Shaheed Bhai Baghel Singh Dhepur
Shaheed Bhai Baghel Singh Dhepur
All Indian Sikh Student Federation
Shaheed Bhai Baghel Singh was born in June 1968 from the blessed womb of mother Mata Swaran Kaur and father Sardar Surjan Singh, in the village of Dhepur, district Jalandhar. Bhai Baghel Singh was a sibling of two brothers and two sisters – eldest Bibi Ranjeet Kaur, Bibi Jasvir Kaur, Bhai Baghel Singh himself and the youngest Bhai Parminder Singh. Bhai Baghel Singh was only eight years old when his father passed away. His mother then relocated with the family to the Hoshiarpur area, in the village of Premgarh. Here their mother began working in a local factory to earn a living and support her family.
Later in life, it was here in Hoshiarpur that Bhai Baghel Singh came in contact with Bhai Satnam Singh Satta of Attalgarh. These Singhs would regularly gather at Sri Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Hoshiarpur. Bhai Baghel Singh was appointed the office secretary of the All India Sikh Student Federation. At the time the district leader of AISSF was Bhai Jaswant Singh Chawa who also later became a Shaheed (martyr). Bhai Baghel Singh was very close with the Jhujaru Singhs of the All India Sikh Students Federation. He selflessly served and looked after them when needed and this meant the Jhujaru Singhs would regularly stop by Bhai Baghel Singh’s home for respite and a meal. These Singhs included – Bhai Iqbal Singh Bagha, Bhai Baldev Singh Ludhiana, Bhai Nikku Kadiana, Bhai Satnam Singh Dhillon Dalewal.
The Punjab police and intelligent services came to know that Bhai Baghel Singh was supporting the Jhujaru Singhs in this way and so began the cycle of arrest and torture at the Mahalpur, Hoshiarpur. jail. At the time the SP of Hoshiarpur was Lok Nath Angra. On one occasion, Bhai Baghel Singh was arrested and his family did not know of his whereabouts. His mother went from jail to jail looking for him and finally reached the jail in Mehtiana, where she was told they knew nothing and that she should go home.
Feeling hopeless, Bhai Baghel Singh’s mother had tears in her eyes not knowing where her son was. She reluctantly, began to make her way back home. As she was doing so, a policeman who was a Sikh and wore a turban approached Mata Swaran Kaur. He requested her, “O mother, there in front of you is the picture of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, swear an oath in the name of the Guru that you will not tell a soul that I have shown you where your son is residing?!” Their mother graciously agreed and with a calming smile offered blessings to this policeman for helping her. The policeman took her along and allowed her to see Bhai Baghel Singh through a small peep hole to his prison cell. He quickly then instructed her to leave in fear of the other police personnel.
Bhai Baghel Singh’s mother came again the next day to Mehtiana jail and was told that the CIA had taken Bhai Baghel Singh away. She then went in search of the CIA staff in Hoshiarpur but she was turned away from the premises. As she walked away from the CIA staff building, she went across to speak to a tea seller based on the main road. He claimed that he had seen Bhai Baghel Singh here as he had just been inside to give him a cup of tea. Then a few days later, a message was sent to the home informing their mother that Bhai Baghel Singh was being held at the Hoshiarpur jail. From this point on for up to six months, their mother would regularly go to visit Bhai Baghel Singh in jail. After six months he was released. But astonishingly, as soon as he was walking out free from Hoshiarpur jail, he then immediately got arrested again by a different team of policemen and was abruptly taken away. It wasn’t until a few days later that he was found to be at Jalandhar jail. Again, he was kept there from six to seven months and then released.
Upon release, Bhai Baghel Singh went underground straight away and joined the Jhujaru Singhs – Bhai Bhikhi, Bhai Sulinderjit Singh Mallewal, Bhai Iqbal Singh Bagha. Soon after, some of his family members were fully supportive and under guise gave him a job as a ticket checker on the Doaba bus company. His main duty then became transporting the Singhs from destination to destination as part of the movement. He kept up this role for some time.
On 23rd August 1992, on a Wednesday Bhai Baghel Singh was uncannily arrested by the Punjab police from Adampur (near Jalandhar). His mother had the restless job of searching for him again, but to no avail. She struggled to obtain any information on his whereabouts. Then after a long six months came news of his Shaheedi (martyrdom). Shaheed Bhai Baghel Singh’s mother arranged a religious gathering and prayer for her son’s final rites at their family home. The police came to know of this and SP Lok Nath Angra sent police to the house who then mercilessly beat Shaheed Bhai Baghel Singh’s mother. They blindfolded her and threw her into the police vehicle.
The police threatened Mata Swaran Kaur saying they will throw her into the nearest river. Shaheed Bhai Baghel Singh’s mother responded by saying, “What is the worth of my existence without my lion son anyway, you may as well throw me in the river.” Shaheed Bhai Baghel Singh’s mother was taken to Tanda’s Cold Storage. There was a large police presence here and the SP was also present. The evilness in them could not be contained. A whole hoard of them began to mercilessly beat Shaheed Bhai Baghel Singh’s mother. This was not the end, the female police officers tortured Mata Swaran Kaur and kept her standing for up to eight days straight. Mata Swaran Kaur’s health was severely impacted. Following this the CIA staff took her to Hoshiarpur jail where she was kept for a further nine days and then released.
Information given by the family of Shaheed Bhai Baghel Singh Dhepur