Shaheed Bhai Atma Singh Bawa

Khalistan Commando Force

Bhai Atma Singh Bawa was born in 1952 in village Momia Dera Jattan near Patran, in the house of Sardar Labh Singh and from the womb of Mata Gurdial Kaur. Bhai Sahib completed his primary education at the government school of the village and later passed his 10th class at the high school in Kartarpur. Bhai Sahib had a strong build and stood 6 and half feet tall. Bhai Sahib played Kabbadi and was a great player in the support of Kabbadi. From childhood Bhai Sahib had a Gurmukh thinking. Bhai Sahib was married to Bibi Surjit Kaur, who gave birth to Bhai Sahib’s 2 sons and 2 daughters.

The attack on Sri Darbar Sahib in June 1984 changed Bhai Sahib forever. After the June 1984 attack Bhai Sahib jumped into the battlefield to slay the killers of the innocent Sikhs whom the system failed to convict. Bhai Sahib had joined Khalistan Commando Force and did action with Bhai Jarnail Singh Shatrana. Once Bhai Sahib and fellow Singhs such as Jarnail Singh Shatrana, Bhai Nachhatar Singh, Bhai Trilok Singh and Bhai Kulwant Singh were resting in the farms of his Chacha’s son, Bhai Baljit Singh Bally. This farm was on the border of Haryana. Someone had informed the Haryana police about the Singhs. The police surrounded the Singhs and started to fire bullets. The encounter started in the farms of Bhai Baljit Singh Bally and Bhai Sahib along with fellow Singhs managed to escape. The Haryana police were angry and under the command of deputy officer Ram Singh, the police bought down the house of Bhai Baljit Singh Bally with bulldozers and burnt everything. The police were angry that 12-13 of their police officers had been killed in this encounter, the police did not stop there, and they arrested Bhai Baljit Singh Bally and his brother. Both Singh’s were tortured and put in jail. These Singh’s were released in 2007 and today both Singh’s are having health problems due to the blind torture. The police had also knocked down the house of Bhai Sahib, now the family members and relatives started living in hiding to avoid police harassment. Bhai Sahib continued to do sewa within the Sikh Freedom Movement. The injustice of the Indian government did not move Bhai Sahib off the path of freedom.

Once Thanedar Sukhwinder Singh came to Dera Jattan, near Bhai Sahib’s village and started harassing all the villagers. The Thanedar was using bad language and swearing at the villagers and said “Where is your Bawa Singh? Call him, tell him to come and save you!” Some days after this cruel act of the police force, Bhai Sahib came to Dera Jattan and the villagers told Bhai Sahib everything. “Bhai Sahib either kill us or that Thanedar?” Bhai Sahib sent a message to the Thanedar, “Bawa Singh is in the village. Once the message was sent, Bhai Sahib stayed in the village all day. In the evening a Singh told Bhai Sahib that the Thanedar was at a checkpoint in Sangrur Kanchian. Bhai Sahib took 2 Singhs with him and went to the checkpoint.  Once the Singh’s arrived at the checkpoint Bhai Sahib fired a bullet and challenged the Thanedar. An encounter started, in this exchange of bullets, the Thanedar was wounded and few police officers were killed. After all the Singhs took the weapons off the police force and fled the scene. After this action Bhai Sahib’s name was placed amongst the most wanted Khadku Singhs. The Indian security forces were hunting for Bhai Sahib and his family like mad dogs. The only fault of the family was that Bhai sahib had taken birth into this family.

Some days after this Bhai Sahib and some Singhs met Bhai Nachattar Singh’s father. The old man hugged Bhai Sahib and started crying. He said, “Son I have no right to live on this earth”. Bhai Sahib was confused and asked “Bapu Ji, first tell me what happened?” Bhai Nachhatar Singh’s father conversed. “What can I say son, yesterday the police came like animals and started beating us. Then one police officer pulled by beard and said, you better turn in the Khadku Singhs.” Upon hearing this Bhai Sahib said, “That is it, the government has gone over the top this time.” Bhai Sahib and fellow Singhs decided to punish the police officer who had pulled the old man’s beard. They stopped the Hawaldar that pulled the beard as he was heading home from the police station, Bhai Sahib shouted “Oi Hawaldara, because of us you harass our elders, you pulled their beards. We have come now, let’s see where you can run.” After saying this Bhai Sahib shot dead at the Hawaldar. Some days after this action, the police arrested Bhai Nachhatar Singh’s father and his brother and made them shaheed in a fake encounter.

Now if the Indian security forces got any information about Singhs, they would gather thousands of soldiers to capture the Singhs. Once in the village of Jekher, Bhai Sahib and Bhai Trilok Singh were resting in a house and an informant informed the police and the Indian security forces rushed to surround the whole village. At the same time the group of Singhs including Bhai Jarnail Singh Shatrana were also sitting in the nearby farms Bhai Sahib and Bhai Trilok Singh decided that it was better to battle against the Indian security forces instead of escaping. By battling against the Indian security forces, Bhai Jarnail Singh Shatrana’s group could escape. It was 21st June 1991, Bhai Sahib and Bhai Trilok Singh started the encounter about 5pm. Bhai Trilok Singh had an AK47 and Bhai Sahib had a Drum Machine Gun. First the encounter continued within the village, but about 10pm Bhai Sahib moved to the farms and started fighting from there. For many hours an intense encounter took place. Bhai Sahib fought the enemy with so much bravery and he would continuously shout war cries of “Bole So Nihal Sat Sri Akaal.” Couple of minutes after midnight Bhai Trilok Singh attained Shaheedi fighting the Indian security forces. Bhai Sahib destroyed two bulletproof tractors and sent many soldiers to hell. It was now 10am on the 22nd June 1991, it had been 14hours since the encounter started and Bhai Sahib was still battling and did not let the Indian security forces come near him. In the end Bhai Sahib remained in Chardi Kala and attained Shaheedi too.

The so called brave soldiers if India used Bhai Sahib’s mother, Mata Gurdial Kaur as a shield to progress towards Bhai sahib. The Indian security forces were scared that the lion of Khalistan might still be alive. Once Mata Gurdial Kaur saw her son, one of the soldiers said to her, “Carefully look at him, is he alive or dead?” Mata Ji answered, “Oi you big brave soldiers, are you scared of a dead lion too?”

The police took the bodies of both Shaheed Singh’s. The surrounding villages asked for the bodies of these singhs but the police still did not give them up. But thousands of locals gathered to get the shaheedi saroops of Singhs and the police gave up and gave the bodies to the families. The news of Bhai Sahib’s shaheedi spread all over Punjab like wild fire. The locals highly respected Bhai sahib and made nothing to eat when they found out about Bhai Sahib’s shaheedi as they were extremely upset with the loss of a true Khadku Singh. Bhai Sahib was cremated on the evening of 22nd June 1991 in his home village of Momia Dera Jattan. The family of Bhai Sahib held a Shaheedi Smagam each year in memory of him.

Khalsa Fatehnama – July 2007