Monday, April 16, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Zaffarwal was desperate to return home
Was in touch with cops for a year
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 15
Had the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) chief Wassan Singh Zaffarwal been sending feelers to the Punjab police for “staging his arrest” for the past about one year? The answer is in the affirmative if police sources are to be believed.

Zaffarwal was fed up with his stay in Switzerland where he could not move about freely for his lifestyle, particularly his traditional dress and flowing beard and had started considering his stay there as nothing but a kind of “house arrest”. Monetary problems and a “friendly regime” back home were the two other factors which drove him back to India. In such circumstances, the only way out for him, was to return to India in an “honourable” way and face the law. Since, there was no major case against him and he had been hoping that like other terrorism- related cases there was little possibility of somebody standing out as a witness against him, he would be able to rejoin his family within a few months after getting bail, it is reliably learnt.

Zaffarwal, according to some senior police officers, was desperate to return and had been sending feelers to the Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur police authorities during the past about one year. What had delayed his home coming was his pre-condition that he should be “arrested”. He was reluctant to surrender before the police as it could bring bad name to him and his outfit. But since initially there were no takers among the police authorities and at the political level to “stage” his arrest the “development” got delayed for some time. That Zaffarwal was making serious efforts for his return for the “congenial atmosphere” back home was confirmed by his brother Sukhwinder Singh, when he said,” It is good that he is coming back at this most opportune time. Who can envisage future and the change of regime? We used to be picked up every now and then and tortured for months during the previous regime.”

The sources maintained that Zaffarwal, on the one hand, opened a channel of communication with the Gurdaspur police through one of his relatives who is a powerful political figure, on the other, some of his Dasuya-based contacts kept in touch with the Hoshiarpur police with a plea that he should be “arrested” by it as his name figured in two major shootout cases registered by the Dasuya police in 1984 and 1991. 

“But this could not materialise at these places for want of timely and proper response from the top,” said a top official source while requesting anonymity. The Punjab Congress and other parties have already launched a tirade against the Akali government on the issue saying that the Badal government had been hand in glove with militants. 

“How come the government and its agencies were not aware about the arrival of Zaffarwal before his arrest, while he had alighted at Rajasansi airport. If it was so, the Badal government should accept its failure,” said the PPCC Vice-President Jagmeet Singh Brar here today.

Some sources also pointed out towards the treatment meted out to Zaffarwal, which had generated a lot of heat and criticism from different quarters, was “pre-planned” and this development could be used as a bait and allurement to other foreign-based terrorists that they would not be treated badly if they returned to India.Back

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