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Sikhs -Nihang Ajit Poohla’s Death and
the Indian State’s Terror on Punjab’s Land
By Balbir Singh Sooch, Advocate, Ludhiana

State Terror Network assisted and projected hero Jaswinder Singh alias “good fighter” alias Nihang (Baba) Ajit Singh Poohla, accused of heinous crimes - murder, drug trafficking and land grab - Ajit Singh Poohla was "a patriot and nationalist" to former Punjab DG KPS Gill. Such was the clout enjoyed by this former police cat Nihang – who was set ablaze at the high-security Central Jail, Amritsar and died in PGI, Chandigarh on August 29, 2008.  

While fixing the responsibility for the death of Nihang Ajit Singh Poohla  “His misdeeds and misadventures” must be seen and linked to “The Indian state’s terror on Punjab’s land” and “human rights abuses include abuse of Sikh religion in Punjab and elsewhere” as his gang especially his name was synonymous with State terrorism. Is it not a rare coincidence, Phoola and his armed brigade raided the house of Jattana in the wee hours of August 29 , 1991, and burnt alive four women, named Jasmer Kaur (grandmother), Dawarki Kaur, Manpreet Kaur (a class VII student) and Harsimranjit Kaur, a six-year-old handicapped girl. After 17 years, Poohla succumbed to burn injuries on the same day i.e. August 29? 

Nihang Poohla was involved in illegal occupation of a gurdwara in Sector 39 and growing poppy on the premises. He was thrown out in 2005, after 15 long years. It was not a stray incident. In the last two decades, he has been accused of wresting control of various historical gurdwaras across Punjab - to grow and sell poppy. Poohla enjoyed a high security cover of 42 official gunmen armed with 77 sophisticated weapons. 

Nihang Ajit Singh Poohla also created fear psychosis in mind of the Judges and courts. How he could do all this and at whose instance? Was he always backed by politicians and secret agencies?

“Taruna Dal Chief creates ruckus in court-The Taruna Dal Nihang Chief, Ajit Singh Puhla, created a ruckus in the district courts yesterday and today (October 19, 1995) when he forcibly took his armed Nihangs into the complex despite resistance by a jawan of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

According to sources, the alone CRPF jawan was pushed aside by armed guards of the Baba and a gun was allegedly put on his temple. They succeeded in reaching the threshold of the court of the judge concerned.

The immediate cause of provocation is learnt to be issuance of warrants of Baba directing him to appear in the court as a prosecution witness, in the infamous Kanwar Singh Dhami case.

It is learnt that the Baba used abusive language against the judge outside the court premises ........ He later went to "meet" the judge in his chamber. It is not known what transpired between two.

The judge concerned immediately summoned a senior police officer in the court and apprised him of the developments.

Despite the advance information to the local police about the Baba’s second appearance today in the same court laxity in security of the courts was apparent. The Baba along with his armed men, though less in number on the second day, managed to transgress into the court building.

The armed Nihangs today roamed freely in the courts complex with their arms and even got the chamber of one of the lawyers vacated for making room for themselves, it is learnt. Interestingly, one of the Nihangs was also carrying a walkie talkie wireless set in his hand.” -Poonam Batth; Indian Express Friday October 20, 1995

“Threatening Calls: his 20 page order, Mr Justice Jhanji revealed that no more than one occasion, attempts were made to browbeat the court as "anonymous" callers threatened him on the telephone asking him to wash his hands off the case. He said that one caller even told him that he could be picked up and thrown in a furnace like the three had been thrown along with their car and scooter. "Their modus operandi thus, has been to create fear psychosis," he has stated.

Bid to Misuse Law: The judge termed it yet another attempt to misuse the process of law. Elaborating further, he said that on one occasion, the then Advocate General, Punjab, Mr G.K. Chathrath, accompanied by an AIG of police, Mr S. Chatopadhya, approached him while attending a division bench to pass important information. The two met him in the chamber saying that there was danger to his personal security.

On another occasion, a retinue of Nihangs (Nihang Ajit Singh Poohla’s men) considered close to Mr. Saini thronged the court room and had to be evicted with the help of CRPF personnel. The same was brought to the notice of the Chief Justice of the High Court. The most sensational revelation of the year coming from the High Court was that Mr. Justice V.K. Jhanji had been "threatened" and an attempt was made to "blackmail" him. The reason cited by the judge was that certain police officials of Punjab wanted him to take off his hands from the case related to mysterious disappearance of two Ludhiana based businessmen and their driver. The matter was posted to Apex court” reported. 

Is there any hope for fair probe in light of the network, misdeeds and misadventures and the criminal background of one of the most notorious Nihangs, Ajit Singh Poohla by the high level independent agency to do justice or would the probe be as a futile rat and mouse race only?

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Copyright © Balbir Singh Sooch, Chief and Spokesperson, Sikh Vichar Manch, Ludhana, Punjab (India)