Shaheed Bhai Balwinder Singh Billa

Sikh Student Federation

kabeer muhi marnay kaa chaa-o hai mara-o ta har kai du-aar.

Kabeer, I long to die; let me die at the Lord`s Door.

The Sikh history is full of great and brave warriors, who have died defending the truth and the places of truth. A 16 year old shaheed of June 1984 from the village of Chamiari, district Ajnala, Bhai Balwinder Singh Billa is one of those Sikh warriors that was martyred while defending Sri Harimandir Sahib.

The only brother of 5 sisters, Bhai Balwinder Singh Billa was born in the house of Sardar Ajaib Singh and from the womb of Mata Gurmeet Kaur in 1969. Bhai Sahib was the 4th eldest of 6 children. Bhai Sahib went to a local government high school of village Chamiari, district Ajnala. While at school Bhai Sahib came in contact with Bhai Gurinder Singh Bhola of Sikh Student Federation, Tarn Taran. Bhai Gurinder Singh Bhola’s massi was also a residence of village Chamiari. Bhai Sahib had started doing sewa with Sikh Student Federation.

Once Bhai Sahib went to Sri Harimandir Sahib with Bhai Gurinder Singh Bhola, when Bhai Sahib came back he told his mother, “Oh mother, today Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale made a speech that opened my eyes.” Bhai Sahib’s mother was worried that her son is only 14-15 years old and not old enough to follow the path of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale. She said to Bhai Sahib, “When did you meet Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale?” Bhai Sahib replied, “I didn’t meet Sant Ji, I heard his speech when Sant Ji came on the stage.” Bhai Sahib’s mother was shocked and said, “You shouldn’t go there, you are not old enough for these speeches.” Bhai Sahib replied, “Mother, it is not about young or old, married or not married, youngsters are ready as well as the old people to stand up for the panth.” Mata Gurmeet Kaur realised that it was too late to change her only sons thinking.

Bhai Sahib had done sewa with Sikh Student Federation from a very young age. This made Bhai Sahib become more religious and follow the Sikh code of conduct. Bhai Sahib’s family were supporters of Akali Dal, but Bhai Sahib told his father, “Father, they are not Akali, instead they are Kali (black). They will never ask what are our needs, they will only do what suits them.” Only a supporter of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale would have the high thinking such as Bhai Sahib, his age may have been 15, but the thinking of Bhai Sahib was of a wise man. Sardar Ajaib Singh also wanted his only son to stay away from the Dharam Yudh Morcha because of the young age of Bhai Sahib. Every time Bhai Sahib was stopped by the family it would turn into an argument. Sardar Ajaib Singh told his son, “I am your father.” But Bhai Sahib would say, “You are my father only in this world, but Guru Gobind Singh Ji is my eternal father and I will follow orders of Dasmesh Guru.” Upon hearing this Sardar Ajaib Singh had no answer for his child.

In March 1984 Bhai Sahib was to take exams of 10th class, but the day before his first exam Bhai Sahib didn’t came back home. Bhai Sahib’s family was worried not knowing where their son had gone. That night a car pulled up outside the family house, Bhai Gurinder Singh Bhola came out of the car followed by Bhai Sahib, who had a Sri Sahib on his torso. Bhai Sahib had taken amrit from the Panj Pyare at Mehta Chownk and came back home. Bhai Gurinder Singh Bhola, Bhai Bhupinder Singh Bittu and Bhai Sahib was close like brothers and would go together to do darshan of Sri Harimandir Sahib and do sangat of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale.

When one of the bodyguards of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale, Bhai Surinder Singh Sodhi was killed by a black cat Surinder Shinda, Bhai Sahib, Bhai Gurinder Singh Bhola and Bhai Bhupinder Singh Bittu left work and came to Sri Harimandir Sahib to discuss what was to happen next. Soon after Bhai Gurinder Singh Bhola was arrested by the police in connection with the murder of Ramesh Chandar, who was an independent journalist for Samachar Group, singhs say that Bhai Gurinder Singh Bhola was arrested when he was on his way to punish Bhajan Lal, who spat venom against Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale. Bhai Bhupinder Singh Bittu was also being monitored after he had done an action in the Ajnala area, Bhai Bhupinder Singh Bittu permanently moved to Sri Harimandir Sahib, while 15 year old Bhai Sahib carried on his sewa trough Sikh Student Federation.

1stJune 1984, Bhai Sahib and sangat of Chamiari had bought a fraud, who had collected money from the Sikh sangat by using the name of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale to Sri Darbar Sahib. As soon as Bhai Sahib entered Sri Darbar Sahib, Bhai Harminder Singh Sandhu told Bhai Sahib that the Indian army might attack any minute and told the singhs to take to their located bunkers. Bhai Harminder Singh Sandhu said, “Billaya, the army will attack Sri Darbar Sahib today, don’t stand here, go to your assigned bunker.” Bhai Sahib listened to the orders and quickly ran took to the bunkers along with other Sikh soldiers of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. As Bhai Sahib went towards his bunker, the CRP officers fired bullets towards Sri Darbar Sahib and in this blind firing from CRP Bhai Sahib was shot many times in the waist and instantly attained shaheedi. The blood of Bhai Sahib had flowed in to the holy waters of Sri Harimandir Sahib. Exactly at the moment of Bhai Sahib’s shaheedi, Mata Gurmeet Kaur felt her guts quench and told her daughters, “I think your brother will now not come back.” The eldest sister of Bhai Sahib replied, “Mother, what are you saying, our brother will come back by the evening.”

Some singhs from the Jatha of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale asked the sangat of Chamiari who had come with Bhai Sahib for phone number for the family of Bhai Sahib. A phone number was given to the singhs of STD booth in Chamiari and the singhs ordered the message of Bhai Sahib’s shaheedi to be passed on to Bhai Sahib’s family. The news of the family’s loss came in the evening, the family was told to get the body of Bhai Sahib from the Amritsar hospital. The news of Bhai Sahib’s shaheedi spread across Punjab, Sikh Student Federation got ready to march to Amritsar hospital in big numbers and bring the body of Bhai Sahib back to the village of Chamiari. The protest could not take place as Amritsar was under curfew. The police did not allow the family to take the body of Bhai Sahib, but after much pressure by the Sikh sangat the police released Bhai Sahib’s shaheedi saroop.

Baljit Singh Khalsa – Purja Purja Kat Maray