Babbar Khalsa

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The Babbar Khalsa (Punjabi: ਬੱਬਰ ਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ, babbar ḵẖĝlsĝ) is a terrorism group considered to be among the oldest and most prominent of Sikh organisations calling for the formation of an independent Sikh state. The envisioned state, called Khalistan (meaning Land of the Pure) by its proponents, would comprise Indian territory in the Punjab, and Punjabi-speaking areas of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. Like other militant organisations, Babbar Khalsa was most active in the late 1970s and 1980s; the end of militancy in 1993 led to a dramatic fall in violence, although infrequent acts of terrorism are still attributed to it. It was, and continues to be, sponsored largely by expatriate Sikhs, particularly in the United Kingdom and Canada. Babbar Khalsa is listed as a terrorist organisation by the United Kingdom, India, and the United States. The United States has designated Babbar Khalsa responsible for the bombing of despite 3 of the 4 suspects being found not guilty of all charges placed against them in a Canadian trial in 2005 due to lack of evidence.

Origins of Babbar Khalsa

Babbar Khalsa name traces its origin to the Babbar Akali Movement of 1920, which agitated against British colonial rule in India. The conception of Babbar Khalsa in its modern day form is widely believed to have been brought about as a result of the Nirankari-Akhand Kirtani Jatha clash on Vaisakhi in 1978, where thirteen Sikhs were killed by a police-backed Nirankari assault against the marchers in Amritsar. The founders of the organisation were Sukhdev Singh Babbar, Mehal Singh Babbar and Amarjit Kaur (wife of Fauja Singh, the leader of the procession of Sikhs killed in the unexpected assault by Nirankaris). The initial aim of this panthic organisation was to avenge the death of Sikhs and to eliminate enemies of the Sikh nation. On 24 April 1980, Gurbachan Singh, the "Baba" (head) of the Nirankaris, was killed; responsibility for this killing was claimed by Babbar Khalsa.

Talwinder Singh Parmar was put in charge of the international wing of the Babbar Khalsa in 1981, with Sukhdev Singh Babbar remaining the overall chief or "Jathedar". Wadhawa Singh Babbar and Mehal Singh Babbar were assigned as vice-Jathedars.

Decline

The crackdown on Sikh Organisations (formed to avenge the Nirankai-Akhand Kirtani Jatha Clash, Operation Bluestar, and the 1984_Anti-Sikh_riots) by the Indian Government in the early 1990s, followed by the criminal and government infiltration of the Khalistan movement and the various related organisations respectively, greatly weakened Babbar Khalsa, ultimately leading to the death of Sukhdev Singh Babbar (9 August 1992) and Talwinder Singh Parmar (15 October 1992). Parmar's death remains controversial, and today he is accepted to have been shot in a gun battle with Indian police, with Canada's CBC network reporting that Parmar had been in police custody for some time prior to his death.

According to Punjab Police,[citation needed] the last words uttered by Sukhdev Singh Babbar were: "The Sukhdev Singh you have come to get has left, this body is an empty vessel, you may do with this as you wish." The death of Sukhdev Singh, described by India Today as "the most prominent militant leader since 1978" who had "an aura of invincibility", severely weakened Babbar Khalsa.

Bhai Sukhdev Singh Babbar is universally recognised as being of paramount influence in propagating and maintaining the aim of Khalistan and was widely considered one of the backbones of the movement. Contrary to popular myth in certain quarters, Sukhdev Singh and the late Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale enjoyed a close and personal friendship and fought alongside each other during the Indian Army's assault on the Golden Temple complex in June 1984.

Sant Bhindranwale was quoted as referring to Sukhdev Singh as "Sacha Sukha" (Truthful Sukhdev). Sant Bhindranwale had said this because at the time rumours were circulating of a rift between Sant Bhindranwale's followers and Babbar Khalsa. In order to prevent disinformation from becoming truth, Sant Bhindranwale made many comments honoring Sukhdev Singh Babbar and Babbar Khalsa, complimenting their affection and love for Sikhi.

Recent events - possible revival?

Despite the setbacks incurred in the early Nineties, Babbar Khalsa is still active, although not to the extent it once was. The organisation at present is predominantly active in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium, Norway, Switzerland and Pakistan. Current leadership resides with Wadhawa Singh Babbar, with Mehal Singh Babbar as deputy Jathedar. Presumed headquarters are located in Lahore.

On 31 August 1995, Dilawar Singh Babbar assassinated Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh in a suicide bomb attack at the civil secretariat in Chandigarh.[1] Dilawar claimed allegiance to the Babbar Khalsa and four other members of the Babbar Khalsa were named responsible for the killing.

On 31 May 2005 two alleged members of the Babbar Khalsa, Balvinder Singh Babbar and Jaganath Yadav were arrested and charged with the bombings of cinemas showing Jo Bole So Nihal in New Delhi on 22 May 2005. On 1 June 2005 the Delhi Police seized arms and ammunition from the house of Jaspal Singh Babbar. The seized items included 1 kg of RDX, a timer, detonator, a .303 rifle, 20 rounds of ammunitions, the uniform of a head constable of the Punjab Police along with several fake driving licences.[2] The indian government has always maintained false refernces to the sikhs, they set up the Air India plane crash to bad name the Sikh religion. Also the cinema attacks have never been shown to be done by the Babbar Khalsa, the Indian Govt had planned this because the Beant Singh trial was going on and they wanted to bad mouth the Sikhs.

One week later the Delhi police arrested Babbar Khalsa's India operations chief Jagtar Singh Hawara Babbar. Hawara had escaped from jail in Chandigarh last year through a long tunnel dug by inmates. He is one those accused of having involvement in Beant Singh's assassination. Among the items recoverd in the arrest were 10.35 kg of RDX, four pistols, 207 live cartridges, remote control devices, and a hand grenade.[3] Hawara Zindabad!

As of 21 March, 2006, three Babbar Khalsa members had been arrested. Among the ones arrested was Paramjit Singh Bheora Babbar; the current head of Babbar Khalsa International (India branch). Bheora assumed the position of the Babbar Khalsa International (India branch) after Jagtar Singh Hawara Babbar's arrest. Bheora was arrested with his 2 acccomplices Jasbir Singh Babbar and Bhupinder Singh Babbar.

According to Delhi Police along with the arrest of 3 Babbar Khalsa members they arrested they have also seized "4 kilograms of RDX, 3 detonators, 1 remote control device with a wireless set, 1 timer, 3 Star make pistols, 39 cartridges and a stolen car. Bheora was involved with Jagtar Singh Hawara and Jagtar Singh Tara Babbar in digging a 100 foot tunnel to escape from the Burail jail. [4]

Ripudaman Singh Malik, once accused but now acquitted of the Air India bombing, admitted that he had donated money to the Babbar Khalsa. Malik said that he had donated 100 Canadian dollars to the Babbar Khalsa in 1985, before they were registered as a terrorist organization in Canada. [5]

Paramjit Singh Bheora told the Punjab police that after he escaped from prison he had recruited 24 people into the Babbar Khalsa. Bheora wanted to send 6 of them to Pakistan for training and to purchase some weapons. [6]

The Punjab Police arrested 4 more people associated with Babbar Khalsa International (India branch) chief Paramjit Singh Bheora. [7]

Punjab Police apprended Amanpreet Kaur, wife of Paramjit Singh Bheora along with 4 other suspected terrorists. The police recovered some weapons from them. [8]

Police arrested an aide to Jagtar Singh Hawara, known as Gurinder Singh Babbar in a town of Jagraon. Gurinder Singh charged by the Indian Police for planning to assassinate a retired army general who played a vital part in Operation Bluestar and for providing shelter to Hawara when he escaped from Burail prison.[9]

The Indian Police arrested Harpal Singh Cheema in New Delhi at the Indira Gandhi Airport. According to the Indian Police, Cheema has links to some Sikh extremist groups such as Babbar Khalsa International.[10]

The Canadian government decided to deport a member of the Babbar Khalsa, Bachan Singh Sogi Babbar, on charges of planning to assassinate former Chief Minister of Punjab Prakash Singh Badal along with his son Sukhbir Singh Badal, and former Punjab Police Chief KPS Gill. [11]

Indian Police will continue to hold the Babbar Khalsa militant Bachan Singh Sogi in their custody till July 13, 2006. Bachan Singh Sogi Babbar, who is considered number three in Babbar Khalsa International, after Wadhwa Singh Babbar and Mehal Singh Babbar. [12]

References

  1. ^ The Telegraph, Calcutta, India, "Beant trial trio in tunnel getaway" 22 January 2004
  2. ^ The Tribune, India, "2 Babbars held for Delhi cinema blasts" 31 May 2005
  3. ^ The Tribune, India, "Delhi blasts: Babbar Khalsa chief Hawara held" 8 June 2005
  4. ^ The Tribune, India, "Bheora, 2 other Babbars arrested" 21 March 2006
  5. ^ The Tribune, India, "Malik admits donating money to BKI" 30 March 2006
  6. ^ Express Newsline, India, "Bheora recruited 24 men after escaping" 01 April 2006
  7. ^ Outlook India, India, "Four associates of BKI militant Bheora arrested" 04 April 2006
  8. ^ India Monitor, UK, "Police nab five terrorists in Kapurthala" 04 April 2006
  9. ^ Express India, India, "Jagraon Police nets 'big fish': Hawara aide nabbed from bus stand" 28 April 2006
  10. ^ India Monitor, UK, "Terrorist nabbed at IGI Airport" 03 May 2006
  11. ^ Zee News, India, "Canada deports Babbar Khalsa militant" 03 July 2006
  12. ^ Zee News, India, "Police remand of Sogi extended till July 13" 10 July 2006
Khalistani Guerilla Groups
♣♣ Babbar Khalsa ♣♣ Khalistan Commando Force ♣♣ Bhindranwala Tigers Force of Khalistan ♣♣ Khalistan Zindabad Force ♣♣ Khalistan Liberation Force ♣♣