Massacre of Killi Bodla

Killing of Bhai Ajit Singh and his family

In order to suppress the Sikh movement and eradicate the Sikh fighters from Punjab, the Indian government had given full authority to the police. To accomplish this mission they were given the right to use any means necessary. Besides picking up innocent Sikhs and killing them in fake encounters, the police also targeted those who sympathized with the Sikh movement. Many of the Sikh families had no links with the movement but only provided shelter and food for the Sikh fighters. For this crime these families had to go through unbearable suffering and oppression of the government. One of such families is that of Bhai Ajit Singh. If someone was to walk in his house today, the walls and floors will reveal the truth and show them the glimpse of Indian brutality.

Bhai Ajit Singh as an Agriculture Inspector lived a happy life with his family in village Killi Bodla. His brother, Dalbir Singh, and his family also lived with them under the same roof. They were middle class family and were blessed with everything they needed. But their happiness did not last long. When the police started hunting down the Sikh families for giving food and shelter to the Sikh freedom fighters, they came on top of the list. In the evening of October 7, 1991, Bhai Joginder Singh Nikku and his three companions came to the house of Ajit Singh to eat dinner. Coincidentally, two police jeeps also came to the village in searching for the Sikh fighters. They grabbed the Sarpanch (head of the village) and forced him to tell Ajit Singh to open the door because they had received a tip from someone that Ajit Singh’s family sympathized with the Sikh movement and provided food and shelter to the Sikh fighters. The police had come there to threaten the family and had no knowledge of the presence of the Sikh fighters. As soon as inspector Balkar and A.S.I. Jarnail along with Sarpanch entered the house, the Sikh fighters opened fired and killed both police officers. One policeman was injured and the rest ran back. The Sarpanch hid behind a tree though he was never fired upon.

The Singhs quickly left the house shouting slogans of the victory and challenged the police to follow them and fight them in the fields. Their intent was to turn the police’s intentions towards them so that the family could be saved. Bhai Joginder Singh did not want the police to arrest the family members so instead of hiding he started walking on the open road. Unfortunately, another police jeep showed up in front of him and the police opened fire on him with automatic machine guns. Bhai Joginder Singh became injured and fell on the ground but instead of being captured he took cyanide capsule and died. This did not calm the police. They wanted to avenge the death of their officers by punishing the family that had sheltered the Sikh fighters. D.S.P. Dev Raj Sharma and S.S.P. Satish Koshal came to the village with a large force and rounded the family members. At that time the following members of the family were present:

Bhai Ajit Singh

Bibi Iqbaal Kaur – Age 90 Bhai Ajit Singh, elder son of Bibi Iqbaal Kaur – Age 50 Bibi Lakhwinder Kaur, wife of Bhai Ajit Singh – Age 45

Jaswinder Kaur, wife of Dalbir Singh, brother of Ajit Singh – Age 40 Sukhwinder Singh, son of Dalbir Singh – Age 21 Rajwinder Singh, son of Dalbir Singh – Age 15 years

Manjit Kaur, daughter-in-law of Bhai Ajit Singh – Age 26

Narinder Kaur and Ravinderpal Singh (children of Manjit Kaur – Age 3 and 1.5 years) were also present in the house. Dalbir Singh himself was not present in the house and his daughter Jasbir Kaur had gone to Gurdwara Nanaksar along with her grandfather, Malook Singh. For this reason all three were saved.

The police started their brutal activities under the command of Dev Raj Sharma. All of the family members including women were stripped naked and tied to a tree with metal chains. In Punjabi culture, not covering head is considered a shameful act for a woman but Indian forces dropping far below the morality level stripped naked a sister in front a brother and a daughter in front of her father. This was the greatest harassment they had faced but it was only the beginning. The police officials then harassed and dishonored the women. Then they grated the skin of all the family members. Their heart piercing screams could be heard in the entire village. The police did not stop its lunacy and kept on grating the skin from legs and arms.

Skinning the Sikhs alive did not satisfy the police. The police warmed the tar in the kitchen and poured it on the wounds of the Sikhs. Then they poured diesel on the wounds. The screams of the victims had no effect on the police. Instead, the brutal torturous methods increased their excitement as the screams of the Sikhs increased. It was as if the police had turned in the form of a Satan. The Indian forces surpassed the Mughals when it came to torturing the innocent Sikhs. In the Mughal Empire, Sikh women were given the punishment of grinding the flour and were deprived of food and water. Their children were cut into pieces but incidents of rape and skinning women alive were very rare if not none. By skinning women alive and then pouring diesel on the wounds the Hindu forces would sure have terrified the souls of the Mughals.

Place where the family was slaughtered. Marks of hot tar are still visible in the lower right room.

The police stopped its vicious activities when the half burnt Sikhs because unconscious and some of their fingers had separated from the body. Then the police decided to lay them on the floor after which they were fired upon and killed. One and a half years old child Ravinderpal Singh became unconscious after suffering an injury from a bullet that slightly hit his forehead. When the police were picking up the dead bodies and throwing them in the van, Dev Raj Sharma kicked the body of Ravinderpal Singh and ordered his men to throw him in the van also. Narinder Kaur, three year old daughter of Manjit Kaur was playing outside before the police started its game of torture. She became scared and hid in the bushes. Dev Raj Sharma had ordered not to spare anyone but a home-guard with the help of his fellow workers managed to hide her and kept her in his house. Later on she was handed over to her family members.

To hide its criminality the police opened fire on the walls of the house and threw grenade on the roof and blew a hole in it. The police fabricated the story that the family members were caught in the crossfire of an encounter with the Sikh fighters and died. When the remaining family members returned home they could easily tell what had happened by looking at the walls and diesel and tar spills in the kitchen. Pieces of flesh were still stuck in the grater. After more than 15 years, their memories are still fresh in the minds of the remaining family members. The walls are still in the same condition. Parts of metal chains are still tied to the tree and discoloration caused by tar and diesel spills are still there. Ravinderpal Singh has become a teenager and scar of the bullet on his forehead reminds him of his family members that were brutally murdered by the Indian forces.

This incident was brought to the notice of media and Human Rights Organizations. They publicized this case and demanded the justice to be served but it was all in vain. India is the only country in which brutal and cruel officers are not only protected after committing inhuman crimes but also promoted. Furthermore, the government does not get tired of praising them for establishing “peace” in Punjab and “eradicating” terrorism. The government, however, is ignoring the fact that “peace” that cost the lives of thousands of innocent Sikhs is not peace but terror of oppression, injustice and cruelty. The day will come when Sikhs of Punjab will rise up, take arms and bring the criminals to justice because the government has yet to see the last of Sikh movement.