July 13, 2020
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'Ever Since I Deposed Against Tytler...'

'...I have not had a moment's peace,' says Surinder Singh, who was a granthi at Gurudwara Pulbangash in Delhi during the 1984 riots and adds that he vividly remembers 'seeing Tytler urging rioters not to waste time on looting but to get down to kill

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'Ever Since I Deposed Against Tytler...'
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Surinder Singh was a granthi at Gurudwara Pulbangash in Delhi during the 1984 riots. After resiling from his statement given to the Nanavati Commission, allegedly due to pressure from Jagdish Tytler, he was emboldened to give a fresh statement to the CBI following the SFJ campaign in 2008. 

The CBI has told the court that the case against Tytler should be closed as your statement is inconsistent and unreliable.

I had first given a statement to the CBI in February 2008 and immediately after that I went to Bridgewater gurudwara in New Jersey to escape harassment from Tytler’s men. In December 2008 the CBI again grilled me for 14 hours in the US and wanted me to identify colour of clothes, shoes and turbans of the victims. After 25 years I do not remember these details but I do remember vividly seeing Tytler urging rioters not to waste time on looting but to get down to killing people.
So the mob put a tyre around Ragi Badal Singh, a Sikh police inspector Thakur Singh, and a Sikh servant and set them on fire. Tytler was there from 9 am to 11am overseeing the carnage. The CBI’s questioning was only designed to let Tytler off. During those 14 hours of questioning they kept accusing me of telling lies and threatened to take action against me if I do not tell the truth. 

You wanted to leave Delhi and settle in Punjab, after the deposition. What happened? 

I had been asking the SGPC to give me a job in a Punjab gurudwara, but for the last two years they have been paying just lip service. I broke my silence of so many years only for the community, but unfortunately I have not got any support from the Sikhs in Punjab. I am scared to open my door and have security neither from the Punjab police or the Delhi police. The NRI Sikhs are more helpful. 

Why are you scared?

I am a poor man who is being used as a pawn. Ever since I deposed against Tytler, I have not had a moment’s peace. My passport was impounded as soon as I returned from the US in February. 

They have got my daughter in law to slap a dowry case on me and I am scared to go out to attend the hearing. The case was filed in March 2008 but they have activated it only now after I have returned. It is a flimsy case because my son has got a work permit from Canada only now and could not take his wife with him. Then, her visa was rejected because, they were unable to prove that she was married to my son. We have processed the papers again and it will work out.  

Before I went abroad, I had one Punjab Police security man, but that too has been withdrawn now. With no protection and the Punjab leaders and SGPC too busy with elections, I have no hope of any help from them. They are powerful men and very arrogant. They have no use for a poor granthi like me. I rue the day I decided to depose against Tytler. 

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