Shaheed Bhai Harpal Singh Bittu
Shaheed Bhai Harpal Singh Bittu
All India Sikh Student Federation
Bhai Sukhbir Singh Pinka was born in the year of 1969, in the house of Sardar Baldev Singh and from the womb of Mata Harbhajan Kaur in the village of Kamalpura, near Chamyari, district Ajnala. Sardar Baldev Singh had 5 sons and no daughters, eldest Bhai Harpal Singh Bittu (born on 18th January 1965 and was the spokesperson of All India Sikh Student Federation Ajnala Unit), Bhai Hardeep Singh, Bhai Sukhbir Singh Pinka, Bhai Sukhraj Singh and the youngest Bhai Balraj Singh. The family of Bhai Pinka were an average working-class family. Sardar Baldev Singh worked as a constable in the BSF. The family also ran an independent Dairy Farm and had some land to their name.
At the time Bhai Harpal Singh Bittu had attained martyrdom, he had completed his 10th Class of studies and had only just enrolled for his BA study. Both brothers were very intelligent and business minded and ran their Dairy farm to great success. Bhai Bittu, was a Gursikh and as well as Bhai Pinka had taken Amrit at very young age from the Panj Pyare at Damdami Taksal, during the Dharam Yudh Morcha. Bhai Harpal Singh Bittu was a part of the Dharam Yudh Morcha and was close to Bhai Amrik Singh supporting the cause with the All India Sikh Students Federation. Both Singhs would spearhead the activism in the Ajnala area and campaigned the Sikhs to unite and protest against the Injustices of the Indian security forces. Bhai Harpal Singh was very athletic and had won many awards for being a runner. Bhai Sukhbir Singh Pinka studied up to 12th Class at his local school in a nearby village Laala Nangal and enrolled for his BA study at Guru Nanak College in Batala. Bhai Pinka would dedicate a lot of time to his studies, even returning from college, he would spend his free time engrossed in his studies.
In June 1984, Sri Harimandir Sahib was forcibly and intentionally attacked by the Indian army, killing thousands of Singh and Singhnia who became martyrs defending the Sikh throne. This attack triggered a response from the Sikh youth to fight for freedom, justice and Khalistan. Bhai Harpal Singh Bittu increased his activism within the All India Sikh Students Federation. It was under the command of Bhai Mokham Singh that Bhai Harpal Singh Bittu set up a Sikh Students Federation Office in the Ajnala area. Bhai Harpal Singh would spend day and night there dedicated to the cause.
Bhai Bittu’s main responsibilities were to list names of Sikhs who were ready to take Amrit, social welfare initiatives, supporting the poor and needy, managing their legal affairs and fighting their legal cases etc. Baba Joginder Singh, father of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale regularly remembered Bhai Harpal Singh Bittu and very often would honour him with gratitude for all the good work he did.
Bhai Harpal Singh Bittu spent most of his time at the Damdami Taksal Headquarters in Chownk Mehta and much less time at his home. Bhai Bittu was fortunate enough to have spent a lot of time doing Sangat of Sant Baba Thakur Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale and was very dedicated in his Rehat and Amritvela. Bhai Bittu would also partake in recitations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj during Sri Akhand Paath Sahibs. Bhai Bittu was also a great courageous spokesperson for the All India Sikh Student Federation. Bhai Bittu was an appointed speaker and would address mass Sikh gathering who would come from far and wide to hear him speak. Bhai Bittu was good at uplifting the youth of Punjab and was able to clearly impart knowledge of the grave tortures being committed by the Indian government. Due to his association to All India Sikh Student Federation and popularity amongst the Sikh youth, Bhai Bittu came under the eye of the Punjab police. The Punjab police would often harass Bhai Bittu and other members of his family.
In the year 1986, Bhai Bittu was arrested by the Punjab police in fabricated cases of war against the state and sent to jail. Bhai Bittu was sentenced to 2 years in Gumtala Jail. During his time in jail, Bhai Bittu continued to create awareness of Sikh freedom movement as well as Sikhi, he had a positive effect on those around him. Bhai Bittu stayed in high spirits during his imprisonment and pursued his Giani/ Preacher Studies. Bhai Bittu was eventually released from Gumtala Jail in 1988 and continued to be part of All India Sikh Student Federation.
Bhai Bittu had made a commitment to himself that once he was out of jail, he will not spare the local police officers of his area, SSP Rajinder and Izhar Alam who were known for their brutal torture upon Sikhs. Bhai Bittu’s popularity accelerated and he created a network with all known Sikh leaders in his region. Bhai Bittu also began to mingle in the circle of the more popular Sikh leaders and personnel to spearheading the Sikh Cause.
In 1989, Bhai Bittu participated in lobbying the ministerial elections with Shromani Akali Dal Amritsar under the leadership of Sardar Simranjit Singh Mann. This involved canvassing door to door for candidate Bhai Kirpal Singh. Bhai Bittu was well respected in his district and this loyalty to him, resulted in a landslide victory gaining the highest number of votes for Bhai Kirpal Singh and won the election in his area.
It was only a short while after these elections, that the Punjab police once again captured Bhai Bittu while he was travelling on a bus, near the Kukran bus station. Bhai Bittu was taken to Maal Mandi and there he was grievously tortured, one of his leg’s was broken. Another fabricated case was put on him at Ajnala police station and was then imprisoned at Amritsar jail. Bhai Bittu was released on bail after 2 months. However, instead of being at his home leading an everyday life, he pursued his work for the Sikh cause and kept close ties with the Singhs of All India Sikh Student Federation and spent a lot of time at Chownk Mehta. During this period his brother, Bhai Sukhbir Singh Pinka had joined Jhujaru Singh and started doing actions alongside Bhai Tarsem Singh Teja.
On the 27th August 1990, Bhai Sukhbir Singh Pinka and his Jhujaru brother, Bhai Tarsem Singh Teja attained martyrdom together in a fierce encounter with the Indian security forces in the village of Badowal, near Fatehgarh Churian. This fierce gun battle had begun 12 o’clock at noon and lasted until 7 o’clock that evening.
Following the martyrdom of Bhai Sukhbir Singh Pinka, the Punjab police immediately contacted his family to attend the state hospital in Batala and identify his body. The village Panchayat travelled on a large tractor trolley to the hospital, whilst Bhai Harpal Singh Bittu and his mother travelled on bus. The bus was searched at police check point near the village of Aliwal. Bhai Bittu was recognised by the Punjab police and arrested.
Bhai Bittu was taken to the Batala’s interrogation centre and was submitted to extreme torture. After some days, Bhai Bittu was transferred to the Batala police station where he was kept for up to 30 days with no information provided to his family. On the 28th September 1990, the police again transferred him to the police station at Fatehgarh Churian and it was here Bhai Bittu was given poisonous food due to which he attained martyrdom. Shaheed Bhai Harpal Singh Bittu’s body was then handed over to the family, who had to perform his last rites, during late hours of the night, under police watch.
Information given by the family of Shaheed Bhai Harpal Singh Bittu