed my decision but I told them that my decision was final. I write to you today to impress upon your goodself that not only have I not been concerned about money but I have also endangered my life time and again for the cause.
Despite my having done so much, all of a sudden certain Sikh leaders are making false and malicious allegations against me. Is this justice? Having fought for justice for the victims of the 1984 Genocide for the past so many years, today I appeal to you for justice for me.
This scheme of making allegations of personal benefit emanated after my debate with Tytler on NDTV in 2004. Tytler alleged that I have taken enormous sums of money for these cases and it is only for making money that I have conspired against him. He further stated that the whole Sikh community is with him, it is only Phoolka who is against him.
When after this interview, journalists approached Tytler for material and proof substantiating his allegations, he could produce nothing. I have filed a case of defamation against Tytler in Ludhiana. This had become a thorn in his paw. He was desperately seeking for help to substantiate his claims. It was at that time that the then President of DSGMC, Prahlad Singh Chandoke came to his rescue. Chandoke started claiming that I had taken Rs. 50 Lakh from the DSGMC for these cases, though this was completely false and I had never accepted a single penny for these cases. But because he was the President of DSGMC, some people believed him. I have narrated this whole episode in detail in my book, “When a Tree Shook Delhi”.
A while later when Tytler’s case again came into the limelight, another Sikh leader, DSGMC’s ex president, Avtar Singh Hit started making similar allegations against me.
Now when the noose has tightened around Sajjan Kumar’s neck, the present president Paramjit Singh Sarna and his brother Harvinder Singh Sarna have taken it upon themselves to make these false allegations against me. They have continuously started alleging that I have taken Rs. 1 crore 9 lakh from the Gurdwara Committee. On 17th July 2010, Saturday I met both brothers in an office of the DSGMC. When I demanded from them proof of making such baseless allegations against me, Harvinder S. Sarna profusely insulted me. He shouted, making rude comments against me and used very offensive language and threatened me. He also said, and I quote, “Yes I have said it. Do whatever you can. I will expose your bad deeds before the whole Sangat.” His language was so offensive that had I not walked out of there, in a few moments he would have started hurling abuses at me. What has upset me all the more is that his episode happened in the presence of a Senior Advocate, KTS Tulsi.
I write to you today with a plea that your goodself may ask for an explanation from any leader who claims to have proof against my integrity and ask for any of such material to be placed before you. I will answer.
It appears that the conspiracy is to divert my attention from Sajjan Kumar’s case and other 84 cases and I spend all my time and attention in defending myself against these allegations. At this crucial juncture, even the slightest oversight in the cases could have disastrous consequences.
I am conscious of the fact that my decision would have an adverse impact on the cases, but my hands are tied. Since the past 4 days I have been in such mental turmoil and pressure that I have not been able to concentrate on the cases at all. If this state of affairs continues, the cases may have an adverse impact and hence I write to you with an appeal that in these circumstances it is not possible for me to continue with the cases. An alternative arrangement be made and a decision be rendered at the earliest so that the community’s interest does not suffer.
I am even more upset with these allegations as I usto respect Paramjit Singh Sarna. My association with him started in 1995 when he played a positive role in HKL Bhagat’s case. My disagreement with Sarna started in 2008 on the issue of the 1984 cases only. When the key witness in Tytler’s case, Giaani Surinder Singh retracted his statement in court, he was given a plum posting of the Head Granthi in Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib. Later in 2008, he gave a true statement against Tytler to the CBI and said that his life was in danger. He went to America because of this danger and made an application for leave for a year to Sarna. Sarna refused to accept his application, despite much persuasion. In the end, Giani Surinder Singh had to return in January 2009 so as to save his job. When he came back, Sarna made it a point that he was not deputed in any Gurdwara and was forced to stay home. Many people attempted to persuade Sarna to not do this, but he paid no heed. Finally, he was deputed to Majnu Ka Tilla Gudwara, out of all Gurdwaras in Delhi, which was in Jadish Tytler’s area. There he usto face daily and repeated threats which took a toll on his health and in June 2009, at a fairly young age of 60 he passed away. Tytler’s case was yet in court and was extremely weakened by Surinder Singh’s untimely death. Tytler presented an affidavit in court, purportedly from Surinder Singh stating that he had been pressurized by Phoolka to make a false statement against Tytler. Tytler’s whole game plan was to malign and control me, but with Wahuguru’s grace I was saved.
Tytler had complete support of these people and so I was disappointed with Sarna but there were no fights. However, when I prepared and asked them to file a case against Kamal Nath, Sarna instantly flared up.
At this crucial juncture when Sajjan Kumar’s case has reached its peak, I am extremely saddened by Sarna’s false allegations. When some journalists approached Sarna and asked him for receipts and bills for the Rs. 1.09 crores, he immediately altered his stand and stated that this money is the administrative expense that they have incurred during the course of the Nanavati Commission. Phoolka was the in charge and he had commissioned this unnecessary expenditure, even though nothing fruitful came out of the Nanavati Commission.
All of Nanavati Commission’s expenditure was done by the Gurdwara Committee, but none of this money and not a single rupee spent was on my account. Besides, this expenditure was done only till 2003, after which no money at all has been spent. Why is this expenditure suddenly being brought up after 7 years? In these 7 years, Sarna would have praised me many a times but when Sajjan Kumar’s case has reached its peak why is he suddenly lamenting over expenditure?
Sarna also states that nothing has been gained from the Nanavati Commission. It is only after the Nanavati Commission that cases against Sajjan Kumar and Tytler have been reopened; Tytler was forced to resign from a Ministerial post; the Government had to shell out a compensation of over Rs. 717 crore for the Riot victims. Maybe all these achievements may not have been in Sarna’s personal interest and benefit, but are they not in the interest of the community? This is for your goodself to decide.
In conclusion, with utmost sincerity, it is my respectful submission that I have not charged any fee in any of the riot cases. I have spent all my life for the cause and endangered my life in the process. I have fearlessly faced powerful leaders such as Bhagat, Sajjan Kumar and Tytler. Despite having done so much, I have never expected any reward. I have not accepted any political position or any other benefit. But today I am being repaid by having to defend and protect myself against false allegations leveled by Sikh leaders on my integrity?
In these 26 years, many organizations and people have attempted to offer me a lot of money to help the cause, but I refused with humility and have always said that I do these cases following my inner conscious that tells me to raise my voice against the atrocities faced by the Sikh Community. Particularly during my visits abroad, I was offered a lot of dollars and pounds out of a feeling of helping the cause. In order to raise public opinion for the cause, I have visited other countries about 25 to 30 times. It was only 3 times out of these, once to LA and twice to Vancouver, that I have accepted flight tickets for my visit, the rest have all been on my personal expense. Having to hear all these malicious and degrading allegations has adversely affected my inner conscience.
I earnestly request you to ask the whole Sikh community that whosoever has ever given me any money for the cause should come before you and disclose the same so that the truth can be ascertained once and for all. At the same time, all those who have been refused by me to accept any sum of money must also come before your goodself and explain how despite their persuasion, I refused their offers.
In this fight for justice, I have never had any expectations from these Sikh leaders. I have always stood against the perpetrators of the crime alone and have the resolve to do so in the future as well, however I feel that I do not have the conviction and the strength to be fighting the leaders of my own community in addition to the Congress leaders. These leaders claim that I am fighting these cases for my personal benefit. Even after hearing all these allegations, if I continue with the cases, I am fearful that the common man is going to get the impression that I am continuing the cases for my own personal interests.
These allegations have disturbed me so much that I have been spending sleepless nights and have been unable to prepare properly for the cases. If these circumstances continue, I will be rendered incapable of working on the cases and the cases would hence suffer. I am therefore constrained to request your goodself to kindly take a timely decision on the matter and make alternative arrangements for another lawyer. At this critical juncture, even a mere delay of a few days can prove to be disastrous for the cases. I assure you that till such alternative arrangements are made, I will continue with the matters and not let the cause safer, whatsoever may be my mental state of mind.
(Harvinder Singh Phoolka)
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Related Topics: Akal Takht Sahib, November 1984