The saga of a scapegoat, not an underdog — KPS Gill

Kanwar Pal Singh Gill, an author, sports administrator, supercop, superman, Made-in-India-Rambo, or KPS Gill, a wanton killer, megalomaniac, bloody butcher, cold blooded criminal, Made-in-India-Hitler. His tenure as chief of Punjab Police and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), two different terms, has earned him several sobriquets. 

So call him, what you may, but there is something about this man which stands him apart, way apart. 

One look at him, and you would know what I am talking about. He comes across like an automaton with his face, eyes and voice registering no emotion. To boot, he does not talk. And if he does, he is animated and cant be reasoned with. Or reasoned out. When asked about the debacle of the hockey team once, he famously snapped, “the team has lost. I have not.” 

I have always felt that he worked on his images. Both. He always wished to be powerful rather than charming, feared rather than loved which created a twin persona. And, as Bertrand Russle said, to this type belong many lunatics and most of the great men of history

Somebody, widely credited with winning the battle against terrorism in Punjab in nineties putting the fear up the terrorists with his carrot and assassination policy, cannot one day be imagined of talking of authority without responsibility like he is often accused of doing in his 14-year IHF term. And yes, he is the same man, who is alternatively accused of extrajudicial executions and praised for dedicating his post retirement years to the cause of hockey, which before him, or ever before, was in shambles. 

A section of the Sikh community condemned Gill as a “khakiwala gunda” whereas people like Khushwant Singh called him the saviour of  Sikhs in Punjab. Human rights activist J S Khalra, who died a few years back, accused Gill of the genocide of more than 2,000 innocent people in the name of anti-terrorist operations in Punjab. Forces under him have always been accused of having adopted excessive measures during the insurgency in the state, killing many thousands in staged shootouts and cremating or disposing off their bodies without proper identification or post-mortem. 

All said and done, he has been recently appointed as a consultant by the Chhatisgarh government to help tackle the Naxalite movement in the state, looks after the Institute for Conflict Management, edits a magazine called “Faultlines”, gives secret consultancy to a few neighbouring countries in their anti-insurgency missions, and heads, yes, very much heads the Indian Hockey Federation. Still. After his April 28’s so-announced sacking by Indian Olympic Association (IOA). Something like Bush sacking the Indian leadership. 

There is no clause in the Constitution of IOA which gives it the power to dissolve any sports body or sack its President, even in most unusual situations. The most IOA could do was to send a show cause notice to IHF asking for an explanation on poor performance of its players or on the cash-for-selection episode, which it never cared to send. In the event of a show cause sent and even rejected by IOA, the utmost the supreme sport body could do was to de-affiliate IHF from IOA, and that too only under the following conditions:

(1) If IHF repeatedly refused to follow IOA directives;
(2) If IHF failed to hold elections after office-bearers’ tenures ran out; or
(3) If IHF failed to present its annual audited accounts, annual report or list of office-bearers

Clearly, IHF has not violated any of these conditions. But I was both shocked and amused when almost all newspapers and tv channels reported that Gill was sacked and a new president had taken over IHF. If Gill brought shame to hockey, our sports journalists brought shame to reporting. If that was not sports, this was not sports reporting

My only concern now is why Gill is silent after this blackwash. To assert his position of power, three days back he did release his list of players for Azlan Shah tournament starting this week in Malaysia, but I am sure there is more to comeI, for one, am confident that the proverbial crouching tiger, hidden dragon will emerge, roar, spew venom. One more time. For the simple reason that he cant lie low. 

C’mmon, KPS, Chak De. Hockey needs a new life. And there’s hope, for as former star forward Mohammed Shahid once said on his debacle, “maut ke baad bhi zindagi hoti hai.”

♣ ♣ ♣

Copyright © 2008  Neeraj Bhushan.  All Rights Reserved. 

Please feel free to post your comments. Alternatively, you may also send emails at and share your concerns or ideas with me. I always take the opportunity to read all and reply to everything. Did you like this blog? Send me your comments, suggestions, etc. please. 


  1. This article missed out several things about K. P. S. Gill that are not known to the word outside Punjab because the victims could never register a case against him and the media was heavily controlled.

    Firstly, the article from Khuswant Singh in “India Today” claims “….Gill saved Sikhs and Punjab for India” …pay attention to the words used here by notable English columnist who has been swinging back and forth on his views about Khuswant Singh. Just before this article, Khuswant Singh had reviewed the book “Reduced to Ashes” by Ram Narayan Kumar (passed away recently, June 28 2009) and claimed about the findings of Human Rights violations by Gill and company as “…it is spine chilling” …”Mr. Gill you and your department has quite a few awkward questions to answers”. Now, in 2004 Khuswant Singh goes back again singing songs for K. P. S. Gill, perhaps under the pressure from somewhere.

    During the troubled times in Punjab, Khuswant Singh always traveled in protection of K. P. S. Gill, mostly in Gills own vehicle. So, he had his reasons to sing praises then. May be he was just seeing Punjab from the spectacles of Gill. Later, reading excellent documentation and research work from Ram Narayan Kumar et all, Khuswant Singh fell face off changing his statements and asking questions from Gill. He also went on to oppose Gills statement of calling the book “Rubbish” as “…well its not rubbish…”.

    This write says “Jaswant Singh Khalra died …”, well he did not – he was murdered. Search the newspapers and legal documents on the statements of eye witness SPO (Special Police Officer) Kuldip Singh which implicate K. P. S. Gill in Khalra abduction and murder case.

    K. P.S Gill’s lack of morality is well known. For instance, check the Rupan Deol Bajaj case. Rupan was a strong lady with strong back up from family so she fought case against Gill. Ever wondered how many poor helpless females may have been victims of this drunk?

    The newspapers have even reported that the coaches of hockey had to almost always report and talk with Gills security guard instead of Gill himself. Why was this chairman of IHF (Indian Hockey Federation) not even doing his official business? …may be he was too drunk everyday so the coaches had to report to his security officers instead of him.

    Staying for mode than a decade at the helm of affairs of Indian hockey and driving it to the lowest, he still had the shamelessness to say “…we do not have instant coffee machine to produce results”. Which instant coffee machine takes 10 years? The Indian players and hockey does not have a grave problem, its these ridiculous people who are wrecking it by their idiotic and autocratic behaviour.

    In Punjab, these people including Gill and SSP Sandhu have killed thousands of young boys, their sisters, their old frailing parents and mothers. If a honest human being reads the atrocities and dishonors done to sister and mothers in front of their brother and fathers – one looses sleep!!!…

    …and freaking mind washing media has no humanity what-so-ever and keeps parroting whatever their paid bosses tell them to write. Wake up, before another Gill is standing at your doorstep asking for your sister or mother. Its easier to neglect others pain and sing the nonsense propaganda of the illiterates we send to parliament to loot, exploit and divide us.

    ….the story and evidence against Gill in all fields he ever stepped into is too big to cover here in one post. The interested citizens of India, who are concerned about the well being of the country, may search this online and read the reports from Human Rights Watch, Ensaaf, Ram Narayan Kumar, Jaswant Singh Khalra, Rubal Deol Bajaj case, check the hockey stats and gills tenure and his statements, ….and for got sake wake up!!!


  2. Dear Mr. Neeraj Bhushan,
    I am a member of the Hockey Federation and we have discussed your article at our meetings. It is a very good article. Thank you. However, I am sorry that I cannot reveal my identity, but I just want to add some fact to your article so that people may understand things in totality.
    Hockey has been India’s National Game due the fact that India won eight Gold Medals in Olympics. Those days, hockey was played on natural turf i.e. on grass. But with the advent of astroturf, European nations grew stronger, as these turfs suited them. Not only India, even Pakistan was a loser. But we touched the lowest point when we faced waterloo in SANTIAGO (Chile) by losing qualifying tournament. This created nation-wide cry. Really, this was a disgraceful show on the part of the Indian hockey team. Here, it must be noted that this very team had won Asian Cup two months back, with same combination and coaching staff and that too with the biggest victory margin in the recent times. Then what went wrong? That injury was not healed and there came the sting operation and whole of the Indian Hockey Federation became the villain in the eyes of hockey fraternity. Indian Olympic Association grabbed this opportunity with both hands and our respected Sports Minister also voiced his anger in very clear terms, which very much hurt the emotion of IHF members.
    Why was IHF suddenly projected as a culprit? Why was IHF blamed for the crime which was never committed by the Federation? If one member is a culprit, he must be punished as per law of the land. But it is unethical, illogical, wrong and illegal to paint the entire Federation as corrupt. I hope I am making a point.
    In today’s world, media jumps to its own conclusion without verifying the facts. It so happened in our i.e IHF’s case. The IHF is not wrong. IHF is genuinely promoting the National Game. It is only some vested interests who are trying to steal the show. The nation has been cheated in the process. Hockey lovers have been left disappointed and the game disgraced. It is shameful.
    It is the most appropriate time that the IHF is given the due recognition by all and the people should repose their faith in the Federation. Our concern is that everybody committed to hockey should think the ways and means to improve the game. Let hockey be played and practised in schools, colleges & universities and clubs. Let there be local competitions. As the governing body, IHF can manage the affairs but the improvement must come from the grounds.
    Let not IOA murder the Indian Hockey. As you have also rightly said, IOA can de-affiliate any game from its family but it cannot “murder” any sports. In our opinion, IOA’s decisions will create more controversies rather offer solutions.
    Before I conclude, I will assert that IHF is capable of running the game very effectively.
    Thank you and yours truly,
    Mr. XYZ


  3. It is of course possible to differ with Gill over many issues. I admire him for his achievements in Punjab, but at the same time, I am of a strong view that Gill should have left Indian hockey alone long back.

    True, Gill talks very little and is not very articulate in expressing profound ideas. But he has a great quality of completely devastating his opponents with simple questions.

    In a televised debate, he asked the great ‘secular progressive’ defender of human rights of terrorists, Gautam Navlakha (who apparently doesn’t know that real people die in terrorist attacks, or that Pakistan has an interest in Kashmir), who was waxing eloquent about the root causes of terrorism, ‘what was the root cause in Punjab’? Navlakha could only mumble a few inanities in response, and as expected, completely lost his cool.


  4. While many qualities(!) of this remarkable man named KPS Gill, including “bloody butcher”, have been listed here, his great affinity for female posterior and the gall to publicly display that have for whatever reasons been left out. That’s of course an important omission from his list of great achievements.


  5. Almost all the hockey players have said that hockey has been going downhill during Gill’s period and he has time and again behaved in an imperious manner. If sports reporting could make people accountable for their lack of inefficiency, he would have gone long back. He cannot be judged in hocky by what he achieved in ‘Punjab’.


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