Shaheed Bhai Sukhdev Singh Chabba

Babbar Khalsa

One of the top generals of Babbar Khalsa was Bhai Sukhdev Singh Chabba, who was born in the house of Sardar Harbans Singh and from the womb of Mata Gurnam Kaur in between the years of 1950-60 in the village of Chabba. Bhai Sahib had 4 brothers, Bhai Ajmer Singh, Bhai Baldev Singh, Bhai Angrej Singh, Bhai Dilbagh Singh and 2 sister, Bibi Amarjit Kaur. Bhai Sahib was the eldest child in the family.

Bhai Sahib studied up until 8th class at a local government school of Chabba, then Bhai Sahib went on to study up until 10th class in Gyan Asharam School in Amritsar. After passing the exams of 10th class Bhai Sahib started helping out at home in farming. In 1972, Bhai Sahib was married to Bibi Kashmir Kaur, daughter of Sardar Deva Singh Pinder of Dargapur, district Amritsar. Bhai Sahib had a daughter and named her Bibi Rajwinder Kaur. Bhai Sahib went to Iran in 1975 to work for 2 years and when Bhai Sahib came back, he got back into farming. Bhai Sahib had 2 more children, 2 sons Bhai Balwinder Singh and Bhai Harjit Singh.

From a young age Bhai Sahib was into Sikh faith and values. Bhai Sahib would read books on Sikh history to his local villagers and to Sikhs of surrounding villages. Bhai Sahib always did sewa at his local gurudwaras and was the part of projects that made the village progress forward. Bhai Sahib and his family lived a happy life by doing sewa and simran. When the 1978 Sikh massacre took place by the hands of the Narakhdhari cult, where 13 unarmed Sikhs were killed, many Sikhs around the world were affected deeply just as Bhai Sahib was. Bhai Sahib started making plans on how to punish the people responsible for the murder of 13 Sikhs and more than 150 Sikh wounded. In 1980, Bhai Sahib met and joined the Jatha of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale. For some time Bhai Sahib regularly came to Sri Harimandir Sahib and took part in Dharam Yudh Morcha.

In 1982, a government bus and a tobacco shop were burnt down. The police named Bhai Sahib as the person responsible and searched the family home, but Bhai Sahib was not at home at that time. The police arrested Bhai Sahib’s younger brother, Bhai Dilbagh Singh, who in those days was studying at school. Bhai Dilbagh Singh was involved with Sikh Student Federation and when they got the news, Sikh Student Federation took to the streets and asked for the release of Bhai Dilbagh Singh, the police had no other choice but to agree. After this incident Bhai Sahib permanently went to Sri Harimandir Sahib to stay with Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale. Some more Sikh youth also joined Bhai Sahib and moved to Sri Harimandir Sahib.

June 1984, when the Indian army attacked the one of holiest place of the Sikh nation, Bhai Sahib faught from the bunkers of the clock house and killed many army officers that tried to come into Sri Darbar Sahib with shoes. When the Indian army was made to pull back, they again attacked but this time with tanks and cannons. Bhai Sahib’s bunker was spotted and shot at by the tanks, which led to many singhs attaining shaheedi at the clock house bunker. Bhai Sahib then quickly moved on to the bunkers near Sri Akaal Takht Sahib, at the Karah Parshad room, from here Bhai Sahib picked a wounded singh and took him to Sri Akaal Takht Sahib. Bhai Sahib told one of the singhs on a later date that on 6thJune 1984 the battle was really intense, Bhai Amrik Singh, who was wounded asked Bhai Sahib for water. Bhai Sahib quickly rushed to the sarovar which was completely red with the blood of the singhs, Bhai Sahib got some water and rushed back to Bhai Amrik Singh but it was too late, Bhai Amrik Singh had already attained shaheedi. Bhai Sahib saw pile of dead bodies in front of Sri Akaal Takht Sahib’s Miri Piri Nishan Sahibs and in middle of the pile was the shaheedi saroop of the 20th true saint soldier, Brahmgyani Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bindranwale.

7thJune 1984, after breaking down a door behind Sri Akaal Takht Sahib, Bhai Sahib and 7 other singhs made their escape into a neighbouring building. When the singhs entered the building, a Hindu had seen them and told the army, the army came looking for the singhs and on 8th June 1984 some of the singhs including Bhai Sahib were arrested, but with the blessings of Waheguru 3 singhs had managed to escape. The military team took the singhs to the clock house were surviving unarmed Sikhs were killed with their hands tied in the back. As Bhai Sahib and other singhs were lined up, a Muslim army brigadier known for saving many singhs in 1984 stepped in between the army and the singhs and said,“You can kill me also with the Sikhs.” The army did not kill and took the singhs to a military camp.

After spending 15 days in a military camp and being brutally tortured, Bhai Sahib was charged with my cases and was sent to Amritsar Central Jail. Many Sikh youths from the same village as Bhai Sahib attained shaheedi, they were Bhai Dalvinder Singh, Bhai Bhagwan Singh and Bhai Paramjit Singh, while Bhai Kabal Singh and Bhai Kashmir Singh were sent Jodhpur jail. After a month in jail, Bhai Sahib’s family paid for his bail and bought Bhai Sahib home.

Bhai Sahib didn’t feel right sitting at home, especially after seeing many singhs and singhnia of Guru Gobind Singh Ji killed. Bhai Sahib could not see eye to eye with the parents of other shaheed singhs of village Chabba. Bhai Sahib’s family noticed the uncomfort on Bhai Sahib’s mind, the family did not want Bhai Sahib to go back but if that was the case, the family knew not to stop Bhai Sahib from leaving home once again and fight in the Sikh Freedom Movement. Bhai Sahib wanted to jump back into battlefield and attain shaheedi fighting the oppression. In February 1985, Bhai Sahib said farewell to family and came in contact with Bhai Mahinder Singh Mehta, Bhai Sukhdev Singh Sakheera and Baba Gurbachan Singh Manochahal. The Indian security forces had surrounded Bhai Sahib many times in villages such as Sakheera and Sarchoor from which Bhai Sahib escaped after intense encounters.

In 1986, Bhai Sahib met Bhai Gurinder Singh Bhagowal, Bhai Gurnam Singh Pehlwan Dabbanwal and joined the Babbar Khalsa. Now the police was hunting Bhai Sahib like mad dogs, the police even surrounded Bhai Sahib in the village of Chachoowali, but Bhai Sahib escaped unharmed. Also in the village of Kaseetpur the police surrounded Bhai Sahib along with other singhs, in the encounter one of the singhs attained shaheedi, but Bhai Sahib and rest of the singhs escaped. Many stories of Bhai Sahibs bravery were told in villages of Punjab.

Once in the village of Dabbanwal, Bhai Sahib was arrested from a house along with Bhai Baljit Singh Bamb. The SSP of Batala, Gobind Ram was himself the in charge of this case. The police did not know who Bhai Sahib was and only arrested the singhs because of the turban and beard. While getting in to the gypsy Bhai Baljit Singh Bamb took a Sy-Nyde capsule and attained shaheedi, Bhai Sahib shoved SSP Gobind Ram and made a run for it. Because of Bhai Sahib’s old age, the police didn’t suspect a thing. All the Khadku Singhs called Bhai Sahib, Chacha Chabba with respect.

Bhai Sahib and Bhai Gurinder Singh Bhagowal were arrested in Sri Hargobindpur. Both singhs gave false names to the police and were giving details to the officers at local police station. A wireless call came to the police station, wanting support at some other encounter and the police rushed out of the police station leaving 3 officers behind. As Bhai Sahib was asked questions, both singhs pounced on all 3 officers and locked them up in the cell. After Bhai Sahib and Bhai Gurinder Singh Bhagowal looted the police station of bullets and guns, the singh walk out of the police station freely.

Then once again 1989, in the village of Sarchoor, Bhai Sahib and some singhs of Babbar Khalsa were surrounded by the CRP officers. All singhs faught an intense encounter in which, Bhai Baghel Singh Babbar and one more singh attained shaheedi and Bhai Puran Singh Chachoowali was wounded and was later arrested. Bhai Puran Singh Chachoowali was blindly tortured and attained shaheedi on a later date in police custody. As the CRP was getting closer and closer to the singhs, Bhai Sahib used his brain and laid himself next to the dead bodies of singhs and calmly acted as a dead body. When the CRP passed the dead bodies, they saw the bodies are not moving and progressed forward to the singhs that were battling. After the CRP passed Bhai Sahib, he got up and easily escaped. The CRP only realised when they re-counted the dead bodies and there were only 2 bodies instead of 3.

Once in the Moga area, Bhai Sahib was travelling in a car full of weapons with another singh. When the driver singh saw the CRP checkpoint ahead, he stopped the car and started to check the engine. The CRP saw this and became suspicious and some CRP marched towards the car. The driver was getting nervous and said to Bhai Sahib, “Shall we make leave the weapons and make a run for it through the farms.” But Bhai Sahib stayed calm, Bhai Sahib even calmed the driver and started to walk towards the CRP officers. When Bhai Sahib got to the CRP officers he said, “My friend, our car is messing about, can you give our car a push please.” The suspicion of CRP had now gone away and helped push Bhai Sahib’s car which had weapons that may be used to fight against them soon. Bhai Sahib crossed the checkpoint and waved goodbye at the CRP officers.

After escaping many encounters, Bhai Sahib now was fearlessly doing panthic actions. If a singh was arrested then Bhai Sahib would be ready to attack the police station to break the singh out. Bhai Sahib had devoted many years of his life to Sikh Freedom Movement.

February 1992, in the village of Dheenpur, 2 singhs of Babbar Khalsa were arrested and Bhai Sahib was planning how to break the singhs out. Babbar Khalsa held a meeting in Ludhiana on 26th February 1992 to discuss the plan. Bhai Sahib arrived to Ludhiana bus station for the meeting, the police arrested Bhai Sahib at 4pm from the Ludhiana bus station, after an insider gave information to the police of Bhai Sahib’s arrival. The police took Bhai Sahib to a secret location and after much torture by the police Bhai Sahib was asked his name by the officer, but Bhai Sahib replied, “The person who gave you my information, didn’t he give you my name?” Bhai Sahib didn’t even tell the police his own name. If Bhai Sahib had told the police something the singhs of Babbar Khalsa could have been caught at the Ludhiana meeting. Even after being brutally tortured Bhai Sahib didn’t say a single word that the police wanted to hear. When the news of Bhai Sahib’s arrest spread all over Punjab, Bhai Dharam Singh Keshtival came to Amritsar to arrange the weapons and manpower to break free Bhai Sahib, but the police did not give Bhai Dharam Singh Keshtival enough time to free Bhai Sahib.

28thFebruary 1992, the police announced Bhai Sahib dead in an encounter. Some singhs say that Bhai Sahib was kept in custody and tortured after 28thFebruary 1992. After the arrest of Bhai Sahib, general of Babbar Khalsa, Bhai Harbhajan Singh Mand kidnapped a government official and rang the SSP of Ludhiana demanding the release of Bhai Sahib, if not the government official will be killed. But the SSP replied, “You can get the pieces of Sukhdev Singh Chabba from the river Satluj.” Upon hearing this, Bhai Harbhajan Singh Mand put the phone down. The government official was killed and his dead body was also thrown into river Satluj. Bhai Harbhajan Singh Mand rang the SSP of Ludhian once again to say, “You can also get the pieces of your man from river Satluj.”

Shaheed Bhai Sukhdev Singh Chabba faught till his dying breath and never gave information of fellow singhs to the police. Bhai Sahib saw many of his close friends get brutally killed for being a Sikh, that’s probably why Bhai Sahib couldn’t sit at home and watch the injustice of the Indian government on Sikhs.

Baljit Singh Khalsa – Purja Purja Kat Maray