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Ribeiro on KPS Gill

Ribeiro on KPS Gill 

 "Police did employ criminals to counter militancy,"  -Bullet for Bullet the book by Ribeiro. Hints that “extra-judicial killings by police policy” was authored in Delhi.

  Rebeiro exposes KPS Gill that actually he had no control over the Operation Blue Thunder-ll. He was merely projected. That Gill was out and out a caste minded officer, who took pride in being a Jatt. That Gill believed that there was no need of creation of public opinion  against terrorism and advocated the policy of ruthless crushing by bullet only. Gill supported wrong officers and saw that these guilty officers were not prosecuted. That the ministers played a subordinate role and police was above them.  Ribeiro has also unfolded the secret of ‘Kale Kachhe wale Gang’ and confirmed that policemen without uniform moved out in villages during night. Ribeiro also writes that he was once rebuked by Rajiv Gandhi when he suggested that the culprits of I984 anti-Sikh riots be prosecuted. He also confirms that Operation Block Thunder in I986 was not necessary at all as he knew the reality about the so called Khalistan 'declaration. That Giani Puran Singh the present Jathedar of Akal Takhat' also helped the police, Ribeiro claims. He reveals how the Police had employed anti-social elements to counter the Khalistanis and how quite often the police  was embarrassed by their misdeeds and that how once this type of criminal's action boomeranged on police itself. 'He tells how some of the Akali leaders were secretly in league' with the Police though publically they spoke against the police. Ribeiro denies that he was the author of policy of Bullet for Bullet and tells that it was scripted in Delhi itself. It thus becomes clear that people like KPS Gill were mere executioners on orders from Delhi.
 Ribeiro who was Director General of Punjab Police from 1986 to 1988 was hitherto known as the harbinger of the policy of ‘Bullet for Bullet’ as a result of which Punjab saw maximum violation of human rights. In his recent biography he denies that he was the author of the murderous policy where police would even kill people in custody and that he blames that it Home Ministry under Arun Nehru which scripted this policy. Though he has all along justified his position; almost everywhere. On his role in Punjab, he begins; 
  “Both things were new to me - Punjab and terrorism. The people of Punjab are as different from the people of Maharashtra as are the Russians from the British. The Punjabis are a very enterprising lot. They are hard working and aggressive. Even their hospitality is aggressive. lt is difficult to leave a Punjabi house without having a glass of lassi or a cup of tea. Should you have had many cups of tea already and are not interested in one more, then you should avoid visiting another Punjabi household.” 
 “The Punjabis make very good soldiers. They are always willing to fight - on one side or other. Throughout my stay in Punjab, my security men were all Jat Sikhs. They were very loyal and faithful .The feuds and the vengefulness that I met with in the Punjab countryside is unknown in Maharashtra. ln Punjab, many people do not wait for the courts to punish the  guilty. They do it themselves.” 

There are however  some interesting points in it. For example hitherto it was believed that K.P.S.Gill was the hero of operation black thunder in which the so called terrorists were flushed out from the Golden Temple. When this super cop was projected as commanding the operation in a majestic and impressive style. He says that the fact was that the operation was not under his command.
Writes Ribeiro; 
 “I then flew back to Chandigarh and accompanied the Governor to Delhi to apprise the Prime Minister of the situation. Chidambaram, the minister and Narayanan director of the IB were present at this meeting. These two men constituted the think tank for Operation Black Thunder-ll, a fact not so known and highlighted in the media.” 
 “Gill had wanted complete control over all units including NSG, But this had been denied to him. The lB director and Chidambaram felt that important decisions should be made in Delhi. This was why the NSG had refrained from accepting Gill's instructions unless they were cleared by Delhi. This was a constant source of annoyance to Gill. Looking back I feel that it was beneficial, otherwise, Gill might have made a few mistakes in his hurry to get the work done.” 
 This shows that Delhi had no faith in  the capabilities of Gill, he was merely being projected as the commander of the operations to kill suspected Sikhs as he was in the garb of a Sikh. In his appearance of a Sikh he proved to be convenient tool to liquidate the Sikhs and then give a misimpression to the world. Drowned in liquor all the 24 hours he was a perfect ploy in the hands of Delhi to prove a good executioner. 
 We recall an interesting episode: once during the height of militancy, children of a particular school had gone to Phillaur police training centre on the invitation of Gill. During their interaction with the 'general' some children innocently pleaded that the buses, which had brought them there, should not be please hijacked on their return. Gill had not yet touched his bottles and may be he was in his senses. Obviously perturbed at the request of the children and before giving an assurance to the innocents he started pouring in his favourite whiskey down the throat: right before everybody including press. 
 “Gill was a Jat Sikh from Punjab and he never failed to mention this to me. He once told my wife that I was too soft for dealing with the with Jat Sikhs. He told her that the only person who could deal with the terrorists effectively was another Jat Sikh like himself. He convinced the Governor with this line of reasoning. As it is now generally believed that Gill's methods succeeded, I will not enter into any serious discussion about these methods except  to reiterate my firm belief that terrorism can be contained only if you win the hearts and minds of the common  people.” 
 According to Ribeiro Gill was totally opposed to the creation of public opinion against the terrorists and was opposed to holding of public meetings. Gill believed it was wastage of energy. Ribeiro writes that Chaman Lal an honest I.G from Madhya Pradesh cadre was also of the view that the public opinion be created against terrorists while Gill believed in crushing them with heavy arms .Due to ideological differences poor Chaman Lal had to eat a humble pie as the Centre and the Governor S.S.Ray supported Gill in this ideological war. 
When we were  going through 'Bullet for Bullet in June 1999 the Tribune daily has inserted an editorial 'Apologise and Behave' condemning Pakistan for torturing and killing personnel of the Indian Air forces 'since no war has been declared'.
Now read Ribeiro: 
 'Another allegation that was often being made by Akali politicians was that young Sikh boys were being shot at on the borders. lt was a fact that the BSF had been trying to prevent infiltrators from crossing the porous borders, and they may have killed some of the trespassers... They were apparently people from other states or areas who had been trying to enter Pakistan for work, or were pushed out from that country by Pak Rangers.” 
 In sharp contrast indeed. It shows how the governments would not have any respect for any human rights when the subject was the Sikhs. 
  “Once in the Gurdaspur area the CRPF had gone berserk when a wanted terrorist quietly entered a village and used the gurudwara's loudspeaker to abuse and challenge the CRPF. Before the CRPF could react he had left. When the attempts of the CRPF men failed, they went around damaging the doors of the houses and even belaboured the women. I sent Dalbir Singh Mangat an IGP to enquire... .He found that a CRPF man had bitten the ear of one of the women .He also found that the Platoon Commander had been lax in command and control recommended that the officer in charge be punished departmentally where as the jawan responsible for biting the woman be prosecuted. I was also in favour of prosecuting those who had rioted and beaten the villagers. K.P.S.Gill was then the lG of CRPF. He was not willing  to take any action against his men .He approached the Home Ministry in Delhi to ensure that sanction was not accorded for criminal prosecution. Finally the government of lndia did not sanction the prosecution. This was not the first time that Gill had thwarted my attempts to discipline the CRPF.” 
“ln a village near Jalandhar, there was a quarrel between a farmer and his servant. The servant complained to CRPF nearby. The farmer and his son were in a belligerent mood. One of the CRPF jawan opened fire and the farmer was shot dead. Balwant Singh finance minister phoned me to protest. I told him that I would register an offence against the culprit. Gill took up their case with the result that sanction to prosecute the para- military personnel was refused.” 
 Now mark the contrast.
On one-side persons in uniform commit murders and they go scot-free. On the other side a Sikh minister insults an inspector and a criminal offence is registered against him. Yet the ministers remains stuck to the chair as it brought money and a Iittle  matter. 
 “Complaint made by SHO of the civil lines police station Amritsar alleged that a senior minister Harbhajan Singh Sandhu had snatched away his service revolver and torn his uniform. The minister however said that he had merely spoken to the officer on telephone to ask why Sardarilal , a petition writer picked up by the police. The minister charged that the SHO was drunk and abused him on the telephone. I ordered that an offence to be registered against the minister. The chief minister [Barnala] was naturally very disturbed at my action.” 
  Ribeiro has cited some more examples of this nature where he has claimed that he over ruled the ministers. Thus even the chief minister could not intervene in the powers of police i.e. the police is more powerful than even the CM. Police in the Punjab is thus autonomous and no political government including that of Akalis is competent to intervene in their work. Recently P.S.Badal pleaded to the 'police that it should disband its black cats brigade when it was being rumoured that they had indulged into some killings. Like the murder of salesman on the Lawrence Road, Amritsar and the death of an Akali worker near Ludhiana. 
 Ribeiro gives an account how judiciary had become irrelevant as it couldn't refuse bail to the culprit. But how bureaucracy had become irrelevant, it is some what interesting to note from 'Bullet for Bullet'. It is clearly indicated that even the senior most bureaucrat felt danger from police: the bullet of the police. Ribeiro narrates how a warped mind IAS officer of the rank of secretary wrote to the Chief Secretary. 
“I was called by Prafulla Vaishnav and shown a letter written to him [Prafulla] by the same officer. The letter said that he feared for his life as I [Ribeiro] had hatched a plan to kill him. He asked for protection. I was totally amazed that a responsible officer of the rank of a secretary could make such an allegation.” 
 We may believe Ribeiro that the complainant was a warped mind. but we can't ignore the fact that he was a senior bureaucrat of the rank of a secretary. In no other state of India police was vested with such unlimited powers as in the Punjab. May be we can't  find parallels in the world history. 
  Ribeiro writes that during his public contact programme he found that there were basically  two points that troubled the villagers: massacre of Sikhs in Delhi and non release of Jodhpur detainees though there existed some other excuses also like the non implementation o f Rajiv-Longowal Accord, River waters, Chandigarh. Ribeiro claims that he regularly used to bring  these in the notice of Prime Minister.
Writes  he; 
 “The Prime Minister was being advised by various confidants at different times. He was advised by Arjun Singh, Arun Nehru S.K. Fotedar,  Buta Singh,  B.G.Deshmukh,  Mrs Sarla Grewal. The only official who spoke and was heard at routine meetings was M.K.Narayanan the director of the lB. Sarla Grewal from behind the prime ministers shoulders kept making signs to me encouraging me to speak up. I was the only officer these meetings to advocate the prosecution of politicians accused of inciting the mobs to kill the Sikhs in Delhi after Mrs.Gandhi's assassination. At first Rajiv did not react to what I said. Ray advised me not to voice this sentiment again. However I was not to stay silent when convinced that a grave injustice was being done. Because it was I who was fighting a difficult battle to win the hearts of the Sikhs Ray was called away. I took the advantage of Ray's absence to raise the issue of the Delhi riots. Rajiv Gandhi lost his temper. He said that he did not want me to raise this matter again.” 
 All this shows that these officials and ministers were the people whose conscience was dead . Ribeiro who is now trying to be reasonable and just had little respect for the human values during his tenure as DGP Punjab. It was his tenure when the police invented hair raising brutal tools and ways to torture the suspected Sikhs. 
 The years roughly from 1989 to 1994 saw a lot of harassment of villagers by the night brigades who were conspicuous of their being without any garment except a Punjabi underpants called kachha. The brigade would operate in the night only to commit robberies, rapes and murders. The villagers suspected that they were policemen as at some places they were also caught and identified. So far the police has not admitted their existence. We get an inkling from ‘Bullet for Bullet’ that the Govt .had authorised the police to move around in what it is called the 'civil dress' in the parlance of forces in uniform. Writes Ribeiro; 
 “It was commonly said in Punjab that the police were in charge of the rural area of during the daytime. At night the terrorists took over since the policemen were themselves reluctant to face the ' terrorists' bullets rn the dark. A solution to this piquant situation was found after much deliberation and thought. The policemen were permitted to patrol at night in plain clothes.” 
 Punjabis knew  that they never came across any police in plain clothes during night. All check posts were otherwise manned by uniformed  police men. The only conclusion  that can be drawn is that  the 'kale kachhe  brigade' was the policemen in plain clothes. 
 Golden Temple, Amirtsar, April 29, 1986-H.S.Bhanwar of daily Ajit gives a graphic account how the declaration of Khalistan was made from Golden Temple precincts. The 'Panthic Panj Memberi Committee' enters the precincts; wearing pants, shirts and their beard tied up. They change their dress to white cholas, round kesri turbans; to look like Bhindranwale, untie their beards to let them flow. Then a declaration believed to have been vetted in  Buta Singh's office is distributed to press reporters. The statement said that the Khalistan has come into being. Delhi is to be the capital of Khalistan where Hindus have the same rights as the Sikhs. After the declaration the committee members change to their original dress and mix up with the crowd and disappear. The Government had earlier tried to get this declaration made by Baba Joginder Singh father of Sant Bhindrawale and latter by Gurdev Singh Kaonke the Akal Takhat head priest on their refusal this 'committee' was imported from USA. The declaration was important as the government wanted to send police in the Golden Temple through the Akali Govt and justify their own Operation Blue star. It was after this declaration the operation Black Thunder -I was carried out as a result of which the position of S.S.Barnala diluted and he ultimately saw his dismissal.
Now see what Ribeiro writes about the incidence; 
 “On April 29 I was camping at Gurdaspur. ln the middle of night I received a message from headquarters that that Arun Singh, Arjun Singh, and Barnala were on their way to Amritsar by special Plane. Accordingly, my wife and I got into our car and drove down to Amritsar, reaching the airport at about 2 am [night] on 30 April. I met the Chief Minister, Arun Singh and Arjun Singh [who had reached].The Chief Minister told me that he had decided to flush out the terrorist from the temple and that I should carry out the operation next night. Arun Singh added that NSG contingent was being flown into Amritsar during the day. I pointed out to them that terrorists had already left the temple after making announcement of Khalistan. l was told that the government was aware of the development but a message had to be delivered to the separatists which was only possible if flushing operation were undertaken. At midnight the operation was launched. Except for the shooting  of man named Gurdev Singh everything went according to plan. Main criticism of this action was that that the police has not been successful in nabbing the wanted terrorists... ....Giani Puran Singh... had helped the Police to persuade Jathedar Gurdev Singh, the terrorist nominee to surrender.” 
 Black Thunder episode reveals how the  government plays with the Sikh institutions and how the power hungry Sikh politicians (like Barnala) fall a pray to the government. Unfortunately there have been several Barnalas .
 “The Jat Sikh farmer felt some sneaking sympathy for the 'boys' as they were called, because they were their co-religionists, belonging to the same community and because in their estimation they were sacrificing everything including their lives, for their cause. Sacrifice is a concept that is very dear to the Sikh psyche. The Sikh masses have been told that the  government was unjust to them...” 
 “Even though I said that no political solution, other than that of conceding a separate state, would please the terrorists . I must emphasize that the government was duty -bound to provide inputs that would have coaxed the Sikh masses to join the 'fight against the terrorists.. . ... .The terrorists though in a minority, had guns in their hands. They could shoot innocent people and create terror among Hindus and Sikhs who opposed them. They could target Sikh politicians and send them to hibernation. The only person who could meet them on equal terms were the policemen because they were armed. Hence any talk of political solution which could satisfy them was out of question...The message that they wanted to give to the Akali politicians was that they should not accept any compromise that excluded Khalistan....All talk of political solutions, was therefore academic. The Rajiv -Longowal accord was a very reasonable document. That it was not implemented is sad commentary on the politicians at the Centre as well as Punjab and Haryana.” 
 Ribeiro tells us how the police employed criminals to infiltrate into the ranks of the militants:- 
 “ln normal day-to-day policing the police use informers to identify and locate criminals. The informers are from the underworld. Law-abiding citizens would never tell who the thieves and robbers are, lt was very  disconcerting when even thinking journalists criticise the police enthusiasm for infiltering the terrorist ranks. How else would the police get information about them...This was not easy.. infiltrating of terrorist groups had to be planned very carefully. The terrorists, would liquidate any traitor to their cause. Only most intrepid of men would volunteer for such jobs for the lure of money or other rewards. People with criminal pasts were approached and a few of them agreed to form groups and confront the real militants in their: dens. It was known terrorists used to visit Golden Temple quite frequently. lf they are identified it will not be difficult to nab them...the problem was the police did not know the identity of the boys" 
 “Though this brings us quite good results in the beginning, it could not be ,sustained because the people we employed were susceptible to inducements. The police did give them financial and logistical support but their demands grew to an extent where it was impossible to satisfy them within our sources. Besides they were very greedy people , with a criminal tendency, who began to prey on law abiding rich citizens on the assumption that the police were indebted to them and so would do nothing to stop them.” 
 Ribeiro tells us that at times Akalis were arrested as precautionary measure and this , would cause embarrassment to such leaders ,who were not pro-Khalistan, as they stood exposed. 
“When the main leaders were being arrested, Balwant Singh former finance minister was excluded because we felt that he was not really a religious personality, just a businessman politician. Balwant Singh was so upset at not being arrested that he phoned Ray and begged him to have him also locked   conveyed this request to me. Subsequently Balwant was also escorted to prison. They were accorded special treatment so that they did not have to experience the rigours of prison life.” 
“There was another undercover operation planned Amritsar SSP lzhar Alam and his companions which was nicknamed 'cats'....whenever some terrorist was caught efforts were made by the police to win them over and they would be induced into our anti-terrorist operations. They were kept at police expense in safe houses and compensated handsomely with money and other incentives. They identified wanted terrorists for us from cars with tinted glasses.” 
“One such criminal was a former smuggler who had close contacts with some leading terrorist groups... was recommended to me by Gur lqbal Singh Bhullar an IPS officer... The smuggler had once been a constable and had been dismissed from service. Gur lqbal came to me with a request to reinstate him in the police because he could locate maximum number of dreaded terrorists also Gobind Ram Bhatti, and lzhar Alam pressed me to agree.” 
 “Gur lqbal took charge of him at Patiala. He [smuggler] succeeded in rounding up a few known terrorists.[now] Sital Das was appointed SSP of Patiala. He called on me to tell that the ex-smuggler had located some very notorious terrorists at Chandigarh. He wanted permission to use force if necessary.” 
 “One afternoon l was at lunch at our home in Chandigarh when there was a commotion in the compound. I went out  to investigate and was told that some terrorists [smuggler and his accomplices] had been arrested. The car abandoned in front of the house adjoining mine was the one in which they were travelling.” 
 “Soon afterwards some body else came to inform me that the persons who had been caught had shot two others on the main road.” 
 “I myself phoned SSP Patiala and told him what has happened He motored down immediately to Chandigarh and sorted out the matter with the local [Chandigarh] police.”[telling them the smuggler/killer was a police cat.] 
 [later] “The ex-smuggler had committed a decoity. The SSP Patiala and other police officers were trying to Put restriction  on his movements. They were also asking him to surrender his weapons which he was very reluctant to do. These 'demands were making him desperate and he was now talking of killing the officers.”
 “I phoned the SSP to alert him; the ex- smuggler managed to do his worst.' He entered the office of SSP to confront him .The SP was also sitting in the office of SSP at that time. The smuggler shot both these officers at point blank range. On hearing the shots an inspector sitting in the adjoining room came in and shot dead the smuggler on the spot.” 
 “Police began to requisition cars of ordinary citizens for the purpose of anti- terrorist operations. lzhar Alam at Amritsar and Sumedh Saini at Ludhiana were the worst offenders in this respect. Frequently people travelling by car were ordered by the police to get down and hand over the keys and I received numerous complaints. One of them was from the Army commander of Western command whose son-in-law was victim. I pulled up these officers. I forbade them to requisition cars in this manner. ln stead I requisitioned a dozen cars from secret funds and placed them at the disposal of these two young officers.” 
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