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''Dead'' militant Sukhi wants HC to restrain disclosures

Written by: Staff

Chandigarh, Mar 16 (UNI) Former militant Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi, presently residing in Jalandhar under the assumed name of Harjit Singh Kahlon, has sought the Punjab and Haryana High Court's intervention for restraining the authorities against disclosures of the policy involving the rehabilitation of people like him who have abandoned arms to return to mainstream life.

Sukhi, along with two other former militants Balkar Singh and Kewal Singh, have preferred a petition seeking directions to the Punjab government in general and the state police in particular not to disclose to the media the details of the policy pertaining to people like them.

Sukhi had been in the news ever since he was detected to be alive and leading a normal life though the police claimed to have killed him in an encounter, an event that was widely publicised along with the photographs of ''Sukhi's dead body''.

The petition by Sukhi and others that came up for preliminary consideration before the division bench of Justice Harjit Singh Bedi and Justuce Ajay Kumar Mittal, has been filed in the wake of the PIL by the World Human Rights Protection Council(WHRPC), wherein, the directions have been sought against declaring living persons as dead as was done in the case of Sukhi and to put an end to this practice of fake killings by the police adopted during the phase of terrorism in the state.

Since the petition filed by Ranjan Lakhanpal is due to come up for further hearing on April 6, before the bench headed by the Chief Justice D K Jain, teh court today referred the same to the Chief Justice to be taken up alongwith the WHRPC PIL.

The Council has also sought action against officials who declared living people dead, irrespective of the reasons or the pretext.

It has been argued by the petitioners Sukhi and others that such disclosures were not in public interest as that only jeopardised their lives following such exposures.

The petitioners have also alleged they were being victimised at the behest of politicians, particularly the former state chief minister Prakash Singh Badal, ''who only wanted to settle political score with the ruling Congress and its leadership''.

It was further submitted that the media reports about former militants like them were served no public interest and essentially resulted in sensationalising the serious issue at stake.

Referring to the incident about his ''death'', Sukhi further stated that the dead body was shown in the photographs to facilitate the declaration of his death and the same was entirely stage-managed. He had been asked to act dead and photographs were taken so that terrorist groups did not seek his release.

Referring to the source of information behind the media disclosures about him and others, it was contended by the petitioners that the same could only have been accessed from official files. Many of these news stories, particularly the one which spoke of his influence behind the transfer of some police officers were baseless. The petitioners have sought disciplinary proceedings against those behind the leaking of such sensitive information.


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