New Delhi : Retired Punjab Police chief Kirpal Dhillon has blamed late President Zail Singh and former Home Minister Buta Singh for dubious attempts to sabotage the Rajiv-Longowal accord signed in 1985 to put behind the Sikh terrorism that had then engulfed the state. He has also blamed KPS Gill, the then IG of Punjab, in his book published early this week for lapses in security that led to the killing of Akali Dal chief Harchand Singh Longowal in August 1985 and blames then Governor late Arjun Singh for giving rise to militancy in the post-Bluestar days.
“Longowal had credibility among Hindus and Sikhs. This did not suit Zail Singh and Buta Singh and their supporters in the Punjab Congress, who had been playing a dubious game to negate whatever Longowal and Rajiv Gandhi (then PM) were trying to achieve. Dhillon, a 1953 batch IPS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, has penned his memoirs: “Time present and time past memories of top cop.” Handpicked by then PM Indira Gandhi, Dhillon was posted as the DGP of Punjab on July 3, 1984, a month after Operation Bluestar at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
He accuses Zail-Buta duo of promoting the family of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in the post-Bluestar days “…like in 1978 when Bhindranwale was projected as counterfoil the Akalis. They, after the death of Bhindranwale, zeroed in on his father Joginder Singh.” Dhillon writes that Joginder Singh nd his outfit, the United Akali Dal, was used to derail the April 30, 1985 meeting of Akalis at Anandpur Sahib which “(Parkash Singh) Badal described as the past, present and future of Punjab.” Dhillon narrates another incident of October 1, 1984 when “200 extremists gathered in the Golden Temple and made seditious speeches….we later found out that this was the work of the Akali faction close to Zail Singh.” He is equally harsh on Arjun Singh who was the Governor of Punjab during the President”s rule. “Before Arjun Singh arrived in March 1985, we were doing fairly well with militant violence amrkedly under control.”
The former DGP then goes on to elaborate the hand of the Centre in “managing Punjab” through Arjun Singh who got installed S S Barnala as the chief minister in September 1985. “As it happened, Arjun Singh had a hand in selecting candidates for the legislative elections, both for Congress and the Akali parties…..It had to be ensured that the selection of Akali candidates was made in such a way that Barnala, and not Badal, would emerge as the leader of Akalis since Arjun Singh found the former easier to manage.”