Shaheed Bhai Balwinder Singh Billa Cheema Khudi

Khalistan Liberation Force


After escaping from jail in 1987, Bhai Jugraj Singh Toofan jumped into the battlefield and many of his close friends left the comfortable lives at home to join Bhai Toofan. Amongst these close friends was Bhai Balwinder Singh Billa of Cheema Khudi. Bhai Sahib was 5 years older than Bhai Toofan, but still Bhai Sahib respected the command of Bhai Toofan as soldier to the general of the Sikh armed struggle.

Bhai Balwinder Singh Billa was born in the house of Sardar Kunan Singh and from the womb of Mata Pritam Kaur in the village of Cheema Khudi. Bhai Sahib was younger from two sisters, Bib Daljit Kaur and Bibi Satwant Kaur. Bhai Sahib also had a younger brother, Bhai Kuldeep Singh and Bhai Sahib was friends of friends. Bhai Sahib was married in 1983 to Bibi Hardeep Kaur, daughter of Sardar Avtar Singh of village Sathiala. Later Bibi Hardeep Kaur gave birth to a baby girl, Bibi Kulbir Kaur and then to a baby boy, Bhai Jagroop Singh. Bhai Sahib was a great father and husband, but when in 1987 Bhai Jugraj Singh Toofan came to the village of Cheema Khudi, Bhai Sahib left his family and home to jump into the battlefield beside Bhai Toofan.

The great general of the Sikh Freedom Movement, Bhai Toofan told Bhai Sahib to stay at home and do the sewa required, but Bhai Sahib said, “I don’t want live at home, I want to live in the battlefield. If you don’t want to take me with you then I will join some other group.” At the end Bhai Toofan took Bhai Sahib in his group. Bhai Sahib had so much love for Bhai Toofan, this was visible as Bhai Sahib was always with Bhai Toofan and Bhai Sahib would say, that he will be in every encounter of Bhai Toofan beside him. As Bhai Sahib was strong and had a big built, he would pick singhs up on his shoulders and cross rivers. When the police had surrounded the Toofan group at Gurudwara Teer Sahib, Bhai Sahib had risked his life to save the singhs including Bhai Toofan.

Now the police had started harassing the family of Bhai Sahib. Under the command of SSP Gobind Ram, the cruel police would wreck the house and the farms of Bhai Sahib. But this harassment of Bhai Sahib’s family by the police did not break Bhai Sahib’s courage. When this group rode on horses past the village, it seemed that the singhs of 18th century were here.

When on 8th April 1990 Bhai Toofan was surrounded by the Indian security forces in village of Mari Buchan, Bhai Sahib was in village of Attepur. As soon as Bhai Sahib found out about Bhai Toofan being surrounded, he quickly picked up his gun and jumped on a tractor to drive towards Mari Buchan. But as the locals of Attepur knew the big numbers of police presence in Mari Buchan, they stopped Bhai Sahib and wrestled him down to ground to prevent going in to a death trap, the locals then locked Bhai Sahib in a room. This was the first time people saw Bhai Sahib cry out very loud. Bhai Sahib’s close friend, who was like a brother and the also his general Bhai Toofan was surrounded and Bhai Sahib felt useless that he couldn’t do anything.

When Bhai Sahib was given the news of Bhai Toofan’s shaheedi, he felt as there was need to live, as Bhai Sahib had lost someone very close to him. Bhai Sahib had regretted that he wasn’t with Bhai Toofan in his last moments. It is said by the locals, that Bhai Sahib did not remain underground anymore, he would carry out actions in the day time and did not care about his life. Bhai Sahib also met Bhai Bikramjit Singh Kamoke in the day time.

Three and half months after Bhai Toofan’s shaheedi, the police surrounded Bhai Sahib in the village of Chung, near Chownk Mehta on 26th July 1990. When Bhai Sahib found out about the police presence, he and a singh an army officer who had come home on a holiday jumped over the wall and into the farms of sugar cane and started the encounter against the Indian security forces. The police used bullet proof tractors to get close to Bhai Sahib but due to the rain the bullet proof tractors were useless. Knowing this Bhai Sahib and the soldier singh showed the Indian security forces what a true encounters is, the police officers were hitting the ground every minute. It is said that the soldier singh, would hide and grab police officers and kill then jump back into the farms of sugar cane, later the soldier singh would pop up from some other side to take another police officer out. For many hours this encounter continued, the number of police killed was not released but Bhai Sahib and soldier singh attained shaheedi fighting till their last breath.

The police were so angry at their loss by the hands of Bhai Sahib and soldier singh, that when Sikhs attended the cremation of Bhai Sahib, the police hit them with batons. Even the father and sisters of Bhai Toofan were also hit with batons. The Sikhs that were bringing milk for the langar, their containers were snatched by the police and the milk was spilled on to the ground. The police stooped to such a low level that an elderly person, Chacha of Shaheed Bhai Gajan Singh Aulakh, bought milk for the langar but the police shot him and he attained shaheedi. But this injustice of the police could not wreck the cremation of Shaheed Bhai Balwinder Singh Billa Cheema Khudi, nor could it kill the respect for Khadku Singhs amongst the Sikh public. This injustice could not even change the fact that the shaheedi smagams are done for the shahadats of Sikh fallen soldiers while no one looks twice at the police officers killed.

Vangaar – May 2012 – Baljit Singh Khalsa