Shaheed Bhai Sukhdev Singh Sukha Bhau
Shaheed Bhai Sukhdev Singh Sukha Bhau
Khalistan Liberation Force
Whenever we talk about the involvement of Khalistan Liberation Force in the present Sikh Freedom Movement the names Shaheed Dr Sukhdev Singh Sukha and Shaheed Bhai Pargat Singh Fauji is bought up frequently with respect.
Bhai Sukhdev Singh Sukha Bhau was born in the house of Sardar Mohinder Singh and from the womb of Mata Surjit Kaur on 3rd April 1969 in the village of Khara, district Amritsar. In 1971, Sardar Mohinder Singh sold his land in Khara and moved to the village of Sangatpura, district Moga. Bhai Sahib was the eldest of the 5 brothers Bhai Baldev Singh, Bhai Dilbagh Singh, Bhai Sahib Singh and 1 sister, Bibi Balwinder Kaur. Bhai Sahib studied up until 8th class at local government school of Sangatpura and later passed 10th class at a school in the village of Tharaj. Then Bhai Sahib started studying at the village of Marhi Mustafa, after passing 12th class here, Bhai Sahib took an apprenticeship at Dr Balvir Singh’s surgery, which was also in Marhi Mustafa. At this time the Indian government had sent its army to Sri Harimandir Sahib and killed many innocent Sikhs who had come to do darshan of Sri Darbar Sahib on the shaheedi Purab of Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Many youth Sikhs like Bhai Sahib felt the pain of this attack on the Sikh throne.
Now the words of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale had been ringing bells in the ears of all Sikhs to wake up. Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale, “The day Indian army steps into Sri Harimandir Sahib, the foundation of Khalistan will be laid.” The laughs and the happiness of Bhai Sahib was slowly disappearing. Bhai Sahib would go to Marhi Mustafa to learn medics and when he came home he would not talk to anyone and remain quiet. Bhai Sahib would read the newspapers at times cry, when his mother would ask, “Sukha, why are you crying?” Bhai Sahib would answer, “We Sikhs have no life, the government has killed our Sant Bhindranwala.” Then Mata Surjit Kaur would give her son courage and say, “Son, you are not the only one in the world who feels the pain of what happened, but you got to keep yourself together.” Then Bhai Sahib would say, “Mother, I don’t care how the world deals with its emotions, all I know is I can’t stand the destruction of Sri Akaal Takht Sahib. The words of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale don’t leave me alone.” The following lines spoken by Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale were continuously repeating the head of Bhai Sahib:
- “I don’t fear for a physical death, but when my conscience dies, that is a real death”
- “…For the Sikh faith I am ready to sacrifice everything I have… For the safeguard and protection of the Sikh religion we must all be united… I can die but I cannot see the desecration of my religion.”
- “Freedom from slavery is achieved only when a person starts to feel and understand that he would prefer death to life as a slave.” – 20th September 1983
- “I wish to say this with firm conviction that this time, when this place (Harmandir Sahib) is attacked by the police, it will provide its own example to the world in the Khalistan will be created. Khalistan will certainly be created the day that the police come in here and wish to engage in some improper activity.” – 27th May, 1983.
Bhai Sahib did not speak to anyone much. In 1987, Bhai Sahib wanted to take amrit and decided to live the life of a Gursikh. Bhai Sahib had started doing Nitnem daily. The Panj Pyare came to Bhai Sahib’s village, Bhai Sahib told his parents that he wanted to take amrit. Sardar Mahinder Singh and Mata Surjit Kaur also took amrit with the son. After taking amrit, Bhai Sahib started living a life of a Gursikh along with his parents.
Now Bhai Sahib had started his own surgery in the village of Choudrywal, Bhai Sahib would go to the surgery in the morning and come home in the evening. One day Bhai Sahib came across a Khadku Singh, who had been shot in the leg. Bhai Sahib to the Khadku Singh to a secure place and took the bullet of the wound. Bhai Sahib treated and cleaned the wound of the Khadku Singh, after which he bandaged it too. Later the Khadku Singh who Bhai Sahib had treated was arrested by the police in Bathinda. When the police tortured the Khadku Singh and asked him for the name of the person who had treated him, the name Dr Sukhdev Singh Sukha was said. The police arrested Bhai Sahib from Marhi Mustafa and then the police took Bhai Sahib to his house in Sangatpura, where the police searched through the whole house. Soon as Mata Surjit Kaur saw the police enter the house and pushing Bhai Sahib she said, “Waheguru, Why have you arrested my son? He has never done anything bad, please tell me his crime?” Then one of the police officers replied, “Old lady, you say your son has never done anything bad? Ask your son, what he has done.” Mata Surjit Kaur looked at Bhai Sahib and Bhai Sahib said, “Mother, I did not do anything bad, I only treated a wounded singh, which is what every Sikh should do. Don’t you worry, if I have to pay for doing something good, the I am not afraid to pay.” Now the Punjab police took Bhai Sahib away in their jeeps. The police were blindly torturing Bhai Sahib and asking for the locations of other Khadku Singhs. Bhai Sahib said, “I only treated a wounded singh, I’m not denying that, but I don’t know anything else.” When the police released Bhai Sahib after 7 days, Bhai Sahib could barely walk. Bhai Sahib stayed at home and trying to recover from the brutal torture, Bhai Sahib had given up working at his surgery.
The family encouraged Bhai Sahib to open a surgery in the village of Hakumatsingh Wala. The surgery business was going good, but the police were suspicious that the Khadku Singhs were coming to Bhai Sahib to get medicine. The Ferozpur police arrested Bhai Sahib and Bhai Sahib once again faced blind torture for five days. The police said, “The Khadku Singhs come to you for medicine, give us information on them?” But Bhai Sahib replied, “How can I ask someone who comes into the surgery for medicine that if they are a Khadku Singh and which village they are from?” Father, Sardar Mahinder Singh and the local panchayat managed to free Bhai Sahib from the Ferozpur police. After being released, Bhai Sahib rested at home and some days later Bhai Sahib bought all of his stuff from the Hakumatsingh Wala surgery home. The family tried to get Bhai Sahib to open a surgery in Sangatpura, but Bhai Sahib said, “It’s not about opening a surgery anymore.”
In 1989 the Sikh Freedom Movement was climbing high in the Majha area, Baba Gurbachan Singh Manochahal was in control and in the Malwa area, Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala was in control. One day Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala came to Bhai Sahib’s house in Sangatpura, along with his group of four singhs. This group of Khadku Singhs had langar and rested at this house. It is said that if a Sikh had impressed Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala by doing sewa for the panth, then he would go to that Sikhs house. It is also said that, once Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala spoke to any Sikhs about the movement then that Sikh would join the Sikh Freedom Movement. This also happened with Bhai Sahib too, Bhai Sahib looked at his mother and said, “I am going to see the singhs out.” But after this Bhai Sahib never returned home after that. It was 18th August 1989, when Bhai Sahib fully entered the Khalistan Liberation Force and jumped into the battlefield under the command of Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala. Three months after Bhai Sahib left home, five fellow singhs bought Bhai Sahib home to meet his family. Bhai Sahib hugged his mother and said, “Mother, the sons of Sikh mothers are fighting for the free homeland of the Sikhs, Khalistan. Whenever someone fights for freedom, they do face problems. Facing problems and not being afraid to die is what gives us freedom. Mother don’t be upset, everything we do is for the better of the Sikh panth. Only victory or martyrdom is our mission. Mother, please do Ardas of Chardikala and meditate on the name of Waheguru, as only Waheguru can save us from drowning.”
One day a local from the village of Sangatpura had seen Bhai Sahib, but he didn’t only see Bhai Sahib, he had also seen the haircut Bhai Sahib had had. When he returned home, he told Mata Surjit Kaur that her son has cut his hair. Upon hearing this Mata Surjit Kaur said, “What Has Sukha done? He made us take Amrit and he himself has written a Behdava to Guru Gobind Singh Ji. I would be happy in hearing the news of his shaheedi then the news of him cutting his hair.” Mata Surjit Kaur was extremely upset and cried for many days.
The one day a messenger came to Mata Surjit Kaur and said that Bhai Sahib wants to meet her, but Mata Ji replied, “Why does he want to meet me?” The messenger said, “As Bhai Sahib has cut his hair, he feels upset knowing that his mother disappointed in him, after all, Mata Ji you looked after his hair all you’re your life. Bhai Sahib wants to apologise and said that if you don’t forgive him then even Guru Gobind Singh Ji would turn his back on him.” Mata Surjit Kaur went to Bir Baba Budha Sahib Gurudwara, soon as Bhai Sahib saw his mother he went to her and touched her feet. After standing back up, Bhai Sahib hugged his mother and Mata Surjit Kaur put her hands on Bhai Sahib’s face and said, “Son, what have you done? You had us take Amrit but you yourself have cut your hair. Have you forgotten the Sikh history, have you forgotten the history of Bhai Taru Singh Ji, Mai Bhago and other Sikh warriors? I rather hear the news of your shaheedi then see you like this.” Bhai Sahib kept on listening to his mother, then Bhai Sahib put his hands together and said, “Mother, please listen to me, I didn’t cut my hair because I am scared of the police. Our Jathedar, Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala said we can’t do big actions with turbans and beards as we will get spotted instantly. I decided to cut my hair so I could do bigger actions in disguise. Today I am here to apologise to you mother, please forgive me.” Mata Surjit Kaur hugged her son and kissed him on his forehead.
Under the command of Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala, 6 singhs of Khalistan Liberation Force kidnapped the ambassador of Romania, Liviu Radu on 9th September 1991 from Delhi. In return, the singhs wanted the Indian government to release Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda, Bhai Sukhdev Singh Sukha and Bhai Nirmal Singh Nimma Mianwind, who were locked up in Pune jail for the assassination of Arun Kumar Vadyia. After taking Liviu Radu to a secret place, the singhs of Khalistan Liberation Force told the Indian government to release Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda, Bhai Sukhdev Singh Sukha and Bhai Nirmal Singh Nimma Mianwind. The kidnapping of the Romanian Ambassador to India was an insult to India, but also this kidnapping highlighted the Sikh Freedom Movement internationally. All of the newspapers printed the famous of photo of Liviu Radu with two singhs holding AK56 and their faces covered. It is said, the two singhs in that that photo were Bhai Heera Singh and Dr Sukhdev Singh Sukha. The following day the Punjab police arrested the younger brother of Bhai Sahib, Bhai Baldev Singh and took him to all the houses of relatives searching for Bhai Sahib. Then later the whole family of Bhai Sahib was arrested and locked up at the local police station. Until Liviu Radu was in the custody of singhs, the police did not release the family and relatives of Bhai Sahib. After a long time Liviu Radu was freed by the singhs and on the other side, the Punjab police released the families and relatives of the Khadku Singhs. The singhs of Khalistan Liberation Force kept Liviu Radu like a flower. When Liviu Radu returned home, he held a conference in which he stated, “The Indian government can say whatever they want, but I don’t think they are terrorists, these singhs fully looked after they are fighting for freedom with respect and dignity.”
On 29th July 1992, the Jathedar of Khalistan Liberation Force, Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala attained shaheedi in a fierce encounter with the Indian security forces. This news was a great setback to the Sikh Freedom Movement and the Sikh nation. The Punjab Police and Punjab government were scared that the Khadku Singhs would plan actions as a revenge for the shaheedi of their general, Shaheed Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala. The Punjab police quickly arrested the families of the Khadku Singhs of Khalistan Liberation Force and other freedom fighting groups. The Punjab police managed to arrest Bhai Sahib’s parents but brother, Bhai Baldev Singh had gone into hiding and passed his days. Sardar Mahinder Singh was kept a police station of Baagha Purana and Mata Surjit Kaur was kept at the house turned police station in village Choa. At this time the tag team of Beanta Butcher and KPS Gill was killing innocent Sikhs in fake police encounters.
Mata Surjit Kaur tells the story of her escape from the Choa police station:
We were arrested by the Punjab police on 31st July 1992. There was house in the village of Choa, which the police had occupied. The police sat me into a room on the second floor. The police officer given the duty to give me food and keep an eye on me was a Sikh. I was kept at this police station for four days. It was the month of August, the farms outside the police station were full of cotton produce and the crops were tall enough to hide people. A Khadku Singh had attained shaheedi and the news of this encounter came through on the wireless set of the police, all of the police officers gathered around the wireless set to hear the whole story. The police officer who was keeping an eye on me left his duty 10 minutes before the next police officer could take over. At this moment I came down to the ground floor and told the police officers that I wanted to use the bathroom, the police officer saw me going into the bathroom. When I came out of the bathroom I could not see a single police officer. I saw a wall in front of me, I said Waheguru’s name and jumped over the wall with the help of a table. Now I was outside the police station and into the cotton farms. As I walked away from the police station I came to sewer that had flowing water, it was impossible for me to cross this so I sat in a the cotton farms roughly about 3 acres away from the police station. When the police tried to look for me, I saw them fighting amongst themselves, blaming each other. Then the police made an announcement from the loudspeakers of the local gurudwara, appealing to the locals to help find myself, the mother of ‘dangerous Khadku Singh’. The police even put up a record on my capture. One man saw me near the cotton farms and told the police. The police fired two bullets asking me to surrender but I remained hidden. Luckily the police did not manage to find me and returned back to the police station. I heard two police officers talking amongst themselves saying, “What will SSP do to us now?” The other police officer replied, “I’m worried about what the SSP will do, I’m more worried about what will Sukha do to us.”
That night I walked through the farms. After walking about eight kilometres, I reached the village of Jhok. I had tea from one of the houses here and started walking again. I kept walking till 4am amritvela, I saw a young man at a water tubal watering his farms. The young man asked what I was doing out at this time, I replied, “Son, my head is spinning, I can’t think. I want to go to the village of Tappe.” The young man made me tea and he was very caring. He pointed me on the path to village Tappe. I didn’t want to walk on the main roads as my clothes were dirty and if any police officer saw me, they would know who I am and arrest me again. So, to avoid that I started walking through the farms. As I walked through the farms, the young man came running to me and said, “Mata, you forgotten the way again?” Then that man dropped me off to village of Tappe on his cycle. We have relatives in Tappe village, I went to their house and changed me clothes. The police knew about this house as they had searched this house when my younger son, Baldev Singh was arrested and had kept a watch on this house. I didn’t stay at this house for very long, that day the bus drivers of Punjab were on strike, so I had hired a 3 wheeler auto to take me to another relative’s house in the village of Morh. The police didn’t know about this address. Thanks to Waheguru, I managed to get out of the police custody and to the village of Morh from Choa. Then after staying here for some time, I came to the village of Jhabbal, district Amritsar at another relatives house. Here I met my husband, Sardar Mahinder Singh who had also ran away from the police station of Baagha Purana. Whatever happened to me I have told you. I faced many difficulties.
News was printed in the newspapers, in September 1993, the police had stopped a truck in Rishikesh. The truck was driven by the Khadku Singhs of Punjab and the truck was full of weapons and ammunition. Bhai Kuldeep Singh Sheikhapura and Bhai Dayadeepak Singh of Khalistan Liberation Force swallowed a cyanide capsule each and attained shaheedi on the spot. The police managed to arrest Bhai Sukhdev Singh Sukha Bhau and Bhai Paramjit Singh. The police of Ludhiana were given the custody of these two singhs. The Punjab police told us nothing about Sukha or Paramjit Singh. The police didn’t declare them dead nor did they say that both singhs are in their custody. What should we do? We haven’t even done Sri Akhand Paath Sahib for the chardikala of his soul, if he is shaheed. We don’t know anything, if the Punjab police have killed Sukha or if he is in their custody.
Khadku Yodhe – Manjinder Singh Baja