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Sikh Terrorists Kill Four Sikh Women, Policeman

January 12, 1987

AMRITSAR, India (AP) _ Sikh terrorists in Punjab killed four Sikh women and burned their bodies, claiming they were police informers, and killed a Sikh policeman in a separate incident, police reported today.

They said Constable Nirmal Singh was killed by two gunmen on the outskirts of northcentral Jalandhar City, raising the toll by terrorist violence to at least 31 in the state in the first 12 days of 1987.

Police said Mohinder Kaur, 45, her two daughters and a maid were killed Sunday night in Tarn Taran town.

Two paramilitary soldiers were reported killed and five injured when their convoy was ambushed Saturday night near Amritsar.

The killings were expected to fuel calls for dismissal of the Punjab government for failing to stop rising terrorism. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is being urged to call out the army.

Police said killing Sikh women, children, old men and laborers marked a new terror tactic of Sikh separatists demanding an independent nation.

The terrorists target not only Hindus but moderate Sikhs who oppose them, Sikh policemen and their families.

The women were shot by men who burst into their house when they were alone, and the terrorists poured kerosene on the bodies and burned them, Amritsar district police said.

They said the Khalistan Commando Force, a major terrorist gang, claimed responsibility in a note left at the scene.

The note was from Ranjit Singh Rana’s gang and said the mother was a police informer who disclosed that the gang leader’s younger brother was taking shelter at her home, police said.

Police said the gang leader’s brother was in love with one of the daughters and moved in three months ago. Police raided the house and killed him as he fled.

The note said the women were killed to avenge that death.

Observers said terrorists not only are out for revenge, but want to show that no one who works against them will be spared.

Police said it was the fourth family massacre in two months.

Nationally, Sikhs make up about 2 percent of India’s 780 million people and claim they face discrimination by the Hindu majority. Punjab is the only state where they are in the majority.

Most Sikhs want only autonomy for Punjab, but the terrorists demand an independent state be established called Khalistan, or Land of the Pure. About 700 people were killed last year in Punjab in terrorist-related violence.

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