Harnek Singh Bhapp from the village of Bhutari in Ludhiana, is the son of late Tara Singh.
Due to police harassment and the state-sponsored killings sweeping across Panjab in the ‘dark decade’ following 1984, Harnek Singh was forced to go on the run in 1987.
For 17 long years he lived under the threat of being picked up and killed by the police in exchange for rewards and promotions. He remained separated from everything and everyone he knew, until August 2004 when he was arrested.
He was framed in more than seven false cases, many of which fell under the heavily criticised and now defunct TADA Act, including the high profile New Delhi case alongside Professor Devinderpal Singh Bhullar. To make matters worse, Harnek Singh’s mother (see photo) was not spared the brutality of the police. She was kept in prison for four years as the police searched for her son, and endured the full horrors of the Indian ‘justice’ system.
As the years have passed, Harnek Singh’s name has been cleared and he has been acquitted of all charges in case after case.
However, one case remains pending in the state of Rajasthan for the alleged kidnapping of Rajendra Mirdha, a Congress leader, in 1995. After 17 years underground, 11 years in Ludhiana, Tihar and Nabha Jails, Harnek Singh Bhapp is now awaiting trial in Jaipur Central Jail leaving behind him in the Panjab his elderly mother who is unable to make the massive journey to visit him. The case is 20 years old, no hearing has even taken place and the Rajasthan High Court has ordered for it to be fast-tracked, yet despite this, Bhapp has been refused bail on the grounds that the alleged crime was of a ‘serious terrorist nature’.
Harnek Singh is a massive supporter of Sikh Relief’s SOPW project, as he personally bears witness to the difference it has made to the lives of Sikh political prisoners. He recalls the biggest problem they faced before SOPW existed was not being locked behind bars, but the constant concern for their families and what would become of them in their absence.
Ever since we have known him, Harnek Singh Bhapp has insisted he does not require monetary aid and has instead, referred other prisoners for us to support. Harnek Singh comes from a very humble background, he lost his father at a young age leaving his mother to cope alone. As the photo shows, his family home is just a very basic structure. His humility and selflessness are a rare quality – always putting the needs of others before himself, no matter how much he is suffering too. The message from Harnek Singh has always been the same – “please help the others”.