Shaheed Bhai Bagicha Singh Khalsa
Shaheed Bhai Bagicha Singh Khalsa
Bhindranwala Tigers Force of Khalistan
A martyr’s life starts after their death. Where a human’s life ends at death, a martyr’s starts at death and then death can never kill the martyr. A martyr becomes victorious over death and becomes immortal, and then death has no weapon to kill the martyr. In front of a martyr’s martyrdom, death has and will always lose. The fighting spirit of martyrs becomes the heartbeat of the community guides the future generations in the struggle. People say the name of martyrs with great pride and respect, they bow to the sacrifice of martyrs. Many Jhujaru Singhs from the village Kalia Sakatran have become martyrs in the Sikh freedom movement. Every family we met here, they all mentioned the sacrifice of Shaheed Bhai Bagicha Singh Khalsa, and every brother, mother, sister, father all say the name of Shaheed Bhai Bagicha Singh Khalsa with great pride and respect. To gain this much respect at this level and the whole village to show limitless love is not a small achievement, this much love only a few can achieve.
Bhai Bagicha Singh was born in 1966, in the house of Sardar Chanan Singh and from the womb of Mata Veer Kaur in the village Dasuwal, near Patti district Amritsar. It is important to mention that Dasuwal is the birth village of Shaheed Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Babbar. Bhai Sahib was the eldest of his brothers and sister, younger brother was Bhai Narinder Singh, Bhai Partap Singh and youngest of them all was sister Bibi Shinder Kaur. Bhai Sahib studied up to 5th class at the government primary school in Varnala village and passed his 10th class at a high school in Valtoha. Bhai Sahib was very respectful from his childhood, he never even swore at his cattle. Bhai Sahib’s father, Sardar Chanan Singh sold his land in Dasuwal village and bought land in Kalian Sakatran in 1984, after which the whole family moved to Kalian Sakatran village which is situated not far from Khem Karan, and literally on the Indian border to Pakistan.
In June 1984 the queen of India, Indira Gandhi sent her army to attack the Sikh throne, Sri Akaal Takht Sahib and kill innocent Sikh pilgrims. As the attack on Sri Harimandir Sahib was happening, many Sikhs from around Punjab started making their way towards Sri Harimandir Sahib to defend many Sikhs made their way to their throne. From Kalian Sakatran village there were 5 Sikh youth who left their homes to go to Sri Harimandir Sahib, they were Bhai Bagicha Singh Khalsa, Bhai Sarwan Singh, his brother Bhai Balvir Singh, Bhai Akbar Singh and Bhai Mukhtiar Singh, who were stopped at Bir Baba Budha Sahib and forced to turn back.
During this time, due to Bhai Sahib being tall and well educated, he had joined the Punjab police. Bhai Sahib took Amrit from Panj Pyare and started doing his daily Nitnem from the Sundar Gutka. In the police force, everyone called Bhai Sahib by the name of Bhai Bagicha Singh Khalsa. Whenever Bhai Sahib came home on holiday, he would go out and meet the local Jhujaru Singhs who had been fighting at the forefront of the Sikh freedom movement. A Sikh youth from Bhai Sahib’s village, Bhai Anar Singh Para was well respected in the local area. After meeting Bhai Anar Singh, Bhai Sahib left his police officer job and came home. Sardar Chanan Singh asked his son, why he hadn’t gone on his police duty. Bhai Sahib replied that Jhujaru Singhs would kill him, but his father said, “Son, other people do the job too, Jhujaru Singhs don’t kill them. The people who commit injustices upon Sikhs, the Jhujaru Singhs will not spare them. You don’t do anything like that, so why would Jhujaru Singhs kill you?” Bhai Sahib answered, “Father, when Sikhs are arrested, we are ordered to torture them. Now if I torture them, I go against my principles and values, and if I refuse to torture them, the senior police officers swear at me and our mother and sisters.” Bhai Sahib continued and explained how police officer that showed any support for the Jhujaru Singhs would be killed by his senior police officers in false encounters and claim that they were killed by Jhujaru Singhs in an encounter. As well as killing Jhujaru Singhs in false encounters, the corrupt police officers killed their own in staged encounters. Bhai Sahib clearly said he had resigned from his post as he cannot go against Sikhi and its principles by being part of a Sikh genocide.
Little did the parents know of Bhai Sahib’s new path which was full of struggles and sacrifice. For 3 months Bhai Sahib stayed home and helped his father in household duties. Then in 1987, Bhai Sahib left home without telling anyone and joined his Jhujaru brothers under the command of Khalistan Liberation Force’s Bhai Anar Singh Para. The police were informed 20 days after Bhai Sahib left home, that Bhai Bagicha Singh Khalsa had joined the Sikh freedom movement. A police team from Makhu police station (Ferozepur) raided Bhai Sahib’s family house and arrested Bhai Sahib’s mother, Mata Veer Kaur. The cruel police officer blindly tortured Mata Veer Kaur, a metal pipe was put across Mata Ji’s thighs and 3 police officers stood on each side of the pipe. These police officers mocked Mata Ji, saying that she had given birth to a terrorist and they will mercilessly torture so no women ever give birth to another Bhai Bagicha Singh Khalsa. Mata Veer Kaur was so inhumanely tortured that even as we speak to her to write this biography, she is unable to walk.
Sardar Chanan Singh was also arrested many times and blindly tortured. Bhai Sahib’s brother, Bhai Narinder Singh was also arrested and at times tortured for 15 days at a time. The Hindu government went to the extremes of torturing Bhai Sahib’s sister who was married. The local Panchayat would have to pressure the Indian security forces each time to have the family members of Bhai Sahib released on bail. When the family would get home from the police station, police team from another police station would come and arrest the family members. These brutalities of the Hindu Indian government were unable to sway Bhai Sahib from fighting for Sikhs and for Khalistan. Even during these injustice upon his family, Bhai Sahib never attempted to get revenge by attacking innocent or unarmed people. Instead, Bhai Sahib continued his fight against the killers of Sikhs and the corrupt Indian security forces.
Later on, Bhai Sahib started fulfilling his role as an area commander under the command of Bhindranwala Tigers Force of Khalistan chief, Baba Gurbachan Singh Manochahal. After sometime Bhai Sahib became the lieutenant general of Bhindranwala Tigers Force of Khalistan. Bhai Sahib had raised a Nishan Sahib at the Gurdwara of Kalian Sakatran in memory of Sikh martyrs from the area. Bhai Sahib had also created bases in Uttar Pardesh. Due to Bhai Sahib’s actions, the Indian security forces and put 25 lakh Rupees reward on his head, but even then, no one ever attempted to have Bhai Sahib arrested.
Once Bhai Sahib was arrested in Ambala, the police found cyanide capsules on him which led them to believe that Bhai Sahib was a fierce Jhujaru Singh. Two police constables were holding both of Bhai Sahib’s arms whilst the senior police officer (SHO) was giving the orders to take him to the police station. During this time, Bhai Sahib somehow managed to drop his wallet on the floor, seeing the wallet, one of the police constables let go of Bhai Sahib’s arm to grab the wallet. Bhai Sahib then walked towards the police jeep with the other police constable, creating the gap between the 2 police constable, meanwhile the SHO was walking in front. Using this gap, Bhai Sahib managed to free his arm with force, and pushed the police constable into the SHO and both police officers fell to the floor. By the time both SHO and the constable got up, Bhai Sahib had escaped using the darkness of the night. Bhai Sahib lost his shoes in the wheat farms which he escaped and had gained wounds on his bare feet, which led to him bleeding from his feet as he walked on unfamiliar streets. As the sun was rising Bhai Sahib heard a Granthi Singh starting Nitnem at a local village Gurdwara. Bhai Sahib went to the Gurdwara and stood in front of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj for ages doing Ardas. As the Granthi Singh was doing his Nitnem, he saw the condition of Bhai Sahib, drenched in muddy water and the blood from his feet. The Granthi Singh finished his first prayer, Sri Jap Ji Sahib and covered Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj with Rumalla Sahib, so that he could take care of Bhai Sahib as he seemed extremely weak. The Granthi Singh said, “Brother, you seem like you are having trouble.” To which Bhai Sahib answered, “Granthi Sahib Ji, Waheguru has saved me from trouble and bought me under his roof here at the Gurdwara.”
The Granthi Singh took Bhai Sahib to a room in the back of the Gurdwara. Bhai Sahib was given clean clothes to wear, fire was put on so that Bhai Sahib could keep warm and the Granthi Singh prepared warm milk for Bhai Sahib to have. The Granthi Singh also gave Bhai Sahib warm food and said, “Brother, worshippers are coming to the Gurdwara now, I must go and complete the daily prayers. You stay here at rest, don’t come out of the room.” Bhai Sahib looked at the Granthi Singh as someone highly blessed to have given him so much care and love. Bhai Sahib did not have any money, as he had used his wallet to escape in Ambala. The Granthi Singh was a good person who followed the Sikh path without any limitations. Later the Granthi Singh gave Bhai Sahib money and warm set of clothes, after Bhai Sahib left. May Waheguru bless every Gurdwara with Granthi Singh Sahibans like this one.
During the days of December 1991, it was extremely foggy and very cold. In the Kalian Sakatran village, there is drain and another drain near the border to Pakistan. The BSF used this as the border line between the two countries and had set up checkpoints here which were heavily manned day and night. Bhai Sahib dug under these checkpoints and made a solid bunker in which Bhai Sahib would rest and plan his Jhujaru actions, but mainly this bunker was a hideout for Bhai Sahib. Bhai Sahib would stay in the bunker and recite Gurbani, Waheguru Simran and at times leave the bunker to go to the Sikhs houses to have food. Only one more Singh knew the exact location of this bunker, his name was Geja Singh, he was usually sent to do important tasks on the outside. Once Bhai Sahib sent Geja Singh on a task, but it was destined that Geja Singh would betray the Sikh movement, he turned himself in and gave his weapons to SHO Gurwinder Singh of Valtoha police station. This was done as Geja Singh was unable to handle the hardships and make sacrifices that a Jhujaru life asks. Saving himself and in greed for the reward which was set on Bhai Sahib’s head, Geja also gave every little information he had on Bhai Bagicha Singh Khalsa to the enemy. SHO Gurwinder Singh gathered his armed force and along with the traitor Geja Singh raided the location of the bunker in thick fog, where Bhai Sahib was in deep meditation of Gurbani. Geja shouted, “Khalsa Ji, I have come.” To which Bhai Sahib replied, “Come, my brother.” First Geja the traitor went into the bunker, followed by heavily armed police force. Geja had committed such a heinous crime that we could never have thought of. The police managed to arrest Bhai Sahib unarmed due to the betrayal of Geja. If Bhai Sahib knew the police presence outside, he could have swallowed a cyanide capsule and avoided being arrested alive.
According to Bhai Sahib’s family, Bhai Sahib was arrested on 28th December 1991 by SHO Gurwinder Singh and the information of Geja Singh. This arrest was made between the two drains on the outskirts of Kalian Sakatran village and the border to Pakistan, in a man-made bunker. Upon his arrest, Bhai Sahib was inhumanely tortured by the Punjab police. Every bone was broken, every muscle was ripped. The police wanted Bhai Sahib to give information which would lead to the capture of Baba Gurbachan Singh Manochahal. It is said, Bhai Sahib told SHO Gurwinder Singh, “Baba Manochahal is sitting in my heart, if you can take him out then try it.” The Punjab police continued to torture Bhai Sahib for 16 days, by now whole Bhai Sahib’s body was infected due to broken bones. On the day of Maaghi Mela, 13th January 1992 Bhai Sahib was made martyr at night in false encounter near the sewers of Algo Kothi. It further angers us, that Geja the traitor was also present at the scene when Bhai Sahib was shot with bullets.
After making the Bhai Sahib a martyr, the SHO turned to Geja and said, “Well Geja Singh, we have completed one task, now on to the next one, Baba Manochahal. Now tell me, where is Baba Manochahal?” Geja replied, “Sir, I don’t know any of Baba Manochahal’s locations. Only Bhai Bagicha Singh new that information.” The SHO said, “Bhai Bagicha Singh has 25 Lakh Rupees on his head, and Baba Manochahal has 40 Lakh Rupees. We will give you both of the rewards together. So, hurry up and lead us to Baba Manochahal.” Geja replied, “Sir, I have no information on Baba Manochahal. How can I have him arrested?” A police constable told the SHO, “Sir, Geja is a greedy man. If he knew Baba Manochahal’s location he would definitely would have told us.” The SHO had a change of mind and told his police constables to give Geja the 25 Lakh Rupee reward, upon hearing this Geja got happy, but little did he know, SHO had just ordered his constables to shoot 25 bullets into Geja’s body. How can one traitor, expect loyalty from another. The police then took the bodies of Shaheed Bhai Bagicha Singh Khalsa and Geja to Patti’s hospital for postmortem after which they were cremated as unidentified bodies. As usual, police stated that both Jhujaru Singhs had reward on their heads and at the scene of the encounter heavy ammunition and weapons were found.
During the 16-day torture of Bhai Sahib, Mata Veer Kaur had been arrested and was released on 17th January 1992. Bhai Sahib’s father, Sardar Chanan Singh had also been arrested by the Valtoha police and was kept in custody for 1 month and released on 23rd January 1992. Bhai Sahib’s younger brother, Bhai Narinder Singh was arrested by Bhikhiwind police a year after Bhai Sahib’s martyrdom on 13th January 1993, he was mercilessly tortured due to which he is unable to walk properly or work. The wounds and scare of torture are still visible on the bodies of these family members.
Khadku Yodhe 2 – Maninder Singh Baja