Shaheed Bhai Dalbir Singh Billa Varpal

‘Gallan Hundiyan Ne Ghar Ghar saray Billay Varpal Diyan.’

Billa Varpal is talked about in every household.

These are the lines taken from the gurudwara stage, when the Kavishri Jatha sang a vaar on Shaheed Bhai Dalbir Singh Billa who was born in the village of Varpal. This warrior shook the Indian government with his actions.

Bhai Dalbir Singh Billa was born in April 1964, in the house of Sardar Sardool Singh and from the womb of Mata Gopal Kaur, in the village of Varpal, district Tarn Taran. Bhai Sahib was youngest of 4 children, Bhai Satkar Singh, Bhai Lakhbir Singh and Bibi Jagir Kaur. As Bhai Sahib had blue eyes, the family nicknamed Bhai Sahib, Billa.

In 1978, when the Sikh massacre happened in Amritsar, from the hands of Delhi government led Narakhdhari cult, left a deep impact on the 14 year old Bhai Sahib. The thinking and the views of Bhai Sahib matched Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale and Bhai Sahib knew freedom was very much needed for the Sikh nation. Bhai Sahib was in his late teens, when once his elder brother, Bhai Lakhbir Singh went out on business and never returned back home. Bhai Sahib would tell his family that he is going out to look for Bhai Lakhbir Singh and wouldn’t return back home for weeks. Little did the family know that Bhai Sahib was finding the freedom that the Sikhs had lost. On 20th January 1982, Bhai Sahib was married to Bibi Satwant Kaur, daughter of Sardar Mal Singh of village Saraanva, near Khemkaran.

Soon Bibi Satwant Kaur found out about Bhai Sahib doing panthic actions, while he was away from home looking for his elder brother. This secret of Bhai Sahib came out in the family, the family tried to stop Bhai Sahib but freedom fighters don’t stop till they get freedom. Later that year in 1983, Bhai Sahib saw the birth of his daughter, Bibi Varinder Kaur. After having responsibilities of a child, Bhai Sahib could not forget the responsibilities as a Sikh, for the Sikh panth.

In June 1984, the Indian government attacked the Sikh religion by trying to demolish Sri Akaal Takht Sahib. Bhai Sahib was staying at Sri Harimandir Sahib a week before the attack, but later was sent elsewhere by Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale, for this reason Bhai Sahib could not take part in this 20th century Sikh battle. After the attack the Indian army formed a list of names of youth and started arresting and in some cases killing the Sikh youth from villages. Soon the Indian army came to Bhai Sahib’s village, Varpal in big numbers and went straight to Bhai Sahib’s house, but Bhai Sahib was not at home. Bibi Satwant Kaur and 9 month old Bibi Varinder Kaur were at home alone, the army looted many valuables from the house and also took mother and 9 month old daughter to Jandiala police station. Later the village panchayat got together and forced the police to release Bhai Sahib’s wife and daughter.

After this, Bhai Sahib knew it wasn’t safe going home now and started living away from home to carry out actions to avenge the killings of innocent Sikhs since 1978. The Hindu extremists such as Shiv Sena started harassing Sikhs in Punjab. Bhai Sahib and group got ready to stop such anti-Sikh groups from terrorizing Sikhs. When Bhai Beant Singh and Bhai Satwant Singh punished Indira Gandhi, the Hindu extremists were ordered by the Indian government to finish off the Sikhs in India. The Hindu yobs burnt Sikh men alive and raped Sikh women in broad daylight. The Shiv Sena of Punjab rubbed salt into the wounds of the Sikhs. After the November 1984 Sikh massacre, in Fatehbad, near Khadur Sahib a rally took place, where the Shiv Sena challenged Sikh Gurus and also said things like, “Oi Sikhs, your sisters and daughters are in our possession, come and save them if you can.” When Bhai Sahib found out about these insults, he furiously said, “Oi you evil men, we won’t retaliate by kidnapping your sisters and daughters because they are like our sisters and daughters too. But we will, the singhs of Guru Gobind Singh Ji will teach you, the children of Gangu a lesson.”

Arrest and break out

Due to his actions for the Sikh Freedom Movement, the Indian security forces wanted Bhai Sahib at any cost. With the help of an informant, the police arrested Bhai Sahib from a restaurant in Patti at the beginning of 1985. For 15 days Bhai Sahib was tortured at Patti and Jandiala police station, but no torture worked on Bhai Sahib that would make Bhai Sahib to give information on his group. Then the police charged Bhai Sahib with many cases and sent him to Amritsar jail, from which Bhai Sahib was later transferred to Gurdaspur jail.

In Gurdaspur jail, the singhs ruled everything. Whenever Bhai Sahib attended a court date Bhai Sahib would meet his family. With the help of Bhai Joga Singh Bishnandi’s wife, some weapons were given to singhs inside the jail, with wooden bars the singhs made a ladder. In November 1985, Bhai Sahib, Bhai Joga Singh Bishnandi, Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh, Bhai Roshan Lal Beraagi and Bhai Jaswinder Singh Kaka managed to escape from Gurdaspur jail. The news of their break out spread like fire.

Upon breaking out Bhai Sahib started doing panthic actions again. According to police records the Bhai Sahib and his group was wanted for more than 100 murders. 24th June 1986, Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh, Bhai Gurmej Singh Dilwan and Bhai Makhan Singh Shithh attained shaheedi together in a fierce encounter with the Indian security forces in the village of Kali Bhamani. The news of shaheedi of these 3 warriors was like a shock to Bhai Sahib, as they were like blood brothers.

The location where these 3 singhs attained shaheedi, Bhai Sahib went there at night on a horse. Bhai Sahib got off the horse and memorized the time he had spent with the singhs and got emotional. Bhai Sahib did Ardas for the chardikala of the singhs and after meeting the family of shaheeds, Bhai Sahib went underground again.

3rd July 1986, Bhai Sahib’s group punished 6 anti-Sikh elements within the 25km radius and after the group of singhs came to Malwa to rest at the house of a Saadh. This Saadh now had sold himself to the Indian government. Bhai Sahib was in the group of 5 singhs, Bhai Sahib, Bhai Roshan Lal Beraagi, Bhai Hari Singh Kamalpura and Bhai Sukhbans Singh were sleeping while Bhai Baldev Singh stayed awake reading a paper and keeping an eye for the police. As Bhai Baldev Singh read the paper, he got a glimpse of CRP surrounding the village. Bhai Baldev Singh quickly woke up the singhs and said, “Wake up, the birds are here.” Bhai Sahib’s group called Indian security forces birds as they fly away when they are losing. Bhai Sahib said, “Don’t worry.” and the singhs got up. The singhs got their weapons and prepared themselves for an encounter. One of the singhs fired a bullet into the air, and straight after, the CRP started running for cover, upon seeing this, the singhs came out of the house and started the encounter in the farms. Bhai Sahib told the singhs to escape under the command of Bhai Roshan Lal Beraagi. The singhs got into the Fiat car and Bhai Hari Singh Kamalpura drove the car, as soon as the car got close to the hiding CRP, they blindly shot at the car, puncturing the tyres of the car. The singhs in the car were wounded and the car smashed into a pile of bricks. The singhs got out of the car and tried walking away but as the wounds were too deep the singhs could not move anywhere. The singhs did not want to be caught alive by the CRP, so they turned their guns to their heads and drank the nectar of martyrdom.

After the shaheedi of the singhs, Jalandhar DIG PC Dogra, CRP DIG SS Virk and Amritsar’s police officer, Mohammed Izhar Alam told the media,

“The main singh responsible for forcing Hindus out of Punjab, has been killed. Bhai Dalbir Singh Billa and his group was responsible for more than 100 murders,

  • 3 killings were in July in Fatehbad
  • 7 were Shiv Sena workers
  • 7th May 1986, 4 Hindus were killed in Govindwal, district Tarn Taran
  • 20th June 1986, 8 Hindus were killed in Gholwarh
  • Killing of Comrade Jit Ram
  • Killing of Bugga Brahmin in Fatehbad

Some days before, the police found cassettes of speeches by Khadku Singhs. “

3 months after the shaheedi of Bhai Sahib, his wife gave birth to his second daughter, Bibi Satinder Kaur. The police did not stop the harassment of Bhai Sahib’s family, even after Bhai Sahib’s shaheedi. Later Bhai Ranjit Singh Bhatti avenged the shaheedi of the singhs by killing the fake Saadh, who betrayed the Khadku Singhs.

Purja Purja Kat Maray – Baljit Singh Khalsa