Former militant Wassan Singh Zaffarwal at the protest site at Thaska Ali village in Kurukshetra. Tribune photo
Tribune News Service
Thaska Ali (Kurukshetra), March 21
A day after Sikh activist Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa jumped to death at his native village here, the district authorities ordered on Wednesday to lodge an FIR against unknown police personnel for abetment of suicide.Additional Deputy Commissioner Dharamvir Singh told the protesting Sikhs said the police authorities would also assure immediate suspension of the erring cops.
However, Khalsa’s supporters demanded copies of the FIR and suspension orders as a precondition to cremate the body.
Last rites were not performed till the report was filed.On Tuesday, Khalsa had started a ‘dharna’ to free radical Sikhs lodged in various jails.Later, he climbed atop a water tank, about 80-feet, as a mark of protest.He reportedly suffered fatal head injuries after he jumped from the tank. He was rushed to the hospital in Kurukshetra in a police vehicle where his death was pronounced.
Khalsa’s son Jhujhar Singh told The Tribune that a team of policemen rushed atop the tank to bring him down forcibly after sunset.“My father kept on warning the cops to stay away as he was holding a peaceful ‘dharna’. He also told the policemen to hold a discussion on Wednesday morning. But as the cops forcibly tried to catch him, my father jumped from the water tank to avoid police harassment,” said Jhujhar.
He denied the charge of Khalsa committing suicide or carrying petrol with him atop the water tank.“It is a false narrative that he had any life-threatening material with him. He had no intention of committing suicide but only careless police action drove him to death. I want strict action against those involved,” he added.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, scores of Khalsa’s sympathisers from Haryana and Punjab, including former militant Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, Mohkam Singh and several Akali leaders, gathered at Thaska Ali to protest the death
.Jhujhar blamed the district authorities for showing disrespect to Khalsa’s body.“On reaching Lok Naik Jai Prakash Civil Hospital in Kurukshetra this morning, we were told that post-mortem was already conducted and the mortal remains were dispatched to the village. Instead of handing over the body to the family, police personnel took its custody,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ADC said the post-mortem was video-graphed.
He told the gathering the police personnel had scaled the water tank only for Khalsa’s safety. His assurance of a probe to fix responsibility of erring cops was accepted by the protesters.