Shaheed Satwant Singh Ji
Author/Source: (Translated by Zorawar Singh from ਜੁਝਾਰੂ ਯੋਧੇ By Maninder Singh Baja)
Shaheed Bhai Satwant Singh was born in 1962 in the house of Sardar Tarlok Singh and Sardarni Pyar Kaur, in the village Agwan Kurd, district Gurdaspur. Village Agwan Kurd is only 3km from the India-Pakistan border. Bhai Sahib had 2 elder brothers, Gurnam Singh and Varyam Singh, and a younger brother and sister, Swaran Singh and Ranjit Kaur. Bhai Sahib was educated to a higher secondary level at Dera Baba Nanak School.
In 1981, Bhai Satwant Singh moved from Burail jail in Uttar Pradesh to a new posting with the Delhi Armed Police. He was a very handsome young man, and an excellent sharp shooter. As a result he was later posted to the personal protection force of the Prime Minister. From the period of 1981 to 1984, he was the personal bodyguard of Indira Gandhi.
In 1983, Sarabjit Kaur, the wife of his elder brother Varyam Singh, asked her Massi (maternal aunt) for the hand in marriage of her daughter, Surinder kaur, for Satwant Singh. Soon both of them were engaged. Both families had scheduled the wedding in 1984, but due to the fact that Satwant Singh could not get time off work, it was delayed.
In June 1984, the Sikh Nation witnessed the power-drunk Brahmin Indira Gandhi send the Indian Army, on the sacred day of the Shaheedipurab of Sahib Siri Guru Arjan Dev ji, to attack Siri Darbar Sahib, Siri Akal Takht Sahib, and 40 more historical Gurdwaras. They used many battalions of Army and tanks, and attacked the thousands of innocent pilgrims who came to pay respects of the Shaheedi of Guru ji, and many, many Sikh Sangat, Singhs, Singhnian, children and elders became Shaheed. Siri Akal Thakht Sahib was desecrated by tanks. This army action by Indira Gandhi burned in the heart of every Sikh. It was like a great challenge had been placed before the Sikh Nation.
The Sikh Nation was extremely angry at the action. As well as the genocide, Siri Harmandar Sahib had been dishonoured and Siri Akal Thakht Sahib desecrated. The times of Massa Rangar had returned, and the Sikh Nation required a Bhai Sukha Singh and Bhai Mehtab Singh.
Sikhs say Waheguru sent Sukha Singh and Mehtab Singh to take care of Massa Rangar.
TWO LIONS AWAKEN
Bhai Beant Singh Malowan went to see some of his relatives. His uncle (Phuffer ji) was called Kehar Singh and was very knowledgable of Sikh philosophy. Beant Singh was in a state of shame, mixed with anger and depression. He asked, “Phuffer ji, will Waheguru send a Sukha Singh and Mehtab Singh to avenge this sin of desecration of Siri Darbar Sahib?” While handing him a book on Baba Jarnail Singh Bindranwale, his uncle replied, “Do not greive, if you have love of Sikhi, then learn that giving your head, and taking a head for Sikhi are equal. After all, someone has to be the son of Sukha Singh and Mehtab Singh. They took Khande ki Pahul Amrit from Sahib Siri Guru Gobind Singh, went and took the head of Massa Rangar to stop the desecration of Siri Darbar Sahib thus became legends in Sikh History. We need to remember them, and become like them.”
These words from his uncle were like a spear in his heart. Now Bhai Beant Singh was looking for a companion who would sacrifice all to avenge the action on Siri Darbar Sahib. Eventually Beant Singh's eye fell on Satwant Singh, who was in Indira Gandhi`s protection force with him. When he carefully approached Satwant Singh, the young Singh responded “Elder brother, for this sacred task, not only this life, but even if I have to sacrifice several lives, I would to kill a brutal murderer like Indira Gandhi!”
THEY BEGIN THEIR TASK
First Beant Singh and Satwant Singh wanted to see with their own eyes what Indira Gandhi had done in Punjab and at Amritsar. The two Singhs shocked at the scene at Siri Akal Thakht Sahib, made their minds up, went to Siri Darbar Sahib and did ardas, “Oh Akaal Purkh, give us strength!”
After seeing the state of Siri Darbar Sahib, both Satwant Singh and Beant Singh returned to Delhi back to their duty. On 24th October 1984, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh took Amrit at a Gurdwara in Delhi. Neither were particularly knowledgeable on Gurbani, but Operation Blue Star and the legend of Sukha Singh and Mehtab Singh were foremost in their mind. This is what led them to take the blessing of Amrit.
Satwant Singh always had the late shift, and Beant Singh the early shift. They had to work out a way to both be on duty together. On 31st October, Satwant Singh faked a stomach bug, and swapped duties with another guard. Now they had to decide how to do the task. They decided that the best time was when Indira Gandhi was taking her daily walk. On the morning of 31st October, 1984 at 9am, as Indira Gandhi walked from her house to her office at Safardajung Road, Bhai Beant Singh shot her 5 times with his service revolver. Bhai Satwant Singh at the same time lifted his Thompson Stengun and shot 28 bullets. Seeing Indira Gandhi fall, all of her PA`s and ministers ran for their lives. The Indo-Tibetian Border Police commandos, who also guarded the grounds would not come close. Both Singhs shouted “Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal!!”.
The Singhs shouted, “We have done what we needed to, now you can do what you have to.” Then both placed their weapons on the floor. Only then did the other guards come and arrest them. Both Singhs were taken to a room, and waited for a senior officer to interrogate them. While waiting, the commandos started swearing at the Singhs. Not tolerating this, Bhai Satwant Singh slapped the commando and a struggle ensued in which Satwant singh grabbed the commandos handgun. The other commandos started shooting at the Singhs. Bhai Beant Singh died there from gunshot wounds. Bhai Satwant Singh was seriously injured.
On the arrival of a senior officer, Bhai Satwant Singh was taken to the hospital. The officers wanted to know who else was part of the conspiracy. They did not know that these Singhs had acted alone because of the attack on Siri Darbar Sahib, Siri Akal Thakht Sahib, and 40 Gurdwaras, the Sikh genocide of Singhs, singhnians, children and elders, and inspired by the legend of 6th June 1740, when Sukha Singh and Mehtab Singh took revenge on Massa Rangar. The Government had saved Bhai Satwant Singhs life but intentionally did not remove one bullet which was lodged near his spine which continuously caused him great pain. Despite this and other interrogation tortures, Satwant Singh always maintained that there was no conspiracy, and that the two had acted alone. He said, “This is our Khalsa tradition to avenge those who try to desecrate our holy places. We were happy to take this task. The Sikh Nation will be proud of us.”
The Government did not accept this, and arrested and jailed two innocent Sikhs, Kehar Singh and Balbir Singh and framed them with the assassination case.
Continued : Part 2 of 3