Mari Butchian Encounter

Battles of the Khalistan Movement

On early morning of 8th April 1990, at village Mari Butchian near Sri Hargobindpur, police and border security force’s surrounded the house were Bhai Jugraj Singh Toofan was staying for the night. And the encounter started. On this day, Jugraj Singh was sick and a trusted person offered to go to the city to fetch some medicine for him. When Jugraj Singh started to use his AK 94 (rifle), he found out that the firing pin was missing.

Jugraj Singh then realized that the trusted person, the medicine retriever, was not so trusted a person after all. Having the thought that the police might fall upon the home of his innocent hosts at any moment, he and his four fellow Singhs fled the home immediately, heading for the cover of the nearby field of sugar cane. The house and family members were spared from an attack on the home or subsequent torture of their hosts.

As Guru Gobind Singhand the other Sikhs who escaped Chamkaur that fateful night, so long ago, the five Singhs, knowing that their best chance to live, to escape, to fight another day — separated with three of the Singh’s going to one side, while Jugraj Singh and Bakshish Singh went the other way.

Somehow they had to let the combined forces of their pursuers, who they could now see approaching, know that they were no longer in the house, so it’s probably safe to say that they didn’t make a clap, but more likely yelled or open fire to draw the fire of the Police upon themselves.

With bullets now flying into and, in several directions, from the field, Jugraj Singh was hit by a bullet which probably shattered a bone in his leg, making it impossible for him to walk. He called out to his brother in arms, Bhai Bakshish, asking him to leave him and make his escape, but Bakshish refused to, grabbing his wounded companion, Bhai Bakshish Singh hoisted Jugraj to his shoulders. They managed to reach a nearby tractor. Luckily the tractor started, but as they tried to escape, the tractor got stuck in the muddy field where they were then peppered with more bullets from the Police.

Jugraj Singh was martyred clinging to the tractor, Bakshish Singh managed to take cover behind some nearby houses where he continued the fight till his ammunition ran out. He later died of his wounds inflicted by the enemies’ bullets.

The three other Singh’s, including Bhai Baljit Singh and Bhai Piara Singh, were able to escape from the gun battle and lived to carry the fight for freedom, for Khalistan to another day.