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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Persecution of Bibi Ranjit Kaur Continues

The arrest of Bibi Ranjit Kaur in relation to the Shingar Cinema bomb blasts has sparked an outcry by Sikh organizations worldwide. Along with terming her as a conspirator in the Shingar blasts, the police has identified her as a supporter of the Babbar Khalsa Militant organization. Bibi Ranjit Kaur, aged 38, was arrested last week from her house in the village Khamano of Fatehgarh Sahib District by the Ludhiana Police. Bibi Ranjit Kaur is an amritdhari Gursikh and runs a small tailoring booth in her village to feed her family. Apparently, the arrest of Bibi Ranjit Kaur has surprised everyone in her village. She is said to be a very religious person and always supporting of others. Neighbors of Bibi Ranjit Kaur do not accept the police claim that Bibi Ranjit Kaur received foreign aid to fund terrorism in the State. According to SSP Gurpreet Bhullar (Ludhiana-rural), Bibi Ranjit Kaur was involved in pro-Khalistan activities. As alleged by the SSP, her husband is a leading member of the Shiromani Akali Dal (PP). Furthermore, Bhullar alleged that she was in contact with one of the arrested members of the Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) in Jammu. Bibi Ranjit Kaur however denied having any links with terrorist outfits. While talking to the press, she claimed that the police had falsely fabricated her in this case. It should be noted that this is the first time Bibi Ranjit Kaur has been arrested by the police. Despite there not being any past criminal record, the police are still adamant that the Bibi’s interrogations could lead to a crackdown on terrorists. Ever since being arrested, it has been reported that Bibi Ranjit Kaur has faced severe torture at the hands of the police. Although Bibi Ji’s remand was to end on June 10, she had to be transferred to the Civil Hospital as she could not last through the [harsh] ‘interrogation sessions’. While talking to the media at the hospital, Ranjit Kaur stated that she was beaten by the police, and also electric shocked. Bibi Ranjit Kaur was arrested from her house randomly around 3:30 in the afternoon when two men dressed in plain clothes accompanied by a woman asked for her to be taken to the police station. While identifying themselves as Ludhiana Policemen, they promised that Bibi Ranjit Kaur would be allowed to return after a brief police interview. However, the police instead sought her remand from the court and did not allow her to return home. The arrest of Bibi Ranjit Kaur seems suspicious. In the past, the police have picked up Sikh women and fabricated false cases. Three years ago, a Sikh woman named Bibi Manjot Kaur was arrested from her residence in Chandigarh for allegedly having associations with Jathedar Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara. However, after strong pressure from several Panthic organizations, the Police had to release her as they failed to present any credible evidence against her. She was however, forced to remain in Police custody for days where she was tortured and interrogated. Also not very long ago, Bibi Parveen Kaur, a resident of Haryana, was also mysteriously arrested by the Police. The wife of Jathedar Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara also remains lodged in jail although she played no part in any pro-Khalistan activities. Panthic organizations are once again expected to launch state-wide protests to seek the release of Sikh women from barbaric Punjab Police Cells.

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