Shaheed Bhai Kanwaljeet Singh Waheguru
Shaheed Bhai Kanwaljeet Singh Waheguru
Khalistan Liberation Organisation
In this biography we are going to introduce to you the history of a great warrior who may have born away from the main principles of Sikhi and into a Naamdhari family, but when drains of Punjab were flowing with the blood of Sikh youth, this warrior joined the struggle under the command of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale and did selfless service with great bravery and honesty. In the end he attained shaheedi laughing in the face of brutal torture. The name of this warrior is Bhai Kanwaljeet Singh alias Waheguru.
Bhai Kanwaljeet Singh was born on 22nd January 1961, (School certificate states 12th December 1959) in the house of Sardar Sanpuran Singh and from the womb of Mata Kulwant Kaur in the village of Sarwali, district Gurdaspur. Bhai Sahib was the eldest of his brothers and sisters, Bhai Sardool Singh, Bibi Rupinderjit Kaur and Bibi Simarjit Kaur. Due to being born in a Naamdhari family, Bhai Sahib wore white turban and white clothes to school. Bhai Sahib studied up till 5th class at the government school of Sarwali, and then from 6th till 10th class he studied at Sri Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa High School of Bhagowal. After this in 1977, Bhai Sahib also completed the training of Homeguard. In 1978 Bhai Sahib passed his santhaya as a Giani and then took admission in an accountancy collage. While living in Amritsar, Bhai Sahib learnt driving and started working as a driver at Suraj Chanda Tara Cinema.
Meeting Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale
In the year of 1982, Bhai Sahib came in contact with Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale and from here he became very close to Sant Ji. For his family, Bhai Sahib was working for a cinema, but the true fact was that he had become one of the Jhujaru Singhs of Sant Ji’s Jatha.
When the family got the news of Bhai Sahibs contact with Sant Ji, they became very worried. The family on many occasions tried to get a clarification from Bhai Sahib, but he never made anything clear. But in the end when Mata Kulwant Kaur asked her son with love, Bhai Sahib answered, “Mother, You don’t Know, Sant Ji is just like another body of Baba Ram Singh. He also has long arms and is very religious.” Now the family knew what path Bhai Sahib had taken, the members of the family were unable to take Bhai Sahib off this path. The Indian army attacked Sri Harimandir Sahib in June 1984, Bhai Sahib along with Jhujaru Singhs from his village faught the invading Indian army from their positions on the upper levels of Sri Akaal Takht Sahib. It was in this battle that Bhai Shamsher Singh, who was from the same village as Bhai Sahib attained shaheedi defending Sri Harimandir Sahib. When the Indian tanks would bomb the upper level of Sri Akaal Takht Sahib, the Jhujaru Singh would come to the lower level and make that position even stronger.
Like this the Jhujaru Singhs continued to defend the complex for 3 days. When the ammunition of the Jhujaru Singhs finished and most singhs had attained shaheedi, the remaining Jhujaru Singhs decided to leave the complex and continue the next phase of the Sikh Freedom Movement, which was the armed struggle. In this attempt many Jhujaru Singhs attained shaheedi and many were arrested, Bhai Sahib managed to change his clothes in a house nearby and fooled the CRPF to make his escape when the curfew around Sri Darbar Sahib was lifted for a short while. Bhai Sahib had an empty container in his hand and told the Indian soldiers that he had to get some milk for his family, and the CRPF allowed Bhai Sahib to leave the area, like this Bhai Sahib made his escape. After Bhai Sahib reached the house of his uncle Sardar Harbhajan Singh (Brother of Sardar Sanpuran Singh), who lived near the Tungwali Bridge, Amritsar. The family of Bhai Sahib thought that he had attained shaheedi also at Sri Darbar Sahib, but 6 days after the attack, Sardar Harbhajan Singh sent a message home that Bhai Sahib is in high spirits.
But now Bhai Sahib had followed the orders of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale and had started the next phase, armed struggle for the Sikh homeland. At start Bhai Sahib did actions with Bhai Ranjit Singh Dyalgarh and Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma, but later Bhai Sahib joined Khalistan Liberation Organisation and started moving towards freedom.
Punishing the egoistic Thanedar
Bhai Sahib was very knowledgeable in how, when and where to do bomb blasts. The police of Punjab was very fearful of bomb blasts, for Jhujaru Singhs to blow up police jeeps was a normal thing. But even then due to the greed for higher ranks, the police officers were still committing injustices. Once Bhai Sahib knew that Bhai Jugraj Singh Toofan was away from home and continuing sewa within the Sikh armed struggle, but a Thanedar of Qaddian by the name of Gursewak Singh was continuously harassing the family of Bhai Toofan, he was known for mocking the sisters of Bhai Toofan by saying, “Tell your lion of a brother, to meet us once, so we can see for ourselves how much of lion he is.”
When Bhai Sahib found out about the activities of this Thanedar, his blood was boiling. Bhai Sahib decided to pay this Thanedar a visit before Bhai Jugraj Singh Toofan. Bhai Sahib first sent a challenge to the Thanedar and then some days later he fitted a bomb in a shop under the Qaddian police station and blew the whole police station up. The dead bodies of the Thanedar and other police officers were very difficult to take out of the rumble made by the bomb blast. The police force started to harass Bhai Sahib’s family but he had installed fear into the hearts of the police officers. This is why the police took Sardar Sanpuran Singh to the blown up Qaddian police station and only said this, “Bapu, look at what your son did.” But from here onwards the Thanedars of Qaddian thought twice about how they spoke to the families of Jhujaru Singhs.
Guerrilla warfare strategies
Bhai Sahib had great amount Knowledge on guerrilla warfare, he had taught the families who accommodated him in their homes many ways to fool the police officers who were suspicious. One of the strategies of Bhai Sahib if he got stopped by the police on suspicion was to give information of a youth from one of the families whose house he stayed in, along with all the accurate information that matched the same family. Following this strategy on many times Bhai Sahib escaped being prosecuted. But once Bhai Sahib was arrested after an informant gave the accurate information on Bhai Sahib’s location. At this moment the way Bhai Sahib fooled the police force of Punjab is an experience that we will hardly hear in any other guerrilla warfare.
Bhai Sahib was travelling on a tractor, along with a woman from the family where he had stayed. This was also a strategy to have a woman with you while travelling, as the police would normally stop Sikh males travelling alone at checkpoints and not families. Bhai Sahib was travelling with the wife of youth by the name of Rana (Known as Rana Amli by the locals) and the newly wedded niece of Rana, this family were sympathisers of the Sikh armed struggle. The informant had given the police the colour and number plate of the tractor, the police straight away surrounded the tractor. Soon as Bhai Sahib was surrounded he told the women that he was not Kanwaljeet Singh Waheguru, he is Rana Amli. The women followed this strategy of Bhai Sahib. When the police arrested Bhai Sahib they asked his name, Bhai Sahib answered ‘Rana’. When police asked other information, Bhai Sahib gave the same information of Rana Amli.
When the police questioned the women, they also gave the same information as Bhai Sahib and due to the stories matching the police were now totally confused. The police contacted the informant via their wireless sets and the informant assured that Bhai Sahib was Bhai Kanwaljeet Singh Waheguru and not Rana Amli, the informant also told the police not to be fooled by Bhai Sahib. Now the confused Punjab police took Bhai Sahib and the women to the police station where the police started the blind torture tactics upon Bhai Sahib. No matter how bad they tortured Bhai Sahib, they could not get him to admit that he was Bhai Kanwaljeet Singh Waheguru, Bhai Sahib continued to act like a drug addict and kept saying that he was Rana Amli. The problem Punjab police had was that the informant did not recognize Bhai Sahib, as the information he had given was from another person.
When the police got no progress from the interrogation of Bhai Sahib, they would then harass the informant, who would say that the information he has is 100% genuine. Bhai Sahib was sent to the interrogation centre of Mal Mandi, Amritsar. Even here after blind torture Bhai Sahib kept on repeating he was Rana Amli. The frustrated police had tried all torture tactics on Bhai Sahib, but had miserably failed in making Bhai Sahib admit that he was Bhai Kanwaljeet Singh Waheguru. At first the police wanted to keep the arrest of Bhai Sahib secret, but then police decided to go to the house of Rana Amli and make their inquiries. By now the story of Bhai Sahib’s arrest had reached the fellow Jhujaru Singhs of Bhai Sahib, they now reached the village of the actual Rana Amli and given Rana Amli’s family and some of the local villagers the script if and when the police would come for inquiry. On top of this the good thing that happened was that the police did not take Bhai Sahib with them to do the inquiry. When the police went to Rana’s village and questioned his family to where is Rana, the family of Rana said, “You arrested him while he was travelling on his tractor with his wife and niece.” The local villagers also followed the similar story line. Then the police bought Bhai Sahib to a police station in Dera Baba Nanak and told the family of Rana Amli and locals from his village to attend to identify Bhai Sahib. Everyone identified Bhai Sahib as Rana Amli and in the end the police had also given up and believed that Bhai Sahib was actually Rana Amli.
The police were very scared of being exposed as they thought they had tortured Rana Amli, they wrong person. The police told the family of Rana Amli to take his wife and niece home and they will release Rana (Bhai Sahib) in few days. Before the women were released they went to see Bhai Sahib and after seeing the beaten condition of Bhai Sahib the women had tears in their eyes. Even in this condition, Bhai Sahib continued his role and Rana Amli and told the women, “Don’t cry, nothing is going to happen. These officers will release me in few days.” Like this the police released the women and put a small case on Bhai Sahib and sent him to Gumtala jail as Rana Amli. This was done to give time for Bhai Sahib to heal before being released. Even in jail, Bhai Sahib continued to act like Rana Amli as if he was a professional actor. When Bhai Sahib would eat, he would cover his beard curry so everyone thought he was actually an Amli (Drug addict). But here an ex-SP by the name of Pritpal Singh who was also an inmate of Gumtala Jail recognised Bhai Sahib and in a shock said, “Oy Waheguru, you been arrested again?” Bhai Sahib who had already seen the ex-SP had deliberately covered his beard with curry and looked up and replied, “Sir you also keep on calling me Waheguru, but I’m Rana not Waheguru.” Bhai Sahib once again gave the details of Rana Amli as he was questioned by this ex-SP. In the end Pritpal Singh found it hard to belive that Bhai Sahib was Rana Amli and ended the conversation with, “If you were interrogated in Mal Mandi and after all that torture you still say your Rana Amli, then your Rana Amli.”
Bhai Sahib passed his time jail like this, portraying himself as Rana Amli, and soon he was released from jail on bail. When this news of this whole episode spread amongst the Jhujaru circle, they found it hard to belive that this had actually happened and started to think that Bhai Sahib might have joined the police as an informant. Everyone was shocked on how one of the most wanted Jhujaru Singh like Bhai Sahib could be arrested and spend time in jail for such a petty charge. On the other side, the police also found out that they had arrested Bhai Sahib and not Rana Amli, the Indian security forces felt extremely embarrassed. The police decided to play on the suspicion of the Jhujaru Singhs and portray Bhai Sahib as their informant to the Jhujaru circle. As the propaganda of the Punjab police against the Bhai Sahib spread itself, the newly recruited Jhujaru Singhs started to openly say that Bhai Sahib was a police informant. During this time, a Jhujaru Singh who had close links to the Khalistan Liberation Organisation raised the issue about Bhai Sahib being involved with the Punjab police. The funny thing about this meeting was that Bhai Sahib himself was also sitting within this group of KLO Jhujarus and listening to another Jhujaru group doubting his credibility. Bhai Sahib signalled his fellow Jhujaru Singhs to remain quiet and after listening to the other Jhujaru group he asked, “Have you seen Bhai Waheguru with the police with your own eyes?” The YOUNG Jhujaru Singh sitting in front of Bhai Sahib bravely replied, “Yes, I have seen Kanwaljit Singh Waheguru in the jeep with the police.” Upon hearing this, Bhai Sahib got up and laughed as he said, “Okay, Bhai Waheguru has met me on many occasions and has never caused my any damage.” Bhai Sahib had proved to the senior singhs sitting in that meeting and many other meetings that the allegations against him were false. But at the same time, Bhai Sahib did not argue with the fellow Jhujaru Singhs of the Sikh armed struggle, as he knew that the Indian government were trying everything to make the Jhujaru groups to fight amongst them.
Purity and Honesty of Bhai Sahib
Even after Bhai Sahib had left his home and family to jump onto the battlefield for freedom, the family faced many problems financially and from the police, but Bhai Sahib never used the money of Khalistan Liberation Organisation to provide for the family. Once Bhai Sahib had given his family 10,000 rupees to look after, but after sometime the family had spent 600 rupees on buying a cow. All of a sudden Bhai Sahib came home to collect the money, unable to reimburse 600 rupees the family gave Bhai Sahib 9400 rupees. When Bhai Sahib found out that the family had spent money on buying a cow, he got very angry and said, “This money will not solve your problems.” Bhai Sahib’s brother tells us, that the cow that they had bought did not give milk and after selling it for 600 rupees, the cow started giving milk to its new owner.
The police were trying everything to capture Bhai Sahib, many families had been harassed and tortured for information leading to Bhai Sahib. It was during these times the police arrest a sympathiser of the Sikh Freedom Movement by the name of Dr Nijjar, who then gave information to the police after torture which led to the arrest of Bhai Satnam Singh Leel. After the interrogation of Bhai Leel the police arrested his brother and like this the police created a chain of arrest which finally led to a house in Jalandhar’s Model Town area where a meeting of Khalistan Liberation Force took place. But the singhs found out that the police had got their location and managed to escape from the house safely. Unable to surround the Jhujaru Singhs at the house, the police immediately got the forces and informants deployed at train and bus stations.
Bhai Sahib and another singh had reached the bus station in an attempt to leave the city. Bhai Sahib saw the police walking around the bus station and after vacated the station and got onto GT Road, but a police informant who was sitting in a gipsy on GT Road spotted Bhai Sahib and signalled the police to make their move on Bhai Sahib. Both Jhujaru Singhs were unarmed and made a run for it. After few moments both Singhs split up and Bhai Sahib had ran into a closed street and was surrounded by the police. Like this on 8th May 1989, the Batala police arrested Bhai Sahib.
For so long the police were searching for Bhai Sahib like mad dogs and when they finally captured Bhai Sahib, they were ready to take their anger out on Bhai Sahib for fooling them and bombing their police stations. By the police had confirmed the identity of Bhai Sahib and Bhai Sahib himself knew that it was pointless trying to play another person. Bhai Sahib decided to take on the blind torture of the Punjab police as Bhai Kanwaljeet Singh Waheguru.
It was during these days the Batala SSP Gobind Ram was committing mass injustices upon Sikhs in the surrounding villages. To gather Sikhs from villages and harass them was a mere joke to this SSP of the Hindustan police force. When SSP Gobind Ram found out about the arrest of Bhai Sahib, he couldn’t wait to face him. SSP Gobind Ram loved to torture unarmed people and see them begging him for mercy on their knees. The SSP reached the interrogation centre of Biko to start the torture upon Bhai Sahib. Soon as the Punjab police bought Bhai Sahib into the interrogation centre, Gobind Ram was standing waiting for Bhai Sahib. Soon as Gobind Ram saw Bhai Sahib being walked in with chains around his and ankles and wrists, he said, “Finally you’re here Kanwaljeet Singh, I’ve looking for you for a long time.” Upon hearing these words of the cruel SSP, Bhai Sahib lifted his head and with a smile replied, “Yes, I’ve heard from some people that the daughter of Gobind Ram has stepped out of her teenage and is now looking for a Singh to marry her off.”
All around the chained Bhai Sahib the shocked police officers didn’t know where to put there face after hearing the reply of this lion, within seconds the drunken SSP had become sober. Then the SSP started torturing Bhai Sahib on the spot as retaliation to the insult. Under the command of SSP Gobind Ram, the staff of Biko interrogation centre tortured Bhai Sahib blindly.
On one hand Punjab police had passed all limits of torture, on the other Bhai Sahib had taken all the torture with a smile on his face. In the end on 12th May 1989, Bhai Sahib was shot and made a martyr of Khalistan. Following da the police announced that in a fierce encounter with the Indian security forces Bhai Kanwaljeet Singh Waheguru had been killed.
Wangar – January 2012