Friday, August 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Man, 3 sons get death sentence in revenge
killing case
Ashok Sethi

Bhasarke Bhaini (Amritsar), August 7
A minor dispute over the collection of ‘theh’ has led to a series of revenge killings in this village. It has left 35 persons dead during the past 12 years and culminated in the death sentence, confirmed by the Supreme Court, of Piara Singh and his three sons.

The two-storey desolate house of Piara Singh stands mute testimony to the hatred and vengeance that the owner had with his one-time friend, Jagir Singh. The only survivors of the Piara Singh family, including his wife and son Harvinder Singh who is a head constable in the Punjab police, have left the village to an unknown place, fearing retribution by the family of Jagir Singh.

Talking to The Tribune team, Mr Nishan Singh, cousin of Piara Singh living in his neighbourhood, said Jagir Singh and his henchmen had unleashed a rein of terror during the heyday of terrorism.

Recalling the genesis of the killings in the village, Mr Nishan Singh said it was the result of an enmity between Jagir Singh and Giani Piara Singh, who were earlier friends, over ‘theh’ collection. The enmity led to the killing of 16 persons of the Piara Singh group allegedly by the members of the Khalistan Commando Force (Zaffarwal) supported by Jagir Singh in a series of incidents.

To avenge the killings, Piara Singh who was a police informer, managed to secure some police weapons, including three SLRs and one rifle.

On the night of November 21, 1991, Piara Singh, along with his three sons Satnam Singh, Sarabjit Singh and Gurdev Singh entered the house of Jagir Singh when the family was enjoying a wedding and fired indiscriminately, leaving 19 persons dead, which included Jagir Singh’s father Mohinder Singh, brother Jasbir Singh, two teenaged nephews Gurvail and Vikram and their newly married niece Harjit Kaur, two uncles and others. This sent shockwaves in the entire village.

The police arrested Piara Singh and his three sons who were later sentenced to death which was recently confirmed by the apex court.

The confirmation of the death sentence to Piara Singh and his sons by the Supreme Court on August 6 has come as no solace to the family of Jagir Singh who has lost 19 relatives. Jagir Singh’s only surviving son Angrej Singh while recalling the events of November 21, 1991, said the family was still getting threats. He added that the villagers had also not dared to offer their condolences. The family had already given up its land and property in the village as no one desired to return to the ancestral house. He said the SC ruling was justice to the killing of his relatives.

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