Beant Singh

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Beant Singh, son of Mr. Sucha Singh, a resident of village of Maloa in the district of Ropar, Punjab, India was one of the two assasins of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Him and Mr. Satwant Singh had assassinated Gandhi to take revenge of Indian Army attack on Sikhism's most significant place of worship Golden Temple, highest Sikh temporal seat Akal Takhat, killings of hundereds of civilians in this army attack and killings of Sikhs in the countryside afterwards.

On 1 June 1984, on the orders of Indira Gandhi, the Indian Army attacked Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and other Sikhs at the Sri Harmandir Sahib complex, in an attack called Operation Blue Star. Several historical buildings in the Harmandir Sahib complex suffered huge damage including Harmandir Sahib itself. Hundereds of civilians lost their lives during this army attack. Several other Sikh Gurudwaras were also attacked similtaneously. Indian army even burnt the historical Sikh reference Library afterwards. These events caused outrage amongst the Sikh community, which claimed that the attacks were pre-planned and that anti-Sikh violence which followed was government orchestrated. Beant Singh and Satwant Singh were the bodyguards of Indira Gandhi, yet on 31 October 1984 they assassinated her in her garden.

Baptism and revenge of Indian army attack on Golden Temple

The June 1984 Indian Army attack on Golden Temple, Amritsar left a deep mark in the thinking of Beant Singh and Satwant Singh as well. On 24th October 1984, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, both part of the Indian elite forces, who served as bodyguards for the Prime-minister, took Sikh Baptism (Amrit) at a Gurdwara in Delhi. Neither of them were particularly knowledgeable on Gurbani by that time, but Operation Blue Star and the legend of Sukha Singh and Mehtab Singh (who took revenge of one of the previous attacks on Golden Temple) were foremost in their mind. This is what led them to take Amrit.

Mr. Satwant Singh always worked in the late shifts and Mr. Beant Singh worked in the early morning shifts in prime minister's security. On 31st October, Satwant Singh faked a stomach bug, and swapped duties with another guard so that they could work together to execute their plan. And in the same morning, i.e. at 9am of 31st October, 1984 as Indira Gandhi walked from her house to her office at Safardajung Road, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh assassinated her by firing thirty three bullets into her chest and abdomen. Initially Beant Singh drew a .38 revolver and fired three shots into Indira Gandhi's abdomen. As she fell to the ground, Satwant Singh fired all 30 rounds from his Sten automatic weapon into her body[1][2]. They both shouted Sikh religious slogan of "Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal!!" during assasination.

They placed their weapons on the floor afterwards while saying "We have done what we needed to, now you can do what you have to." They were arrested and taken to a room where Indian commandos started swearing at them. Not tolerating this, Mr. Satwant Singh slapped a commando and a struggle ensued in which Satwant singh grabbed the commando's handgun, other commandos started fire. Mr. Beant Singh died there from the gunshot wounds sustained in the room while Mr. Satwant Singh was seriously injured and was taken to a hospital on the arrival of a senior security officer.

Satwant Singh was later sentenced to death, along with Kehar Singh the uncle of Beant Singh who had given counsel to his nephew.

Beant Singh's family

Beant Singh's act generated a sympathy wave for his immediate family in the Sikhs[3], resulting in their winning two Lok Sabha seats from state of Punjab[4]. The Lok Sabha is a directly elected 552 member lower house of the Parliament of India. Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was also an elected member of the same house.

After his death, his wife Bimal Kaur Khalsa initially joined Sikh militants[5], prior to her election as member of Lok Sabha from Ropar (Lok Sabha constituency).

His father Mr. Sucha Singh was elected member of Lok Sabha from Bathinda (Lok Sabha constituency)[4].

Beant Singh's son's name is Sarabjeet Singh Khalsa, who was only five year old when Beant Singh killed Indira Gandhi and subsequently died.[6][7]

Honours and death anniversaries

On January 6 2008 the highest Sikh temporal seat (Akal Takhat, Amritsar) declared Beant Singh and other assassins of former prime minister Indira Gandhi martyrs of Sikhism[8][9][10][11]

His death anniversary is celebrated every year inside Golden Temple Complex[12]

In the year 2003, a Bhog ceremony was held at Akal Takhat, Amritsar where tributes were paid to Indira’s assassins[13]

In the year 2004, a demand was raised by a political party that Akal Takhat should observe death anniversaries of Beant Singh.[14]

In the year 2007, his death anniversary was observed in various parts of Punjab and other countries.[15]

In the year 2008, SGPC also called them "martyrs of Sikh nation".[16] Shiromani Akali Dal observed their death anniversary as 'martyrdom' on October 31 2008[17]


External Sources

  • 1.
  • 2. The New York Times / PROTESTS FOLLOW HANGING OF 2 SIKHS, S. Hazarika, January 7, 1989
  • 3. Panthic News

Coincidently, Beant Singh is also the name of a former Chief Minister, of an Indian State of Punjab, who was assassinated.