Shaheed Bhai Gurmej Singh Dilwan

Khalistan Liberation Force

After seeing the mass murder of Sikhs in 1984, no one would have thought that Sikhs will rise again to fight for their rights. Sikhs rose even higher to fight against the oppression, in the long glorious list of fallen saint soldiers is Shaheed Bhai Gurmej Singh Dilwan.

Bhai Gurmej Singh Dilwan was born in the house of Sardar Sant Singh and from the womb of Mata Pyar Kaur in the village of Dilwan, near Dera Baba Nanak district Gurdaspur. Bhai Sahib was the oldest of 5 brothers, Bhai Baldev Singh, Bhai Dalbir Singh, Bhai Lakhwinder Singh, Bhai Balwinder Singh, Bhai Gurnam Singh and 2 sisters Bibi Rani Kaur, Bibi Gurmej Kaur. Bhai Sahib studied at a local school in Dilwan up until 5th class, then in a government school of Dhanipur Bhai Sahib passed his 10th class and later went on to do BA at Guru Nanak College in Batala. When studying at Guru Nanak College, Bhai Sahib was chosen as the President of Sikh Student Federation in the Gurdaspur area. Through Sikh Student Federation, Bhai Sahib got close to Bhai Amrik Singh. Bhai Sahib attended many lectures of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale and related to all the points that were raised in these lectures. Bhai Sahib soon started doing sewa in secret, punishing the enemies of the Sikhs. Bhai Sahib’s family had a respectful background and many proposals for marriage came from wealthy and healthy families. Bhai Sahib was asked by his family to get fixed into marriage but Bhai Sahib said “I am engaged to shahadat and will soon marry it. There is no point in wrecking a life of innocent Sikh girl by marrying her to me.”

Attacks of June 1984, Bhai Sahib was away from Sri Harimandir Sahib, many of Bhai Sahibs friends attained shaheedi in the battle against Indian army. When the attack happened many Sikhs started marching towards Sri Harimandir Sahib to go and help fellow Sikhs in the fight against oppression of Indian government. Indian army had forced a curfew all over Punjab and did not allow any Sikhs to enter the holy city of Amritsar, instead Sikhs were killed if they forced their way towards Sri Harimandir Sahib. Bhai Sahib avoided the curfew warning and the main roads. Bhai Sahib went from the back roads and through the farms to get to Sri Harimandir Sahib, jumping from wall to wall and roof to roof. On 8th June 1984 Bhai Sahib reached Sri Harimandir Sahib, seeing the dead bodies of innocent Sikhs and the destruction of Sri Akaal Takht, left Bhai Sahib devastated and from a cheerful and energetic person Bhai Sahib started being quiet. The curfew of the Indian government was lifted and Sikhs were allowed into Amritsar and do Darshan of Sri Harimandir Sahib. Bhai Sahib would regularly go to Sri Darbar Sahib to do sewa after college and share the pain with fellow Sikhs. Bhai Sahib met Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh, Bhai Makhan Singh Shithh, Bhai Tarsem Singh Kohar, Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda Arjanpur and Bhai Jaswinder Singh Joga Bishnandi. Together the singhs said they will avenge the mass killings of innocent Sikhs, the destruction of Sri Akaal Takht and will not rest till Khalistan is made.

To restart the Sikh struggle, money and weapons were needed. Bhai Sahib went to his parents and asked for 10,000 rupees and said the huge sum was needed for the final year of his education and also towards starting his own business in Amritsar. Bhai Sahib’s mother gave the money and after taking the money Bhai Sahib bought arms which would support him in the Sikh Freedom Struggle. October 1984 Bhai Sahib was arrested and tortured for 6 weeks, the police tried their best to get information out of Bhai Sahib but Bhai Sahib stayed strong and didn’t say a word that will make the police happy, instead Bhai Sahib did not stop doing simran. As the police did not get any information from Bhai Sahib. The police filed many fake cases against Bhai Sahib and locked him up in Gurdaspur Jail. In the jail Bhai Sahib met Bhai Manjit Singh Khujala, Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh, Bhai Jaswinder Singh Joga Bishnandi, Madan Lal Kaddian, Bhai Jasbir Singh Dilwan and Bhai Harjinder singh Kaka, who were also locked up in the same jail after the police put fake cases on them too.

On 26th January 1985, whole India was celebrating the Declaration Day, they day when all the flags of India are changed followed by a ceremony. On this day Gurdaspur Jail was also going to change, but the singhs were against this, instead wanted to hold up the black flag for all the injustice don’t to the people of India. Police was going to salute the flag once it was raised and wanted all the prisoners to also salute the flag. 9am the flag ceremony was to take place, the musical bands were playing the national anthem. 8:50am the singhs shouted war cries of Bole So Nihal Sat Sri Akaal, Bhai Sahib already had made a black flag ready to be hung. As the war cries were being shouted Bhai Sahib quickly ran to the pole where the Indian flag was about to be raised, but Bhai Sahib replaced it the black flag and raised it up, so the Gurdaspur Jail had a black flag waving on its complex on 26th January 1985. The Superintendent of the jail pointed his gun at Bhai Sahib and said, “take that flag off or I will shoot you.” but Bhai Sahib replied “I’ve done what I wanted to do, now you do what you want to.” The Superintendent could not find the strength to pull the trigger and shot Bhai Sahib. After the action Bhai Sahib was moved to Ferozpur Jail.

After 1 year in October 1985, Bhai Sahib’s family paid for his bail and together they all went home. Those days Baba Joginder Singh Rode, father of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale was doing Sikh lectures around Punjab and organised Katha Amrit Sanchar programmes. In the Gurdaspur area, singhs, singhnia and children of Kotli Suram Mahli, Dharowali, Vandala Gurthian and Dilwan were blessed with amrit of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. As most of Bhai Sahib’s group was in Gurdaspur Jail, Bhai Sahib started planning on how to get the singhs out from Gurdaspur Jail. Bhai Sahib used his contacts and managed to get a Sten Gun and a Pistol to the singhs inside the jail. 27th January 1986 Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh, Bhai Jaswinder Singh Joga Bishnandi, Bhai Harjinder Singh Kaka, Resham Lal Beraagi Varpal and Bhai Dalbir Singh Billa Varpal managed to escape from the Gurdaspur Jail. After the escape Khalistan Armed Force was formed, Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh was the Jathedar and Bhai Makhan Singh Shithh was Lt. General. Bhai Sahib stayed with Sikh Student Federation and did his duty as president to Gurdaspur area.

Baba Joginder Singh Rode, father of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale held many protests and on many occasions raised the issue of innocent Sikhs in prisons. On 20th March 1987 Baba Joginder Singh Rode held a protest outside the government buildings in Chandigarh and asked Surjit Barnala to release the innocent Sikhs locked up the Indian prisons. Surjit Barnala did not like this, and ordered the police to shoot at this peaceful protest, killing Bhai Balkar Singh and 4 more singhs. A shaheedi smagam was held in memory of the 5 singhs that attained shaheedi when protesting peaceful. Baba Joginder Singh Rode and many Sikhs from all over India came to this shaheedi smagam to pay their respect.

Bhai Sahib attended this shaheedi smagam in behalf of Sikh Student Federation along with Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh and Bhai Makhan Singh Shithh from the Khalistan Armed Force group. A speech was made by the singhs of Khalistan Armed Force to the Sikh nation, “we will not achieve nothing by wearing orange turbans, if a Sikh family has to sons, then give one son to us for the battle against the India’s cruel government, if a family has 5 sons then give the panth 2 sons to be a part of the Sikh struggle.” The police had surrounded the shaheedi smagam and tried to arrest the singhs of Khalistan Armed Force and Sikh Student Federation but the singhs were clever and got out of the police trap by disguising themselves.

10th April 1986, Surjit Barnala sent the Indian army to Sri Harimandir Sahib. The Sikhs from all over the world were doing the sewa of rebuilding Sri Akaal Takht Sahib. The army came to arrest then Jathedar Bhai Gurdev Singh Kaunke, but the Jathedar got out of the complex in a disguise and the army returned empty handed. Bhai Sahib, Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh and Bhai Makhan Singh Shithh funded many marriages of daughters of shaheed singhs.

One day Bhai Sahib, Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh, Bhai Paramjit Singh Tugalwala and Bhai Makhan Singh Shithh were on their way to the village of Hansari on a tractor after doing a speech to recruit the Sikh youth at the village of Vandala Bhangar. The singhs spotted a police curfew ahead of them, the police saw the singhs and chased them, but the singhs got off the tractor and got away after running through the fields. After Running through the fields the singhs approached the road which led to Dyalgarh, at the entrance gate of Dyalgarh the name, General Rajinder Singh Sapero was written to pay respect to this soldier of the Indian army. But the singhs removed this and wrote the name of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale. No one dared changing this until Bhai Sahib was alive.

CRP officers had put up a blockade near the village of Gadrian. At was late at night and not much could be seen. Bhai Sahib, Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh, Bhai Paramjit Singh Tugalwala and Bhai Makhan Singh Shithh got caught up in this blockade, the CRP officers approached the singhs to ask them what they were doing here this late. The singhs didn’t look scared and told the CRP officers, “Don’t you dare touch us.” the CRP officer asked the singhs’ “who are you to tell me not to touch you?” Bhai Sahib replied, “we are the reason why you dogs of the Indian government are here, putting up a blockade.” As soon as the CRP officers heard this, he politely said, “Please don’t fire your guns here, we don’t want to fight you singhs, I will tell my officers to let your car pass.” The CRP officer guided the singhs cars through the blockade and the singhs were on their way. Thanks to Waheguru the singhs got out of this blockade of CRP officers without firing a single bullet. Bhai Sahib loved the singhs who were always around him. Bhai Sahib recited Gurbani all the time and was always heard singing the praises of Waheguru. Bhai Sahib said the gurbani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji is important for a Sikh soldier. For the remembrance of Bhai Satwant Singh and Bhai Kehar Singh, the singhs who were hanged for the involvement in the murder of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, an Akhand Paath Sahib was held in the village of Agwan. Many singhs joined Khalistan Armed Force and did some of the great actions. These are some of the singhs of Khalistan Armed Force, Bhai Keval Singh Dilwan, Bhai Kulwant Singh Kolvi, Bhai Shavinder Singh Attwal, Bhai Manjit Singh Dargabad, Bhai Swarn Singh Shithh, Bhai Kulwinder Singh Kalanur, Bhai Kavaljit Singh Waheguru Sarwali, Bhai Kavaljit Singh Kanba alias Bhai Sher Singh Sher Rahuwal.

24th June 1986, Bhai Sahib, Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh and Bhai Makhan Singh Shithh were in Batala. Singhs made a plan of getting loan from a bank to buy more guns and ammunition. Bhai Sahib had prepared all the paper work and the loan had already been passed, the singhs only had to go and pick up the money. Bhai Sahib went to the Lion Marka Bank in Batala while the singhs waited outside. Bhai Sahib got the money and made his way outside to the singhs, but the security guard of the bank, Bhajan Singh alias Chacha recongnised Bhai Sahib and rang the SSP Sumed Saini. June is one of the hottest months in India, the singhs stopped at the water tubal of village Kali Bhamani. Soon the singhs were surrounded by the thousands of Punjab police, CRP and BSF personnel under the command of SSP Sumed Saini. None of the thousands of the officers was brave enough to face the unarmed singhs, who were showering up at the tubal. They didn’t try arresting the singhs as the whole Indian security forces were scared. SSP Sumed Saini ordered his snipers to shoot from far and kill the singhs. The snipers followed orders and made the 3 unarmed singhs, Bhai Sahib, Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh and Bhai Makhan Singh Shithh shaheed, in the cowardly act of the Indian security forces. Bhajan Singh alias Chacha was also present at the scene.

The news of Bhai Sahib, Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh and Bhai Makhan Singh Shithh’s shaheedi at village Kali Bhamani spread all over Gurdaspur like wild fire. All the local Sikhs went to the Sadar Police Station, Batala to ask for the bodies of the singhs. After seeing the great crowd of Sikhs, the police were frightened and handed the bodies over to the sangat. The sangat took the bodies and organised the cremation ceremony according to gurmat maryada, Baba Thakur Singh Ji Bindranwale came to cremate the singhs.

An Akhand Paath Sahib was held for the wellbeing of Shaheed Bhai Gurmej Singh Dilwan, Shaheed Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh and Shaheed Bhai Makhan Singh Shithh, which was attended by Baba Thakur Singh Ji, Baba Joginder Singh Rode, workers of Sikh Student Federation and thousands of Sikhs from all over India. Speeches were made and the messages of Khadku Singhs were read out to the sangat. Also message was sent that Bhajan Singh alias Chacha will be punished for his betrayal to the Sikh nation.

It is said that Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda Arjunpur, killed Bhajan Singh alias Chacha in Jalandhar outside the King Hotel. Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda Arjunpur shot Chacha in the chest and revenged the shaheedi of Bhai Sahib, Baba Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh and Bhai Makhan Singh Shithh.

In memory of Shaheed Bhai Gurmej Singh Dilwan, a Nishan Sahib is put up in the Gurudwara of Dilwan, the locals hold an Akhand Paath Sahib every year on 24th June in remembrance of this fallen saint soldier.

Khadku Yodhe – Maninder Singh Baja