(Translated by Zorawar Singh from ਜੁਝਾਰੂ ਯੋਧੇ By Maninder Singh Baja)
Continued from part 1 (http://www.panthic.org/news/130/ARTICLE/2212/2006-01-29.html)
As a result of this, in January 1986, Bhai Sahib was chosen to the highest Seva in the Khalsa Panth, the Seva of Jathedar of Siri Akal Thakht Sahib ji.
The times were difficult, but Bhai Sahib did this Seva as a fearless general. It was only the first two days of Operation Black Thunder. Jathedarji`s first action was to remove all the Government agents dressed as Sikh youth jujarhoos from Sri Darbar Sahib. Next, he ensured that the corrupt karkoos who were having langars in their rooms in the Darbar Sahib complex were stopped from doing so, and everyone was made to have langar only in the Guru Ram Dass langar hall. Throughout his period as Jathedar, Bhai Sahib ensured he had only from Guru Ram Dass langar hall to ensure the Maryada of Sangat and Pangat was upheld.
At this time, the Kar Seva (building) of Sri Akal Thakhat Sahib was happening. Jathedar ji took control of the Golak to ensure it would not being siphoned off by unscrupulous characters. Bhai Sahib was completely sympathetic to the Khalistan cause, and felt that the Khalsa needed to fight for its independence. In his lectures, Jathedar ji would say, those who have internal differences, kill innocent Hindus, give threats like gangsters, were traitors to the Sikh struggle and cause. He would often speak about the need to Sikhs to develop a revolutionary spirit.
In his Katha, Jathedarji would often speak against the ills of Punjabi society, and encouraged social change. In his period, he helped thousands of poor girls who were abandoned by their husbands because of the greed of dowry. Bhai Sahib would himself become involved in individual cases and ensure the girls were accepted back into their homes. As a result of this parchar, in the Jagraon area, social ills such as dowry, alcoholism, domestic violence greatly reduced.
Such was the impact of Jathedarji's sincere nature, that the population stopped taking their disputes to courts and police stations. Instead they would come to Koanke village, to Jathedarji, where they felt they would get justice. In disputes, the sweet words of Jathedarji would leave both parties walking away happy.
As a result of this social change, the Police and other Sarkari (government) agents saw their incomes significantly decrease, as the money the received as bribes or extortion from these disputes dried up. They became dangerous enemies of Jathedarji, and started to plot against him.
In 1989, some karkoo Singhs fired on the Ludhiana headquarters of the RSS ( a right-wing Hindu fascist group). Jathedarji`s enemies saw their opportunity. At that time, Ludhiana was under the control of an extremely vicious and brutal SSP called Sumedh Saini. To get Bhai Sahib to admit responsibility for the attack, he was hung upside down, and tortured for many hours.
Then later on, Jathedarji was once again arrested and was falsely implicated in the Bidar attack. However, after one year, Jathedar ji was again released. Then on 19th May 1991, Bhai Sahib was again arrested and tortured. He was imprisoned for another 18 months.
Jatheda ji would never allow the sangat to bail him out and always fought his cases with truth and full faith in Guru Maharaj, which ultimately resulted in his release. In fact, the Government was often forced to admit in court that the charges against him were false. This led to great embarrassment for them. For the mud they slung at Jathedarji, he always came out whiter than white. The population witnessed the difference between the character of the Khalsa Singh and the devious nature of the Brahmin authorities. As a result, the aura of Jathedar Ji`s revolutionary Khalsa character was a huge thorn for the Brahmin agencies.
On 20th December 1992, the cowardly Police forces, at 4am, came to arrest the Lionhearted Jathedar Gurdev Singh. However due to the fact that the body of Bhai Sahib's young nephew lay at his house awaiting preparation for cremation, they had to release Bhai Sahib a few hours later.
Five days later, under the command of Inspector Gurdeep Singh, the Police arrested Jathedarji as he finished Katha at Gurdwara Sahib in the early hours of the morning. Bhai Sahib asked them if he could go home first, and that then he would accompany them. Bhai Sahib walked home, followed by the Police party, and many local villagers. Once he arrived home, Bhai Sahib did 'ishnan' and changed his clothes, and then went and sat in the Jeep. The whole road was filled with villagers. Jathedarji rose to address them. In a sincere manner, he asked the sangat to accept his final “Waheguru ji ke Khalsa, Waheguru ji ke Fateh!!”. Jathedarji was aware his time had come, and sweetly accepted the will of Akal. Fearing the wrath of the sangat, the police quickly sped off.
Jathedarji was tortured by the infamous and brutal Head of Jagraon Police Swaran 'Gotna', thus named for his use of the “Gotna” in interrogation. The latter is a large log placed on the legs and rolled up and down them while two policemen stand with their full weight on each end. He was assisted by Harbhagwan Sodhi and Inspector Gurdeep Singh, who today is a DSP in the Punjab Police.Then Jathedarji was further interrogated by CIA staff of Jagraon.
In those days, a rumor spread through the villages of Jagraon. When Swaran 'Gotna' swore at Jathedarji and told him to remove his Kirpan and gatra, Jathedarji in a state of Bir Rass replied, “Stop, who are you threatening?……….this is worn because of the many Great Sacrifices…….. A dog of the Brahmin like you will never understand its value..”. A scuffle broke between the two and it took 5-7 commandos to restrain Bhai Sahib. His Kakkars were removed and he was mercilessly beaten and tortured.
Jathedarji because he kept Gurmat Bibek would never eat at the Police station. Everyday his family would bring prepared meals for him, but the brutal Police always refused to let him eat, and sent the family away. As a result, Bhai Sahib health decline, but he never compromised his religious principles of Gurmat Bibek.
Hailing from the nearby village Chaharchak, an old Bibi arrived at the Police Station in relation to a case. She saw Bhai Sahib and he was in a very fragile state. At this point, local villagers and Akali Leaders began putting pressure for Jathedarjis release. When local villagers with Akali leader Captain Harcharan Singh Rode met with Police officials, they were told that Bhai Sahib would be charged and sent to prison.
However on 1st January 1993, Swaran Gotna satisfied his taste for revenge. As a result, on the 3rd January 1993, the newly appointed SSP Harinder Chahal stated to newspapers that Bhai Sahib was leading them to a cache of arms used by militants, when on the way they were attacked. He said Bhai Sahib had escaped. However everyone knew that these stories by Punjab Police were always made up. In reality, Bhai Sahib became Shaheed on 1st January and was thrown into a river.
Anger grew throughout Punjab as the news of Jathedarji`s Shaheedi spread. Panthic Leaders throughout the world gathered at the bhog. However the Police and Army sealed off Koanke village. The cameras of the attending members of the press were confiscated and destroyed. Akali leaders in attendance were beaten with lathis (wooden poles). Even the highly suspect Akali leader Parkash Badal demanded an investigation into the murder of Jathedarji, but decades later, nothing has materialized. Whenever Bhai Sahib family raised the issue, many more innocents became victims of Police excesses. Through infiltration by shady elements, the use fear tactics, threats, and bribery, the case is always held up or shelved.
Even Jathedarsji`s young son, Hari Singh was not spared. A false case of a bombing was placed on him, even though on that day he was at school. Because the registrar confirmed his attendance, it eventually led to his release. Bhai Sahib`s elder son, Bhai Ram Singh was also picked up and tortured by Police on many occasions.
The Akali party fought the next election stating it would investigate the period of 1984 onwards and produce a white paper. It won the election by an overwhelmimg landslide, but Badal soon forgot every promise and used his time to expand his own wealth.
When Bhai Sahib's family approached the Akhali party for a full investigation, Police Officer Tiwari held an investigation. However just as what happened to the report on the investigation of the murder of the 13 Singhs in 1978, the murder report of Bhai Sahib mysteriously disappeared somewhere in Badals administration and was never seen again.