Why can’t we rehabilitate ‘sources’?

"Encounters — Fact and Fiction” by Prabhjot Singh (Spectrum, March 12) is a telescopic view of those horrifying days which have left an indelible mark on the psyche of at least our generation. Demagogues unleashed fury among Punjabis by equivocating religious fundamentalism, though these unscrupulous politico-religious leaders also felt the heat of the resultant terrorism.

The task to subdue this bloody madness was onerous which had a telling effect on the state forces, which eventually proved ineffective. Seeing the state police’s morale in its boots, the terrorists had a field day. Even the judges were scared to hand out sentence to the accused militants.

Paramilitary forces and the Army were then brought in to tackle the situation. Under the Army umbrella, the confidence of the Punjab Police revived. Mr KPS Gill played an important role in revitalising the force. As there were no set rules to tackle terrorism, the police tried to improve upon its intelligence system by cultivating sources and contacts among active militants, the protection of whom was guaranteed. And this time onwards the likes of Sukhi came into existence and finally the battle was won.

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— Editor-in-Chief


When we can recruit dreaded insurgents in the Nagaland Police why cannot we provide protection and initiate rehabilitation of those recognised sources that helped the administration to bring peace to the state?

Col KULDIP SINGH GREWAL (retd), Patiala


The nightmare of terrorism, that still haunts the state sometimes, had engulfed the once prosperous state of Punjab for nearly two decades. Any solution to combat or contain it is justified so long as the measures are not repressive and do not lead to violence and bloodshed.

The means to achieve the goal of peace and prosperity in the state deserve the support of all progressive people. During terrorism days, the youth were misled and inducted as part of a well thought out plan by the ISI, which hijacked religion and used the youth as a pawn. An Urdu poet has touchingly said, “Aag nafrat ki to jab chaho laga sakte ho, shole nafrat ke kisi roz bujha kar dekho”.

B.M. SINGH, Amritsar

Taimur can’t be compared with Ranjit Singh

This has reference to V. N. Datta’s review “Five rivers, five centuries” (Spectrum, April 2). Datta writes, “Ranjit Singh had set before himself the example of Timur, which is generally ignored”. This is a far-fetched observation, which does not bear the scrutiny of historical facts.

Timur who is rightly considered the scourge of Asia and who got killed about one lakh Punjabis (whom he had taken prisoners from Punjab) without any reason at Delhi can’t be compared with a benevolent and humane person like Ranjit Singh.

During his campaigns, Ranjit Singh never allowed his troops to indulge in this type of barbarity. There was no enslavement of prisoners of war and none was killed in cold blood. Timur killed lakhs of civilians and took lakhs as slaves from India.

In humane qualities Ranjit Singh had even an edge over Akbar. Akbar, after the fall of Chittorgarh, wantonly got killed 30,000 civilians including women and children. In this regard Ranjit Singh’s record is the cleanest in history particularly of the contemporary world.

V.P. Mehta, Chandigarh

Pending demands

This refers to the “Discourse on Separations” by M. Rajivlochan (Spectrum March 12). When the Sikhs fought bravely during the World War I, they were generously given awards and land by the British government. Thereafter when they became active in the freedom struggle, they were mercilessly beaten and killed during the Gurdwara movement.

Both Gandhiji and Nehru made bold promises before Partition to the Sikhs. When after Partition Tara Singh asked them to implement the promises, both leaders backed out. So much so that when the States’ Reorganisation Commission was constituted after the death of Andhra leader Romollu, Nehru openly said that a Punjabi-speaking state could not be formed.

Continued discrimination for more than three decades forced the youth to take up the gun and raise the voice of separation. Absence of intellectual leadership of the disgruntled youth resulted in the killing of innocents both by the terrorists and the police. Though there is peace in the state, there is no solution in sight of the pending demands of Punjab.


Sketchy description

This has reference to “A sacrifice to remember” by K. S. Bains (Spectrum, April 2). The description of the place of supreme sacrifice is depressingly sketchy.

A great pep would have been added to the piece if some sound bytes from Bhai Mahavir, former Governor of Madhya Pradesh and a direct descendent of the martyr, Bhai Mati Dass, and Lt-General B.K.N. Chhibber, former Governor of Punjab, a direct descendant of Bhai Sati Dass, would have been added.

The writer is painfully ignorant of the history of the Sikh panth as he mendaciously says that the leader of one religion laid down his life for the protection of people of another religion. Had he even cursorily gone through the Dasam Granth especially its part, Bachitar Natak he might have been better informed.

One further wishes that the writer had enlightened himself with a smattering of the history contained in the Bansawli Nama by Bhai Kesar Singh Chhibber. The readers should have been also told that it was the Jan Sangh/BJP administration that handed over the Kotwali building to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.



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