BEFORE JUSTICE NANAVATI COMMISSION OF INQUIRY
( Witness No : 4 )
Name : Shri Ajit Singh, S/o Amar Singh
Age : 41 Years
Occupation : Electrical Supervisor, Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management
Address : B-6, Residential Complex, Gurudwara Rakabgunj, New Delhi
In 1984, I was staying in Rakabgunj Gurudwara Complex. Till 10.00 o clock in the morning on 1.11.84 I was in my quarters. When I had come out of my quarter I had noticed that some sevadars and devotees were standing near Sevadar’s quarters. When I went there I heard people talking that a crowd had gathered near the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara and pelted stones. I was also told there was a possibility of stone pelting on this Gurudwara. We had discussed for half an hour about what we should do, by that time some more persons had gathered near the Gurudwara. A group of about 60-70 persons came near the Gurudwara gate and shouted slogans. They were shouting ‘KHOON KA BADLA KHOON SE LENGE’ and they had challenged us to come out. That was at about 11.00 AM. After some time they also started pelting stones at the Gurudwara. We also hurled stones back at the crowd which was standing outside. Many stones were lying outside as construction of road was going on. Slowly and slowly we had moved towards gate no.3 while the exchange of stones was going on. I was also hit by the stones and was injured at 4 or 5 places. When we had reached near gate no.3 it was 11.30 AM. When I was near gate no.3 I had looked back and I had found one sardar burning and another sardar trying to lift him. The young sardar received stone injuries and fell down at that spot. We rushed to that place to save them. The crowd temporarily moved away. We lifted the sardars and moved them inside the compound near Sevadar’s quarters. While we were giving water to those persons many persons entered through the main gate. Fearing that we might also be attacked we rushed to the back side of the Gurudwara. While we were going there we noticed that the front gate of the Gurudwara was set on fire. We then went to the front side of the Gurudwara. Seeing the kirpans in our hands the mob went out of the compound from the same gate. We then extinguished the fire. We had cleared the mob at about 12.30 or 12.45 PM. While we were so engaged, I had heard some sound of crackers. That had made the mob go out of the Gurudwara. After some time I noticed that the wall near jamoon tree near the petrol pump was damaged by the crowd. In order to prevent the mob from entering the Gurudwara we went and stood behind the pillar of the gate. The mob was then standing a little away on the road.
At about 1.30 PM I had seen SI, Hoshiyar Singh in the crowd standing outside. I saw him giving his service revolver to one person who was near him. The person who had taken the service revolver then took position behind the hedge of the circle opposite the gate no.3. He was pointing the weapon towards the Gurudwara. We suspected the motive of that person and therefore moved to a safer place behind the pillar of the main gate. We started retreating towards the main Gurudwara and stood behind the trees. By that time some more perons had come. Shri Hoshiyar Singh was telling us to go inside. He was not trying to stop the mob. The persons in the crowd were pelting stones and he did nothing to prevent them. The throwing of stones had continued for half an hour or more and thereafter I had again heard firing of crackers. Someone came and told me that the firing was done by the police. I had noticed some policemen firing towards the Gurudwara from the roof of bus stand of route no.20. The bus stand which I have referred to is shown at the place in the site plan between gate no.1 and gate no.2. We therefore went round the Gurudwara hall and then proceeded to the house of the manager which was behind the Banjara Hall. Many other persons had also collected near the manager’s house. By that time some persons also entered the Gurudwara from the back side gate which is shown in the site plan as gate no.5. There was one truck standing near the gate inside the Gurudwara compound. The crowd set it on fire. After setting the truck on fire the crowd came near the manager’s house and started pushing the doors of the manager’s house. From another gate we left that place and went towards the langar hall, by moving along the side of the wall. By the side of the langar hall there is residence of bishop of the nearby church. I and others helped women and young children to jump over the wall and to go to the bishop’s residence. At about 3.30 PM while we were trying to move to the bishop house I heard sirens of some vehicles. I had seen a fleet of 7 to 8 cars entering the premises of the Gurudwara. The policemen came out of those vehicles. They were making gestures to all those who were in the compound to come near them. I concealed myself near the langer hall and did not come out. I concealed myself on the roof of the Vidhyalaya. While the police were trying to collect the people in the Gurudwara the mob entered the Gurudwara and set fire to the manager’s house and this happened in presence of the police. By evening I could infer from the noises that the police had left. I spent the whole night on the Vidyalaya’s roof.
Cross examination by Shri S.S.Gandhi, Advocate :
I had not filed any affidavit or evidence before any Commission or authority. I know that Government had earlier appointed a Commission to look into these incidents. I had not seen other person standing in the compound of the Gurudwara. I do not know if SI, Hoshiyar Singh had met Jatedhar Joginder Singh and told him to collect all persons at one place and tell them not to move about in the compound. At about 11.00 O’ Clock I was at gate no.1. At that time I had seen about 500-700 persons standing outside. I had not seen any sevadar standing near gate no.1. At about 11.30 the crowd at gate no.3 was in thousands. It is true that there is a petrol pump near gate no.3. The petrol pump is about 80 ft. away from gate no.3. I was able to see the wall of the petrol pump from where I was standing near gate no.3. The staff quarters on the church road side were about 200 ft. away from the petrol pump. I cannot say whether the, wall near the petrol pump was demolished between 11.30 and 11.45 AM. I say that the wall of petrol pump was not demolished by the crowd. I do not know if the managers cabin in the petrol pump was set on fire by the mob. I had not heard firing of crackers while the wall of the Gurudwara near the petrol pump was demolished. It is not true to say that there were many policemen at the petrol pump when the Gurudwara wall was damaged. I was not able to see what was happening at the petrol pump. It is incorrect to say that the wall was demolished before the incident of sardar had happened. I had not seen any policemen entering through the demolished wall and coming near the gate no.2. It is not true that the policemen had lifted two sardars from outside and brought them inside. I had not seen police lathicharging the mob outside. It is not true that the policeman had tried to extinguish the fire. It is not true that the Jatedhar Joginder Singh was with the police. The police had not come inside the compound and fired in the air while the main door of the darbar hall was set on fire. It is incorrect to say that the police had helped in extinguishing the fire It is also not true that the police had tried to push the crowd out of the Gurudwara. It is not true to say that the mob had attacked the police.
Shri Gurdial Singh was the Manager of the Committee of the Gurudwara in 1984. The name of his son is Kanwal Jeet Singh. I do not know if Kanwal Jeet Singh had fired a shot when the crowd had attacked. It is not true that because he had fired a shot in the air the crowd had moved back and that is how the policemen were saved. It is true that at that time I had heard firing of crackers from within the compound of the Gurudwara. It is possible that they were fired from the residential quarters situated within the Gurudwara Compound. It is not true that because of firing of crackers and firing by Kanwal Jeet Singh the crowd had retreated and the policemen were saved. I do not know if SI, Hoshiyar Singh was accompanied by 1 Head Constable, 5 Constables and 12 Home Guards. I do not know if the SI and the constables with him were saved in this manner from the attack of the crowd.
The Parliament is far away from the petrol pump. The Central Secretariat is also far away from the petrol pump. It is true that bus stand is opposite the petrol pump. The army barracks are by the side of the bus stand. It is not true that Joginder Singh and police were trying to see that no person from the crowd entered the Gurudwara. The policemen were there and they did not help in extinguishing the fire in Manager’s House. It is not correct that the policemen had collected the children and ladies in the Banjara Hall for their security. According to me children and ladies were already removed by me to the house of bishop. I know that the police had come there and I also know that police had collected everyone in the Banjara Hall but according to me it was at gun point. It is not correct that policemen had thereafter taken women and children and some other persons in different vehicles to the places of safety. According to me only males who were adults and students of vidyalaya were taken in their vehicles. I had later on come to know they were taken to South Avenue Police Post and Tilak Road Police Station. I do not know if the ladies and children were taken to Flat No.147, North Avenue which was the residence of Shri Hakim Singh, MP. I also cannot say that if other persons were taken for safety to Tilak Marg Police Station and Flat No.103, North Avenue. I do not know that some devotees who had come for darshan from different localities were taken in police vehicles to their respective houses. I do not know if food was prepared in the house of Shri Hakim Singh and it was distributed to all who were taken to those places for safety purposes. It is incorrect to say that the police had tried to save some people in the Gurudwara and also save Gurudwara from any damage. I do not know if SI Hoshiyar Singh had received any injury while he was in the Gurudwara compound. It is incorrect to say that I had not seen SI Hoshiyar Singh giving his service revolver to some person. I do not know if any shot was fired by anyone else from the service revolver of Shri Hoshiyar Singh i.e. by anyone other than Shri Hoshiyar Singh. It is not correct to say that no truck was set on fire within the Gurudwara premises.
No cross examination by Shri K.K.Sud, ASG, on behalf of Union of India
In reply to the Question by the Commisison :
My father was in service of the Gurudwara. He died in 1983. Thereafter my mother was serving there and therefore we were residing in the Gurudwara.
Explained over to me in vernacular and found correct.
( AJIT SINGH ) ( G.T. NANAVATI )
1st May, 2001 1st May, 2001