|Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda|
|Date of birth||April 4, 1962|
|Place of birth||Village – Gadli, Jandiala in district Amritsar.|
|Date of Martyrdom||09 October 1992 (aged 40)|
|Place of Martyrdom||Pune Jail.|
|Parents :||Sardar Guljar Singh and Gurnam Kaur|
|Brother/Sisters :||2 older brothers, Nirbhail Singh and Bhupinder Singh and 1 sister, Balvinder Kaur|
|Affiliation||Khalistan Commando Force|
|Known for||Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha were the assassins of Arun Vaidya, the Chief General of the Indian army who was also the architect of Operation Bluestar. The pair were also responsible for three high-profile killings; Arjan Dass, Lalit Makkan and Gen. Vaidya. They along with other members of the Khalistan Commando Force (including its chief General Labh Singh) were involved in the Indian History’s biggest daylight bank robbery of the Punjab National Bank, Miller Gunj branch, Ludhiana in which more than Rs 5.70 Crore (58 million rupees-$4.5 million) were looted, a part of which belonged to the Reserve Bank of India, India’s central bank.|
This bank robbery was the biggest of other similar acts that Sikh militants used in an attempt to weaken the government (their idea being; to use public funds, stored in Indian banks, against Indian Security forces, as they highlighted the helplessness of the Government’s forces, arrayed against them, to do anything about their efforts to gain a Sikh Homeland and avenge the attack on Sikhi’s most venerated site. (And to avenge the deaths of not only those Gursikhs who courted Martyrdom that day, but also for the unknown numbers of innocent Pilgrims and visitors to the Harmandir Sahib who were murdered during and after the attack.)
|Shaheedi||On 17 September 1986, Sukha got into an accident with a truck in Pimpri, Pune and was arrested. He was riding the same black motorcycle which was used at the time of assassination of General Vaidya. Jinda was arrested at Gurdwara Majnoo Daa Tilla, Delhi in March 1987. He was shot in the legs at the time of his arrest. During their court trial, despite admitting to the killing, they pleaded not-guilty, justifying their actions by saying that Vaidya was “guilty of a serious crime, the punishment for which could only be death”. They were awarded death sentences at 2:05 pm on 21 October 1989. Sukha and Jinda also wrote a letter to president of India asking for “No-Clemency” prior to their hanging. |
On 9 October 1992, early in the morning, Sukhdev Singh “Sukha” and Harjinder Singh “Jinda” were hanged until death in Pune Jail. The Independent World mentioned “While being led from their cell to the gallows set up in the Yerawada gaol yard, the two convicted killers shouted slogans for Sikh independence in the Punjab”. Both of them were hanged at 4 am in Yerwada Central Jail Pune while extraordinary security was deployed at the jail and in the periphery of Pune to oppose any possible Sikh militant attack. Security was also tightened all over Northern India
Birth & Family
Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda was born in the house of Sardar Guljar Singh and from the womb of Mata Gurnam Kaur in the year of April 4, 1962 in the village of Gadli, Jandiala in district Amritsar.
Jinda had two older brothers, Nirbhail Singh and Bhupinder Singh and one sister, Balvinder Kaur. Harinder Singh alias Mathra Singh and Jagjit Singh were nephews of Harjinder Singh Jinda. Sikh militant Surjit Singh Penta (who died suicide by consuming cyanide during operation Black Thunder in 1998) was a cousin of Bhai Jinda. He belonged to a farmer family.
Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda’s Childhood
After completing his early education, he enrolled in Khalsa College, Amritsar. India today described Jinda as 5’7″ tall with a mole on the right side of his neck and two wounds on his right leg
He was in BA part II when the 1984 attack occurred. Like every other Sikh, Bhai Jinda’s blood boiled at the news. He left his studies and joined the Sikh movement. When the Darbar Sahib complex was under army control, he along with other Sikhs from his village marched to free it, but the armies attacks and abuse on the way forced them to return home.
Bhai Harjinder Singh then went to his maternal grandparent’s home in Baiee Chak, Sree Ganganagar Rajasthan. Along with his cousin, Baljinder Singh Rajoo and his friend Bhai Sukhdev Singh Sukha, they decided to take revenge for the disrespect shown to the Gurdwaras.
Bhai Rajoo was arrested by the police and was horribly tortured. Hearing about this, Bhai Sukha and Bhai Jinda were even more enraged.
Participation in Khalistan movement
He was in BA part II when the 1984 attack Operation Bluestar occurred. He left his studies and joined the Khalistan movement afterwards.
Assassination of Lalit Maken
Harjinder Singh alias Jinda and Sukhdev Singh alias Sukha, along with Ranjit Singh Gill, gunned down Congress Member of Parliament Lalit Makkan on July 31, 1985, when he was moving towards his car parked across the road from his house in Kirti Nagar, New Delhi. The three assailants continued firing even as Makkan ran towards his house for cover. Makkan’s wife Geetanjali and a visitor, Bal Kishan, were also caught in the firing. The assailants escaped on their scooters.
Lalit Makkan was considered to be involved in the killings of innocent Sikhs during the 1984 Massacre of Sikhs. A 31-page booklet titled ‘Who Are The Guilty’, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) listed 227 people who had led the mobs, which killed up to 3,000 Sikhs over three days. Lalit Makkan’s name was third on the list.
A press report has indicated that someone named Bakshish Singh was also involved along with Jinda in this assassination. Ranjit Singh Gill was arrested by Interpol in New Jersey, USA on May 14 1987, a federal magistrate approved his extradition on February 6, 1988 and he was deported back to India in February 2000 after lengthy legal cases and was sentenced
Assassination of General Vaidya
General Arun Vaidya was the Chief of the Indian Army who ordered the attack on the holiest of the holy Sikh shrines at Amritsar and elsewhere in Punjab during Operation Bluestar. He had moved to Pune after his retirement from the army. From various press releases, August 10-11, 1986-1992
On August 10 1986 General Arun Vaidya the architect of Operation Bluestar was shot to death by Jinda and Sukha while he was driving his car home from the market. According to the police, the assailants pulled up next to his car on motor scooters and fired eight or nine shots into the car. Vaidya reportedly died instantly of head and neck wounds. His wife, who was also in the car, was wounded by four bullets in her back and thighs. According to Indian intelligence sources, Vaidya had been the number four assassination target on lists by Sikh militants and he was one of several people killed in retaliation for Operation Blue Star. Following the assassination, the Khalistan Commando Force issued a statement declaring that Vaidya had been killed in retaliation for the Golden Temple operation.
Assassination of Arjan Dass
Congress leader Arjun Dass was assassinated on Sept 5 1985 by Jinda, Sukha and one other Sikh because of his involvement in 1984 Anti-Sikh riots. Arjan Das name appeared in various affidavits submitted by innocent Sikh victims to Nanavati Commission which was headed by Justice G.T. Nanavati, retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India. He was also identified among organisers of the carnage. Arjun Dass was a close friend of Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi.
India’s biggest bank robbery and its utilization
On Feb 13th 1987, Mr. Jinda along with other members of the Khalistan Commando Force, including its chief general Labh Singh, participated in the biggest bank robbery of Indian history and robbed Rs. 5.70 Crore (equivalent to $4.5 million) from Punjab National Bank, Miller Gunj branch, Ludhiana. Part of the stolen funds belonged to the Reserve Bank of India, India’s central bank. A story in the Chicago Sun Times reported that 12 to 15 Sikh militants dressed as policemen and armed with submachine guns and rifles escaped with nearly $4.5 million in the biggest bank robbery in Indian history. Indian Police officials described it as ‘a neat and clean operation’ where no one was injured.
It was documented as “Biggest Bank Robbery” under “Curiosities and wonders” in Limca Book of Records. Other Khalistan Commando Force members who participated with Jinda in this event were Mathra Singh, Paramjit Singh Panjwar, Satnam Singh Bawa, Gurnam Singh Bandala Sukhdev Singh Sukha, Daljit Singh Bittu, Gursharan Singh Gamma and Pritpal Singh etc. It enabled his organization Khalistan Commando Force to buy sophisticated weapons. In regards to this bank robbery, Los Angeles Times has mentioned that bank robberies have been a major means of financing the Sikh militants’ campaign for a separate state of Khalistan.
Bhai Sukhdev Singh Sukha’s arrest
On September 17, 1986, Bhai Sukha returned to Poona to get their weapons that were left there. He along with another Singh got into an accident with a truck and were arrested. They were tortured for five months and then for a year and a half were kept in leg irons.
Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda and General Labh Singh
In the meantime Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda along with General Labh Singh planned and executed the biggest bank robbery in the history of not India but Asia. They looted 6 crore rupees in mid eighties and it is equivalent of about 6 million US dollars in today’s money. This money was used to finance the militant movement and was partly responsible for increase in militancy after this robbery.
There are several incidents that depict the quick thinking of Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda. At one time Bhai Jinda and General Labh Singh were traveling together. They were stopped by police at a check point. The police got suspicious of them and before they could say anything, Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda spoke out in a typical Punjab Police accent of Punjabi starting with a Gaal (bad word) and ordered them to salute.
The police constable and soldiers were taken aback and by that time Bhai Jinda and General Labh Singh escaped. Now that is what I call confidence and quick thinking. Bhai Jinda and General Labh Singh fooled them to think that they were police officers.
Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda’s Arrest and Torture
Finally after one year Bhai Jinda along with Bhai Satnam Singh Bawa was caught in Delhi at Gurdwara Majnoo Daa Tilla. It is said that he was in Dehli to send Buta Singh to Dharam Rai but before he could do that he was caught by police after a brief encounter. Bhai Sahib did not have any weapons at that time so he could not give them tough time. He was shot in the leg during the encounter.
He was severely tortured by police and the police wanted to dig out information about his Kharkoos from him but they failed. They even threatened to chop his leg under the disguise of an operation if he did not yield but Dhan Bhai Jinda, he did not care. He was one of the very few Kharkoos who would physically attack the police even in the jail. He was too brave. Police personnel were scared to go alone in his cell.
Bhai Jinda and Bhai Sukha reunited forever
In Poona, Bhai Sukha and the other Singhs had finished doing Ardaas after Rehraas Sahib, and then shouted Jaikaaray. Bhai Jinda was in a nearby cell and a also shouted jaikaaray. Bhai Jinda had recognized Bhai Sukha’s voice. Finally the two had been reunited.
Later Bhai Jinda along with Bhai Sukha were transferred to Bombay and prosecuted and got the death penalty for killing General Vaidya. It is amazing how Bhai Jinda and Bhai Sukha faced death. It is clear from their letters that they sent out that they were not at all scared of death. The last four years of their life were spent doing a lot of Bhagti.
They slept minimal and spent all day reading Gurbani. Their regular nitnem was 11 Sukhmani Sahibs, 25 Japji Sahibs, and 3 hours amritvela abihyaas a day apart from their regular 7 bani nitnem while in jail.
Meeting Baba Thakur Singh Ji Khalsa
Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda and Bhai Sukhdev Singh Ji Sukha wanted to take Amrit when they were in jail. As a result they asked the officials at the jail they were at if an Amrit Sanchar could be organised. The Hindustani government did not let this happen.
When Baba Thakur Singh Ji went and met both these beloved sons of the panth they told Baba Ji about the government refusing their request from an Amrit Sanchar. Baba Ji told these beautiful Singhs that no government or power in this world could prevent them from receiving the gift of Amrit. Baba Ji then said that, the king of kings, the saint of saints, that beautiful king of this world and the next Satguru Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj would give these two Singhs Amrit personally hereafter.
Day of Hanging
Bhai Sukha and Bhai Jinda woke up at 12am. They bathed and until 3am and then they did paath. They had prepared some dahee(n) (yogourt) which they then ate along with one apple each. They then did their final ardaas and keertan sohila paath.
They dressed in white cholas with kesri dastaars and kamarkassas. Bhai Jinda shook hands with the jail officials and thanked them for keeping them for 5 years. Bhai Sukha and Jinda also asked about their 30+ relatives who were in Poona.
When they were lead to the gallows, they shouted jaikaaras. They walked with long strides. Bhai Nirmal Singh who was in a cell near the gallows also replied to the jaikaraas.
The two Singhs climbed the gallows with smiles. They had wanted to bring sweets for the executioners, but perhaps they were not allowed. They kissed their nooses and even though they wanted to put them around their own necks, were not allowed to do so. The time had come and according to Bhai Nirmal Singh, Bhai Jinda shouted loudly to Bhai Sukha, Veer Sukhiaa! Roar a Fateh! He then heard jaikaraas. And then they stopped.
Bhai Sukha and Bhai Jinda were kept hanging for 30 minutes. They were hung together. For the execution, 4 Deputy Police Commissioners, 10 assistant Police Commissioners, 14 inspectors, 145 sub-inspectors and 1275 officers had been assigned.
At quarter to 5 in the morning, police vehicles came to the Poona Gurdwara Sahib where the families were staying. They took the family to a police station outside Poona from where they were taken further.
The family was then taken to a spot near the Moola River where a part of a sugarcane field had been cleared. Bhai Sukha and Bhai Jindas bodies had been brought to the site in a truck. The family brought clothes and items for the cremation and despite police protests, insisted on doing everything themselves. They washed the bodies and Bhai Jinda and Bhai Sukhas fathers lit the pyres at 6.20am. No relative showed any sadness but instead congratulated each other.
Three bibis from Jammu did keertan. The ashes were not given to the family.
What beautiful Singhs of Satguru Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj! For as long as the stars stay in the sky the whole Sikh nation shall always have these two beloved jewels of Guru Sahib in their hearts and minds.
Professor Puran Singh described the nature of the son’s of sovereign Punjab’s mothers:
The son’s of Punjab’s Mothers
They don’t live life cautiously
They aren’t afraid to sacrifice their lives
And they don’t turn away from the battlefield.
The new Sikh generation now must take responsibility to fulfill the dream of Khalsa Raj. Awake Youngmen of Punjab, Awake! Take and wear the Double Edged Sword of the timeless.
Protests, Memorial service and subsequent government seizure of Golden Temple
The Independent World reported that, “..their hanging sparked off protests by students and shop-keepers in the Sikh-dominated state of Punjab” and “Security forces were put on alert in New Delhi, Pune, the southern city where the two assassins were hanged, and throughout the Punjab.” On the morning of their memorial service, hundreds of troops and police surrounded the Golden Temple. In the early morning hundreds of Sikhs were ordered to move out of the Golden Temple. Sikh leaders Simranjit Singh Mann, Prakash Singh Badal, Gurcharan Singh Tohra and 300 others were arrested in the statewide arrests. Some people were baton charged when they tried to enter this religious place.
Approximately 300 Sikhs openly resisted the police clampdown and held the 30 minute memorial service inside the complex while chanting slogans hailing the assassins and in support of Sikh homeland Khalistan. Jinda and Sukha’s fathers were presented with gold medals by Golden Temple priest. Police seize of the temple was lifted 3 hours after the memorial service.
In October 1999, his death anniversary was celebrated in his village Gadli, district Amritsar, where chief of Akal Takhat Amritsar, Giani Puran Singh declared Jinda a national martyr while justifying his action of killing general Vaidya. Some Akali leaders stayed away from this function.
On October 9, 2000, representatives of all major Sikh bodies, including ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, the SHSAD, the SGPC, the Damdami Taksal, AISSF and the Dal Khalsa attended the eighth death anniversary of Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha. To honour Jinda and Sukha, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Head of Akal Takht (Supreme Sikh temporal seat), performed the ‘ardas’ (a Sikh religious right). Both Sukha and Jinda were declared as “great martyrs’ of the Sikh religion during this event.
On October 9, 2002, per The Tribune, on Jinda’s death anniversary, “Tributes were paid to the assassins of General Vaidya – Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha” and Jinda’s mother was honoured by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, chief of Akal Takht.
In October 2005, his death anniversary was celebrated in his native village of Gadli by various Sikh organization including Dal Khalsa, Damdami Taksal, Akal Federation and Sikh Students Federation etc and his family was again honoured by Dal Khalsa in Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab, India. Dashmesh Durbar Sikh temple in Surrey, Canada recently organized special prayers for both Jinda and Sukha in Canada.
On October 9, 2008, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee honoured kin of Jinda and Sukha in the Golden Temple complex, to mark their death anniversary. SGPC declared Jinda and Sukha ‘martyrs of Sikh community’ and added that Jinda and Sukha took revenge of Operation Bluestar.
Courtesy: Sikhfreedom.com, SikhLionz.com, Tapoban.org, panthic.org, sikhiwiki.org