Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF)
Based On "Jujharoo Yodhe" By Maninder Singh Baja
Translated By Balpreet Singh
A True Nihang
One of the most famous and effective Khalsa generals to have taken part in
the Sikh Liberation Movement was Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma. The name of
“Brahma” used to strike terror into the hearts of Indian Security Forces.
Bhai Brahma also had a very special relationship with Canadian and other
Western Singhs who had gone to fight for Sikh Freedom. Bhai Avtar Singh was
a true Nihang Singh of Guru Gobind Singh and when the Panth needed his head,
he was prepared to make the sacrifice.
Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma was born in 1951 in village Brahmpura, which falls
in the Tarn Taran area of Amritsar district. Bhai Brahma’s parents were Sardar Sohan Singh and Mata Chanan Kaur. Bhai Avtar
Singh was the youngest of four brothers. His three elder brothers, Sardar Balkar
Singh, Sardar Sadha Singh and Sardar Hardev Singh continue to live in the village and farm for a living.
Bhai Avtar Singh completed his early education until the fifth grade in the
village primary school. After this, he began to work in the family’s farm.
In 1966, Baba Daya Singh jee from the Sursingh Nihang Jatha (Baba Bidhi
Chand Dal) came to village Lohar along with his Singhs. There was a week
long Gurmat Smagam in which there was an Akhand Paath Sahib, gatka
demonstrations and finally at the end, an amrit sinchaar. Bhai Avtar Singh
and his brother Bhai Sadha Singh worked until noon time one day and then
decided to go to nearby village Lohar to see the gatka. Bhai Avtar Singh was
so impressed that he decided to become amritdhari at the amrit sinchaar
being held. After this, Bhai Avtar Singh began to live a strict Gursikhi
jeevan and stayed with the Bidhi Chand Dal. He would only occasionally take
a leave from the Dal to meet with his family and parents.
The Jathedar of Bhai Bidhi Chand Dal, Baba Daya Singh, saw the seva and
simran of Bhai Avtar Singh and because he was also from village Brahmpura,
began to call him Bhai Brahma Singh. After this Bhai Avtar Singh began to be
called either Bhai Brahma Singh or Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma.
With The Nihang Singhs
Bhai Avtar Singh used to do seva in the langar and also took care of the
Dal’s horses. Bhai Avtar Singh was a master of Shastar Vidiya. He could do a
gatka demonstration for two hours straight, all by himself. Bhai Avtar Singh
was also famous for being able to ride on two horses at once and then stand
up, with one leg on each. He would even do a demonstration in which he would
lie down on the backs of two horses and have them run at top speed. Bhai
Avtar Singh was a master of all weapons including swords, spears, pistols
and even rocket launchers.
Once, Baba Daya Singh was talking with Baba Bishan Singh, Jathedar of Tarna
Dal (Baba Bakala) when they began to discuss an article in the newspaper
which said that a French horse rider had such skill that he could race a
horse at full speed and be able to spear a target on the ground with a lance
at the same time. The Singhs began to discuss if this was even possible,
when Bhai Avtar Singh entered the conversation. Bhai Brahma had been sitting
quietly but then spoke up and said “If the Frenchman can do that, then a
Guru ka Singh can ride TWO horses while standing and do the same thing.”
The Singhs were surprised by this claim and challenged Bhai Avtar Singh to
prove it. Bhai Avtar Singh brought two horses and while riding one, held the
reigns of the other. He began to race the horses and when they had reached
top speed, he stood up on both. Bhai Brahma with his neja (spear) then
pierced a stake in the ground, which was placed as his target, and threw it
up into the air. Everyone watching was amazed at the skill and after this
incident, Bhai Avtar Singh became very well known not just among the Nihang
Dals, but also amongst the common villagers.
Meeting Baba Jarnail Singh
Baba Daya Singh and Baba Jarnail Singh
Baba Daya Singh Sursinghvale and Baba Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale were very
close and the two used to meet quite often. Baba Jarnail Singh had begun the
Dharam Yudh Morcha to fight for Sikh rights and this movement had become
very popular amongst the Sikh youth. Baba Jarnail Singh’s words had spurred
Sikh pride and revived the Sikh spirit in Punjab. Bhai Avtar Singh too heard
Baba Jarnail Singh speak and felt the urge to help free the Sikh people from
the clutches of the Brahmin government.
Sree Darbaar Sahib had been surrounded by now and it was clear that the
government was preparing for a fight. On May 30, 1984, Bhai Avtar Singh
Brahma and Bhai Amreek Singh Jaura decided that as Khalsa warriors, it was
their duty to fight for Sikh freedom. They asked for leave from Baba Daya
Singh and after saying their final Fateh to the other Singhs in the Jatha,
left Sursingh for Sree Darbaar Sahib.
Bhai Avtar Singh and Bhai Amreek Singh went directly to Sree Akaal Takhat
Sahib and presented themselves to Baba Jarnail Singh. With Baba jee were
other Singhs such as Baba Thara Singh, Bhai Amrik Singh, Bhai Durga Sigh,
Bhai Major Singh Nagoke, etc. Bhai Avtar Singh explained that they had come
to defend Sree Darbaar Sahib and give their Shaheedi. After some
discussion, Baba Jarnail Singh addressed the Singhs and said, “Your
Shaheedi here will not be of as much value is it could be. The army has
surrounded us and is ready to attack. Who knows what will happen in a few
days? Go back to your villages and do simran. When the time is right, Singhs
will come get you themselves. I am sending some other Singhs out of the
complex today as well to continue the struggle after us. Jathedar Durga
Singh will come get you when the time is right. You must go now so that the
fight can continue…”
Bhai Avtar Singh and Bhai Amreek Singh returned to their villages and
waited. Three days later, the Indian Government attacked Sree Darbaar Sahib
along with 37 other Gurdwaras. Thousands of Sikhs were butchered and Sree
Akaal Takhat Sahib was destroyed.
The Next Phase
Baba Jarnail Singh had prepared for the next phase of the battle. Singhs
like Bhai Durga Singh, Bhai Manbir Singh Chaheru, Baba Gurbachan Singh
Manochahal, Bhai Sukhdev Singh Sakhira, Bhai Arur Singh, Bhai Gurdev Singh
Usman Vala, etc. had been sent out of the complex to organize the
resistance. As promised, Bhai Durga Singh came and met Bhai Avtar Singh
Brahma. A meeting had been organized in which a new Jathebandi, the
“Khalistan Liberation Force” was created. The central Singhs of this
jathebandee were Bhai Durga Singh, Bhai Kuldeep Singh Muchhal, Bhai Gurdeep
Singh Vakeel, Bhai Arur Singh and Bhai Gurdev Singh.
Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma was an active Sikh fighter but when Bhai Arur Singh
was captured by the Police and then martyred, Bhai Brahma rose to prominence
as he was appointed the next Jathedar of Khalistan Liberation Force.
War On Invaders
Indian Security Forces had now flooded Punjab. The Central Army, Central
Reserve Police Force, National Guard, Border Security Force, RAW, etc. had
been deployed in full force in Punjab. These outsiders already had a dislike
for Sikhs and now as they began to roam the villages and roads of Punjab,
took special pleasure in humiliating Sikhs. Rapes became common and the
sight of jeeps filled with soldiers became an all too regular terror.
Bhai Avtar Singh decided that these invading forces had to be taught a
lesson. It was decided by the Jathebandee that a direct war should be waged.
When CRPF, BSF or Army jeeps would come on a round, the Singhs would attack.
The jeep was either stopped by a bomb and then showered with bullets or
simply surrounded by Singhs.
In one instance, in village Baler, Bhai Brahma and the other Singhs
surrounded a CRPF jeep. The CRPF men tried to flee while firing their guns,
but were shot dead. The Singhs stripped them of their weapons and
ammunition. The CRPF was furious. They went to village Baler and arbitrarily
shot two farmers, Chatter Singh and Hazara Singh. To hide their ineptitude,
the CRPF told reporters that in a major encounter, the CRPF men had been
killed but they had also managed to shoot two “terrorists”. Bhai Avtar Singh
sent a personal message to the newspapers and made clear that those who had
been shot were innocent and not part of the Sikh Resistance. The CRPF was
put to shame.
Where before the Indian Security Forces patrolled the streets to terrorize
the Sikh villagers, it was now their turn to be terrorized. The Jeeps
stopped patrolling many areas. Sikh fighters began to conduct their own
patrols and entire areas of the Punjab were under the Khalsa’s control.
A Newspaper Report
Newspapers began to carry reports of the new Sikh rule and the powerlessness
of the Indian Forces. One article carried the following report: “Accompanied
by the district flood committee members, the Deputy Commissioner began his
tour from Harike on the banks of the Sutlej downstream. As the convoy of
vehicles containing all the officials was a little short of the last
vulnerable point of the Indian side on the river, the team spotted three
“babas” (a term used for terrorists) walking in the barata (sandy island on
the river course).
Initially, there was panic as not many had actually seen a terrorist in real
life. The three terrorist who had draped shawls around themselves obviously
seemed to be carrying arms and were coming in from across the border as
beyond that point was alien land.
On seeing the vehicles and the security personnel accompanying the DC, the
three did not try to flee but just sat down. According to some, they took up
An accompanying Superintendent of Police from Tarn Taran, Dharam Singh, took
a few men and advanced towards the terrorists in an attempt to scare them,
but the officials of the Irrigation and Drainage Department present
suggested they avoid any provocation as very often repair work was being
carried out in these areas and if the terrorist were harmed their
accomplices would get even with these officials. The SP therefore came back
and the plan to go any further for inspection was also dropped.
All this while, the three terrorists were sitting on the banks, but the
moment the vehicles reversed to leave, they got up and began to cross the
river, seemingly in a haughty mood.”
The report also says that Sikh fighters “have also set up their own check
points and persons who have to go beyond those points to work in their farms
are frisked b them”. It concludes with the story of a CRPF patrol being
intercepted by a tractor driven by Sikh fighters and the patrol being fired
As jeeps upon jeeps of Indian Security Forces were beginning to be
destroyed, and many areas becoming inaccessible to Indian Security, the
Hindustani government was afraid that Punjab was fast slipping away.
Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma was becoming more and more well known for his
operations against the Indian Government. Where his name was regularly
mentioned and discussed in Government meetings, he had also become a folk
hero in the Punjab. Village people talked about his bravery and his ability
to accomplish even the most impossible of missions. For the police, every
Singh and every Nihang was starting to look like “Brahma”.
To discredit the Sikh Movement, the Indian Government had introduced gangs
of thieves and murderers who dressed like Singhs but committed horrendous
crimes upon innocent Sikh villagers. Bhai Avtar Singh made it a priority to
punish these criminals.
Police Chief Julio F Ribeiro met with his Captains and top officers and
expressed his frustration that reports were coming that Brahma was called
the King of the Mand area and the common people were all helping him and
even idolizing him. The villagers would be beaten but even then they would
not give any information on Brahma or his companions. Ribeiro ordered that
Brahma should be discredited at all costs. Gangs should call themselves
“Brahma’s men” and extort money and harass innocent people. People should
come to hate the name “Brahma”. They would then help the police capture him.
Ribeiro in Darbar Sahib Complex
Ribeiro had underestimated Bhai Avtar Singh. Bhai Avtar Singh did not
tolerate extortions. When allegations were made against KLF’s Lt. Gen.
Pahaar Singh, Bhai Brahma did a complete investigation and it was proven
beyond a doubt that Pahaar Singh had been harassing and extorting money from
Sikh families. Bhai Brahma himself shot Pahaar Singh dead and warned the
other Singhs that anyone caught harassing innocent villagers or behaving
inappropriately with women would be given the same fate as the Lt. General.
Bhai Avtar Singh announced that if anyone was being harassed, they should
contact him and he would help them even at the cost of his own life. Bhai
Brahma declared, “Our guns are pointed at those Police touts who torture
Singhs and kill them in fake encounters. We do not believe in spilling the
blood of any innocents. Our fight is against injustice, tyranny and
oppression. Whoever is part of this will not be able to escape our sights.”
Bhai Avtar Singh kept a very close watch on politics and made sure the
corrupt Akali leadership. He sent them a warning that under his watch, he
would not let them commit treachery with the Sikh people. The insincere
Akalis became silent and quietly passed the days cursing their fate for
having had to deal with someone as incorruptible as Bhai Avtar Singh. He
demanded the Sikh politicians be principled.
Encounter at Manakpur
Bhai Avtar Singh was continuing his campaign against the invading Hindustani
forces. He was surrounded on many occasions but would escape every time,
bellowing insults and challenges at the enemy. One of Bhai Brahma’s most
famous encounters occurred in village Manakpur. Bhai Avtar Singh and his
fellow Singhs were in the area when the CRPF were tipped off. A total of
20,000 CRPF men flooded the Patti area and began closing in on Manakpur. The
Singhs were surrounded and decided the only way out was through the ranks of
the CRPF. The battle began and so many bullets were cutting through the air
that it looked and sounded like a strong rain was falling. A bullet cut
through Bhai Avtar Singh’s right hand and severed his right finger. Bhai
Brahma was a Singh of the Bhai Bidhi Chand Dal and he called upon Guru
Hargobind Sahib to save him like had once saved Bhai Bidhi Chand. It was as
though Guru Sahib was himself protecting his Singh. Bhai Avtar Singh’s
clothes and dastar were marked by many bullet holes but his body was not
being touched. Although some of the Singhs with him were martyred, Bhai
Avtar Singh managed to break the cordon and escaped into the dark of the
Bhai Avtar Singh would show people his dastar and clothes from that night
and point out the countless bullet marks. People would be amazed and remark
that Guru Sahib keeps his Singh today, just like he did in the past. Bhai
Avtar Singh was convinced that he had escaped this time only so that he
could continue his seva of fighting for Sikh liberation.
Inspiring Canadian And Western Sikhs
Top Row: (1)Bhai Brahma and Bhai Para, (2)Bhai Para and Bhai Sakheera,
(3)Bhai Mohinder Singh, Bhai Brahma, Bhai Jarnail Singh
Bottom Row: (1)Bhai Hardev Singh Bapu, (2)Bhai Ravi
Bhai Avtar Singh’s exploits were now famous not only in all of Punjab and
India, but also in the West. He had become a Sikh Robin Hood and every
Punjabi would wait for the weekly newspaper to read about his adventures.
Many Sikh in the West were so inspired by Bhai Avtar Singh, that they
decided to join him in the Movement. Bhai Avtar Singh supervised a training
camp in which Indian Sikhs as well as Western Sikhs were given guerrilla
training. The recruits would then sneak back into India and join the fight.
Bhai Avtar Singh preferred to stay on the battlefield in Punjab but used to
go to the training camps at regular intervals as well. Bhai Avtar Singh
served as a personal mentor to many of these Singhs.
Some of the more prominent Singhs to have gone and joined the fight from the
West and then later become Shaheed were Bhai Harjinder Singh Para, a high
school student from Toronto, Bhai Balbir Singh Sakheera from Calgary, Bhai
Mohinder Singh Khalsa, Toronto, Bhai Bhupinder Singh BC, Bhai Hardev Singh
“Bapu” UK, and Bhai Surinder Singh Ravi, Toronto.
Punishing Thanedar Chhiboo Ram
Shiv Singh was the Thanedar of village Chola Sahib in the Tarn Taran area.
Although he looked like a Sikh, Chhiboo was passionately opposed to the Sikh
movement and the people became to call him Chhiboo Ram. Chhiboo was from a
backward class and in his newfound position of authority, took special
pleasure in intimidating others. He was known as the most foul-mouthed
police officer in Punjab and did not care about anyone’s honour, age or
position. If someone rang their bicycle’s bell or the horn of a truck or car
in the village bazaar, Chhiboo would slap them and release a barrage of foul
The villagers in the area all were fans of Bhai Avtar Singh and talked
amongst themselves about Brahma’s courage and ability. Many used to say that
it would be a good day when Brahma finally met Chhiboo Ram and punished him
for his crimes. Bhai Avtar Singh had heard about Chhiboo but said that he
should be allowed to enjoy his power for awhile since he was after all from
a socially low class.
Chhiboo used to tell him men to be on the lookout for Bhai Avtar Singh and
boasted that by killing such a wanted terrorist, he would be promoted to
Captain by Ribeiro.
One day, Thanedar Chhiboo Ram was sitting in a tea stall with other police
officers when he began to abuse them. He said, “You bastards…you’re a bunch
of donkeys. You can’t even get a clue about Brahma?” A policeman replied,
“Sir, people are crazy about Brahma, no one gives any information about
Chhiboo replied, “You idiots, let the villagers make their own alcohol (an
illegal act) and don’t interfere. Offer them bribes and tell them they can
enjoy life if they have Brahma killed. Just watch how fasted the take our
little Brahmee and present him to us. You people harass the villagers and
take their money, that’s why they like Brahma.”
Jathedar Durga Singh was also sitting in the tea stall at the same time,
dressed in village clothing: a long kurta, chaadra and a messy dastar. He
overheard the policemen talking and approached them with an offer. He said,
“Sir, give this job to me. I’ll quickly arrange for you to meet Brahma. You
can then capture him yourselves. I want you to remember me but keep my
identity a secret. I want to collect the bounty on Brahma’s head for turning
him in, so I don’t want to be cheated either.”
Thanedar Chhiboo Ram became excited and said, “Jatta, you let me meet Brahma
and then your reward will be certain. The Police Chief will give you a letter
of tribute and then you can go to any police station in Punjab and they will
give you a seat of honour. The government will take care of your every need
for the rest of your life.”
The Jat got up from his seat and promised to arrange the meeting soon. As he
left, Chhiboo Ram was dreaming of the stars that would appear on his arm if
he was successful in killing Brahma. He would become nothing less than a DSP.
Jathedar Durga Singh returned to the hideout where Bhai Avtar Singh and the
other Singhs were staying and announced, “Today I promised to give Thanedar
Shiv Singh Chhiboo the darshan of Jathedar Avtar Singh Brahma. Singho, get
ready because Chhiboo is very anxious to meet Bhai Brahma.”
Bhai Avtar Singh changed into a kurta pyjama and tied a regular dastar. He
picked a team of Singhs to join him for his “meeting”. The Singhs that would
come with him were Jathedar Bohar Singh, Bhai Pippal Singh, Bhai Gurdev
Singh Usmanvala, Bhai Gurdeep Singh Vakeel and Bhai Karnail Singh DC. The
Singhs devised their plan and moved out.
Bhai Surinder Singh Shinda went to the police station and asked to meet with
Chhiboo Ram. He told the Thanedar that he had been sent by the person he had
met at the tea stall. He said that Brahma Nihang was on the road to Sarhali
and it seemed that he had no weapons on him. Surinder Singh explained to
Chhiboo Ram that the person he met at the tea-stall would meet him on the
road and point Brahma out to him. Bhai Surinder Singh also explained that
this was a great opportunity since it wouldn’t require many police officers
to catch a defence-less Brahma.
Chhiboo Ram was jumping with joy that finally he would get Brahma and that
too empty handed. He along with four other policemen commandeered a jeep and
drove to Sarhali. When they reached a bridge near Sarhali, they saw in front
of them Bhai Avtar Singh and Jathedar Durga Singh blocking the way. The
Singhs with them were all sitting in their positions. Bhai Durga Singh
motioned for the jeep to stop. He walked to the jeep and announced,
“Thanedar Sahib, before you stands General Brahma. Take a good look. Do you
like what you see?” Bhai Durga Singh then immediately ran to the side and
the Singhs, with shouts of jaikaras, opened fire on the jeep. Chhiboo Ram
was riddled with bullets and the driver of the jeep was killed as well. The
remaining police officers were all badly injured and the Singhs removed
their arms and ammunition and made their getaway.
The next day, newspapers reported an encounter at the bridge in which the
Chola Sahib head of police, Shiv Singh had been killed along with 2 others.
Four police officials were injured. The security forces surrounded the area
but were unable to capture anyone. The Singhs slipped back into the swamps
of the Mand. The legend of Bhai Brahma was growing.
Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma’s operations were becoming more and more daring each
day and they even became a topic of discussion in India’s Home Ministry.
Bhai Brahma was considered “King of the Mand” and so it was decided to send
the Indian Forces there to search for him. Police Chief Ribeiro assigned
“Operation Mand” to the new IG of the CRPF in Punjab, KP Gill.
The date of the operation was set for July 1986. The police expected many
Sikh Fighters to come to the Mand for meetings during the local festival for
Baba Dargahi Shah. This festival was attended by people of all faiths and
the Singhs too gathered during this time to make plans. The Mand was a
marshy, forested area that the police could not access, so the CRPF and
Punjab Police were deployed in the thousands to surround the area. Ribeiro
was certain that Bhai Avtar Singh and his fellow Singhs were in the area and
now because of the cordon, could not escape. But still, the problem remained
that the security forces could not go in en masse and they were too afraid
to go in small groups. The solution chosen was to send in army helicopters
to seek and kill the Sikh fighters.
CRPF men climbed aboard two helicopters and began to search for Bhai
Brahma’s hideout. The helicopters began to hover lower to the ground and
below them were hiding Jathedar Durga Singh and his men. The Singhs opened
fire on the helicopter with such force and volume that it crashed in flames
into the marsh. The pilot and all the CRPF men were killed on impact. The
Singhs shouted jaikaray and trained their sights on the next helicopter. The
pilot had seen what had happened to his companion and decided his mission
was impossible. After trying to avoid fire for a short while, he decided to
go back to base. Of all the forces surrounding the area, no one had the
courage to enter and attempt to rescue the men who had gone down with the
As night fell, the Singhs, who were familiar with the area, made their
escape. The CRPF and Punjab Police had been completely frustrated and to
avoid embarrassment, arrested some farmers who lived around the Mand and
claimed Brahma’s men had been captured. The next day’s newspapers carried a
statement from the CRPF that one of their helicopters had collided with a
tall tree and crashed, resulting in the death of the pilot and the men
Years later, Ribeiro in his autobiography, “Bullet for Bullet” (1998) wrote,
“KPS Gill had been inducted as IG, CRPF, in charge of Punjab operations. He
was an excellent operations man and it was he who conceived and planned the
Mand operation. We faced some criticism from the press since not a single
terrorist was caught in the operation” (pg. 283).
The police were completely frustrated by Bhai Avtar Singh. They began to
take their frustration out on the entire village of Brahmpura. Bhai Avtar
Singh’s brothers were special targets of the police but no one was spared.
An entire platoon of the CRPF was placed in the village school to terrorise
When Bhai Brahma heard about the police excesses, he decided to do something
about it. On December 27, 1986 Bhai Brahma and his fellow Singhs entered
Brahmpura around midnight. He went to the Gurdwara and after offering his
respects, turned on the roof speaker. Bhai Avtar Singh took the microphone
and announced, “Residents of Brahmpura, I am your Avtar Singh speaking. I
know that the CRPF is harassing you because of me and asking you to tell
them my whereabouts. I challenge the CRPF: if you have the courage, come and
get Avtar Singh Brahma. There’s no bravery in bothering the innocent
villagers here. Let’s have a contest of bravery today and satisfy ourselves.
You have weapons and so do we. Let’s have a real encounter tonight and in
the morning you can count how many of your men the Singhs have mowed down.
Come on CRPF-valio! You are proud of the strength of Delhi and it’s army and
we are proud of our Guru. We are Guru Gobind Singh’s sons and we can fight
125 000 alone.”
Bhai Avtar Singh had been heard through the entire village. He waited a
while and seeing no response, began again, “CRPF-valio! Come out of your
quarters! Brahma, a Sikh of the Guru is waiting for you. The Brahma you
couldn’t find in the Mand is now waiting for you! I don’t believe in
spilling the blood of innocents and I don’t attack those without weapons.
I’m here to meet you now. CRPF-valio, you can meet me any way and any time.
Give up your bothering of innocents and come in front of Brahma and satisfy
your desire to prove your bravery! Bolay So Nihaal! Sat Sree Akaal!!!
Vaahiguru Jee Ka Khalsa Vaahiguru Jee Kee Fateh!”
For a full 25 minutes Bhai Avtar Singh challenged the CRPF on the speaker
and waited for over an hour for them to come out. Not a single person came.
The Singhs, seeing that no one was brave enough to face them, left the
village while bellowing jaikaraas.
Even after the Singhs had left, the terrified CRPF platoon cowered in their
base. When they were sure that Brahma had left, they came out. They had been
shamed in front of the entire village. The CRPF went berserk and decided to
take revenge on the Sikh villagers. Families were dragged out of their
houses and the women were raped. One woman had her ear bitten off by a
crazed CRPF officer.
Five women were brought together and their clothes were ripped off. One
younger girl ran naked to save herself and spent the rest of the cold
December night hiding in the bushes.
The CRPF raided Brahmpura's Gurdwara Sahib and began to shoot at a saroop of
Sree Guru Granth Sahib. Once that saroop had been riddled with bullets,
another Saroop was taken out of the Gurdwara Sahib and lit on fire.
The entire Sikh population of Punjab was horrified and shocked and news of
this night of terror even became international. It was demanded that action
be taken against the guilty CRPF. Even Ribeiro admitted that what had
happened was disgusting and publicly apologized but in his autobiography, he
writes, “KPS Gill was then IG of the CRPF. He was not willing to take any
action against his men. He approached the home ministry in Delhi to ensure
that sanction was not accorded for criminal prosecution. Finally, the
Government of India did not sanction the prosecution.” The guilty CRPF
battalion was removed and replaced with another. This was the greatness of
Indian justice. KP Gill was later appointed DGP of Punjab Police because of
his ruthless mentality.
Bhai Avtar Singh and his fellow Singhs decided to give the Brahmpura
incident a suitable reply. CRPF bases were attacked with rockets and blown
apart. Bhai Brahma and Jathedar Durga Singh continued to take on all the
invading forces and every week news would come of a new guerrilla attack and
whole companies being destroyed. The people were all crazy about Brahma and
gave him their complete support.
The Final Battle
Bhai Brahma, when leaving the training camp for the final time had told some
Singhs near to him that he would not return. He knew that his shaheedi was
fast approaching. That day finally arrived on July 22, 1988.
Bhai Avtar Singh and his fellow Singhs, Bhai Surinder Singh and Bhai Jarnail
Singh DC were in Rajasthan near the Pakistan border. They had decided to
cross and were staying with a Nihang Singh of the Sursingh Jatha. The Singhs
approached the border and as they were about to cross, were spotted by the
Border Security Force. The Singhs were surrounded but fought their way out.
Again, on a tip, the BSF surrounded them a little distance away and once
again the Singhs escaped.
Bhai Avtar Singh and his fellow Singhs were still on the move when they were
surrounded a third time. Bhai Brahma knew that their ammunition was close to
exhausted and he ordered the Singhs that they should escape but in no case
should the fall into the hands of the BSF. Bhai Avtar Singh took a position
in a green field and held the BSF back as the Singhs broke the cordon. Bhai
Jarnail Singh and Bhai Surinder Singh were successful and managed to escape.
The BSF now focused on the field and showered it with bullets. Bhai Brahma
was struck in the stomach but despite the pain, continued to battle. The BSF
did not have the courage to approach the lone tiger and even in his wounded
state, Bhai Brahma was proving deadly. Finally the shooting stopped and the
BSF approached the body. As they did to every shaheed Singh, they ripped Bhai
Brahma's dastar from his head and stripped off his clothes and took his
body to the police station.
They were so terrified of the Legend of Brahma,
that they could not be assured that this was really him. Photographs of the
body were sent to Punjab but no one could confirm the identity. The Singhs
too did not confirm that their General had been martyred. Newspapers debated
whether Bhai Brahma was alive or dead and the security forces too could not
believe that Brahma had fallen. Only when Bhai Bhupinder Singh Canadian was
arrested and he identified the body from pictures did the police finally
know for sure that they had got their man. Bhai Bhupinder Singh was also
later killed in a fake encounter.
An Akhand Paath Sahib in the memory of Bhai Avtar Singh was held in village
Brahmpura. Baba Daya Singh, Jathedar of Baba Bidhi Chand Dal hoisted a
Nishan Sahib in his memory. The Jathebandi appointed Bhai Gurdeep Singh
Vakeel as the next Jathedar of the KLF.
Bhai Avtar Singh had left behind a strong and principled Jatha of Singhs who
continued to be a nightmare for the Indian government.
Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma was a legend in the Punjab and during his lifetime,
whole areas of the Punjab had become sovereign. Bhai Sahib’s firm Gurmat
principles won the hearts of the people and struck terror into the hearts of
the Hindustani forces. As time passed, such Singhs became more and more rare
and the movement slowed down and finally stopped. May Guru Sahib send us
another Brahma in today’s desperate times.