Under Sl. No. 72/183, the list identifies the 27 May 1990 cremation of Kashmir Singh, son of Dharam Singh, r/o Jhander, carried out by Nirmal Singh of Chhaul police station under FIR No. 49/90. The postmortem report is said to be unavailable and the cause of death is given to be “police encounter”.
The Committee has the following information in this case through its Incident- Report Form No. CCDP/01490. The main informant is the victim’s father Dharam Singh.
Twenty-five year old Kashmir Singh, son of Dharam Singh and Gurdeep Kaur, was a resident of Jhander village, under Sadar police station, in Tarn Taran. He had seven brothers and a sister. His father, a small farmer with seven acres of land, worked hard to raise them and support their education. In 1983 Kashmir Singh passed his matriculation examination from the Government High School at Tarn Taran.
The Tarn Taran police illegally arrested, tortured, and interrogated Kashmir Singh twice in 1986, suspicious of any links with members of the militant underground. When the police came to arrest him for the third time, he slipped away and never returned home. For the next four years, the family members suffered grave human rights abuses. The police regularly illegally detained his father and brothers and interrogated them under torture. They implicated his brothers Ravel Singh and Karaj Singh in fabricated cases of murder and possession of illegal weapons. After two years in jail, the court acquitted Karaj Singh of all charges against him. Ravel Singh obtained his release on bail. But the police atrocities did not cease. The family was not allowed to cultivate its land and the police confiscated all valuable household possessions. The farm animals also died from neglect.
On 26 May 1990, Kashmir Singh was arrested by SHO Brar of Jhabbal police station while traveling in a truck belonging to Sukhdev Singh of Algon Kothi village in Patti subdivision of Amritsar district. The police confiscated the truck and took Kashmir Singh and Sukhdev Singh to Jhabbal police station, tortured them under interrogation, and then killed them that same evening after an orchestrated encounter. The police claimed that the two terrorists, hopelessly outnumbered by the police force, consumed poison and died.
The family members learned about the killings when Hazara Singh, Kashmir Singh’s uncle from Mannan village, came to their house on 27 May 1990 morning. The police had called Hazara Singh to identify Kashmir Singh’s dead body. Dharam Singh, all his sons, and a large number of village residents went with Hazara Singh to Tarn Taran and asked the senior police officers of the district to return the dead bodies to the families. According to Dharam Singh, the officials did not object and, after the postmortem, returned the bodies to the families. The bodies bore marks of severe torture. The nails of all fingers on their hands and feet had been removed. Their thighs were black from the rolling of heavy logs with policemen standing on them, a common method of torture. According to Dharam Singh, the family performed the cremation of Kashmir Singh’s body at his village Jhander in the presence of hundreds of people.
On 28 May 1990, two Punjabi dailies, Ajit and Jagbani, published an identical report about the police version of the encounter, claiming that Kashmir Singh, surrounded by the police, consumed cyanide and died on the spot. Sukhdev Singh succumbed to his poison on the way to a hospital.
Despite evidence and testimony to the contrary, the CBI’s list of identified cremations shows Kashmir Singh’s cremation to have been carried out by Nirmal Singh of Jhabbal police station. In reality, however, the family performed the last rites at their village. Also, the postmortem report is marked as “not available” and the cause of death is given as “police encounter” whereas the newspaper reports, following the police claim, attribute it to cyanide poisoning. Equally puzzling is the fact that Sukhdev Singh’s cremation is not shown in the identified list and in the other two lists prepared by the CBI. The list of unidentified cremations has no entry on the dates between 19 April 1990 and 30 May 1990. ')"