Tag Archives: Political

Interview with Major General Shahbeg Singh ji

As many of you already know, Major General Shahbeg Singh ji was the soorma (warrior) who planned the strategy of the Singhs in preparation of Operation Bluestar. Knowing the army tactics, he planned the defenses and fortifications. When it was learned that spies had leaked information to the government about their plans, he reworked the entire battle plan in just one night. In honour of his shaheedi, and the shaheedi of all the defenders of the Golden Temple complex against the murderous Indian government, we’re posting this old interview with the General. 

Although its been said before, I wish to reemphasize that prior to and during the assault there was no arrest warrant for Sant Jarnail Singh ji and that Sant ji ordered the Singhs to not shoot first. For more information please click on the appropriate category as there are many other posts on this blog about 1984. 

Interview

May 1984. The Telegraph, Calcutta. India

Major General Shahbeg Singh, whose body was found in the basement of the Akal Takht on June 6, 1984 along with that of Bhai Amrik Singh was interviewed by The Telegraph four weeks before he died.

He was a sad, sick man eaten up with bitterness against the Indian government and obsessed with the idea that he had been thrown out of the army because he was a Sikh. A brilliant General who organised the Mukti Bahini in the 1971 Bangladesh war, he was “suspected of having taken away loot” and eased out the army. He seemed surprised, however, that his name was being linked with the Dashmesh Regiment and said that he did not believe in violence. He made no attempt to hide links with Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, however. The General was a slight, frail-looking man with a flowing grey beard. His bitterness about what had happened to him had obviously overwhelmed every other consideration. The ruling passion of his last years was anger and hate.

Q: Why were you removed from the army?

A: You should ask the army. I’m the only person whom they did not even put on trial. If they could put other Generals on trial, if they could take them to court martial and frame charges against them, why couldn’t they do the same for me?

Q: Why didn’t they give you a trial?

A: Because they had nothing against me and they just wanted to throw me out. Leave alone a fair trial, they didn’t give me any kind of trial. They threw me out under a special clause which has never been invoked in the British army and has been invoked in the Indian army only in my case. This is a special power given to the Army chief under which my services were “administratively terminated” one day before they ended. Then they started two other cases against me : one was that I got a truck in somebody else’s name and the other was that I built a house costing Rs. 9 lakhs. I told them that I had built the house for Rs.1.75 lakhs. Vigilance valued it at Rs.1.8 lakhs or something. In the court it came down to exactly what I had said.

Q: So you won the cases?

A: I won the cases. But I wasn’t dismissed on those grounds. What happened then was they handed over the case to the CBI for investigation. After my dismissal they filed this case in the court, so for five years I was humiliated and harassed in court. I realised they were delaying justice deliberately, I went and talked to the Home Minister, Giani Zail Singh, and he promised justice. I had gone with the then Advocate General who is a friend of mine, and he told Giani ji that this man has done so much for the country. He said, this is probably your only General who has brought so much fame to the country and look, what you are doing to him. Giani ji asked for the case to be reviewed, but he never did anything about it. In any case, nothing was done. And instead of withdrawing these false cases against me they went on deliberately delaying the legal proceedings. The judge wrote a letter to the CBI saying that the time and efforts of the court should not be wasted and witnesses should be produced in court. Inspite of this the case continued to be delayed and the CBI told me that they could delay it for 20 years if they so wished.

Q: But how did you suddenly fall out of favour after being a hero in the Bangladesh war?

A: Because I made a statement, not a statement really, I just said, during the Emergency, that nobody was indispensable in the service of this country. This to me was a patriotic statement. But this statement was carried through the backdoor to the Army Chief and the PM, and God knows what they thought that I was a rebel, or whatever. The aim was to deny me my promotion because I was a Sikh. This is how Sikhs are being persecuted in the army.

Q: Do you feel that other Sikhs in the army are also discriminated against like this?

A: Of course. It is not just a question of being discriminated against. We are suspect. It has been stated by no less a person than Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh on TV that Sikhs as a class should not be suspected.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the Mukti Bahini, how you went in and set it up.

A: These are all top secret things about which I am not supposed to talk. I’m not even allowed to write a book. (If I talked) I would be called unpatriotic and I don’t want that.

Q: But can’t you tell us about the first time you went in and what it was like?

A: You can ask General Jagjit Singh Aurora. He was my boss. I’m not in the habit of talking about these things.

Q: But since you’ve been victimised….

A: Of course, I’ve been victimised. I even appealed to Mrs. Indira Gandhi. I said, let me be court martialled now, or put me up before a civil court, or a tribunal headed by an eminent legal man. As a last resort I even suggested that my case be looked into by someone like Mr Arun Nehru. I also stated in my appeal that I was unwell and that my wife was suffering because I had continuous active service for 12 years with only a six months’ break in between. I was serving in Jammu and Kashmir when I went for the Chinese War. There, again, in General Kaul’s book I am mentioned because, at a time when people were retreating and bringing dishonour to the country, I was going forward and bringing honour. Read Untold Story, page 419, I think.

Q: What was your rank at the time?

A: I was Lt. Colonel, yet the work I was doing was not that of commander’s. I was staff officer. First, I was staff officer to General Harbaksh Singh, then I became staff officer to General Kaul and after that came General Manekshaw. I was General Staff Officer in IV Corps for all these three Generals. Another person who was told to move “forthwith” from Jammu and Kashmir to go and face the Chinese , took 20 days to get there. I took one day. Now that is my patriotism. But I am a Sikh and he is a Hindu. He became an Area Commander, Lt. General, but I was singled out so that I could not come forward for further promotion. And all kinds of charges were brought against me. I was even told that I was a friend of Mr Bahuguna after he had been removed from chief ministership in UP. Now, what I said then was: I’ve got nothing to do with politics but if he had been invited earlier, when he was the chief minister, to participate in a mushaira, how can I tell him not to come; even though the commissioner and the DIG told me that regular reports were being sent on him to Delhi. This was also considered an anti-national act, – the fact that he came to a mushaira in Lucknow arranged by me.

Q: But do you really think it was because were a Sikh? General Harbaksh made it to a higher rank and so did General Aurora.

A: Well, they probably denied promotion to me because there would have been too many Sikh Generals.

Q: But were you a supporter of the Sikh cause in those days?

A: I have always been spiritually inclined. My mother taught me Japji when I was only five years old. And then I was in the habit of always organising an Akhand path wherever I went. When Gyaniji has a picture taken carrying the Granth Sahib on his head he is considered a devout Sikh. But when I did it as a General they spoke of me as a religion-oriented man.

Q: How long have you been living here (Golden Temple)?

A: For about three weeks. You see, after winning these two cases we had `sukhoed’ (vowed) a certain amount of prayers. So every Sunday, for three Sundays, we have had to go to Gurdwara Baba Deep Singh for six hours of meditation and recitation of the Sukhmani Sahib. Then we have done an Akhand path here at the Darbar Sahib and we still have an Akhand path and langar to do at Baba Bakala. And a certain amount of prayers I still have to do here. I wake up everyday at 3 am, have a bath and then at 4.30 I am there for the palki Sahib Sewa. When the Guru Granth is carried from the Akal Takht to the Gurdwara. I stay on there for my normal path. My Sukhmani Sahib I do either there or come back here. Then I go back for the Rehras (sunset prayers).

Q: So you’ve been here for some months?

A: No, only three weeks. As my village is here next door, I go and live there. It’s just about 10 miles from here, a village known as Khayala, where I was born. You people suspect that I must be here for this and that reason. But it’s only because of these path (prayers) and my wife’s illness, which is a gift from Mrs. Indira Gandhi. I have been living in non-family stations on active service continuously for 12 years. She was diagnosed as having a tumour in the bladder, an infection which has never properly healed. In my appeal to Mrs Indira Gandhi I said, look, we are getting old and, if not for me, then for the sake of my wife who has done so much for this country, you should look into my case and give me justice.

Q: Are you a supporter of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale?

A: As far as my relations with Sant Jarnail Singh are concerned, there is nothing to suspect. I’ve told you that I am a patriot. Probably in a finer mould then the Prime Minister herself. I have met Bhindranwale. There is no doubt of it and I also feel that there is a strong touch of spiritualism in this person. He is a man who stands by the truth. The Government is deliberately terming him a traitor because his brand of politics probably doesn’t suit them. But the fact is that there is hardly a Sikh in this world who does not accept him as a leader. I also accept him as a leader. I firmly believe that he is the only Sikh born after Guru Gobind Singh who can get justice for the Sikhs as a community in this country where we have been persecuted ever since independence. We are suspected individually and as a community.

Q: But do you support violent methods:

A: No, we don’t believe in violence. We have proved it by courting arrest last year and staying in jail for three months. I think that is probably why they decided to put me out and not give me my pension. The orders were received when I was in jail. Having served this country with gallantry and distinction, this Government thinks it necessary to deny me even my pension.

I became a Bengali for the sake my country. I cut my hair and then I took amrit again. I trained General Zia-ur-Rahman. He and his wife Khaleda saw me when they came here. He was with me as one of the sub section commanders responsible for victory in Chittagong. I am the only General to have been treated in such a shabby manner. I cannot even afford medical expenses when I had a massive heart attack last year.

-taken from Shaheed Khalsa website

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1984: The Anti-Sikh Propoganda Tapes

 

Within days after the attack on and massacre at the Durbar Sahib, Amritsar and more than 40 major Sikh worship and historical centres across India in June 1984 by its troops, Mrs Indira Gandhi’s government mailed, unsolicited, a series of propaganda tapes – VHS and Beta video – to individuals and institutions around the world.

Excerpts from these tapes speak for themselves, when simply juxtaposed today against the truth that began to emerge, slowly but surely, after these tapes had unfortunately achieved their original goal: misinformation and a feeble attempt to justify a crime of historical proportions and far-reaching poltical and social implications. The tapes were produced and distributed in 1984 through a multi-million dollar budget assigned to an international PR agency by the then Indian Government.

The poison implanted by the lies and the propaganda became entrenched in the public mind soon after its dissemination, and continues to polarize the Indian scene and the Indian Diaspora.

1984: The Anti-Sikh Propoganda Tapes – YouTube.

Produced by: The 1984 Memorial Project, New Delhi

Video

Sikh Genocide

Operation Bluestar

Sikh Pogroms

Punjab Genocide

 

 

The Last Time I Was In Amritsar – June 1984

An amazing, and true, account of surviving torture at the hands of the Indian police forces during their campaign to wipe out the Sikh religion.

***

The Crimes of Indira Gandhi:
The Last Time I Was In Amritsar – June 1984

by MAI HARINDER KAUR

June 4, 1984

I was in Amritsar with my husband, Mani, and thirteen-year-old son, Sandeep. We had been in the city since mid-May, visiting relatives, of which we have many in that area.

The date, for those of you who don’t recognize it, was the beginning of Operation Blue Star – as it was named by the Indian government – when the Indian army stormed the Harmandar Sahib, claiming to be looking for ‘terrorists.’

The army knew that thousands of people were in the gurdwara complex to commemorate the Shaheedi Gurpurab of Guru Arjan. They opened fire on the whole complex and killed who knows how many. Fortunately, we were at a cousin’s house when it all started and thus were safe, or so it seemed.

No such luck. Two days later, the police barged into the house where we were staying and took us all.

Fortunately, as it turned out, the three of us had our passports on us. I’m not sure exactly where we were taken, a police station
somewhere. They separated the men and the women; I was afraid that that was last I’d see of my men.

Then they put put each of us women in different rooms. And I waited. For the first time in my life, I was really scared. After a time, a very young policeman came in. Although my hands were bound behind me, I managed to pull out my Canadian passport.

He was not impressed.

“Are you Sikh?” Expressionless.

“Yes.” Calmly.

“Wrong answer.” He slapped me across the face.

“Are you Sikh?” Expressionless.

“Yes.” Calmly.

“Wrong answer.” He slapped me HARD across the face.

“Are you Sikh?” Expressionless.

“Yes.” Calmly.

“Wrong answer. And you’re also really stupid.” He doubled up his fist and slugged me in the mouth.

“Are you Sikh?” Smiling slightly.

“Yes. I’m Khalsa.” Blood was coming out of my mouth. I wish I could say I was unafraid, but that would be a lie. A BIG lie. I have, to this day, never been so terrified in my life. But I managed to keep my voice steady.

He reached over to me and tore my shirt off. Then he pulled out my kirpan. “The little Saint Soldier has her little knife, I see.” In a sarcastic voice. He drew the blade across my throat. I laughed nervously. A strange reaction.

Unlike most Sikhs, I usually do not carry a blunt kirpan. I know, I know. A kirpan is a religious article, not a weapon. I’m sorry if I
offend anyone here, and I know I will, but I have never believed that our spiritual father, Guru Gobind Singh, intended us to be unarmed. I usually carried a razor-sharp medieval French war dagger that had belonged to a lady ancestor of mine. I suppose it couldn’t really be called a kirpan, but it was what I carried. I’m not sure why that day, I didn’t have my dagger on me. If I had, I would be dead.

So I laughed nervously.

That seemed to infuriate him and he pulled my pants down. At this point a second cop came in. The first one started pulling at my hair.

“You Khalsa have a real fetish about this, don’t you? Is it true that you’ll die before letting it be cut?”

I nodded. “Yes.”

“Stupid.”

The second cop handed him a big pair a scissors. He pointed them at my hair. “I’m going to use these. The choice is yours: here,” pointing at my hair, “or here?” He cut the top of my kacchhera, so they fell down. pointing the scissors at my crotch.

He laughed and laughed.

Paralysed with terror, I said nothing, but inside I screamed with every fibre of my being.

“GOBIND!”

No ‘Guru,’ no ‘Singh,’ no ‘Ji.’

Just, “GOBIND!”

The result was instantaneous. I was not afraid. I was not in pain. I don’t know how I knew they wouldn’t dare cut my hair; I couldn’t care less what else they might do to me. My dad’s words came to me: “No one can humiliate me without my consent.”

I laughed. “I’m Khalsa.” I looked at the mirror across the room. I’m not a complete idiot. I know mirrors in interrogation rooms are one-way glass. And I was certain that the cops were forcing my son and husband to watch this. Sadistic f****ing bastards! I nodded to my unseen men and smiled.

He slugged me in the stomach. It didn’t hurt. He slugged me like that several more times until he finally knocked me off my feet and I fell to the floor. I have never felt so calm and complete, as strange as that sounds. I was completely unafraid.

He stood over me and stared at me, now completely naked, lying on the floor. He kicked me in the head repeatedly. Then, he pulled me up by my hair and with the help of his colleague sat me in a chair. He cut open a hot chili and rubbed it all over my face, up my nose and into my eyes. I didn’t react at all.

He opened my legs and rubbed the chili all over my vaginal area. The second one pulled me forward to my feet, while the first one shoved it up my anus. He pulled it out and stuffed it into my mouth. The whole time, he was trying to taunt me by saying all sorts of insulting things. None of it got through to me at all. I will not record what he said, partly because it was mostly in colloquial Punjabi, of which I understood little, and partly because it would serve no purpose beyond teaching someone how to be insulting.]

After he finished with the chili, he started with the scissors, which turned out to be very sharp. Little cuts, not big ones, all over my breasts, then my stomach. When I didn’t react to that, the bottoms of my feet. By this time, he was completely livid. I thought he was going to maybe cut my throat or gouge my eyes.

Again he grabbed me by the hair and threw me on the ground, and opened my legs. He raised the scissors over my crotch, clearly intending to use them as a weapon of rape. He stopped, clearly savouring the moment.

At exactly that instance, the door opened and someone burst through, yelling. “Stop! We have orders not to mess with the Canadians.”

He glared at me, with pure hatred. But he stopped. The second cop untied my wrists.

I stood up, pulled up my kacchhera, then my pants. My shirt was torn beyond any usefulness, though. My mouth was still full of blood which I spat on the floor at his feet. He spoke, very softly, so only I could hear: “If I ever see you again, you’ll be sorry I didn’t finish with you today.”

So what was going on in me, while he was torturing me? I believe this does qualify as torture. I could see, hear and feel everything that was going on. But I felt no pain, either physically or psychologically, then or later. Instead, I was aware of various voices singing the Mool Mantar, over and over. It was the most beautiful thing you could imagine. It completely transported my being to another level where pain simply doesn’t exist. This was the second time something like this had happened to me in this life – and it has not been repeated since.

I was operating in two completely different states of being. All of my senses seemed to be in overdrive. My hearing was enhanced. Colours were vivid and alive. I was fully, completely conscious and aware. I want to emphasize that I was not being brave or strong or heroic. And I am not masochistic. I was as calmly joyful as I could ever imagine being. It simply made no difference to me what they were doing.

Why do I think this happened to me? Because I relied on a promise made by one who was a father to me. There is nothing special about me in this. Any Khalsa in this position has the right, perhaps even the obligation, to do the same. No special, secret words, no silly rituals, just the total intention.

I’d like to make a couple of aside comments here. First, there are still a few things I have left out, for the sake of decency. I was not raped, since rape is vaginal penetration. Please notice that it takes nothing fancy to torture someone, no special equipment, in this case, just some chili, a pair of scissors and something to tie my hands. Also, very little imagination.

I have not mentioned that, at this time, I was in my first trimester of pregnancy. They, of course, had no way of knowing that. Not that it would have made any difference to them! Why I didn’t lose the babies then and there I can only ascribe to the fact that I was being protected by my Guru in some fashion.

I just kept smiling. “I’d like my kirpan back, please.”

The second cop handed it to me, along with my passport.

They took me, still half naked and bleeding, to a hallway, where I was reunited with Mani and Sandeep. With great dignity, my son took off his shirt and helped me put it on.

“Here, Mom”‘ His voice was shaking a bit. I looked at them. They had been roughed up a bit, and normally neither would have ever tied a turban so sloppily. We would discuss all that later. I evidently got the worst treatment, physically.

Later we discussed the incident. Mani looked into my eyes. “There for a moment, I thought you might break.”

I met his gaze. “So did I.”

“I could see you change. All of a sudden, it was like you became someone else. What happened?”

I told him. He turned to our son. (Of course, all this happened 22 years ago, so all the quotes have been approximations, except this, which I remember verbatim.).

“Your mother is a magnificent person. You won’t find another like her, but I hope when you get married, you’ll marry a woman you can love and admire as much as I do my wife.’

What woman could possibly forget such praise from her husband?

Sandeep looked at me, and said, in a whisper, “Mom, you were so lucky they got stopped when they did.”

Both of us said, in unison, “Luck had nothing to do with it.”

I will leave the story there, only noting that it was not my strength and courage that made me strong; it was a gift from my father Guru.

The only part I can really take any credit for is crying out for help when I needed it.

We could not get back to our family home that day, but fortunately some good people saw us right outside the police station and took us in.

Although some of the city’s water was cut off, it was running where our host family lived. I felt incredibly dirty. Thank God for a good shower! Mani helped me clean up, washed and conditioned my hair – which, against all odds, was intact – and combed it out for me. He couldn’t believe I could walk on those lacerated feet, but even afterwards, while I was healing, I was in no pain. I have a few scars left, my hearing was slightly damaged, but nothing too important.

Mani, being a physician, thoroughly examined me, but even with the beating I had taken, there were no major injuries.

Our hosts, who were Hindus, gave us clean clothes, some really good food, comfortable beds and a feeling that there were still some decent people in Amritsar. We burned our old clothes, except I kept the shirt Sandeep had given to me. Our family in Amritsar still has it, as a remembrance.

There is much more I could write about Amritsar at that time, the smell, the heat, the noxious insects, the sacred sarovar filled with blood and dead bodies, but that can be found elsewhere on the net. I’m trying to record only my personal experiences.

An account of Operation Bluestar by a Jujharoo Singh

Contents:

  • Quotes from Investigative Media
  • Account of Operation Bluestar from Bhai Sukhvant Singh Jalalabad
  • Comparison of Casualty Figures from Various Sources
  • Brief Mention of Operation Woodrose (A parallel operation designed to slaughter Sikh civilians in the villages)

Some quotes from investigative and media reports pertaining to the June 1984 attack on the Golden Temple are attached below:

“The whole of Punjab and especially the Golden Temple Complex, was turned into a murderous mouse trap from where people could neither escape nor could they seek succor of any kind.The way the dead bodies were disposed off adds to the suspicions regarding the number and nature of the casualties…The bodies of the victims of military operation in Punjab were unceremoniously destroyed without any attempt to identify them and hand them over to their relatives.So even the courtesy and honor customarily shown to the dead soldiers of the enemy was not shown to our dead countrymen, since those killing them were our own soldiers. Because the government had decided to exterminate these victims physically they ceased to exist as persons deserving any honor of human dignity. We lack even the civility of the British imperialists, who after the Jalianwala blood bath instituted the Hunter Commission to make a thorough enquiry into the events. The government, after the operation, on the other hand, did every thing in its power to cover up the excesses of the army action.The most disturbing thing about the entire operation was that a whole mass of men, women, and children were ordered to be killed merely on the suspicion that some terrorists were operating from the Golden Temple and other gurdwaras. There had been no judicial verdict of guilt against definite individuals who had been taking shelter in the Golden Temple.” (CKC Reddy, et al, Army Action in Punjab: Prelude & Aftermath, New Delhi: Samata Era Publication, 1984, pp. 46-48)

“An undeclared, unilateral ruthless war _ against hundred of innocent defenceless men and women in far-away tiny villages of Punjab from where their voices do not reach the rest of India.In the name of curbing terrorism, unabashed state terrorism has been unleashed on the Sikhs branding them as criminals, arbitrary arrests and McCarthy style witch-hunt, sadistic torture…shooting down of young men in false encounters are common occurrences; even village women are not spared, they are being harassed and beaten up, dishonored and taken away to Police Stations or to unknown destinations.The eye witnesses witnessed the use of gas by the Army, the pile of dead bodies on the `Parikarma,’ the arrival of tanks which some of them thought were the ambulances, the hovering of helicopter at night, throwing their search light on targets which were bombed, the wanton destruction of the Akal Takht (the Eternal Throne), the Research Library and the Museum.Today, it is the State itself which openly indulges not only in murder and assault but also in inhuman torture, molestation of women…and false encounters leading to gruesome death.Our visit was almost like lifting the corner of a veil to discover a face – an amazing face full of conflicting emotions, suffering yet defiant, anguished yet challenging, tortured yet proud.” (Judge V M Tarkunde, et al, Oppression in Punjab: Report to the Nation, New Delhi: Citizens for Democracy, 1985, pp. 8-10, 18-19)

“The pattern in each village appears to be the same. The Army moves in during the early evening, cordons a village, and announces over loudspeakers that everyone must come out. All males between the ages of 15 and 35 are trussed and blindfolded, then taken away.Thousands have disappeared in the Punjab since the Army Operation began. The government has provided no lists of names; families don’t know if sons and husbands are arrested, underground or dead.” (Mary Anne Weaver, The Christian Science Monitor, October 15, 1984)

“On the strength of constitutional features, India claims to be the largest functional democracy in the world where wide-spread human rights abuses, systematic persecution of estranged communities and suppression of political dissent cannot occur. However, the experiences of the Sikhs in Punjab show that as a demonised community targeted for abuse by the authorities, they had no protection from the leaders of the supposedly independent institutions, including the judiciary, either in shielding their fundamental rights against imminent violations or in obtaining acknowledgement and legal restitution of wrongs. Freedom of discourse remained an empty promise which even the higher judiciary joined the chorus to turn the page and obliterate the victims’ memory on the grounds that a public discussion and scrutiny focusing on past abuses and the role of institutions would undermine the interests of peace and social order.” (Ram Narayan Kumar, et al, Reduced to Ashes (Volume One), Asia Forum for Human Rights, Kathmandu, Nepal, May 2003, pp. 75)

This is based on an interview with Bhai Sukhvant Singh Jalalabad, a prisoner in Nabha Jail. He fought in the June 1984 attack on Darbar Sahib. Bhai Sukhvant Singh began staying with Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in 1982 along with 11 other young men from his village. Later, six of those Singh’s would become Shaheeds during Bluestar and the rest were arrested and sent to Jodhpur Jail.Bhai Sukhvant Singh was released in 1989 and joined the Sikh ResistanceMovement. He was arrested and sent back to jail in 1997 where he has remained since, except for a brief four-month release in 2000. This is his account of the attack and how he and other Singhs fought back:

An account of Operation Bluestar by a Jujharoo Singh

On June 4th, at Amritvela, as the sweet sound of keertan was coming from Darbar Sahib, unexpectedly at 4.15am, a loud explosion was heard. It felt as though this explosion had taken place right near us. This was a signal for the bombing to begin. This all was part of a very carefully hatched plan by the Indian Government to attack the Sikh’s most important centre.

All of a sudden a hail of bullets began to fly. All us Singhs became alert right away.We were about 20 Singhs in the Sindhi Hotel, which was near the Langar building.  By daybreak, all the placements that had been made at high places had been completely obliterated. It’s important to say here that whatever placements had been made before June 3rd, and the government had noticed, were completely destroyed. Only those positions remained intact that had been made after June 3rd and which the government was unaware about. General Shabegh Singh spent the entire night of June 3rd making new positions and those were the ones that caused to most damage to the army. We came to a lower level of the Hotel and made new positions in the rooms and with our weapons we took them up.The bullets were flying at us so quickly that we couldn’t fire back.

We got in contact with the Langar Building and this was where Bhai Amrik Singh and Baba Thara Singh were commanding operations. They sent us a message at the Sindhi Hotel to leave there and to come to the Langar where all the Singhs would be gathering to fight together. This was because the Sindhi Hotel could have been surrounded at any time.At about 11am, we left the Sindhi Hotel and went to the Langar. There all the Singhs gathered and had a meeting where different positions were assigned. I and some other Singhs were given our duty at the Burj, but when we got there, there was a storm of bullets being fired at it. The Burj was swaying and it seemed that it could fall at any moment. Inside it, the dust made it impossible to breathe. Our position here could not be successful so we came back to the Langar Building.

So many bullets were being fired that no one could leave their morcha. But we would only shoot when we had a soldier in our sights. All of us were in contact with each other and we would go to each others morchas. If someone needed ammunition we could get it.All night the fighting continued but the army did not have the courage to advance on foot.At around midnight, four helicopters began to hover around Darbar Sahib. They tried to drop Commandos but the Singhs with their fire did not let them. A helicopter hovered over the Langar Building for quite some time as well and Bhai Amrik Singh grabbed an LMG and fired at it. This one too couldn’t drop any Commandos.

The next day at around 5, the Langar building came under organized fire. Our placements on the top level were completely destroyed. Many Singhs were Shaheed and others were injured. There was no one to tend to the wounds but Guru Sahib was doing so much kirpa that the injured were still encouraging the rest of us to fight hard. The dead bodies of the Shaheed Singhs were lying in the placements but our hearts had become like stone and it didn’t matter anymore. In our hearts we all wanted to fight ill our final breath.

On the evening of June 5th, Bhai Amrik Singh and the others made a plan to go to Akal Takhat Sahib. We also got ready to go with Bhai Sahib because we had planned to bring ammunition from there. Bhai Sahib and the rest of us went through the Parkarma, through a hail of bullets and reached Akal Takhat Sahib. We met Sant Mahapursh (Baba Jarnail Singh) there and he gave us a Fateh. Sant Ji asked Bhai Amrik Singh about the Langar side and what was going on and he asked us if we were in “Chardi Kala”. We replied that we were all in Chardi Kala. Sant Ji had a yellow keskee on his head and a Thompson Gun in his hands. He was in total Chardi Kala.We explained that we had come for ammunition and Sant Ji told Bhai Rachhpal Singh to get us what we needed. Bhai Rachhpal Singh took us to the basement and we took as much ammunition as we could carry. We then returned to the Langar Building. After this, we lost all contact with Akal Takhat Sahib.We distributed the ammo and in total we were 60-70 Singhs at the Langar. There were bullets flying in every direction. We took up positions on the bottom most floor.

As night fell, the Army sent 400 trained Commandos from the Ghanta Ghar gate, Baba Deep Singh gate and the Langar side. From the Langar side, we did not let even one Commando get into the Complex. On the other sides as well, not even one Commando survived. The army saw that they couldn’t advance by foot so around 11pm, tanks and armoured vehicles began to come from the Seraa(n) side. They fired a hail of bullets at the Langar as they advanced.Us Singhs in the Langar, Baba Thara Singh, Bhai Surinder Singh, Bhai Major Singh (Nagoke), Bhai Balvinder Singh, Bhai Svaran Singh, Bhai Dalbir Singh, etc., had a meeting at the back side of the Langar Building. We decided to leave here and go to the Akal Takhat Sahib. Bhai Svaran Singh did an ardaas here that “Guru Sahib Jio! Give use the strength to combat this enemy.”

At 1am, we went into the parkarma via the Brahm Buta Akhara. Bullets were flying ahead of us. Bhai Svaran Singh and Bhai Dalbir Singh went into an adjoining room where there were many other Singhs from the Kar Seva Jatha. It’s important to say here that about 35 Kar Seva-vale Singhs had done an ardaas that “if Darbar Sahib is attacked, we will become Shaheeds.” Only four of these Singhs survived and they spent time with us in Jodhpur Jail. The rest all fought bravely and became Shaheed. The Jathedar, Baba Pehlvaan, whose name I have now forgotten, fought most bravely of all.Bhai Major Singh Nagoke separated from us and went into the underground room near the Langar that had a well in it. Five other Singhs also descended into this room. Bhai Major Singh had known about this place before and we too had gone there a couple times. They had stored food rations here. When we were taken to the prisoner camp, we found out that when on June 9th, Giani Zail Singh came to Darbar Sahib, the Singhs fired on him from this room. One of Giani Zail’s bodyguards was killed but he himself survived.Major Singh and the others fought to the end. The army ended up martyring them with poison gas. Major Singh also had a major role in the killing of Nirankari Gurbachana that the Sangat does not know about.

When we began to move towards Akal Takhat Sahib, we only had about 20 Singhs left. The rest were all Shaheed. Instead of going directly towards Akal Takhat Sahib, we moved towards Dukh Bhanjani Beri because the firing was less in this area. Near here there is also an enclosure where women can do ishnaan. We put our shastar there. There was no position made here so we couldn’t continue to fight. We drank the water from the sarovar and quenched our thirst. We only had a few bullets left, the rest of the ammunition was exhausted. Just our weapons remained.

At Amrit vela we began to discuss how we could move towards Akal Takhat Sahib. Baba Thara Singh was saying that if we reached there, we would have no problem getting more amo. All night the tanks had been entering the parkarma and in the Deori in front of the Langar, a tank was constantly firing shells. Inside the enclosure,we had taken up positions that if the army tried to enter, we would kill as many of them as possible before dying. Bhai Surinder Singh and Bhai Balvinder Singh along with 5 Singhs decided that they would swim through the sarovar to Darbar Sahib. After going to Darbar Sahib, they would run on the causeway to Akal Takhat Sahib. When the Singhs began to swim, we watched and in front of us, all were martyred and not even one made it across.

On June 6th, at around 9 or 10am, we suddenly heard the cries of Jaikaray. We thought that maybe the Sangat from outside had arrived but when we listened with more attention, we realised the shouts were coming from Akal Takhat Sahib. There were tanks standing in front of Akal Takhat Sahib and they had destroyed the building completely. Finally, Baba Thara Singh said to us, “we cannot fight tanks with bullets. If any of us can escape, they should try.”At the suggestion of Baba Thara Singh, we threw our weapons (which were without ammo now) into the sarovar. Baba Ji did ardaas that we would go outside and become Shaheed. Baba Ji asked the elderly to accompany him. He said if they were arrested it was fine, but if not, they would certainly be happy to be Shaheed. My uncle also accompanied Baba Ji. The moment they stepped out, they were all shot dead.

We returned into the enclosure but the army realised there were people inside. They announced that if there was anyone inside, they should come out, otherwise they were opening fire. So at around 10am, 15 Singhs and some members of the Sangat came out, but this time the army did not open fire. They immediately began to beat us with sticks. I saw the bodies of Baba Thara Singh an my uncle lying there. We managed to survive. Our arms were tied behind our backs with our dastaars and the army began to beat us so badly that some Singhs died from their injuries.

We were taken to the chhabeel near Manji Sahib Divaan Hall where a number of Singhs and members of the Sangat were already sitting. We were made to sit with them on the parkarma. We heard from the soldiers here, while they were hitting us, “Your Bhindranwala tiger has been killed and we’ve won the battle.” We were silent and staring at Akaal Takhat Sahib. There were still tanks in front of Akaal Takhat Sahib and there was a tank directly behind all of us as well. If firing came from any direction, the tank would fire a hail of bullets in that direction.Night fell here. This night, a scene occurred in front of me that I will never forget and still passes through my eyes even today. One Bihari soldier was smoking and then threw the butt into the sarovar. A Sardar soldier was also standing there. There were some Sardar soldiers to be seen that day. The Sardar said to the Bihari, “Don’t throw the butt into the sarovar” but after smoking another, he threw the butt into the sarovar again and said, “What are you going to do?” The Sardar took his carbine and blew the Bihari away. On top of a nearby tank, another Bihari soldier opened fire on the Sardar and ripped his body apart with bullets. He fell dead into the sarovar and his body began to float on the surface.

At that point, the Bihari captain ordered the tanks to run us over and kill us. The turned the tanks towards us but suddenly a Muslim Major came and he said in a loud voice, “What are you doing??!” The soldier on the tank said, “Our Captain Sahib has ordered us to kill them.” The Major replied that all these prisoners have been put on a list and if any are killed, the killer would be held responsible. He had the Biharis changed and the new posts began to make our lists.We asked the Major for water but he said that if we survived, we should consider ourselves lucky. We stayed there all night in this state. The Major came a few more times in the night to ask how we were. In the morning we were ordered to stand but because many of us were badly beaten, they fell over. They were then beaten more.

In a line we were marched to the Seraa(n) area near Manji Sahib Divan Hall. On the way we saw that the bodies of the Sangat were everywhere and some were still screaming in pain. No one was listening to them. The Soldiers were only picking up their own dead and wounded. In front of the Seraa(n) there were 500 people already sitting and we too sat down. The army then began to throw hand grenades at us. Everything was covered in blood and bodies began to pile up. The soldiers were also firing at us now so that no one would survive. Here, my companion Bhai Raj Singh became a Shaheed. I was slightly injured but survived again.We lay there with the other bodies.

When the firing stopped, we went into the rooms of the Seraa(n).In one room, there was an injured mother and her baby. She didn’t care about herself but she was begging for the life of her child. After a while, her voice and that of her baby was silenced by bullets. They did not even spare innocent children.

Chunks of flesh had been blown away and were sticking to the walls of the Seraa(n). The army then announced that whoever was still alive should come out. We saw rooms filled with bodies and they smelt very bad. We came out and this time we saw that along with the pilgrims were leaders of the Sikh Students Association. We saw Balvant Singh Ramuvalia there who was helping make lists. He tried to speak with an officer but that officer slapped him and knocked his turban off. We saw the bodies of SGPC secretary Gurcharan Singh and Bugga Singh lying near some sacks of wheat. Where we were sitting we found out that some Sardar soldiers had come and taken the two and shot them dead. They said “you are the cause of all this” and executed them. The Bihari soldiers were looking at the Sardar soldiers with suspicion and saying “they shot at us as well.”

The night of June 7th arrived and we were taken by bus to Amritsar’s army camp. We were locked up in small rooms that were meant for ammunition. They were very tight and had no fan. We were so thirsty that some of us were falling unconscious. Bhai Sunaam Singh became a Shaheed here. We were almost unconscious and crying out. The noise made the army open our doors and when we ran out to drink water, the army opened fire and many Singhs died here. We continued to lie inside.

On the night of June 8th, a Sardar soldier took charge. He was from Jhabaal. The Biharis were changed. He said to us that he was also pained by all that had happened and his own father who did seva with Baba Khark Singh had also been killed. He said he had just returned after doing the cremation. He said that we should last one more night like this and then we would be put in open barracks.

On June 9th we were put in open barracks and were given Cholay Puris to eat. We began to throw up right away. Doctors came and said that we had been dehydrated and we should only be given rice and water. He said that if your bodies accepted the water, we might live otherwise there was no hope. We had not had anything to eat for the past four or five days. Our bodies began to accept the water and then we were given rice for the next two or three days. We thought we would survive now. Then began the job of identifying us. We were marched in front of a room where the fighters were separated from the regular Sangat. A companion of Sant Ji was doing the identifying. We were a total of 60 Singhs left and we were put in two rooms.

Different agencies interrogated us for two months but we gave them no information. We were then taken to Nabha jail. Here the interrogation continued. When this stopped, we were remanded to custody under the National Security Act for a period set for two years. Our families found out we were ok. After the remand, we were taken to Ladha Kothi Sangrur were they interrogated us again. They kept asking where Sant Ji got the weapons, who were the fighters and who were involved in various actions that took place. We kept repeating that we didn’t know anything.

We were about to be sent away to “Kala Pani” when some Guru Kae Laal killed Indra. All the Singhs faces were shining with happiness since history had shown that whoever attacked Sri Darbar Sahib could not escape the Khalsa.What had been happening to us for the past five months now stopped. New lists were made and 379 individuals were charged with rebellion and sent to Jodhpur Jail. We were sent there via air from Patiala.

There were two women as well, Bhai Rachhpal Singh’s wife and another from Amritsar [Bibi Amarjit Kaur]. There was a court inside Jodhpur Jail. We all fell ill because of the food given to us here but soon we became used to it. After five years in jail, in 1989, the charge of rebellion was taken back under pressure from the United Nations. Those of us who didn’t have any other cases booked, were then released. I had cases in Punjab so I was sent to Jalandhar Jail and then Amritsar. I later came out on bail.

The government offered us assistance but I rejected it and joined the movement again in 1990. Since 1997 I am in jail again and await the day when with the grace of the Guru some true leader comes again to take the Panth into Chardi Kala.

-translated by karamjeet Singh

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Aftermath

 

The number of people who lost their lives will never be known. The Army refused to let the Red Cross enter the complex and cremated the dead before the bodies could be identified or claimed by their families. The Amritsar municipal sweepers refused to clear the dead bodies away but were eventually persuaded by offers of rum and being allowed to strip the bodies of all valuables. They piled the dead into garbage trucks and unceremoniously cremated them. Family members were not allowed by the army to claim the remains or perform any traditional funeral rites. It is clear that thousands lost their lives in the Temple complex.

How many died?
Indian Government white paper category “civilian/terrorist”: 493
AP, Reuter and New York Times (June 11, 1984) 1,000
Author Mark Tully’s (Amritsar, Mrs. Ghandi’s last battle) 2,093
Amritsar crematorium worker 3,300
Author Chand Joshi (Bhindranwale: Myth and Reality) 5,000
Eyewitnesses 8,000
How many killed were “combatants”
Government White Paper 200, 35 bodies in Akal Takht 200
A.I.S.S.F. Member – 100 fighters June 5th 100
S.S. Bhagowalia, V.P. Association for Democratic Rights 140-150
Indian Government White Paper
Own troops killed 83
Own troops wounded 249
Civilians/terrorists killed 493
Terrorists and other injured 86
Civilians/terrorists apprehended 1,592

Total number of troops taking part in the attack is estimated at around 1,000 (Mark Tulley),

Child Prisoners

22 children between the ages of 2 and 16 years old were detained among the 1,592 terrorists apprehended by the army according to the government White Paper and on the  “most dangerous terrorists list”. They languished in jail suffering torture for over a year until social worker Kamala Devi petitioned the Supreme Court for their release from Ludihana jail.

Prisoner Mehrban Singh, Age 12
“We were repeatedly asked if we were Bhindranwale’s men. They hit us at Ludhiana jail, jabbing fingers into our necks, wanting us to confess that we had been filling magazines with bullets for Bhindranwale’s men.”

Prisoner Shamsher Singh, Age 11
“We were given very dirty food in the army camp. The food was better in the jail. We were regularly beaten in the jail. We were told we were Bhindranwale’s people and they wanted to know about Bhindranwale’s friends. They asked us where Bhindranwale kept his arms.”

Continuing Violence

Parallel to Operation Blue Star, another military operation called Operation Woodrose took place. Across Punjab the Indian Army attacked 42 to 74 Gurdwaras resulting in high casualties at Moga, Mukatsar, Faridkot, Patiala, Ropar and Chowk Mehta. The exact number of Sikhs killed are not know but 257 people were shot and killed during the storming of just a single Gurdwara in the operation, Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib in Patiala.

On October 31, 1984 Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot and killed by two bodyguards, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh as revenge for Operation Blue Star. Over the next four days, as many as 3100 Sikhs were killed in retaliatory attacks, mainly in Delhi by Hindu mobs said to be organized and coordinated by Indian government officials. As many as 50,000 Sikhs were left homeless as their houses were burned to the ground.

In the 10 years following 1984 over 70,000 people were detained under emergency terrorism legislation (TADA), yet only 1 percent of them were eventually convicted of a crime.

Case of Sukhwinder Singh, 23 years old
Report for the Committee on Disappearances in Punjab
On 13 December 1991, Sukhwinder Singh accompanied by Lakhwinder Singh went to Munda Pind village on a tractor trolly to do some shopping. While returning, they were apprehended by the police of Munda Pind police post and handed over to Goindwal Sahib police. SHO Tegh Bahadur of Goindwal Sahib Police station and head constable Rachhpal Singh personally supervised Sukhwinder’s interrogation under torture during the course of his illegal detention for five days. The family members regularly visited him in the police station and served him food. Gian Singh met his son at Goindwal police station for the last time on 16 December 1991. Gian Singh, along with several other village elders had been talking to SHO Tegh Bahadur Singh to get Sukhwinder released from his custody. The SHO demanded a bribe of Rs 200,000 for Sukhwinder’s release. Gian Singh, a small farmer, was unable to raise such a large amount and beseeched the SHO to release his son for Rs. 50,000 but the SHO turned down the offer. Gian Singh was still struggling to raise the amount, demanded by the SHO for his son’s release when on 19 December 1991, several Punjabi newspapers reported the killing of Sukhwinder Singh and another unidentified militant in a supposed armed encounter with the police force. The cremation was carried out without the family’s knowledge.

 

– from http://www.sikhmuseum.com/bluestar/chronology.html

The Tiger of the Sikh Freedom Movement

‘He was an Angel’ ( Oh ta Farishta si),
These words describe the deep feelings of love and respect people of Punjab have for Baba Manochahal. As Buzurg Sikhs sit in groups in village centres and talk about the age gone, this one name still arouses feelings of Love and faith in hearts of many.
The policemen who saw him, who met him, who had a word with him, till today bear witness to his bravery, his simplicity and his determination to fight till end. In words of one such policeman ‘’when he was escaping after an encounter, he passed by me. He was holding his GPM in his hand and bag of ammunition was on his shoulder. Looking at him, my gun fell. If he had been any other Kharkoo, I would be dead by now, but he just looked at me, smiled and said ‘ Sikh hai,Baani padya kar, tera bhala ho jooga’ (you are a Sikh, read Baani, you will be blessed) and just vanished.

Baba Gurbachan Singh ji Manochahal joined Damdami Taksal in 1974 at age of 20 during Sant Kartar Singh ji’s time. After completing his Vidya, he started going out with Jatha on parchar missions. After Sant Kartar Singh ji, Sant Jarnail Singh ji became Jathedar of Taksal in 1977. Babaji was very close to Santji and had great respect for Santji. He was one of the few Singhs assigned by Sant Kartar Singh ji to always remain with and assist Sant Jarnail Singh ji. When Sant Jarnail Singh ji was surrounded by Punjab Police to be arrested and killed in Mumbai, Santji left secretly in a white ambassador car, while Babaji lay on Santji’s bed with a bed sheet on his face (he had height same as Santji). All the time, police and spies thought that it was Sant Jarnail Singh who was sleeping on bed, but after 8 hours Babaji removed sheet from his face, policemen were left empty handed as it was not Santji, who had gone too far to be caught by now.

He had a highly spiritual Jeevan and a long nitnem at Amritvela. Many a times, he went in Samadhi, sitting one with Akaal Purakh for days at length. This made Sant Jarnail Singh ji respect Babaji further and Santji assigned Babaji with Kar sewa of Gurudwara Bhai Dhanna Singh ji at village Naushera Pannua. Interestingly, Baba Manochahal was the one who arranged for arms and ammunitions for Babbar Khalsa Singhs (Bhai Talwinder Singh, Bhai Anokh Singh and Bhai Kulwant Singh Nagoke) and did ardas for them when they went on their first mission to punish Narkdharis.
Baba Manochahal had a very magnetic personality, a peaceful shine in his eyes and firmness on face, and at same time, he had Heart and humility of a Sant, which made him a complete Sant- Sipahi.

Santji asked Babaji on 1st June 1984 to leave Darbar Sahib Parkarma and carry on the struggle. Baba Gurbachan Singh ji formed ‘ Bhindranwala Tigers Force of Khalistan’ in 1985 to carry on mission of Santji. He was Jathedar of 5-member Panthic committee which was formed on 26th Jan 1986 to lead Khalsa Panth and carry on struggle of Khalistan. Baba Gurbachan Singh ji was respected for his vision, his farsightedness, his Panthic Piaar , his dedication and his deep faith for Mission given by Santji. He took each and every word of Santji by his heart and worked entire life to fulfill bachans of Santji.

Baba Gurbachan Singh ji had qualities which many other leaders of Sikh Resistance Movement lacked. He was not only a soldier, but also a scholar, a poet, a visionary, a statesman, an ideologue of Movement. He had all the qualities which were needed in an able General, and He WAS the one. This was the reason that all Government Agencies, Traitors, agents and touts worked with all their might to bring him down someway.
There was Four million Rupee reward on his head, raids were carried out at 40-60 places at same time, with more than 60,000 Government troops involved, but the Great Warrior, Baba Manochahal always escaped the net and cordon of Military forces.
He was labeled ‘Agent of Congress’ by some so-called Panthic Leaders of those times, like Dr. Sohan Singh, who with help of government agencies had established themselves as leaders and ideologues of Kharkoo Jathebandis. But that didn’t stop Babaji from his mission. He didn’t care what people talked about him, who stood with him or against him, what danger he had to face due to his actions. He was a Sant, someone who had gone beyond filth, impurity and corruption of world and its distractions. He was working as a soldier of Dasmesh Pita, with his inner self imbued in Naam and Baani. He walked as a companion of 18th century Sikhs, without caring for the thorns cutting his feet and body. Burning heat of Punjab’s summers or chilling cold of winters, which he spent in fields of Punjab didn’t break his confidence. One by one, all his companions, all loyal soldiers fell in battlefield. His father, mother, brothers, nephews sacrificed their lives at altar of truth. Left alone in battlefield, he was asked by well-wishers to leave the battlefield and enemies called upon him to surrender, but this brave heart son of Guru Gobind Singh ji, soldier of Khalsa Panth, the true ‘Taksali Nihang’, the care-less Sant-Sipahi roamed in streets of villages singing ‘Sir dittea baajh nahi rehna Dharam Sir ditteaa baajh nahi rehna’ ( Dharam will not survive without sacrificing our heads).

And the day came, when he quietly drank the poison given by friends,to whom he had gone for food and shelter. As he understood what had happened, he quietly left the place where he drank the poison and started walking to an unknown destination, knowing very well that journey would end very soon and he will be in his Father’s feet.The enemies were following him, quietly watching his steps, waiting for him to fall. They didn’t carry enough courage to challenge poisoned Son of Guru Gobind Singh ji, whose name itself used to send shivers down their spine. As the ‘albela’ Baba kept walking, poison showed its effects and this ‘Tiger of Bhindranwala’ fell in a field outside the village of Rataul. As he fell and his Holy Soul flew away to Immortal Palace of Guru Gobind Singh ji, cowards of Punjab police appeared and pumped numerous bullets in his life-less body.

Baba Manochahal kept his promise, which he had made to Sant Kartar Singh ji and Sant Jarnail Singh ji Khalsa, to always remain a loyal and humble soldier of Khalsa Panth, to fight for Panth and Dharam till last breath and sacrifice his life for Charhdi Kala of Khalsa Panth.

Baba Manochahal ji used to say ‘’ When a Shaheed sacrifices his life, don’t pray for his soul to ‘rest in peace’, instead pray to Maharaj and Shaheed Singhs to send that holy soul again to serve the Panth as Panth needs brave and pure Souls. Only those blessed souls can take Panth to Charhdi kala’’.

Following Babaji’s bachans, I ask him and other brave Shaheeds not to Rest in Peace ( R.I.P.) but ‘’ Rise Again’’ (R.A.)

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Baba Gurbachan Singh ji had some very unique and inspiring qualities which made him greatest General of Sikh Resistance Movement after Sant Jarnail Singh ji Khalsa.

Here I would like to share some incidents, words and actions of Babaji’s life which show his bravery, courage, determination, honesty, purity, spiritual prowess and ability to rise above worldly divisions and distractions.

Babaji and Taksal –

After Operation Bluestar, some people tried to target Baba Manochahal and his intentions and alleged that He was trying to be next Mukhi of Damdami Taksal. Babaji gave out a statement to press and media which was

‘’ I am living life of an outlaw, how can I work as Mukhi of Damdami Taksal? I joined Taksal as a vidyarthi in 1974 during Sant Kartar Singh ji’s time and after him, Sant Jarnail Singh ji Khalsa became Jathedar. I have always been a loyal and humble vidyarthi of Taksal and will remain so forever. The Mission which Santji gave me, I will carry it forward with all the power Maharaj has given me, till my last breath. I will not run away from my responsibilities and bachans of Mahapurakh Sant Jarnail Singh ji Khalsa. Those who are trying to create frictions between me and Baba Thakur Singh ji should stop these antics. I have always respected Babaji from the day I joined Taksal and shall continue to do it forever. The amount of Love and respect I have for Babaji, will never decrease and no one can decrease it. Yes, I will appeal to all the Singhs to remain calm and raise above all divisions and work for Charhdi kala of Panth. Only time will tell who served Taksal with all the heart and Soul. ‘’

Babaji and Movement –

After Operation Bluestar, Baba Thakur Singh ji and Damdami Taksal called Sarbat Khalsa at Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib to decide future course of action. On 26th January 1986, millions of Sikhs gathered at Sri Darbar Sahib Complex and Panthic committee was formed under Babaji’s guidance. Baba Manochahal was One of Singhs of Panthic Committee. Babaji gave an emotional speech that day in front of Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib wherein he outlined the future course of action, which included Sewa of Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib, Justice for victims of June and November 84 Massacres and armed struggle to attain Freedom for Sikh Panth. Babaji formed ‘Bhindranwala Tigers Force’ to fight for Freedom. When Bhai Satwant Singh and Bhai Kehar Singh ji were hanged on 6th January 1989, all the Mukhi Kharkoos gathered and did samagam for Shaheeds, where Bhai Wadhawa Singh Babbar did Kirtan and Baba Manochahal ji did ardas for Shaheeds. Baba Manochahal served as a uniting factor on many issues between Jathebandis and always stressed on unity of all the Jathebandis in One fighting force to attain freedom, an attempt which was torpedoed many a times by people like Dr.Sohan Singh and Jagjeet Singh Chohan. Babaji was part of Jatha which faced enemy bullets on 13th April 1978, and he was the Last general to fall on 28th Feb 1993, and after his Shaheedi, Movement came to a virtual standstill, which it is till today.

Babaji’s Vision and Far-sightedness.

Baba Manochahal’s younger brother, Bhai Mohinder Singh , who was also a top Kharkoo of BTFK, was shot dead by Bhai Sukhwinder Singh Sangha of same Jathebandi. Babaji was in Pakistan at that time, when he returned, his close aides reported the matter to Babaji and asked him to punish Sangha. Babaji called Sangha and asked calmly about the matter. Sangha replied to Babaji that he was ashamed and sorry for what had happened, and it was a case of wrong information, wherein he was told that Bhai Mohinder Singh had become a police agent. Babaji placed his hand on Sangha’s shoulder and said ‘’ Sangha, next time be careful about information and verify it before you shoot someone. Each and every Singh is precious in this struggle’’. Ashamed of what had happened; Bhai Sangha left Majha and started his operations in Malwa area. Singhs were surprised and amazed at restraint showed by Babaji in dealing with killer of his brother.

In 1991-92, Babaji alongwith Baba Thakur Singh ji called upon all Panthic parties and Jathebandis to fight elections as boycotting them would prove a historic blunder for Movement. But Akali factions who were sell-outs of Indian Government insisted on boycotting elections. People like Dr. Sohan Singh, Chief of Panthic committee cleverly took Babbars on his side to boycott elections and anyone who called upon Panthic parties to fight elections was labelled ‘’Government Agent’’.  Baba Thakur Singh ji asked Simranjeet Singh Maan to fight elections but he also refused. Baba Manochahal sent Bhai Manjeet Singh, son of Sant Kartar Singh and brother of Bhai Amrik Singh ji Shaheed to Panthic meeting where it was to be decided whether or not to fight elections. Bhai Manjeet Singh, who was President of AISSF that time was asked by Babaji to somehow make all Singhs understand importance of elections. But Bhai Manjeet Singh couldn’t resist the pressure of other Jathebandis and signed the declaration boycotting elections. When he returned and met Baba Manochahal, he told Babaji about his failure to stop boycott of elections. Babaji took out his Gun, placed it on Bhai Manjeet Singh’s head and said ‘’ If you were not Son of Sant Kartar Singh ji, I would have shot you by now. You don’t know what you all did today. You have signed on death warrant of thousands of Sikhs today’’.

That day Babaji said his famous bachans ‘’ Big trees will fall, river of blood of innocents will flow, people who fold hands today in front of us and ask us to visit their houses will close their doors on us, they will even refuse us water, movement will fall back by decades. Panth will understand its loss only after the loss has been made’’.

Babbars and some other Jathebandis sided with Dr.Sohan Singh that time and labelled Baba Manochahal as Congress Agent. Babaji refused to give any statement against Babbars but clearly said about Dr. Sohan Singh that ‘’ this man has talked till today, he will just talk and live on. And it’s not hard for a person like him to change his words. Those who have chosen to follow him will understand later who was right and who was wrong ‘’.

Today Babaji’s words have come true. Baba Manochahal ji sacrificed his Life for Panth, but same Dr. Sohan Singh today lives in his Bungalow in Chandigarh and attends RSS functions. Recently he gave out a statement that ‘’ I never had any relationship with Khalistan movement or Khalistanis’’.

When some Singhs praised Wassan Singh Jaffarwal in front of Baba Manochahal in 1991, Babaji smiled and said ‘’ He is not Singh, He is wassu, wassu, and with time, you will see his Truth’’. And we all saw the great surrender drama of Wassan Jaffarwal!!

Babaji and Panthic Unity.

After election boycott decision and Babaji;s support for elections, some young Babbars started looking for Babaji, to shoot him. Navroop Singh was their Jathedar. After regular instigations, Singhs asked Babaji permission to teach Navroop Singh a lesson. Babaji quietly refused and politely said ‘’ If I too start acting like them, what will be the difference between me and him’’? Bhai Behla, who was right hand man of Babaji, got irritated and said ‘’ Jathedar ji, you will get killed one day and get us killed from hands of these stupid boys, without a reason. I can’t be peaceful like you’’. Babaji stood up, folded his hands and said ‘’ Singho, if you want, you can cut my head, but I will not let you fire on fellow brothers who are fighting for Panth. Yes they are on wrong path, lets do ardas to Maharaj to bless them with Bibek-Budh and understanding ‘’. After few days, Rataul encounter happened and BTFK Singhs fought for 56 hours in this encounter, killing scores of enemy forces. This sent shock waves in Kharkoos who were against Babaji. Navroop Singh confronted Sohan Singh and said ‘’ you say Manochahal is a Congress agent, if he is congress agent, how and why are his Singhs fighting for 56 hours in encounters’’?  Sohan Singh head his hung in shame and left the place. After few days, Navroop Singh went to Babaji and apologized for his stupidity.

When Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Babbar attained Shaheedi, Babaji’s sister saw Babaji crying. She said you and Sukhdev Singh had so big ideological and strategic differences between you, then why are you crying for him? Babaji said ‘’ sister, whatever our differences, still he was my brother, we were walking on same path, we had same dream, I have lost a brave brother today’’.

This was Babaji’s love and respect for fellow Singhs and Jathedars.He had the ability to rise above partisan politics and work and think for entire Panth. When whole Indian Media started a slanderous campaign against Jathedar Sukhdev Singh, to malign his image and character, it was one and only Baba Manochahal who gave out a recorded statement to defend Jathedar Sukhdev Singh, his second marriage, his lifestyle and actions. He proved it through Baani and history that Jathedar Sukhdev Singh was not wrong in having a second wife while first was alive, as he had Anand Karaj with that Bibi, Jawahar Kaur, and it was necessary for him to live in Bungalow to carry out his Kharkoo activities. It was due to Babaji’s statement that honour of Bhai Sukhdev Singh was saved , else even Singhs close to Jathedar Sukhdev Singh and various other jathedars had started pointing fingers at character of Bhai Sukhdev Singh Babbar.

When Singhs asked Babaji why he was defending Sukhdev Singh, who had bitter differences with him, Babaji simply said ‘’ I’m defending honour of a Shaheed who fought and died for Panth. I just can’t let his blood go waste due to all this maligning attempts’’.

Babaji and New-age thinking

Once Babaji was having Langar with some Singhs during afternoon at one of his hideouts. Some young Singhs of village were standing near Babaji. While discussing various issues, some singhs reported to Babaji about a boy and girl of village who ‘met secretly and were having a love affair’. They asked Babaji to punish them or shoot them. Babaji said ‘ Singho, if they are in love with each other, we don’t have a right to interfere, yes, if some guy abuses, molests or dishonours a Bibi, then don’t think twice before shooting him, lets not get into personal matters of people, we have a war to fight’’. Singhs became quiet after listening to Babaji. On other hand, Babaji called that boy and girl outside village Gurudwara and asked them about their relation. Shivering with fear while looking at Babaji’s face, they accepted that they loved each other. Babaji said ‘’ Ok, if you love each other, then you have to marry each other, and if any one of you backed off, I will shoot that person with my hands. Now it’s not just about love, it’s about honour of your families, our culture and religion ‘’.

This showed how much Babaji valued personal freedom, culture and traditions. Small divisive issues were unable to distract him or divert his attention. One such incident happened when Babaji was having langar at one of his shelters (called Behak in Punjabi). Babaji asked the owner of the house if he wanted anything from him. Owner said Babaji, just shoot my neighbour and I’ll be free of stress. I don’t see him face to face and I just hate him. Babaji stopped eating langar, got up and started walking. Singh ran behind Babaji and stopped him and asked reason of Babaji’s leaving. Babaji angrily said ‘Singha, if I come to you for food and shelter, don’t expect me to shoot any innocent for you. This is not what Guru Gobind Singh ji or Santji taught us. I’ll find some other place, but this is a big price to pay, killing an innocent ‘’. The Singh was ashamed of his words and apologized to Babaji.

Till today, people talk with love, passion and respect about Baba Manochahal. He was a Sant-Sipahi-Poet-Scholar.  Words fail to describe him and his personality. There are hundreds of other beautiful and inspiring incidents of Babaji’s life which are to be shared and will be shared with Sangat. Babaji was gem of Panth, a loyal soldier of Santji’s Army, a dedicated student of Damdami Taksal. In countryside of Majha, he is a legend who will live on forever. I have seen people unable to stop their tears while talking about him. His legend is Immortal, being kept alive in hearts of thousands and thousands of Sikhs, passed from generation to generation. He will be remembered forever and as the time will pass, his glory, his greatness; his light will spread through whole world, inspiring millions to walk on path of freedom and truth. Some call him Robinhood of Majha, some see in him Che Guvera,  but comparisons are not good enough for him.

He was just ‘Baba Manochahal – The Braveheart’.

Parnaam Shaheedan Nu

Shaheeda de charna di Dhoor-

Kamaljeet Singh Khalsa ShaheedSar

Mass Grave of 1984 Sikh Genocide Victims Uncovered!!

*ACTION ALERT* Alleged Discovery of Mass Grave found from 1984 Sikh Genocide

In a Press Release issued by Sikhs For Justice today, it is believed that activists in India have stumbled upon a mass grave from the 1984 Sikh Genocide.  However, out of fear that evidence including bones and destroyed property preserved at the site may be destroyed by Government forces, activists in Punjab and the Diaspora are asking that human rights activists and those concerned with social justice bring awareness to the issue.

In an effort to bring such awareness, avoid such action by government forces, and bring accountability to the perpetrators of the crime, it is believed that through awareness and popular demand of the people that the discovery of the site will be hard to ignore.  Further, through the power of social media, International Media Outlets and Human Rights Agencies  the  will of the people will effectively prevent the destruction of evidence and lobby for the proper investigation of the site, by shining a spotlight on the alleged discovery of the mass grave.

Thus, as more details become available and are continuously updated here, we ask that everyone play their part and circulate the following Press Release and images with urgency and great vigor.

MASS GRAVE OF “SIKHS” KILLED IN NOVEMBER 1984 DISCOVERED IN HARYANA AFTER 26 YEARS

A mass Grave of Sikhs killed in November 1984 has been discovered after 26 years in village Hondh-Chillar, District Rewari, Haryana. The village was inhabited by several Sikh families and on November 02, 1984 in an organized and well planned attack, the entire village was burnt along with its Sikh population and Gurudwara. The village consisting of torched houses, a burnt Gurudwara and scattered human bones has now been discovered

As per attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun Legal Advisor to Sikhs For Justice, the forlorn debris and human remains at village Hondh-Chillar discovered after 26 years are the most specific and convincing evidence of Sikhs localities being attacked and wiped out throughout India in a identical pattern. The evidence discovered on site indicates systematic pattern in which armed groups lead by Congress Leaders would cordon Sikh neighborhoods, rape the women and burn the men and children alive. “The discovery of Mass Grave of Sikhs in Haryana proves that Nanavati Commission’s scope of inquiry into the killing of Sikhs was gravely insufficient and eyewash because the commission did not look into killings of Sikhs that took place outside Delhi”, added attorney Pannun.

According to Karnail Singh Peermohammad scores of Sikhs living in the village were burnt to death on November 02, 1984 and the Police neither identified the dead nor investigated the killing of Sikhs. According to the FIR filed by Ghanpat Singh Sarpanch and other eyewitnesses, the Sikh population of the village was attacked on November 02, 1984 by a group of about 500 people who came in Trucks and were armed. The group was shouting “Ye Sardar Ghaddar hain, Inn ko khatam karain ge” (These Sardars are traitors and we will wipe them out).

Echoing a shock felt by numerous international human rights organizations and activists, Jatinder Singh of Sikhs For Justice added “It is unthinkable the way in which these Sikhs must have been systematically targeted and subjected to the most gruesome methods of mass killing known to humankind. It is horrifying to think that these murders took place with state complicity through carefully orchestrated genocidal acts by armed groups of Indian men, transported from village to village by the state.” Adding to this shock, Jatinder Singh also cited that, “An entire village ethnically cleansed of a religious minority is the gravest violation of human rights and the most clearest proof of the Sikh Genocide. The innocent families of Hondh-Chillar village, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters were all exterminated simply because of their religious beliefs differed from the majority of India.”.

In addition to the statements made by AISSF and SFJ, researchers have brought forth information that on November 02, 1984 attackers surrounded Sikh houses and attacked by throwing petrol bombs into Sikh homes. Men and children were beaten and thrown into the burning houses and women were first raped and then thrown into the fire. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib was also desecrated and Gurudwara was put on fire as indication of the murderous rage of the mob, looking to destroy any and all traces of Sikh identity.

In light of the recent discovery, AISSF and Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) will approach United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and South Asian Human Rights Commission to visit the site of Sikh Mass Graves in village Hondh-Chillar and investigate the attack on Sikhs that took place throughout India in November 1984.

The genocidal site of village Hondh-Chillar is discovered by the sustained and unceasing efforts of Engineer Manvinder Singh Giaspur.

 

-Sikh Activist