Shaheed Bhai Manmohan Singh Babbar । Babbar Khalsa । 13th May 1985 । Shaheedi Purab
In Glorious Sikh History13.May 1985. Martyrdom Day of Shaheed Bhai Manmohan Singh Babbar. Salute
Shaheed Bhai Manmohan Singh Ji Babbar is one of the warriors that gave his life, defending the rights of the Sikhs, but very little population of Sikhs know of him.
Bhai Manmohan Singh Babbar was born in 1958, in the house of Sardar Utam Singh Ji and from the womb of Mata Harnam Kaur Ji in the city of Amritsar. Bhai Sahib had 2 brothers – Bhai Harbhajan Singh, Bhai Harpreet Singh & 3 sisters – Bibi Harjit Kaur, Bhai Lakhvir Kaur and Bibi Maninder Kaur. Because of Bhai Sahib’s fair color and his sharp eyes many people would just carry on starring at him. Bhai Sahib seemed soft hearted but was very hard from inside. In Partap Bazaar, Bhai Sahib’s family owned clothes shop. Bhai Sahib studied at DAV College and was a very intelligent student. After Bhai Sahib’s decision to take Amrit, Bhai Sahib father, Sardar Utam Singh Ji took his son to Sri Akaal Takht and after taking Amrit from the Panj Pyare, Bhai Sahib looked after each one of his 5 Kakkars. Locals were shocked to see Bhai Sahib’s love for the Sikh panth.
In 1978, Bhai Sahib was at the Akhand Kirtani Jatha Vaisakhi Mela in Amritsar, when the Singhs got the news of the Narakhdharis disrespecting Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Bhai Sahib joined the Sikh sangat that went to Sector B of Amritsar to hold a peaceful protest against the Narakhdhari cult. Bhai Sahib thought to himself that, – “How can someone come to the land of the Gurus and disrespect them?” But when Bhai Sahib witnessed the police and the Narakhdharis kill 13 Sikhs including Bhai Fauja Singh Ji and wounding more than 150 Sikhs. This act of the Narakhdharis made many Sikh youth like Bhai Sahib to think that, – “If the Indian government can allow the killing of Sikhs and the disrespect of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, then what should the Sikhs do?” The cowards of the Akalis was out in the open now, as Gurbachana the leader of the cult was escorted out of Punjab by the so called Panthic Political Party, the Akali Dal.
These were the days when Bhai Sahib decided to be a part of the Sikh Freedom Movement. First Bhai Sahib joined the Sikh Student Federation and as being a worker of the Sikh Student Federation, Bhai Sahib became very close to Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale. Soon Bhai Sahib joined the Babbar Khalsa, Bhai Sahib was given the role of Press Relations. Bhai Sahib was also one of the 8 members of the Babbar Khalsa high command. Bhai Sahib and Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Ji Babbar had a lot of brotherly love for each other. Bhai Sahib respected everybody and was very intelligent, for this reason Bhai Sahib was an important part of Babbar Khalsa. Bhai Sahib also was a great true follower of the Sikh code of conduct and had major respect for the Sikh religion.
Beside Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale, Babbar Khalsa also announced war on the Narakhdhari cult. It is said that by December 1983, the Babbar Khalsa took responsibility for the killings of 35 Narakhdharis. Some of the Anti-Narakhdhari actions:
• 5th August 1981, Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Ji Babbar punished the first Narakhdhari. This action was named, ‘Shaadi Lal Angaray.’
• 16th October 1983, Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Ji, Bhai Amarjit Singh Ji Khemkaran and Bhai Wadhawa Singh Ji targeted one of the leaders of Narakhdhari cult, Niranjan Singh who also worked as an officer at Chandigarh Secretariat. Luckily in the attack, Niranjan Singh survived, but his brother, Sukhdev Singh was killed.
• 10th September 1982, Narakhdhari Kulwant Singh of Faridkot who was a cotton trader, came to Partap Bazaar to do business. Kulwant was also the Narakhdhari cult in Faridkot. The singhs of Babbar Khalsa also tracked his every move and on this day he had come to shop in Partap Bazaar, literately next door to the Gurudwara Taahli Sahib, Santokhsar Sahib. The Babbars shot him dead in broad daylight, after this, singhs got out of the area. Some police officer tried to chase them, but the singhs fired at the police and the police pulled back. The singhs managed to get to Sri Darbar Sahib safely, after this action Bhai Manmohan Singh Ji came into the eyes of the police.
The police had been harassing the family of Bhai Sahib since February 1983. DSP Gurbachana arrested Bhai Sahib’s younger brothers, Bhai Harbhajan Singh and Bhai Harpreet Singh and blindly tortured them to get information on Bhai Sahib. Because of this brutal torture of his brothers, Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale gave a speech in the Diwan Hall of Sri Manji Sahib on 27th February 1983. For example, referring to the assurances given by the Inspector General of Police in the case of Harbhajan Singh and Harpreet Singh, Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale commented:
‘Deviously, they keep telling the President (of the Shromani Akali Dal) on the phone that the boys have not committed any offense. If they are innocent then why are they kept there, for fun? How long are we going to suffer this oppression?’
Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale also made it clear that if the 2 singhs are killed by the bullet of the police or its torture, then the sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji will finish the families of the police officers responsible. This speech proves that Bhai Sahib was very close to Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale and also that Bhai Sahib must have done some great actions to impress Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale. In fact Bhai Sahib played important roles in almost every major Khadku action in Punjab. Also, don’t forget the police inspector who tortured Bhai Sahib’s brothers and also killed Bhai Kulwant Singh Ji Nagoke in a fake encounter DSP Gurbachana was killed by the Khadku Singhs on 30th April 1984.
While staying at Sri Harimandir Sahib, Bhai Sahib always spoke of his love for Sikhi, but in the days of the Dharam Yudh Morcha, many singhs were there for the wrong reasons. These singhs were called the ‘Turak’ army of the Babbar Khalsa. It is said the Turak army were abusing the power of the Babbar Khalsa on to the sangat of Sri Darbar Sahib. Bhai Sahib grabbed some of these Turaks and colored their faces black as a punishment. But the Babbars had a word with Bhai Sahib, explaining that these Turaks can be used for weapons transactions or other hot missions. But Bhai Sahib and others Babbars kept a strict stand against such singhs that abused the power. One day Bhai Sahib caught one of the members of Akali Dal cooking meat in one of the rooms provided for the sangat. As the singhs were going to let the expose him, Harchand Singh Longowal came to take the Akali Dal member. Bhai Sahib was furious on Akali Dal for allowing their members to cook meat on the complex of Sri Darbar Sahib and on top have the nerve to come and save that person. Bhai Sahib exchanged some harsh words with Longowal.
Bhai Sahib once called a shopkeeper of Amritsar to Sri Darbar Sahib. The shopkeepers were nervous and after having langar they met Bhai Sahib. Bhai Sahib asked, – “Did your shop get looted?” The shopkeeper replied, – “Leave it, Brother Leave it”. The singhs gave the shopkeeper all the money that had been looted and bought the singhs that had looted the shop and said, – “These singhs have used our name and looted your shop”. Bhai Sahib then got a long thick stick and punished the looters and told the shopkeepers to go back and let everyone know, that no one should tolerate looting.
One shopkeeper was not getting his money back from a singh customer, the shopkeeper had given a loan to. Instead the singh used the name of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale to scare the shopkeeper. Bhai Sahib called the shopkeeper to one of the rooms of Sri Akaal Takht Sahib, Bhai Sahib took the loan receipt from the shopkeeper. The loan receipt was then shown to the singhs who had taken the loan and asked them, – “Is this your loan receipt?” The singh straight away said, – “Sorry”. Bhai Sahib said, – “You’re throwing dirt on to Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindranwale’s name, you better give the shopkeeper the money he is owed”. The singh agreed and left while the shopkeeper thanked Bhai Sahib.
Bhai Sahib’s brother, Bhai Harbhajan Singh would regularly go and meet Bhai Sahib at Sri Darbar Sahib. One day someone asked Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Ji Babbar, – “You are a villager and you’re Manmohan Singh is an educated city boy. Do you think he can take the torture of the police?” Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Ji replied, – “A body is a body, it’s not about village or the city. It’s about how we love Sikhi”. Once Bhai Sahib had said, – “With the blessings of Waheguru, I will show everyone that I can take the torture of the police”. Bhai Sahib proved his words without saying a word and attained shaheedi.
June 1984, the Indian army attacked the Sri Darbar Sahib, but when the weapons of the Babbar Khalsa were no match to the Indian tanks, the singhs of Babbar Khalsa left the complex and promised to carry on the Sikh armed struggle outside the complex. On 4th June 1984 the Indian tanks came on to the complex. The Babbars knew that as Bhai Sahib was a local of Amritsar, he would know the way out of the complex. Bhai Sahib was given the duty of getting Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Ji Babbar out of Amritsar to a safe place, which Bhai Sahib fulfilled with Bravery and intelligence. To avenge the attack on Sri Darbar Sahib, Bhai Sahib went to Pakistan along with other Babbars.
In Pakistan the arrested singhs would be sent to Faisalabad Jail and from there they would be transferred to the camp where all the Babbars were together. Bhai Sahib was also arrested and made good contacts in Pakistan Jails, Bhai Sahib would get Sikhs from different jails transferred to the camp and like this many singhs joined the Babbar Khalsa. At this time Dal Khalsa’s Bhai Kanwarpal Singh was also in the jails of Pakistan. Bhai Sahib also took the responsibility of Bhai Kanwarpal Singh and recruited him into Babbar Khalsa.
Bhai Kanwarpal Singh told us, – “Bhai Sahib was a true saint soldier, some of the plans he was making were great. I joined Babbar Khalsa thanks to Bhai Sahib. The first time I met Bhai Sahib was at Nanak Niwas when the Indian army had attacked Sri Harimandir Sahib and then in Faisalabad on 25th September 1984. I couldn’t spend much time with Bhai Sahib because Bhai Sahib came back to Punjab. In the little time I spent with Bhai Sahib, I learnt a lot from him. His bravery and intelligence made Bhai Sahib, one of the biggest shaheeds of the Sikh nation”.
In Pakistan the singhs found out about the Indira Gandhi’s assassination and also about the aftermath, which left thousands of innocent and unarmed Sikhs killed in 64 different areas of India. Babbar Khalsa decided that revenge will be taken to the mass killing of Sikhs. To complete such mission, Bhai Sahib, Bhai Iqbal Singh Ji Babbar and Bhai Avtar Singh Ji Pehlwan worked under the command of Bhai Anokh Singh Ji Babbar and went to Delhi.
Finally, In the evening of 10th May 1985, bombs went off all over India, few people were wounded, but it was no match to thousands of Sikhs being raped and burnt alive. Someone had informed the police that in west Delhi’s Patel Nagar, in the house of the income tax lawyer, Sardar Kartar Singh Narang’s house had been visited by suspicious singhs for the last couple of days and the singhs might be linked to the bombings. On 12th May 1985, the armed police surrounded the address. When Sardar Kartar Singh Narang, Sardar Mahinder Singh Obroy and Bhai Manmohan Singh returned to Narang’s house from outside, the police attacked the singhs and arrested all of them.
The singhs were kept and inhumanly tortured at Delhi torture center. When the police asked Bhai Sahib for his name, he gave the name given by Babbar Khalsa, Bhai Mahinder Singh Khalsa. The police then asked father’s name, Bhai Sahib said, – “Guru Gobind Singh Ji”. Bhai Sahib then asked for his mother’s name and where he was from, Bhai Sahib said, – “Mata Sahib Kaur Ji and I’m from Anandpur Sahib”. The police was getting frustrated at getting Bhai Sahib’s real information but Bhai Sahib like a true Sikh didn’t move an inch from his statement.
The Indian government knew that Sikhs were a big threat to their cruel policy towards the Sikhs. The Hindu extremists such as Shiv Sena and RSS were scared of the Khadku Singhs as for their involvement in butchering Sikhs in November 1984. The police was now crossing the lines with their torture on Bhai Sahib, but Bhai Sahib did not give any information to the police. Bhai Sahib was very weak due to the non-stop tortures and was taken to Mohar Lohia Hospital for treatment. While on the stretcher Bhai Sahib recited Waheguru constantly. Even the doctor was shocked to see Bhai Sahib in so much pain but still in deep meditation. In the end Bhai Sahib attained shaheedi in the hospital, another singh killed by the government of India who had contributed his life towards the progression of the panth.
After Bhai Sahib’s shaheedi, the police got the full information on Bhai Sahib. The Delhi police went to Punjab and arrested Bhai Sahib’s father and took him to Delhi. Here, Sardar Utam Singh Ji was tortured and showed the photos and videos of Bhai Sahib attaining shahadat.