THE AFFIDAVIT OF SARDAR SURENDER SINGH
Sardar Surender Singh, son of Sardar Ajit Singh, was the Granthi of the Gurudwara Pul Bangash at the time of the Anti-Sikh Riots of 1984. He was a religious Priest, and was present in the Gurudwara (Temple) Pul Bangash on 1/11/1984, He was asked by certain people to stake a claim for the losses sustained by the Gurudwara Pul Bangash due to the burning and looting of the Gurudwara by the mob, to the Commission of Inquiry. Acting on this advise, Sardar Surender Singh requested certain persons to please help him by writing out an affidavit to this effect to the Commission. The so-called friends and advisors wrote an affidavit in English, and mischievously added the name of Mr. Jagdish Tytler, stating that Sardar Surender Singh had seen Mr. Tytler leading the mob which attacked the Gurudwara at 09.00 am., on the 1st November, 1984. Sardar Surender Singh had the affidavit read out to him, and received the overall impression that his Gurudwara would receive the necessary compensation for the losses sustained.
However, when Sardar Surender Singh came to know the fact that this affidavit contained the allegation that he had seen Mr. Jagdish Tytler leading the mob against the Gurudwara, he immediately had another affidavit made refuting this allegation. He wrote the affidavit in Gurmukhi – his mother tongue, in which he was familiar, as he could, read, write and speak fluently- on 5th August, 2002. In this affidavit, he truthfully stated that, “I have come to know that in front of JusticeNanavasti Commission from my side has been put blame on Shri Jagdish Tytler. I give my statement that I cannot read and write English for this I would like to state that I do not know that what has been in English in my previous statement. Dated 01/11/1984 crowd attacked an GurudwarwaPul Bangash, people were saying that attack was being led by the Congress leaders. I did not see Shri Jagdish Tytler anywhere in the crowd.” (sic English trans.)
This is the clearest proof that Mr. Jagdish Tytler was not anywhere near the Gurudwara and the mob that was attacking it, on that day and at that time.
Incidentally, it is to be noted that there were other people inside the Gurudwara Pul Bangash on that day. Among others, there was the father Sardar Surender Singh, Granthi – Sardar Ajit Singh; Sardar Ajit singh’s elder son and brother of Sardar Surender Singh – Sardar Jaswant Singh was present along with his father Sardar Ajit Singh; Sardar Surender Singh’s son – S. Narinder Singh; Sardar Kuljit Singh Duggal, the then Executive Member of the Gurudwara and presently its Secretary; Sardar Kundan Singh, the then Vice President of the Guru singh sabha and presently the President; were all there on that day. All of the individually have stated that they did not see Mr. Jagdish Tytler anywhere with the mob on that day.
There was also a full-fledged hearing by the Hon. Sessions Court where the Police in the presence of the Hon. Court interrogated hundreds of people ; but non of them even mentioned the name of Mr. Jagdish Tytler.
Sardar Surender Singh set out to correct the first affidavit submitted in English and sighed by him by lodging a second affidavit in Gurmukhi withdrawing the previous affidavit and clearing the name of Mr. Jagdish Tytler.
However, the group of people with vested interests, would not leave him alone, and it is known now that he had been threatened by them to withdraw any support he was giving to Mr. Tytler. They promised him money, safety for him and his family, and asylum in some foreign country, if necessary.Sardar Surender Singh fearing for his life and his family members, became ‘double minded ‘ and succumbed to these presessures. Because of these problems, he became seriously ill, was admitted in a hospital and later died in the hospital.
As death was coming to him, he wrote to people with the help of his father, brother, sons and other well-wishes seeking pardon from God and the top leaders of the nation. Before everybody, he accepted thefact that he had been forced to tell lies, against his own conscience, and that Mr. Jagdish Tytler was innocent of the charges levied against him.
Sardar Surender Singh died in the hospital.