1991 Kanpur Massacre
1991 Kanpur Massacre of Sardar Bachan Singh’s Family
In order to suppress the Sikh movement the Indian government resorted to killing innocent Sikh people as a way of forcing them to stop supporting the Sikh freedom fighters. Hundreds of thousands of Sikhs were martyred and hundreds of families were killed in entirety. One of such families is of Bhai Bachan Singh resident of village Kanpur. Bhai Bachan Singh had three kids: Joga Singh, Ranjit Singh and Madanjit Kaur. Bachan Singh’s younger brother resided in a foreign country but his family lived with Bachan Singh in Punjab.
In 1988, Indian police received information from a secret informant that some Sikh fighters were present in village Kanpur. The police quickly surrounded the village but the Sikhs had left before the police could reach the village. So the police decided to find those who had opened their doors for the Sikh fighters and provided hospitality to them. Bhai Bachan Singh’s house was chosen as the target. It was done on the sole basis that he was an Amritdhari Sikh and the police had no evidence to prove the charge. Bachan Singh was arrested and taken to jail where he was tortured in inhumane ways for many days. After three months, Bachan Singh paid large sum of money to get himself out. After a few days of his release, he was arrested again and tortured the same way. This time, the village council was able to get him released.
One time, the police had a real encounter with Sikh fighters in village Kamoke which was near to Kanpur. The Sikh fighters managed to escape and the police dared not go after them. Instead, the police decided to get their anger out on innocent people. They went after Bachan Singh who was spraying fertilizers in his fields and started asking him questions about the Sikh fighters who had escaped earlier. Bachan Singh explained that he did not know anything about the encounter or any Sikh fighter as he was busy working in his fields but the police did not listen. Bachan Singh’s turban was taken off and brought to the village. He was beaten and humiliated in front of the entire village. Joga Singh, the eldest son, upon witnessing the humiliation and mistreatment of his father left his home forever and joined the Sikh movement.
The very first thing Joga Singh did after joining the movement was punish all the policemen who had humiliated his father. After this incident, the police increased the oppression on Bachan Singh and his family to get back at Joga Singh. It was a policy of the police to torture family members of Sikh fighters. On the night of 31st May, 1991 the police raided the house of Bachan Singh using the excuse of searching the “terrorists”. Police Cat Ajit Phoola and his group were also with the police. Following family members of Joga Singh were present in the house:
Bachan Singh (father) – 45 years
Darshan Kaur (mother) – 40 years
Harjinder Kaur (aunt) – 28 years
Madanjit Kaur (sister) – 15 years
Rajveer Kaur (daughter of Harjinder Kaur) – 5 years
Yaadwinder Singh (son of Harjinder Kaur) – 3 years
Gurjant Kaur (daughter of Harjinder Kaur) – 10 months
First the police tied up all of the adult family members in the veranda and started shooting each person one by one while drinking and laughing. Then children were shot dead in the same manner. Young Rajveer Kaur became scared seeing the bloodbath of her family and ran in kitchen to hide. The policemen followed her and shot her a few times. Then the police threw a letter allegedly written by a freedom fighter Balwinder Singh Shahpuri taking the responsibility of the killing. Then the house was set on fire and the police left.
Ranjit Singh, younger son of Bachan Singh, was not present in the house. While returning home he heard the sounds of bullets so he hid himself at the neighbour’s house. After the police left, he went to his house along with local villagers and put out the fire. While taking care of the dead bodies he found the fake letter which was left there by the police. Ranjit Singh, after reading it, realized the conspiracy behind it and hid it in his pocket without telling anyone else. Next morning, the police came to the house to “investigate” the killings. While searching the house for any evidence, the police inspector became puzzled for not finding the letter and said, “Where is the letter?” Ranjit Singh asked, “Which letter?” Police Inspector quickly realized his mistake and said, “I had seen a letter here in someone’s hand earlier.” Ranjit Singh became sure that it was planned by the police to kill his family and blame another Sikh fighter for it.
Police wanted to kill two birds with one stone. They tried to convince Ranjit Singh that his family was killed by Balwinder Singh Shahpuri so that Joga Singh would try to seek revenge which would result in Sikhs killing Sikhs. But Ranjit Singh kept quiet as he knew the whole truth. After cremating his family members, Ranjit Singh revealed the true story to the villagers and Balwinder Singh Shahpuri himself came to the village Kanpur and condemned the police for killing innocent Sikhs. Few days later, Bachan Singh’s younger brother came to Punjab and took Ranjit Singh with him. Had he not left the country, he would’ve been killed also. To this day, Indian police and media blames Balwinder Singh for the killings but everyone in the village knows who the real culprits are. The Indian government took no action to investigate the murders of innocent Sikhs and children. This brutal incident exposed the true face of the government and its unholy and inhumane treatment towards the Sikhs. House of Bachan Singh now lies in ruins. The day is not far when such cases will be investigated and perpetrators will be punished. Only then the world will know that the Indian government is anything but “the largest democracy”.
Indian Terrorism on the land of Punjab – Baljit Singh Khalsa