Fake encounters are a dreaded reality in many parts of the nation. More often than not, these encounters result in the death of an innocent and are covered up quite well by the team involved. One such fake encounter happened almost 35 years ago in the Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh. There were 13 people who died or were murdered that day, one of whom was the Deputy Superintendent of Police, KP Singh. Little did the culprits know that Kinjal Singh, looking at her mother’s determination to get justice, would resolve to do everything she could to put her father’s murderers behind bars.
At a very young age, when all the other kids were out playing, Kinjal, along with her mother, Vibha, used to travel to the Supreme Court in Delhi from a small town in Uttar Pradesh. Vibha, a strong single mother and a devoted wife, got a job in a Varanasi treasury and supported both her daughters' education as well as her quest to seek justice for her husband. This struggle continued for the next 31 years till they finally got justice.
DSP KP Singh was killed by his colleagues in a fake encounter when the prime conspirator realised that his misdeeds in his stint as a police officer might be exposed by the honest DSP. Saroj — who had many cases of bribery and corruption pending against him — and others lured Singh to Madhavpur on the pretext of having observed criminal movements there. The two police officers reached the place where the two criminals, Ram Bhulawan and Arjun Pasi, were supposedly hiding. When no one responded to Singh's knocks on the door, he stepped back and turned around to look at Saroj. This was when Saroj shot him on his chest. Singh was pronounced dead on reaching the hospital. 12 other villagers were also killed in this fake encounter.
Kinjal, along with her daily to and fro visits from her home in Uttar Pradesh to the Supreme Court in Delhi, studied hard. She got into Delhi's esteemed Lady Shri Ram College but this was when another tragedy struck the two daughters. Their mother got diagnosed with cancer and the news came as a shock to her daughters who had already lost their father. After an intense battle with her disease, she died peacefully once she was sure that both her daughters were going to become IAS officers and get justice for their father's death.
Kinjal, while talking to Times of India about her parents, said,
I am proud of my father who was an honest officer and my mother who proved to be a strong single parent and a stronger widow who stood up against the injustice done to her husband.
KP Singh's dream was to become an IAS officer and this was a dream that his daughters have fulfilled. After her mother's death, Kinjal soon returned to give her final exams in her college. Soon after her graduation, she also brought along her younger sister, Pranjal Singh, to Delhi. Together, they completely focused their attention on preparing for the UPSC exam. They both cleared the UPSC examination in 2007 with Kinjal securing the 25th rank and Pranjal securing the 252nd rank.
Kinjal and her sister Pranjal then dedicated their energy towards their lifelong goal to get those behind their father's murder arrested. Their determination was so strong that it shook the entire justice system, eventually leading to a verdict in their favour. In 2013, after 31 years of their struggle, the CBI special court in Lucknow penalised all the 18 perpetrators behind their father DSP Singh's murder.
Kinjal did not say much at the time but later told Times of India,
I was barely two and a half-months old when my father was murdered. I have no memories of him. But I remember how my mother Vibha continued her struggle for justice despite all odds till she succumbed to cancer in 2004. Had she been alive today, I am sure she would have lived the moment.
Kinjal Singh is an honest and dedicated IAS officer and her attitude despite all the obstacles life threw at her is truly an inspiration.