My friend Kanwar Pal Singh Gill, who has died aged 82, was a controversial police chief in India, credited with bringing the Punjab insurgency under control in the early 1990s – his admirers called him India’s Top Cop – but criticised for alleged human rights violations.

He was born in Ludhiana, Punjab, but after independence was brought up in Simla (now Shimla) in the Himalayan foothills. His father, Rachpal Singh Gill, was a high-ranking government engineer. His mother, Amrit Kaur, a homemaker, died when he was a schoolboy. His father then married a young doctor, Satwant Kaur.

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