Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh Sandhu cremated




A large number of people turned up on Saturday at the cremation of Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who was shot dead by two unknown assailants in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district.

Earlier, the family had refused to cremate the body unless the accused were arrested, but then agreed to conduct the last rites after an assurance was given by the Tarn Taran district administration about prompt action in the case.

The administration also assured them about their request for a government job for one family member.

The cremation was also attended by Khemkaran assembly constituency MLA, Sukhpal Singh Bhullar.

The police department has provided three gunmen as security cover to the family. The 62-year-old Sandhu, who fought terrorism in Punjab, was shot dead in the district on Friday, months after the government withdrew his security cover. The motorcycle-borne men pumped four bullets into him when he was at his office adjoining his home at Bhikhiwind.

Earlier, Sandhu’s wife Jagdish Kaur Sandhu, had told reporters, “The family would not cremate him unless the killers are arrested.

She had also demanded security cover for her family.

“All the family members — I, my late husband, his brother Ranjit Singh Sandhu and his wife Balraj Kaur Sandhu — are Shaurya Chakra awardees and this award was given by the Centre for our fight against militancy.”

“Both the state and central governments are accountable for the intelligence failure that resulted in the killing of my husband at the hands of terrorists,” Sandhu’s wife had said.

She also said if the state government failed to provide security to the family, then it was the responsibility of the Centre to do the needful.

Sandhu had fought against terrorism in the state for years, facing scores of terror attacks during the height of Khalistani militancy.

His security cover was withdrawn by the state government a year ago on the recommendation of Tarn Taran police, his brother Ranjit had said, adding that their entire family had remained on the hit list of terrorists. Jagdish Kaur had on Friday said it was the “handiwork of terrorists”, maintaining that their family did not have any personal enmity with anyone.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had condoled Sandhu’s death and set up a special investigation team headed by Ferozpur Deputy Inspector General of Police to probe the killing.

The Chief Minister said the SIT will probe the killing, taking all possibilities into account. The guilty will not be spared, he had said.

The Tarn Taran braveheart had also featured in some documentaries. Inspired by Sandhu and his family, many people followed him and defended themselves from terror attacks. He was awarded Shaurya Chakra in 1993.