Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who fought terrorism in Punjab was shot dead by unknown assailants in Tarn Taran district on Friday, months after the government withdrew his security cover.
The motorcycle-borne men pumped four bullets into 62-year-old Sandhu when he was at his office adjoining his home in Bhikhiwind near Tarn Taran and escaped, police said.
He was rushed to a hospital where doctors declared him “brought dead”.
Sandhu had fought against terrorism in the state for years, facing at least 16 terror attacks during height of Khalistani militancy in Punjab but had been able to repudiate them all while fighting militants along with his brother and their wives.
Singh’s security cover was withdrawn by the state government a year ago on the recommendation of Tarn Taran police, his brother Ranjit said, adding their entire family had remained on the hit list of terrorists.
The Tran Taran braveheart also featured in some documentaries made on his anti-terror feats. Inspired by Sandhu and his family, many people followed him and defended themselves from terror attacks.
The Union government had awarded Shaurya Chakra to Sandhu in 1993 with the citation for the award mentioning that “Balwinder Singh Sandhu and his brother Ranjit Singh Sandhu are opposed to the activities of terrorists. They were on the hit lists of terrorists.”
The terrorists so far have made 16 attempts to wipe out the Sandhu’s family within in about 11 months.”
“The terrorists attacked them in groups of 10 to 200, but every time Sandhu brothers with the help of their brave wives Jagdish Kaur Sandhu and Balraj Kaur Sandhu have successfully failed the attempts of militants to kill them,” it mentioned.
Militants had attacked the family on January 31, 1990 for the first time.
The family had faced the deadliest attack on September 30, 1990 when around 200 terrorists surrounded their house from all sides and attacked them continuously for five hours with deadly weapons including rocket launchers.
In this well-planned attack by terrorists, the approach road of the house was blocked by spreading underground mines so that no help from police could reach them, the citation said.
Undaunted, Sandhu brothers and their wives fought terrorists with pistols and sten-guns provided by the government. The resistance shown by Sandhu brothers and their family members forced the terrorists to retreat, it says.
All these persons have displayed courage and bravery of a high order in facing the attack of the terrorists and failing their repeated murderous attempts, it further says.