On New Year's Day, K.P.S. Gill was unceremoniously replaced as director general of Punjab's police. For many Indians, the Lahore-born Sikh with the brooding gaze is a national hero for crushing a separatist rebellion in the country's northern breadbasket state.
Under Gill's command, Punjab's police all but eradicated a militant Sikh insurgency that once seemed to threaten the integrity of India itself. But independent human rights groups inside and outside the country accused Gill's "boys" of summarily killing many suspects in cold blood after their arrests, then fraudulently reporting the deaths as the result of nonexistent shootouts with police.
In its 1995 report, Amnesty International charged Gill's force with carrying out most of the unexplained "disappearances" in Punjab. During the more than six years that Gill commanded Punjab's police, the force became a "killer machine," former state Chief Secretary A.S. Pooni said.