Date: 22 Feb 2008


Tytler led mob to kill Sikhs: Eyewitness
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service 

Chandigarh, February 21
The CBI today recorded the statement of the head granthi of Majnu Ka Tilla Gurdwara, New Delhi, Giani Surinder Singh, an eyewitness to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. 

Surinder Singh in his statement recorded before the investigating officer of the case, DSP S.S. Kishore, who came from Delhi, alleged that Congress leader Jagdish Tytler led a mob that burnt alive three Sikhs during the riots. 

Talking to mediapersons outside the Sector 30 office of the CBI here, Surinder Singh demanded the government should conduct a fair probe into the riots. He insisted, “Tytler should be hanged for the heinous act committed against the Sikhs”. Surinder Singh reached the CBI office around 11 am and came out at 4: 30 pm after recording his statement. 

He told waiting mediapersons that the CBI officer thoroughly questioned him regarding the riots and it took the officer over five hours to record his statement. 

Expressing satisfaction over the attitude of the investigating officer, Surinder Singh said justice could be done only if the CBI conducted a fair probe into the case. Denying the charges that he earlier resiled from his statement, he alleged that his signatures were taken on blank papers and his statement was faked. He alleged Tytler was pressured him and his family. The statement to the Nanawati Commission shown as his statement was not his as he and his family was under constant threat. He, however, said now that the entire Sikh community, including the SGPC, Akal Takht and the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) and other organisations had assured job and security to his family, he was not afraid. 

Surinder told the CBI that he was the head granthi at Gurdwara Pulbangesh in Azad market, Delhi at the time of the riots. On October 31, 1984, around 8 pm, some hooligans set afire the car of Gurcharan Singh Grover, owner of B-Tax, when he was going to pay obeisance at the gurdwara. They also set the gurdwara on fire and devotees ran out of it to save their lives. They also set Grover’s residence on fire. 

The next morning, he added in his statement, around 9 am, Tytler led a group of armed persons carrying iron rods, cans of kerosene and Congress flags attacked the gurdwara. Tytler was inciting the crowd to assault the Sikhs. The mob burnt alive Thakur Singh, a former inspector of the Delhi Police, and a sewadar at the gurdwara. The mob also put a burning tyre on Badal Singh killing him instantly. Surinder watched the gory scene helplessly. He stayed with a Muslim family for eight days and when he returned home he found his house plundered. On November 10, Tytler came to him and pressured him to sign blank papers. 

City-based advocate Navkiran Singh told mediapersons that they would move court to record Surinder Singh’s statement before a magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC. 

Surinder Singh said he had approached the Punjab Police seeking security for him and his family. Karnail Singh Peermohammad of the AISSF said they would stage protests on February 25, 26 and 27 across the country demanding a fair magisterial probe into the 1984 riots.