Lok Raj Sangathan deeply mourns the passing away of Prof Dalip Singh, our Vice President who had just been elected Honorary Chairperson at the 6th All India Convention of LRS on April 22, 2012. Prof. Dalip Singh breathed his last on the very day of the Convention, April 22, in Mumbai. He was seventy eight years old at the time of his death.
Prof Dr Dalip Singh was a fierce defender of justice and human rights, and an outspoken opponent of state terrorism. In the period following Operation Blue Star and the genocide of Sikhs in 1984, Prof Dalip Singh worked actively to expose the false anti Sikh communal hysteria spread by the state and the Congress Party, and to build the unity of the people against state terrorism and state organized communal genocides. As Vice Principal of Khalsa College in Mumbai, and as a prominent and respected member of the Sikh community in Mumbai, he was in the forefront of the struggle of Sikhs to defend their Gurudwaras as their own community institutions, in the face of the efforts of the Mumbai police to take control of the Gurudwaras in the name of allegedly countering terrorism.
Prof Dalip Singh was arrested under the draconian Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) in 1988 at the age of 57 and spent 4 months in Nabha jail in Punjab. He was subsequently released on bail for lack of evidence. Barely had he resumed teaching political science in his college, he was rearrested under TADA. This time, he was declared to be part of a “larger conspiracy case” connected with the assassination of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Prof Dalip Singh was kept in solitary confinement in Tihar jail in cells meant for death row prisoners. He was denied blankets and utensils, and his blood pressure medicines. When the jailor refused to give him his Guru Granth Sahib, despite court orders, he forced them to do so by going on hunger strike for three days. This time around, Prof Dalip Singh spent 8 months in jail.
During this period of Prof Dalip Singh’s incarceration, there was a massive uproar amongst the people of our country in his defence, and demanding his release. It was increasingly clear that the case against Prof Dalip Singh was a fabricated case and that the Indian state had arrested Prof Dalip Singh as part of its efforts to crush all voices of dissent. Prominent rights activists of our country, including many of the founder members of Lok Raj Sangathan came forward to publicly defend Prof Dalip Singh. This struggle of our people exposed the politically motivated character of the charges framed against Prof Dalip Singh. Finally, Prof Dalip Singh was released as the state could prove nothing against him.
Prof Dalip Singh emerged from this great struggle with full of optimism and faith in our people. He contributed enormously to the building of the Committee for Peoples Empowerment in the nineties. He was a founder member of the Lok Raj Sangathan. It was he, who at the founding Convention of the Lok Raj Sangathan held in Pune, proposed the name “Lok Raj Sangathan” which was later unanimously adopted. For many years even after his retirement from college, Prof Dalip Singh continued to play an active role in the building of the Lok Raj Sangathan.
The passing away of Prof Dalip Singh is a great loss to LRS and to all the fighters for human rights and the empowerment of the people. LRS extends its deepest condolences to the bereaved family of Prof Dalip Singh.