Today marks the day when 25 years ago the Indian Army destroyed the Akal Takht Sahib and the day when our brave Sikh Generals Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Bhai Amrik Singh and General Shabheg Singh laid down their lives.
The Indian army probably did not intend to destroy the Akal Takht initially, attempts by foot and then by air had failed. This is when houme plays it part knowing that their plan did not work they now had to save face and play the last card even if it meant disaster for India. They pressed the self destruct button and attacked.
Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale kept his promise in ardas and gave Shaheedee. If Sant Jee was captured or ran off the impact on what was to come would not have been the same.
The 6th June 1984 is for the Sikhs as significant as 9/11 is for Americans. It is simply something that any Sikh will never forget. This attack marked a changing point in the Panth for all generations of Sikhs that lived through this attack. Contemporary Sikhee will never be the same.
As ever the blood of the Shaheeds does not go to waste, this blood was to rejuvenate the Panth. Prior to 1984, Sikhee principles were in decline and more so out here in the west. Dastar wale Sikhs were very hard to find let alone Amritdharies. This Saka changed the picture dramatically thousands of people starting keeping Kes and Dastar wale were no longer a minority in Gurdwaras.
There are voices out there that are saying that this episode in history should be forgotten. These people do not know that for us to forget the sacrifices would mean to forget Sikhee.
This attack was the most insensitive, intellectually floored, ill planned, military wasteful, morally disastrous, least consultive action any Government has ever taken it borders being insane and that’s why people have said that there is a more sinister motive to destroy Sikhee. The Indian authorities have done nothing to change any of these feelings infact they have shown even less sensitivity since 1984 and have tried to play a blame game and will not admit their shortcomings. History tells us that Sikhs can never be defeated by force we have fought back when odds were stacked against us, this approach of force only destroys the attacker.
Below is the second part of the eyewitness account of the saka covering 6th June and its aftermath
June 1984: One Jujharoo Singh’s Account
Taken from Sikh Shahadat June 2003
Shaheedees of June 6th
On June 6th, at around 9 or 10am, we suddenly heard the cries of Jaikaarey. We thought that maybe the Sangat from outside had arrived but when we listened with more attention, we realised the shouts were coming from Akal Takhat Sahib. There were tanks standing in front of Akal Takhat Sahib and they had destroyed the building completely. Finally, Baba Thara Singh said to us, we cannot fight tanks with bullets. If any of us can escape, they should try.
At the suggestion of Baba Thara Singh, we threw our weapons (which were without ammo now) into the sarovar. Baba jee did ardaas that we would go outside and become Shaheed. Baba jee asked the elderly to accompany him. He said if they were arrested it was fine, but if not, they would certainly be happy to be shaheed. My uncle also accompanied Baba jee. The moment they stepped out, they were all shot dead.
We returned into the enclosure but the army realised there were people inside. They announced that if there was anyone inside, they should come out, otherwise they were opening fire. So at around 10am, 15 Singhs and some members of the Sangat came out, but this time the army did not open fire. They immediately began to beat us with sticks. I saw the bodies of Baba Thara Singh an my uncle lying there. We managed to survive.
Our arms were tied behind our backs with our dastaars and the army began to beat us so badly that some Singhs died from their injuries. We were taken to the chhabeel near Manji Sahib Divaan Hall where a number of Singhs and members of the Sangat were already sitting. We were made to sit with them on the parkarma. We heard from the soldiers here, while they were hitting us, Your Bhindranwala tiger has been killed and we’ve won the battle. We were silent and staring at Akaal Takthat Sahib. There were still tanks in front of Akaal Takhat Sahib and there was a tank directly behind all of us as well. If firing came from any direction, the tank would fire a hail of bullets in that direction. Night fell here.
Death of a Sikh Soldier
This night, a scene occurred in front of me that I will never forget and still passes through my eyes even today. One Bihari soldier was smoking and then threw the butt into the sarovar. A Sardar soldier was also standing there. There were some Sardar soldiers to be seen that day. The Sardar said to the Bihari, Don’t throw the butt into the sarovar but after smoking another, he threw the butt into the sarovar again and said, What are you going to do?. The Sardar took his carbine and blew the Bihari away. On top of a nearby tank, another Bihari soldier opened fire on the Sardar and ripped his body apart with bullets. He fell dead into the sarovar and his body began to float on the surface.
At that point, the Bihari captain ordered the tanks to run us over and kill us. They turned the tanks towards us but suddenly a Muslim Major came and he said in a loud voice, What are you doing??! The soldier on the tank said, Our Captain Sahib has ordered us to kill them.The Major replied that all these prisoners have been put on a list and if any are killed, the killer would be held responsible. He had the Biharis changed and the new posts began to make our lists. We asked the Major for water but he said that if we survived, we should consider ourselves lucky. We stayed there all night in this state. The Major came a few more times in the night to ask how we were. In the morning we were ordered to stand but because many of us were badly beaten, they fell over. They were then beaten more. In a line we were marched to the Seraa(n) area near Manji Sahib Divan Hall. On the way we saw that the bodies of the Sangat were everywhere and some were still screaming in pain. No one was listening to them. The Soldiers were only picking up their own dead and wounded.
In front of the Seraa(n) there were 500 people already sitting and we too sat down. The army then began to throw hand grenades at us. Everything was covered in blood and bodies began to pile up. The soldiers were also firing at us now so that no one would survive. Here, my companion Bhai Raj Singh became a Shaheed. I was slightly injured but survived again. We lay there with the other bodies. When the firing stopped, we went into the rooms of the Seraa(n). In one room, there was an injured mother and her baby. She didn’t care about herself but she was begging for the life of her child. After a while, her voice and that of her baby was silenced by bullets. They did not even spare innocent children. Chunks of flesh had been blown away and were sticking to the walls of the Seraa(n).
The army then announced that whoever was still alive should come out. We saw rooms filled with bodies and they smelt very bad. We came out and this time we saw that along with the pilgrims were leaders of the Sikh Students Association. We saw Balvant Singh Ramuvalia there who was helping make lists. He tried to speak with an officer but that officer slapped him and knocked his turban off.
We saw the bodies of SGPC secretary Gurcharan Singh and Bugga Singh lying near some sacks of wheat. Where we were sitting we found out that some Sardar soldiers had come and taken the two and shot them dead. They said you are the cause of all thisand executed them.
The Bihari soldiers were looking at the Sardar soldiers with suspicion and saying they shot at us as well.
Amritsar Army Camp
The night of June 7th arrived and we were taken by bus to Amritsar’s army camp. We were locked up in small rooms that were meant for ammunition. They were very tight and had no fan. We were so thirsty that some of us were falling unconscious. Bhai Sunaam Singh became a Shaheed here. We were almost unconscious and crying out. The noise made the army open our doors and when we ran out to drink water, the army opened fire and many Singhs died here. We continued to lie inside.
On the night of June 8th, a Sardar soldier took charge. He was from Jhabaal. The Biharis were changed. He said to us that he was also pained by all that had happened and his own father who did seva with Baba Khark Singh had also been killed. He said he had just returned after doing the cremation. He said that we should last one more night like this and then we would be put in open barracks.
On June 9th we were put in open barracks and were given Chholay Puris to eat. We began to throw up right away. Doctors cam and said that we had been dehydrated and we should only be given rice and water. He said that if you bodies accepted the water, we might live otherwise there was no hope. We had not had anything to eat for the past four or five days. Our bodies began to accept the water and then we were given rice for the next two or three days. We thought we would survive now.
Jail and Torture
Then began the job of identifying us. We were marched in front of a room where the fighters were separated from the regular Sangat. A companion of Sant jee was doing the identifying. We were a total of 60 Singhs left and we were put in two rooms. Different agencies interrogated us for two months but we gave them no information. We were then taken to Nabha jail. Here the interrogation continued. When this stopped, we were remanded to custody under the National Security Act for a period set for two years. Our families found out we were ok. After the remand, we were taken to Ladha Kothi Sangrur were they interrogated us again. They kept asking where Sant jee got the weapons, who were the fighters and who were involved in various actions that took place. We kept repeating that we didn’t know anything. We were about to be sent away to Kala Pani when some Guru Kae Laal killed Indra. All the Singhs faces were shining with happiness since history had shown that whoever attacked Sree Darbaar Sahib could not escape the Khalsa.
What had been happening to us for the past five months now stopped. New lists were made and 379 individuals were charged with rebellion and sent to Jodhpur Jail. We were sent there via air from Patiala. There were two women as well, Bhai Rachhpal Singh’s wife and another from Amritsar [Bibi Amarjit Kaur]. There was a court inside Jodhpur Jail. We all fell ill because of the food given to us here but soon we became used to it.
After five years in jail, in 1989, the charge of rebellion was taken back under pressure from the United Nations. Those of us who didn’t have any other cases booked, were then released. I had cases in Punjab so I was sent to Jalandhar Jail and then Amritsar. I later came out on bail. The government offered us assistance but I rejected it and joined the movement again in 1990. Since 1997 I am in jail again and await the day when with the grace of the Guru some true leader comes again to take the Panth into Chardi Kala.
On Sant Jarnail Singh’s Shaheedee
We saw Sant jee for the last time on June 5th, at five pm. He was in total Chardi Kala and encouraging the other Singhs. On June 6th at around 9 or 10 am, a very big battle took place in front of Akal Takhat and the echo of jaikaaras could be heard for a long time. When we were in the Amritsar Army Camp, some trustworthy Singhs who were close to Sant Jarnail Singh told us that Sant jee became a shaheed in this battle. Sant jee knew that his shaheedee was certain and talked about this openly. On June 3 at 9 or 10 am, he had gathered all the main Singhs and talked about his coming Shaheedee and gave the opportunity to everyone who wanted to leave. Some Singhs managed to escape on June 6th. We were in Jail at that time and we all accepted that Sant jee, Gen. Shahbegh Singh, Baba Thara Singh and Bhai Amreek Singh were Shaheed. At Nabha Jail we were about to have an Akhand Paath Sahib for Sant Jee and the rest of the Singhs but Baba Thakur Singh sent us a message and Baba Surinder Singh himself came to say that Sant jee was in Chardi Kala.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/14/2010 07:40AM by admin.