Kanwar Pal Singh Gill

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Kanwar Pal Singh Gill
Born1934 or 1935[1][2]
Died26 May 2017(2017-05-26) (aged 82)[3]
New Delhi, India
Other namesSupercop[4]
Police career
AllegianceIndian Police Service
Service years1958 – 1995[5]
RankDirector General of Police.png Director General of Police
AwardsPadma Shri (1989)[6]
Other workAdministrator; founded the Institute for Conflict Management

Kanwar Pal Singh Gill (1934/35 – 26 May 2017) was an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer. He served twice as Director General of Police (DGP) for the state of Punjab, India, where he is credited with having brought the Punjab insurgency under control.[7][8] While many see him as a hero, there are accusations that he and the forces under his command were responsible for human rights violations "in the name of stamping out terrorism."[9][10][11] Gill retired from the IPS in 1995.

Gill was an author, editor, speaker, consultant on counter-terrorism, president of the Institute for Conflict Management and president of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).

He received a Padma Shri award, India's fourth-highest civilian honour, in 1989 for his work in the civil service.



Gill joined the Indian Police Service in 1958 and was assigned to the Assam and Meghalaya states in northeast India.[9][12]

In the early 1980s, Gill served as Inspector General of Police in Assam. Vinayak Ganapathy, writing for rediff.com in 2003, noted "Gill's no-nonsense style of functioning, which earned him the sobriquet 'supercop' in Punjab, made him unpopular among influential sections of the population" in Assam and called him "a controversial figure".[13] While Director General of police in Assam, Gill was charged with kicking a demonstrator to death, but was acquitted by the Delhi High Court.[14][15] Gill lived in the northeast region of India for 28 years, returning to his home state of Punjab in 1984.[2]


He has been called a "supercop",[16] for his work in Punjab, where he was the Director General of Police[7][8] [9][16] from 1988 to 1990 and then again from 1991 until his retirement from the Indian Police Service in 1995.[1]

During this era when Sikh extremists in the Khalistan movement were active in Punjab, there were reports of human rights violations in the Punjab region. Amnesty International reported that, from 1983 to 1994, armed groups struggling to form an independent Sikh state, assassinating perpetrators of the 1984 Sikh pogroms or Congress Party members, and taking hostages. It further reported that the police responded with a "crackdown", illegally detaining, torturing and killing "hundreds of young men".[17] Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that from the 1980s Sikh separatists were guilty of targeted assassinations and attacks upon Hindu minorities in the Punjab state. HRW also reported that the government response resulted in further serious human rights violations against "tens of thousands".[18][19] HRW report in 1991 described the security forces using “increasingly brutal methods to stem the militant movement, resulting in widespread human rights violations.” Thousands of civilians and suspected militants were summarily executed in staged "encounter" killings. Many "disappeared" while in police custody and thousands were detained without trial and subjected to torture.[15] The post-1991 period coincides with Gill’s second tenure as Director General of Punjab police. It is this period that witnessed the most serious escalation of violence.

In May 1988, he commanded Operation Black Thunder to flush out militants hiding in the Golden Temple. Compared to Operation Blue Star, little damage was inflicted on the Golden Temple.[20] In what was reported as a successful operation, around 67 Sikhs surrendered and 43 were killed in the encounter. Gill stated that he did not want to repeat the mistakes made by Indian army during Operation Blue Star.[21] In contrast to prior operations, minimum force was used under full public scrutiny.[22][23]

1991 saw the peak of violence in Punjab, with more than 5000 reported killed. In 1992, the Indian government, "intent on retaking Punjab from terrorism", appointed Gill as Chief of Police in Punjab. The police and army instituted a crackdown, and in 1993 the reported death toll was less than 500. In 1993, The New York Times reported, the people of Punjab no longer feared the Sikh "rebels or gangs", but instead feared the army and police.[24] Patricia Gossman describes Gill as having a “goal to eliminate, not merely arrest, militant Sikh leaders and members. KPS Gill also expanded a bounty system of rewards for police who killed known militants – a practice that encouraged the police to resort to extrajudicial executions and disappearances.”[25] The police were awarded financially for killing militants. “India’s central government created a special fund to finance Punjab’s death squads, to pay the network of informants who provided information about militants and those suspected of supporting militants, and to reward police who captured and killed them”.[26] The reward was about 50,000 rupees ($1,670). In an article in India Today on 15 October 1992 it was written that "the rush of claiming cash rewards is turning police into mercenaries. Besides the rewards for killing militants (annual outlay for the purpose: Rs 1.13 crore [$338,000]), the department gives 'unannounced rewards' for killing unlisted militants".[27]

Jaswant Singh Khalra was a human rights activist who was taken into custody by Punjab Police on 6 September 1995.[10] Human Rights Watch reported that an 11 September 1995 writ of habeas corpus from the Supreme Court was presented to Gill,[28] and officials denied that police had detained him.[10] (2005 testimony by Special Police Officer Kuldeep Singh indicated that Gill later visited Khalra in October 1995, a few days before Khalra was killed.[11][29])

Under Gill the scope of tracking down and arresting militants went beyond Punjab to other parts of India. “There were several reports during 1993 that Punjab police "hit teams" were pursuing alleged Sikh militants in other parts of India. On 17 May, one such team raided an apartment in Calcutta looking for alleged militant Lakshmi Singh. According to neighbours, Punjab police commandos broke into the apartment early that morning, shot Singh and his wife in their bedroom, then fled with the bodies. The government of West Bengal lodged a protest with the Punjab government, but no disciplinary action was reported against the police commandos".[30]


Gill founded the Institute for Conflict Management (ICM)[31] and was its first president.[32]

Gill began advising governments on counter-terrorism matters.[9]

In 1997, the Chief minister of Assam state, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, requested his services as security advisor. However, since the sexual harassment case against him was pending he was not able to take this appointment.[1]

In 1999, Delhi Police arrested Richhpal Singh, who was allegedly a Babbar Khalsa suicide bomber on a mission to assassinate Gill. He arrived in Delhi from Pakistan on an Afghan passport. Two kilograms of the explosive RDX, four detonators, and some "live wire"[clarification needed] were recovered from him.[33] In an interview after this incident, Gill claimed that he had been a target of four or five such assassination attempts by Babbar Khalsa and other Sikh militant groups. Gill stated that he was not afraid.[34]


In 2000 the government of Sri Lanka sought his expertise as an anti-terrorism expert to help them draw a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam[35] He was approached by Lakshman Kadirgamar who was the foreign minister of Sri Lanka[36] After the defeat of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam the similarity in the tactics used by Sri Lanka with the tactics used by Gill in Punjab was noted in an article published in India Today[37]

Gill was appointed security adviser to the state of Gujarat after 2002 Gujarat violence.[9] Gujarat Chief minister Narendra Modi, commenting on his appointment, stated “It is good to have an experienced person such as Gill as my security advisor. Gill had very effectively tackled the Punjab terrorism problem.”[38] He requested deployment of 1,000 extra specially-trained riot police from Punjab state to combat the violence.[39] He was credited with controlling violence after his appointment.[40][41][42][43] He arrived in Gujarat on 3 May 2002[44] He subsequently blamed a "small group" of people for the Gujarat riots.[45]

In April 2003, there was a report that Gill was being considered for the position of governor of Assam. The Northeast Study Group, of which Gill is a member, had advised against assigning a state's previous security personnel to a state as governor. The Chief minister of Assam agreed.[13]

Martin Regg Cohn argued in a Toronto Star editorial that policies followed in Punjab by Gill should be utilised in fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.[46] An academic paper, The Gill Doctrine: A Model for 21st Century Counterterrorism?, analysing his tactics in the successful fight against the Punjab insurgency was presented at the annual meeting of American Political Science Association on 30 August 2007.[47]


The government of Chhattisgarh state in India appointed him a security adviser to help control Naxalites in 2006.[48] After an attack by Naxalites killed 55 policemen in 2007 Gill commented that the issue was one of "underdevelopment in police forces. The state policy was to leave these tribal areas alone and that gave Naxalites a base. There used to be just 3,000 police for an area the size of Switzerland. That is now changing but it will take time. But yes, it is a winnable war.".[49]

In March 2008, India's hockey team failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since the team's debut in 1928. Narender Batra, one of 11 IHF vice presidents, on resigning his position over the failure to qualify,[50] accused Gill of "autocratic functioning", and called on the entire IHF staff to step down.[51][52] Gill responded that the critics were "professional mourners" who were proud to "run down the establishment",[51] and stated "I will respond to these things at a later stage. We do not have an instant coffee machine that you can get results instantly."[53] [54]

Alok Sinha, writing for India Times, noted that the top two executives, Gill and the Secretary-General, did not even talk to one another.[55] There were rumours that the secretary general of the IHF, leader of the anti-Gill faction, would also resign.[56]

Less than a month after the qualification failure, in April 2008, Aaj Tak Television reported that it had caught the Secretary-General of the IHF taking a bribe on camera to choose a player in a "sting".[57][58] There were renewed calls for Gill to resign.[59][60]

After the allegations of corruption, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) suspended the IHF indefinitely on 28 April 2008.[61] IOA president Suresh Kalmadi said in a press conference that "We have great respect for K P S Gill and it is not personal."[57]

As of September 2009, Gill remained president of the Institute for Conflict Management.[12] As of July 2009, he was also winding up the affairs of the suspended Indian Hockey Federation as it merged with its replacement, Hockey India.[62]

1996 conviction for sexual harassment[edit]

An Indian Administrative Service (IAS) female officer named Rupan Deol Bajaj filed a complaint against Gill for, in 1988, "patting" her "posterior" at a party where he was alleged to be drunk.[63] In August 1996, he was convicted under Section 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman) and Section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult a lady), generally summarised as sexual harassment.[63] Gill was sentenced to pay a fine of Rs 200,000 and to suffer three months rigorous imprisonment, followed by two months' ordinary imprisonment,[64] and finally to serve three years of probation. After final appeals before the Supreme Court in July 2005, the conviction was upheld but the jail sentences were reduced to probation. The victim had declined to accept the monetary compensation, and the court ordered that it be donated to women's organisations.[63]

Opinion and activism[edit]

Gill was an outspoken critic of the Indian Government's handling of national security issues. He blamed it for "soft nature and under-preparedness", and argues that policy was formed without input from anti-terrorism experts, and that the country lacked a national security policy.[65][66][67][68][69]

Awards and honours[edit]

Gill received a Padma Shri award, India's fourth-highest civilian honour, in 1989 for his work in the civil service.[70][71]


Gill wrote his first book Punjab: The Knights of Falsehood in 1997 (reprinted in 2008 in paperback), covering the Punjab insurgency .[72] The book received positive reception in the Press and was deemed to provide a "great degree of authenticity" to the narrative of the events. However, his political coverage was criticised as placing too much responsibility for the insurgency on the Akali Dal, while absolving the Indian National Congress.[73][74]

Gill was editor of the quarterly journal of the ICM, Faultlines: Writings on Conflict and Resolution and also wrote the ICM website, South Asia Terrorism Portal.[12]

He edited the 2001 book Terror And Containment: Perspectives on India's Internal Security with Ajai Sahni.[75] With Sahni, he also co-authored The Global Threat of Terror:Ideological, Material & Political Linkages.[76]

Other books published by Gill are

  • Most Wanted (2002)[77]
  • The Punjab Story, (2004)[78]
  • Islam and Religious Riots A Case Study - Riots & Wrongs (2012) by R N P Singh and K P S Gill[79]
  • Kurh Phire Pardhan (2012) in Punjabi language[80]
  • Punjab : The Enemies Within : Travails of a wounded land riddled with toxins, (2017) co authored with Sadhavi Khosla[81]

Illness and death[edit]

Kanwar Pal Singh Gill was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi on 10 May 2017. He had been suffering from peritonitis but died of sudden cardiac arrest due to cardiac arrhythmia on 26 May.[82]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Supercop to the rescue[permanent dead link], The Indian Express, 2000-05-21
  2. ^ a b HAZARIKA, SANJOY (23 May 1988). "Reporter's Notebook; At Sikh Temple, an Uncertain Song Returns". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  3. ^ http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/former-punjab-dgp-kps-gill-passes-away-at-82/413078.html
  4. ^ "'Supergill' KPS Gill passes away at 82". Business Standard. 26 May 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  5. ^ "'Supercop' K P S Gill passes away at 82". Rediff.com. 26 May 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ a b Jyotsna Singh (8 May 2002). "Profile: KPS Gill". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-12-19. Mr Gill is known for his success in rooting out militancy from the Indian state of Punjab...
  8. ^ a b Ajay Bharadwaj (26 October 2008). "Super-cop Gill floats new party". Daily News & Analysis. Retrieved 2008-12-19. Former supercop KPS Gill, who is credited with decimating militancy in Punjab...
  9. ^ a b c d e Singh, Jyotsna (8 May 2002). "Profile: KPS Gill". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
  10. ^ a b c "A mockery of justice: The case concerning the "disappearance" of human rights defender Jaswant Singh Khalra severely undermined". Amnesty International. 20 July 1999. Archived from the original on 17 October 2007. Retrieved 29 November 2008.
  11. ^ a b Singh, Jangveer (17 February 2005). "K.P.S. Gill visited Khalra in jail, says witness : Recounts tale of police brutality before his 'murder'". The Tribune. Retrieved 2008-11-29.
  12. ^ a b c "Profiles". Institute for Conflict Management. n.d. Retrieved 2009-06-15. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  13. ^ a b "Tarun Gogoi reluctant to have K P S Gill as Assam governor". Rediff.com. 25 April 2003. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  14. ^ Mudgal, Vipul (15 November 1988). "Madness without Method". India Today.
  15. ^ a b Human Rights Watch. "Punjab in Crisis". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  16. ^ a b "'Supercop' Gill to take on Chhattisgarh Maoists". The Tribune. Chandigarh. 6 April 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
  17. ^ "India: A vital opportunity to end impunity in Punjab". Amnesty International. 1998–1999. Archived from the original on 25 June 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  18. ^ "India: Time to Deliver Justice for Atrocities in Punjab: Investigate and Prosecute Perpetrators of 'Disappearances' and Killings". Human Rights Watch. 17 October 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
  19. ^ "The following is the text of the public notice issued by the National Human Rights Commission in The Tribune, on July 15, 2004". REFERENCE CASE NO. 1/97/NHRC (Arising out of the order of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India dated December 12, 1996 and September 10, 1998 in Writ Petition No. 447/95 and 497/95). 15 July 2004. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
  20. ^ INDIAN COMMANDOS CLOSE IN ON SIKHS Archived 22 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, 1988-05-18
  21. ^ Sikhs Surrender to Troops at Temple Archived 4 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, 1988-05-19
  22. ^ Terrorism in context By Martha Crenshaw. Books.google.com. 1995. ISBN 978-0-271-01015-1. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  23. ^ Black Thunder’s silver lining[permanent dead link], Hindustan Times, 2008-05-13
  24. ^ Gargan, Edward A. (26 October 1993). "Though Sikh Rebellion Is Quelled, India's Punjab State Still Seethes". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
  25. ^ Gossman, Patricia (2002). Death Squads in Global Perspective. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 264, 269.
  26. ^ Gossman, Patricia (2002). Death Squads in Global Perspective. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 269.
  27. ^ Sandhu, Kanwar (15 October 1992). "Official Excesses". India Today.
  28. ^ "Joint Letter to Director of India's Central Investigation Bureau". Human Rights Watch. 30 April 2006. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  29. ^ Witness names Gill in Khalra case
  30. ^ United States Department of State. "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993". United States Department of State. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  31. ^ "The Rediff Interview/ K P S Gill: 'Few months is too short a period to say Bus Diplomacy has failed '". Rediff.com. 12 June 1999. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  32. ^ "Muslims are the victims of global jihad: K P S Gill". Rediff.com. 20 April 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  33. ^ Suicide bomber nabbed in Delhi Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Rediff.com, 1999-06-07
  34. ^ 'Few months is too short a period to say Bus Diplomacy has failed ' Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Rediff.com, 1999-06-12
  35. ^ KPS Gill to advise Lanka on security Archived 28 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine, The Indian Express, 2000-05-16
  36. ^ K.P.S. Gill gearing for assignment in Sri Lanka Archived 5 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine, The Hindu, 2000-05-17
  37. ^ 'Sri Lanka won by throwing away the rulebook', India Today, 2009-05-24
  38. ^ India’s ‘supercop’ to advise Modi Archived 26 February 2005 at the Wayback Machine, Dawn, 2002-05-04
  39. ^ Gujarat violence flares Archived 22 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine, BBC, 2002-05-08
  40. ^ 'KPS Gill stemmed Gujarat riot rot', The Times of India, 2004-08-31
  41. ^ Religious Riots Loom Over Indian Politics Archived 12 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, 2002-07-27
  42. ^ 'Supercop' Gill makes a difference in Gujarat, Gulf News, 2002-05-24
  43. ^ AN UNQUIET PEACE Archived 6 March 2005 at the Wayback Machine, Frontline, 2002-05-25
  44. ^ Religious Riots Loom Over Indian Politics Archived 12 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, 2002-07-27
  45. ^ 'Small group' responsible for Gujarat riots: Gill Archived 19 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine, The Hindu, 2002-11-14
  46. ^ Cohn, Martin Regg (16 December 2008). "A Punjabi lesson for Afghanistan". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  47. ^ Mahadevan, Prem (30 August 2007). "The Gill Doctrine: A Model for 21st Century Counterterrorism?". aper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Hyatt Regency Chicago and the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, Chicago, IL, August 30, 2007. Department of War Studies King’s College, London. p. 22. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  48. ^ Gill’s next job: Chhattisgarh security advisor Archived 1 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine, The Indian Express, 2006-04-07
  49. ^ India's Maoist insurgency gathers pace as police station raid kills 55, The Guardian, 2007-03-16
  50. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 2008-12-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  51. ^ a b "Gill faces ex-players' ire for 'professional mourners' remark". The Indian Express. 14 March 2008. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  52. ^ "IHF V-P Batra steps down, raps Gill". The Tribune. 11 March 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-02. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  53. ^ "Gill brushes aside resignation demand". The Tribune. 11 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  54. ^ Editorial (14 March 2008). "100 MPs sign oust-Gill petition =". The Times of India. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  55. ^ Sinha, Alok (10 March 2008). "The buck stops at Gill". The India Times. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  56. ^ "Hockey in shame, up to its Gill". The India Times. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  57. ^ a b Agencies. "K P S Gill sacked, IHF suspended". Express India. Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
  58. ^ "KPS Gill Sacked – IHF President KPS Gill Sacked And IHF Suspended". India-server.com. 28 April 2008. Archived from the original on 19 August 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
  59. ^ Editorial (22 April 2008). "Sports Minister demands KPS Gill's resignation =". The Times of India. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  60. ^ Editorial (23 April 2008). "VIEW: K. P. S. Gill has plenty to answer for =". Express India. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  61. ^ "The Hindu News Update Service". The Hindu. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  62. ^ "IHF Ready to Merge With Hockey India". Sakaaltimes.com. 15 June 2009. Archived from the original on 18 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  63. ^ a b c "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India – Main News". The Tribune. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  64. ^ "505 Pratiksha Baxi, Sexual harassment". India-seminar.com. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  65. ^ Strike fear into the minds of criminals, KPS Gill tells Govt Archived 28 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine, The Indian Express, 2002-01-24
  66. ^ Ashamed of NSG role in Mumbai: KPS Gill Archived 15 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine, The Indian Express, 2008-12-12
  67. ^ KPS Gill for policy against terrorism Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Tribune, 2009-02-09
  68. ^ ‘Politicos pose bigger danger to country than Pakistan' Archived 28 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine, The Indian Express, 2009-06-23
  69. ^ Top cops decry shoddy planning Archived 12 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Hindustan Times, 2010-04-07
  70. ^ "Padma Shri Awardees". page 87. Government of India. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  71. ^ http://dashboard-padmaawards.gov.in/?Award=Padma%20Shri&Name=Shri%20Kanwar%20Pal%20Singh%20Gill
  72. ^ Gill, Kanwar Pal Singh (30 August 2008). Punjab: The Knights of Falsehood (Paperback ed.). Har Anand Publications, India. p. 142. ISBN 978-81-241-1364-6.
  73. ^ Anikendra Nath Sen, Inside K. P. S. Gill, Outlook, 1 September 1997.
  74. ^ Satyapal Dang, Book review: The Knights of Falsehood by K.P.S. Gill, India Today, 15 September 1997.
  75. ^ KPS Gill; Ajai Sahni, eds. (2001). Terror And Containment: Perspectives on India's Internal Security. Gyan Books. p. 368. ISBN 9788121207126. Retrieved 3 July 2009.
  76. ^ Gill, KPS; Ajai Sahni (2002). The Global Threat of Terror. Roli Books, Bulwark Books & Institute for Conflict Management. p. 268. ISBN 9788187553113. Retrieved 3 July 2009.
  77. ^ Most wanted : profiles of terror. Lotus Collection, Roli Books. ISBN 978-8174362070.
  78. ^ Punjab : the enemies within : travails of a wounded land riddled with toxins. ISBN 978-8187330660.
  79. ^ Riots and wrongs : Islam and religious riots : a case study (2nd ed.). Centre for Advance Research, Reference, Information & Enhanced Documentation. ISBN 978-8192543000.
  80. ^ Kurh Phire Pardhan. Unistarbooks. ISBN 978-9350680483.
  81. ^ Punjab : the enemies within : travails of a wounded land riddled with toxins. ISBN 978-8187330660.
  82. ^ http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/kps-gill-former-punjab-top-cop-dies-at-82-1704311

External links[edit]