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Suspect Arrested in General’s Assassination

August 25, 1986

NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ A Sikh wanted in the assassination of India’s most-decorated military hero was arrested Monday in the western state of Goa, the United News of India reported.

A man identified by police as Sukhwinder Singh was caught at a guest house near the border between Goa and Karnataka states, the agency said, and the 25- year-old suspect was taken to the Goa capital of Panaji ″under heavy escort.″

Police have identified Sukhwinder Singh and Harjinder Singh, Sikhs wanted for various terrorist activities in India, as the main suspects in the Aug. 10 killing of retired Gen. Arun Shrindhar Vaidya. Harjinder Singh remains at large.

The most powerful Sikh terrorist organization, the Khalistan Commando Force, claimed responsibility for Vaidya’s murder.

Four Sikhs arrested in connection with the assassination were remanded to police custody for 15 days Monday, UNI reported.

Magistrate N.M. Gosavi issued the order in Pune, the western city where Vaidya was shot earlier this month.

Precise charges against the four men were not given in Gosavi’s court. The agency report said police told the judge that cartridge casings and literature calling for an independent Sikh nation were found at the house in which they were arrested.

They were identified as Maljit Singh Towan, 58; two of his sons, Harvinder Singh, 23, and Sukhdev Singh, 19, and Sarabjit Singh Mallik, 26.

Four men killed Vaidya, who was commander of the Indian army when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered it to storm Sikhs’ sacred Golden Temple at Amritsar in June 1984 to dislodge extremists who had taken refuge there. Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated Oct. 31, 1984, by Sikh members of her personal bodyguard.

Militant Sikhs are fighting a guerrilla war for an independent nation to be called Khalistan in the northern state of Punjab, where members of the sect are in the majority.

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