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Hindus Offered Sweets to Army after 1984 Holocaust, reveals Bhai Avtar Singh Khalsa
Hindus Offered Sweets to Army after 1984 Holocaust, reveals Bhai Avtar Singh Khalsa
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Hindus Offered Sweets to Army after 1984 Holocaust, reveals Bhai Avtar Singh Khalsa
Posted:
06 Jun 2018 03:13 AM PDTAMRITSAR SAHIB—Resident of village Varpal (near Tarn Taran), Bhai Avtar Singh Khalsa was a part of a courageous ‘jatha’ of 15 Sikhs who started moving towards Sri Harmandir Sahib when the Indian army started operation Bluestar to demolish supreme Sikh throne Sri Akal Takht Sahib. All of them succeeded in entering into the sanctum sanctorum amid heavy firing by Indian army and started battling against the Indian armed troops. 11 of them attained martyrdom while giving befitted reply to Indian army however 4 of them were arrested and Bhai Avtar Singh Khalsa was one of them.

He is an eye-witness of the inhumane carnage carried out by the Indian army. A translated version of his interview by Sikh intellectual S. Baljit Singh Khalsa is being presented here for our audience.   
Question
:
When did you get baptized?
Answer: Sant Kartar Singh Ji Khalsa, who was 13th head of the Damdami Taksal, often used to come to our village for preachment. Some of my nearby villagers were very close to Sant Kartar Singh Ji due to which I also got attracted towards Sikhism and became baptized in 1976. Later in 1977, I got married to Surinder Kaur who was daughter of a baptized family.
Question
:
How did you get closer to Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale?
Answer: After becoming head of Damdami Taksal, Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale came to our village and paid visit to our home also. After this, whenever Sant Ji would come in Tarn Taran area we used to convey milk to his Jatha.
Question
:
What did you seen in episode of Saka-1978?
Answer: On April 13, 1978, I along with my wife had gone to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Beerh Sahib (Jhabal) and we got apprised of the tragedy while coming back to home. After some days, Sant Ji called a gathering at Gurdwara Sri Manji Sahib (situated in Sri Harmandir Sahib Complex) to close the Nirankari Bhawan in the holy city. I also reached there along with other villagers but the Nirankari Bhawan was closed by the Police and locks were shown to Punj Piares.
Question
:
Any other memorable incident?
Answer: Sant Ji was brought to Sri Harmandir Sahib in the form of a procession after his release from Ferozepur jail in 1981. We, 10-12 Singhs from village Varpal, were also a part of this procession. And when Dharam Yudh Morcha was started, we 51 Sikhs staged sit-in-strike in front of Deputy Commissioner’s office but were not arrested.
Passion to work for the high spirit of Sikhism was so dominant on us that we would not care about our work and would keep on waiting for call from Sant Ji. 
Question
:
When did you start living permanently with Sant Ji?
Answer: I didn’t live permanently with Sant Ji but used to meet him frequently. Every Friday, we had to convey milk to the Jatha. Out of the total 40-50 litres of milk, Sant Ji would keep 4-5 litres for the Jatha and sent the rest to Guru Ram Dass langar.
Question
:
Where were you when the Indian army commenced attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib?
Answer
: During the start of June-1984 holocaust, we were in our village but our 2-3 nearby including my nephew Bhai Desa Singh and Bhai Dalbir Singh Billa Varpal were inside the sanctum sanctorum. Following the 7 hours long firing by the CRPF on June 1, three Singhs including Bhai Desa Singh, Bhai Dalbir Singh Billa Varpal and Bhai Sukhdev Singh Dhotian came out and killed 4 Hindus who used to speak against Sikhs.
Question
:
Did you meet trio of them?
Answer
: No, they committed action on June 3 and on the same day we went to meet Sant Ji. I along with Bhai Shinda Singh and Bhai Karam Singh had gone there to get nod from Sant Ji to permanently move to Sri Harmandir Sahib for battling against Indian army.
Question
:
Did you meet Sant Ji there?
Answer
: No, Sant Ji was quite busy on that day so we met Bhai Amrik Singh Ji. We told him wish of our companions and he permitted us to come there with caution of not taking situation lightly. “You can come but not like attending a festival as all of you might get martyred here” Bhai Amrik Singh told us.
Question
:
After this, how many of you got ready to reach Sri Harmandir Sahib?
Answer
: At that time, neither we were able to make any public announcement nor we could hold any meeting as the intelligence was quite active. But still, we were able to contact each other using informal communication. Some of us had already told their family members not to wait for them like Shaheed Bhai Dilbag Singh. He had attained martyrdom inside Sri Harmandir Sahib during June-1984 holocaust.
Question
:
How many of you departed for Sri Harmandir Sahib?
Answer
: 15 including me from our village departed for Sri Harmandir Sahib under the leadership of Jathedar Shinda Singh. 11 out of us attained martyrdom while we 4 were arrested alive.
Question
:
How did you reach Sri Harmandir Sahib as the curfew was imposed on all over the Punjab?
Answer
: Firstly, we reached up to Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj Sahib on a Tonga and all of us were carrying 3 feet ‘Kirpans’ (Swords). Then, we placed milk drums on our heads and started moving towards Sri Harmandir Sahib while enchanting the name of almighty lord.
On the way leading to Sri Harmandir Sahib from Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj, an army man sitting on a post with machine gun stopped us and we got entangled in arguments with him. He said that he has been ordered to shoot down anyone who dares to cross his post.
After this, we resolved to sit inside Gurdwara Sri Bibeksar Sahib as we didn’t want to waste our lives by entangling in a minute clash. Later, 5-7 Singhs belonging to ‘Kaar Sewa’   including Bhai Ravel Singh and Bhai Inder Singh came there and they were also willing to go inside Sri Harmandir Sahib. One of them named Chatar Singh Fauji was carrying a riffle.
Firstly, we decided to attack Army men outside but later we started plan to attack post of CRPF in Chatiwind.
Question
:
Then, did you attack the CRPF post?
Answer
: No, Bhai Chatar Singh Fauji refused to do so by arguing that he was the only one with riffle and all of us were carrying only swords. He asked us that you can’t compete with CRPF with swords.
While we were chalking plans to move inside Sri Harmandir Sahib, curfew was lifted for two hours to allow Sikh pilgrims inside Sri Harmandir Sahib to come outside. Taking advantage of this, we succeeded in moving into Sri Harmandir Sahib Complex and asked Bhai Amrik Singh to fix our duties.
Question
:
Then, where were you delpoyed?
Answer
: Singhs inside Sri Harmandir Sahib had got information that the Army will attack after 10 pm in the night (June 3). Then, I along with Bhai Satkartar Singh, Bhai Balwinder Singh, Bhai Amarjit Singh and two trained Singhs were deployed on Flowers stall situated on the way leading to Sri Harmandir Sahib from Gurdwara Manji Sahib. We were instructed not to let army men enter into Sri Harmandir Sahib at any cost. We kept on giving duty during whole night but the Army didn’t attack in the night of June 3.
Question
: Where were you when the Army attacked?
Answer
: At the crack of dawn on June 4, the Army fired first shell on Sri Akal Takht Sahib at 04:45 and opened firing. Then, Bhai Amrik Singh and General Subeg Singh changed our duty to inside Sri Harmandir Sahib’s periphery on the side of Jhootha bazaar.
There was a three storey building on that side. General Subeg Singh told us that the Army might try to create post in that building. He directed us use Hand Grenades as soon as the Army arrives there. But no army men came on that side and we remain deployed there till evening of June 5.  
Question
:
After this, where did you go?
Answer
: After this, we went to meet Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale at Sri Akal Takht Sahib amid immense firing. Sant Ji was sitting on the back side of Sri Akal Takht Sahib. Former Head Granthi of Sri Harmandir Sahib Giani Puran Singh was also sitting there. Electricity and water supply was already cut down by the Army and everyone was standing in front of death.
There was an option for the Singhs deployed at Sri Akal Takht Sahib to run through Atta Mandi and Jhootha Bazaar but still the Singhs were actively battling to attain martyrdom. 
Question
:
What did you watch there?
Answer
: At that time, everyone was coming to get arms & ammunition and Sant Ji was availing it to them. Sant Ji was also strictly instructing them to fire bullets only if the enemy is in range. Sant Ji gave 303 riffles to many Singhs along with 100 bullets in front of us. Singhs belonging to Babbar Khalsa also got two tins of bullets from Sant Ji.
Question
:
Then, where did you get deploy?
Answer
: We spent around 45 minutes there and then we were deployed on the red coloured entrance gate situated on the right side of Sri Akal Takht Sahib.
Question
:
At the same place where Bhai Jarnail Singh Booh was deployed?
Answer
: No, he might be on the post on upper floor but we were in ground floor where receipts for ‘Karah Prasad’ are cut. We were 28-29 Singhs there under the leadership of Bhai Gopal Singh Mehta.
Question
:
When did the Army succeed in entering into Sri Harmandir Sahib?
Answer
: Army was trying to enter into Sri Harmandir Sahib from the very first but the Sikh fighters didn’t let even one of them go back alive. On the night of June 5, the tanks invaded to Sri Harmandir Sahib and caused martyrdom of many Singhs. War was at peak at this time and our leader Jathedar Shinda Singh kept on serving ‘langar’ at various posts during this situation.
Question
:
For how much time, you remained deployed at your post?
Answer
: We remained deployed till 4 pm of June 6. The Indian army had thrown poisonous gas shells into our posts due to which our eyes had become reddish. General Subeg Singh had earlier taught us to keep water and cloth to be used in this situation and it really helped us in remaining deployed inside our posts.
Firstly, Bhai Satkartar Singh got injured as bullet got injected inside his spinal cord and he succumbed after some time. A bullet also hit my knee and I remained lying there in injuring situation. 6 Singhs of our village attained martyrdom inside our post.
Question
:
How did you get arrested?
Answer
: Firstly, the Indian army made an arrogant announcement that it has won the war and those who are left behind could save their lives by surrendering. In reply, the Sikh fighters again opened firing.
Later at 4 pm on June 6, the Indian army once again made an announcement that those who will surrender won’t be killed. After this, two of my companions thought of saving me by surrendering before the Indian army. As soon as we surrendered, the army started thrashing us with butts of their riffles and brought us to periphery on Atta Mandi side. A lot of other arrested Sikhs and children were also kept there and the Indian army was committing atrocities on them.   
Question
:
How were you treated by the Indian army?
Answer
: The Indian army was fully humiliating us and they were going to kill us by rolling tank on us but a Muslim Army officer barred them from doing so. Although, they didn’t kill us but they did everything to humiliate us. If anyone would ask for water, they would thrash him / her and at last we started licking our own sweat to quench our thirst. Later, the Indian army men started a new game to humiliate us. Whenever a Sikh would ask for water, one of them would bring water in the cap of tank’s mouth and place it before the mouth of thirsty Sikh. As soon as the thirsty Sikh moves his mouth to drink water the other army man would kick away on water carrying cap.
Question
:
For how much time you were kept in periphery?
Answer
: We remained in the periphery from June 6’s evening to evening hours of June 7. On June 7, some local Hindus entered into the periphery while dancing along with shoes. They had brought eatables for the Army men along with Cigarettes. We lost tamper when they started offering cigarettes to us and we got ready to teach them lesson. Watching our movement, the army men got alerted and sent the Hindus back.
Question
: On June 7,
where did they bring you?
Answer
: They brought us to an army camp in village Mahal (backside of Guru Nanak Dev University). In army camp, we were given inhumane treatment and my condition got so worsened that the army had to hospitalize me.      

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