Justice Ajit Singh Bains, staunch fighter for human rights and democratic rights, passed away on 11th February, 2022, at the age of 99, in his home in Chandigarh. His passing away is an incalculable loss to the struggle for the liberation of society from all forms of exploitation, oppression and injustice. The Communist Ghadar Party of India dips its flag in memory of this courageous and progressive personality.
Born in Badapind, Punjab, on 14 May 1922, Ajit Singh Bains remained closely connected with people and their concerns throughout his active life. His father was a communist who inculcated in his children the ideal of service to humanity. Ajit Singh completed his law degree in Lucknow and worked for a period in the education department of Punjab. He took up law as a profession in 1953. He was a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court from October 1974 until his retirement in May 1984. He earned the reputation of being a fearless defender of the rights of the toiling and oppressed majority of people.
When Justice Bains retired from active service in 1984, Punjab was in turmoil. The army assault on the Golden Temple in June and the genocide of Sikhs in November was followed by the escalation of state terrorism under army rule in Punjab. In such conditions, Justice Bains emerged as a courageous and steadfast defender of the people’s rights, which were being trampled in the mud.
Justice Ajit Singh Bains founded and led the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO). The PHRO made an important contribution to the exposure of anti-democratic and anti-human acts of the official security forces. It exposed how thousands of youth had been picked up from their villages, tortured and killed in custody, after which their bodies had been dumped in the canals.
In April 1992, Justice Bains was arrested and handcuffed by the Punjab and Chandigarh police, charged under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, the notorious TADA. He was charged with supporting terrorism just because he had condemned the central agencies for spreading violence and terror in Punjab. The views of Justice Bains, for which he was arrested, are expressed in two important books he wrote: Siege of the Sikhs (August 1988) and State Terrorism and Human Rights (July 1992, written when he was in prison).
Progressive forces in India and abroad spoke up in defence of the right of Justice Bains to express his views. They condemned his arrest and demanded his immediate release. In the face of adverse international publicity, the Government of India decided to drop all charges against Justice Bains. He was released after four months in jail.
Following the demolition of Babri Masjid and the unleashing of communal violence by the principal parties in Parliament, Justice Ajit Singh Bains joined hands with other rights activists and organisations of workers and women to establish the Preparatory Committee for People’s Empowerment in April 1993. When this committee subsequently developed into Lok Raj Sangathan, Justice Bains served as its Honorary Vice-President.
The passing away of Justice Ajit Singh Bains is a great loss for our party and for all the fighters for the people’s rights and for their empowerment. On behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, I convey deepest condolences to the bereaved family – to his wife Rachpal Kaur, his four children and numerous grandchildren, his brothers and sisters and their families.
With sincere regards,
Communist Ghadar Party of India