Shaheed Bhai Kulwant Singh Nagoke
Shaheed Bhai Kulwant Singh Nagoke
On the day of Visakhi of 13th April 1978, the Narakhdhari cult killed 13 singhs for peacefully protesting against the beadbi of Sikh values doe by the Narakhdhari cult. Soon after the Narakhdharis and their protectors started running for their lives as singhs wanted justice. Bhai Fauja Singh had been leading the protest through the streets of Amritsar singing, “Siir Ditaya Baaj Nahin rehena, Dharam Siir Ditaya Baaj Nahi Rehena.” As the protest reached the location, where the Narakhdhari were committing beadbi, the peaceful Sikhs were then shot at and killed.
The Narakhdhari leaders were getting killed daily and the police had suspicious on the fellow singhs of Shaheed Bhai Fauja Singh. The newspapers were stating, that Sikhs are killing them and the public started talking against the Sikh religion. Soon on 4th June 1982, the police named 11 possible suspects behind the killing of the Narakhdhari leaders. The police had announced a cash reward for the capture of the 11 men. These 11 men were not known criminals or linked to any terrorist group, in fact these 11 men were part of the same religious group. The police had targeted 11 innocent Sikhs who were from the Akhand Kirtani Jatha. These 11 singhs were all Amritdhari, Sarblohi, Budh Bebeki and lived within the true maryada of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
Amongst these 11 singhs is the name of a Sikh that is incredibly chardikala, Bhai Kulwant Singh, son of Sardar Mohan Singh from the village of Nagoke. The local police of Amritsar held Bhai Sahib responsible for the Narakhdhari killings.
Bhai Kulwant Singh Nagoke alias Bhai Jaswant Singh was the follower of the Nihang maryada and helped his family in farming. The whole family of Bhai Sahib were Amritdhari and strict followers of Sikh code of conduct. Village of Nagoke is in the Majha area of Punjab and is well known as the people of Nagoke have done sewa in every Sikh struggle. Even the Sikh struggle for freedom many Singhs have attained shaheediyan.
After the shaheedi of Bhai Fauja Singh, on 13th April 1978, the singhs formed Babbar Khalsa. This group of singhs would know stand for the freedom of Sikhs and Khalistan. When singhs from many different cities and villages were punishing the anti-Sikh elements, the police were shook to the core. When in May 1982 the Narakhdhari leaders were getting killed one by one, then the eye of suspicion came on to the singhs of Akhand Kirtani Jatha.
Bhai Sahib was busy daily with his life style of farming. 27th May 1982, Bhai Sahib was going out of Nagoke to the village of Khulchaya to repair his tractor. The police was also informed about Bhai Sahib’s trip to Khulchaya and as the police wanted Bhai Sahib as being one of the 11 names in the Narakhdhari case, the police arrested Bhai Sahib at the garage in Khulchaya. After the arrest Bhai Sahib was tortured at various police stations. The news of Bhai Sahib’s arrest spread like wild fire. For a full week the police tortured Bhai Sahib inhumanely and finally on 4th June 1982 the police told press that they had arrested Bhai Sahib. The Indian government gave long list of accusations o the media that were put against Bhai Sahib, the police named him the main person who had been killing the Narakhdharis.
On 4th June 1982, the team of the police produced Bhai Sahib in the courts of Tarn Taran, it could be seen that Bhai Sahib had been brutally tortured due to his bruised and weak body. The police had thrown Bhai Sahib into their jeep to bring him to court but Bhai Sahib himself could not walk or get out of the jeep in the court. After searching for excuses, the court judge said that Bhai Sahib cannot come out the police jeep, because Bhai Sahib is very dangerous and could damage the property of the staff of Indian government. With many excuses of the police and the court, the judicial magistrate Chanan Singh gave police another 5 days of custody of Bhai Sahib, till 9th June 1982. The judge also told the police to take Bhai Sahib to the doctor and the report to be sent to the courts. Bhai Sahib was once again locked up at Sadar police station after the police bought him back from the courts of Tarn Taran. Bhai Sahib was unconscious when the police threw him in the cell.
When Bhai Sahib was not produced by the police in front of the judge, the family of Bhai Sahib knew something was not right. Then a close family member of Bhai Sahib, Sardar Mohar Singh pointed out to BR Bansal, a judicial magistrate court that Bhai Sahib had been inhumanely tortured by the police and may have been killed as Bhai Sahib had not appeared in the court. Even though the police was told to take Bhai Sahib to doctors the police completely ignored this order by the judge and this made the family belive even more that Bhai Sahib had probably been killed.
Bhai Sahib had been brutally tortured since 27th May 1982, then on 4th June 1982 the police were given another 5 days to torture Bhai Sahib even more. The police were trying their torture tactics to get information from Bhai Sahib of other singhs, but the police were getting no information from Bhai Sahib. As well as Bhai Sahib being tortured, the family of Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Babbar were also being held by the police and blindly tortured, especially his brother, Bhai Angrej Singh, his in-laws, Sardar Diljit Singh, Bhai Gurdev Singh and Bhai Mahinder Singh. The police did not pity any family member or friend of Bhai Sahib and Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Babbar, in fact the police had arrested and tortured every single Amritdhari in the area. News of the brutal treatment of Sikhs were spreading all over Punjab and shocking the Sikh nation.
Every day the arrested singhs, including Bhai Sahib were being tortured in unthinkable ways. The police had also arrested the manager of Amritsar’s, Punjab And Sing Bank, Bhai Bakshish Singh as he wore the Nihang Bana and was a family member of one of the shaheeds from the 1978 Visakhi massacre, Bhai Raghbir Singh. Now the police were planning to finish off Bhai Sahib but the police had only till 9th June 1982. The police did not produce Bhai Sahib on 9th June 1982 and on 10th June 1982 the police held a press conference and told the media that the main person accused of the Narakhdhari killings, Bhai Kulwant Singh Nagoke has escaped from the police custody.
According to the police story, on the night of 9th and 10th June 1982, Bhai Sahib had shouted that he has pains in his stomach. Then 2 police constables of Sadar police station were given the duty of taking Bhai Sahib to the emergency ward of the local hospital. The constables put handcuffs on the hands of Bhai Sahib and soon were on route to the hospital on a cycle. As the police constables reached the Kanpani Park near the Maharaja Ranjit Singh museum, Bhai Sahib punched one of the police constables in the face with the handcuffs and ran off. One of the constables fired 3 bullets at Bhai Sahib from his riffle, but Bhai Sahib got into a car, supposedly to be of Babbar Khalsa and drove off. Red alert was put in place all over Punjab. This news was printed in the national newspapers of 11th June 1982.
Apparently thousands of police officers and CRP officers had surrounded the Kanpani Park straight after Bhai Sahib’s escape. The police had aimed with their riffle at the beggars that were sleeping and with searchlights searched the bushes and trees of Kanpani Park, but Bhai Sahib was not found after six hours of intense search operation. Now the police had upped the reward on Bhai Sahib capture and also increased the cases that Bhai Sahib was charged with. The last scene of this drama by the police was played on 11th June 1982 near the village of Tarakhsarwla. In the morning the locals of Tarakhsarwla saw a dead body covered in blood of an Amritdhari singh near the riverside. The dead body was of Bhai Kulwant Singh Nagoke, who the police had arrested since 27th May 1982 as the main person behind the killings of the Narakhdharis. Bhai Sahib’s head was burnt and his skull was visible to the locals. The locals say that Bhai Sahib’s body was drenched in a pool of blood and not far from his was bottle with blood all over it. The locals heard very loud shouting at night and gun firing, some the walls had bullet holes in them. The police had being circling the village in big numbers. The firing was one sided, it seemed only the police had been firing bullets.
On 11th June 1982 the police once again called a press conference to finish the case of Bhai Sahib. The police stated:
“The prisoner on a run, Kulwant Singh of Nagoke alias Jaswant Singh, son of Sardar Mohan Singh was connected to a terrorist group. Kulwant Singh was also the assembling of this group. This terrorist (Bhai Sahib) was wanted for many killings of the Nirankaris (Narakhdharis). Last night Kulwant Singh was killed in an intense encounter near the village of Tarakhsarwla. The 2 singhs, who Kulwant Singh was with managed to escape, the police is searching for them. From the dead body of Kulwant Singh the police gathered a 32’ revolver along with 12 bullets. The enquiries of the police are carried under Inspector Harjit Singh.”
Bhai Sahib had been reciting bani while the police had tortured him for information. Bhai Sahib did not give any information to the police regarding the singhs of Babbar Khalsa. Bhai Sahib had attained shaheedi during the torture and after the police played their dramas. When the shaheedi saroop of Bhai Sahib was taken for post-mortem, he had a blue Dumalla tied, white Bana and had a Kamarkasa around his waist. It seemed that somebody had put on this cloths with force onto a dead body. A panel of 3 doctors carried out the post-mortem of Bhai Sahib, Dr Baldev Singh, Dr Philip and Dr Manmohan Singh. Bhai Sahib’s body had 10 bullet wounds and many bruises due to the torture. At Guru Tegh Bahdur Hospital many Sikhs came to pay their respects to the fallen soldier. On 12th June 1982, 10 o’clock in the morning the cremation of Bhai Sahib was done at the village of Nagoke.
The singhs of Babbar Khalsa made Shaheed Bhai Kulwant Singh Babbar Nagoke the first shaheed of Khalistan. At the bhog of Bhai Sahib, while the panthic leaders were busy giving speeches, the singhs from Bhai Sahib’s group were doing Ardas to fight till their last breath for Khalistan. Shaheed Bhai Kulwant Singh Babbar Nagoke alias Bhai Jaswant Singh woke the Sikh nation up and his life will teach many ways of gurmat to the future Sikh generations.
Tavareekh Babbar Khalsa – Karamjit Singh Sikhanwala