“Bhagat Singh Was Not Accused In Saunders Killing Case”

Bhagat Singh’s name was not mentioned in the FIR for the murder of a British police officer here in 1928, the Lahore police have found, in a major boost to prove the legendary freedom fighter’s innocence in the case 83 years after his execution.

According to a report published in The Hindu, Imtiaz Rashid Qureshi, chairman of the Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation, had filed a petition seeking an attested copy of the First Information Report (FIR) registered against Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru for allegedly killing the then SSP John P Saunders.

Bhagat Singh was awarded the death sentence for killing Saunders and was hanged at Shadman Chowk in Lahore in 1931, aged just 23.

Over eight decades after his hanging, the Lahore police searched through the records of the Anarkali police station on a court order and managed to find the FIR of the murder of Saunders.

Written in Urdu, the FIR was registered with the Anarkali police station on December 17, 1928 at 4.30 p.m. against two ‘unknown gunmen’.

A police official of the Anarkali police was the complainant. The complainant-cum-eyewitness said the man he followed was “five feet 5 inch, had Hindu face, small moustache, having slim and strong body, wearing white trouser [pyjama] and grey shirt [kurta] and also wearing small black christi-like hat.”

The court handed Mr. Qureshi a copy of the FIR.

Mr. Qureshi said special judges of the tribunal handling Bhagat Singh’s case awarded the death sentence without hearing 450 witnesses.

Bhagat Singh’s lawyers were not given the opportunity to cross-question them, he said.

Mr. Qureshi also filed a petition in the Lahore High Court seeking reopening of the case. “I want to establish Bhagat Singh’s innocence in the Saunders case,” he said.

The High Court has referred the case to the Chief Justice for constitution of a larger Bench to hear the case.

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