Shaheed Bhai Rashpal Singh PA
Shaheed Bhai Rashpal Singh PA
Bhai Rashpal Singh was born in the house of Sardar Lal Singh, from the womb of Bibi Chanan Kaur in the village of Lakhirpur Khiri, Shahjahanpur (U.P) in 1952. Bhai Sahib had 3 brothers and 3 sisters.
As the years went on Bhai Rashpal Singh became Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale’s personal assistant. Bhai Sahib was a very trust worthy Singh who always minded his own business. Whenever the Singh’s came back from taking revenge from a Panthic enemy or doing any kind of action, they would come back and tell Bhai Rashpal Singh, Bhai Sahib would put his fingers in his ears and say “Please don’t tell me, because the less I know the better plus it also meant that the news wouldn’t spread.”
On 25th of July 1982 Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale got all Jathebandis together to arrange a Morcha, so within that gathering Bibi Pritam Kaur had came to Darbar Sahib to do darshan. Bibi Pritam Kaur had never met Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale before, so when she saw Sant Ji, she greeted him with a salutation of Fateh and Sant Ji replied back. Sant Ji asked Bibi Pritam Kaur how she was and whether she got stopped or harassed by the police. Bibi Pritam Kaur replied that she did get harassed but that didn’t stop her from coming to do darshan. Sant Ji realised that there is something special about this Bibi, she is in Chardikala. A Singh told Sant Ji this is Bibi Pritam Kaur. Sant Ji was happy and said I want this Bibi to be part of our Jatha. Bibi Pritam Kaur didn’t know how she would become part of this Jatha, or who via, she never knew who Bhai Rashpal Singh was. Sant Ji said to Bhai Sahib, “Please don’t say no, this Bibi is Chardikala and we want to add her to our Jatha.” Sant Ji fixed her alliance with Bhai Rashpal Singh. During the time of the alliance being fixed the Morcha was taking place in full force.
On the 20th February 1983 the Anand Karaj of Rashpal Singh took place on the roof of Guru Ram Das Langar Hall. The Anand Karaj was arranged by a Singh from Damdami Taksal who was close to the Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale.
One day during the Morcha, Bibi Pritam Kaur said to Bhai Sahib that she wanted to invite Sant Ji to their room to give him Parshada, Bhai Sahib said, “You don’t have anything here how will you make Parshada for Sant Ji, let’s do this once we go home then we will invite the whole Jatha to our house.” But Bibi Ji was adamant that she wanted to give Sant Ji Parshada today, so she had masar and moong di daal which she done tarka to and made the dough for the roti in a thaal and took the tava from the room next door and went upstairs to the roof of Nanak Niwas, Bibi Ji was standing at the back, looking onwards, Sant Ji shouted over to Bibi Ji, “Are u ok?” and Bibi Ji replied, “yes.” Bibi Ji never mentioned that she wanted to give him Parshada, Sant Ji went down the stairs and everyone including Bibi Ji followed. Sant Ji then walked towards room 27 and Bhai Sahib and Gurmukh Singh followed, they told Sant Ji to have Langar first as it has been prepared and Sant Ji said don’t worry we will have Langar. Sant Ji entered the room and said to Bibi Ji bring the Parshada, Bibi Ji heated up the daal, she took the dough out of the tray and put in a bowl and got a piece of news paper and rolled out the rotiya on the table. That was the very first time Sant Ji ever had 3 Parshaday, Sant Ji was very pleased and said, “Are you pleased now?” and Bibi Ji replied, “Yes.” As Sant Ji was leaving Bibi Ji stood with her hands folded and said to Sant Ji, “Please bless me the courage of whatever sewa I am blessed with may I fulfil it happily and in Chardikala.” Sant Ji replied, “All the sewa is yours and you are doing it, it not our Jatha’s Maryada to put our hand on someone’s head.” but Bibi Ji still stood there, Sant Ji then put his hand on her head and Bibi Ji got Goosebumps her mind and body felt cool and at calm. Bhai Sahib and Bibi Ji soon moved from Guru Nanak Niwas to a room in Sri Akal Takhat Sahib above the Karah Parshad counter & the wet cloths counter.
On the 19th of May 1984 Bibi Pritam Kaur gave birth to a baby boy at a private hospital in Baba Sahib Chownk, when Bhai Sahib and Bibi Ji brought their new born son inside the complex, Sant Ji and many other Chardikala Singh’s were rejoicing. Just looking at the kid you could tell he was a Chardi kala Singh, regardless of the environment and conditions (the really hot weather) the little baby Singh never cried. Even due to the tense conditions Bibi Ji never thought to leave Akal Takhat Sahib, she was just too happy knowing that she was part of the movement and wanted to contribute. She never feared to lose her son, or husband or family member. For the little baby boy there was a naming ceremony and Sant Ji chose the name Manpreet Singh.
On 1st-3rd June 1984, there was on and off firing from outside the Darbar Sahib the aim was to find out the locations of where the Singh’s were positioned, but the Singh’s were farsighted. On 4th June at 4.45am the army started the attack inside the Darbar Sahib complex on the Parikarma with bombs. On the night of 3rd June 1984, Bibi Pritam Kaur was giving her baby some milk while her husband, Bhai Rashpal Singh tried to make a phone call, but Bhai Sahib found that he could not get through to anyone or anywhere. Bhai Sahib found out that the telephone, electricity and water supply had been cut off. This was discussed secretly between Bhai Sahib and Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale, Bibi Ji was only told of this situation on 4th June 1984 as Bhai Sahib didn’t want Bibi Ji to start worrying with the baby being so young. On the morning of 4th June Bhai Sahib and Bibi Ji moved downstairs to the wet cloths store where in anticipation of the attack they had stored some dried food.
On 4th June 1984, bullets were raining all day. Singh’s did not let the army get passed the entrance on to the Parikarma. The attack was intensified on the night of 4th June, the dark night sky showed the firing clearly & dramatically. Some Singh’s attained Shaheedi but during the day & night of the 4th June the army bore the majority of casualties.
Heavy fighting continued. On the early hours of the morning of 5th June 1984, the Water tank was blown up by army tanks, this was the Babbars quarter (Morcha). The blowing up of the water tank left some Singh’s Shaheed and others were very badly injured. On this day the army targeted the positions occupied by the Singh in high positions, trying to bomb tall buildings. Bhai Sahib and his singhni, Bibi Pritam Kaur were still holding their positions strong. Up until the night of 5th June not even 1 army soldier got through to the Parikarma. Singh’s kept blowing them up at the entrance. On the morning of 5th June at 9.30 am Bhai Sahib went to the Akal Takht to meet Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale and asked what the next programme was and the Sant Ji replied “Hold your positions till the last breath, this is our last programme. We will give our last drop of blood to Sikhi.” Once again on the evening of the 5th June 1984, Bhai Sahib and Sant Ji spoke again. At about 8.30pm on 5th June the entrance from the Langar hall stairs were blown up and tanks were taken into the Parikarma, behind the tanks were Indian soldiers taking cover. The Singh’s kept the tanks and army at bay for some 3 hours. One tank got stuck at the memorial of where Baba Deep Singh Ji put his head to rest and was only moved after the attack had finished. At the same time the army stormed Teja Singh Samundri hall and the rooms in the Parikarma and behaved liked savages, they raped women, looted, killed children, burnt people alive, set the rooms on fire and tied the hands of devotees behind their backs and shot them. Heavy firing was still continuing and Bhai Sahib and Bibi Pritam Kaur were still holding their positions. Then on 6th June 1984, at about 12.15am, Bhai Sahib recited Kirtan Sohila and then kissed the baby and said his last Fateh and was going onto the Parikarma to face the enemy, just as Bhai Sahib was to get up, a bullet hit the 18 day old baby who Bibi Ji was holding next to her chest and pierced into her chest also. The baby attained shaheedi immediately and Bibi Ji fell to the floor in major amount of pain. Bhai Sahib saw his singhni, Bibi Pritam Kaur drop to the floor and as Bhai Sahib turned again another bullet came and hit him on the head. Bhai Sahib fell on top of Bibi Ji and attained Shaheedi. Bibi Ji was in pain due to the bullet piercing her chest, some Singh’s came and dragged her into a room. One of the Singh’s went out to fetch her some water but as he left he was captured by soldiers. The army came into the room and the civilians, they were told to face the wall ready to be shot at. They were about to aim and shoot them in the back, when a loud voice came from the Sikh reference Library side a Sikh officer shouted out not to kill them but to hand them over to him.
It was the morning of the 6th June 1984, there was still the occasional firing going on. Soldiers took Bibi Pritam Kaur and the survivors towards the library, the Akal Takht was smoking and on fire. Rooms were burning, the survivors were walking over dead bodies, and there was blood everywhere. The sarovar water was red in colour some bodies were floating on the water. Children and women were dying for water. The soldiers sat the survivors including Bibi Ji down near the reference library. Some women were crying out for water but the Bibi Ji kept quiet. After a while the army allowed people to drink water. The women and children had to drink the blood filled water. The soldiers at this time began to suspect that Bibi Ji was someone important, they began to look at her differently to the other women. After letting the survivors drink the water the soldiers took them to Darshani Deori side.
They separated her from the rest as they were suspicious of her. They brought over 3 Sewadars of the SGPC to identify her. They all knew her but they did not identify her, all 3 were then shot dead. The soldiers thought that this would scare Bibi Ji but she didn’t fall for it. Bibi Ji told the soldiers that she was a Singhni of one of the Sewadars. Despite being in great pain because of the bullet in her chest and because of the heat Bibi Ji was very thirsty but kept quiet in Waheguru’s fate. On the night of 6th June 1984, the civilians were made to lie on the stones and debris of the building.
At this time some Hindus of the town were at the building opposite, were dancing and giving out sweets to the soldiers. After this the soldiers took Bibi Pritam Kaur and the few survivors to the army camps. Bibi Ji was arrested, tortured and sent to prison for 4 years and then released in 1988. The harassment continued even after her release. Her 3 brother were taken away by the Police and killed. Bibi Pritam Kaur later remarried and has two daughters.
Personal account of Bibi Pritam Kaur