NEW DELHI: Execution of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh for killing police officer Saunders was judicial murder, a Pakistan based civil rights organization has claimed before the Lahore high court. After tasting considerable success in its campaign to prove Singh’s innocence, members of the organization have now landed in Delhi, hoping to get Indian lawyers to fight their PIL in Lahore HC.
Already, on the PIL, the Lahore HC has forced the local police to trace out the original FIR lodged in the case in 1928 and hand over copy to Imtiaz Rashid Qureshi, chairman of the Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation.
It emerged in May this year that the FIR doesn’t name the legendary freedom fighter while recording the circumstances that led to the murder of the British police officer in 1928. On Monday, Qureshi briefed SC lawyer Nafis Ahmad Siddiqui about the latest developments in the case and urged him to prepare a team of counsels from India who can argue further in Lahore HC to prove that Singh was innocent, nearly 83 years after his execution.
Apart from Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were also charged for allegedly killing then SSP John P Saunders, even though, as the PIL points out, Singh was cooling his heels in jail for throwing a “bomb” at the central assembly.
Singh was awarded death sentence for assassination of Saunders and hanged at Shadman Chowk in Lahore in 1931, aged just 23. Speaking to TOI, Qureshi and his colleague Syed Abbas Ali Shah said they want to show that even for Muslims a freedom fighter is a hero, whichever religion he may belong to. “On return to Lahore I will file an application in high court praying that Constitution bench be constituted quickly so that truth can emerge about Singh.
The case was registered under sections 302, 1201 and 109 of Indian Penal Code. SC lawyer Siddiqui said there were glaring illegalities in the manner in which the case was lodged, trial held and Singh executed. “Bhagat Singh’s lawyers were not given the opportunity of cross-questioning them. Tribunal formed to hold trial expired within six months and execution warrant was issued a second time just to facilitate this crime, he explained.