Friday, March 9, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Kin of slain Babbar Khalsa chief shift abroad
Varinder Walia and Gurbaxpuri
Tribune News Service

Dassuwal (Amritsar), March 8
The very name of Sukhdev Singh Babbar, chief of Babbar Khalsa International, would strike terror in the minds of the people and the police in the eighties. However, after the killing of the longest surviving militant in the nineties, the situation changed drastically.

A major portion of the ancestral house of the Babbar Khalsa chief now stands demolished. The remaining dilapidated two-room set is locked. His family members have left their home and hearth for an ‘unknown place’, reportedly in a foreign country.

Dassuwal is also the ancestral village of Mehal Singh, elder brother of Sukhdev Singh and chief of the Babbar Khalsa, who has taken shelter in Pakistan. The third brother of the Babbar Khalsa chief is Angrej Singh, who is blind. He leads a pitiable life.

The 18-acre land belonging to the four brothers of the Babbar Khalsa chief is being ploughed by their nephew, Amarjit Singh. Earlier, after the killing of Sukhdev Singh Babbar, nobody tilled his share of land for several years.

Mr Malhar Singh, SHO, Valtoha, claimed that the families of both Sukhdev Singh and Mehal Singh had migrated to Canada. But Amarjit Singh, nephew of the slain militant, refused to give any information about their whereabouts. He said Jagjit Kaur, widow of Sukhdev Singh, and her children Tejinder Singh, Gajinder Singh and Amritbir Kaur had not returned from a pilgrimage to Takht Hazoor Sahib for the past five years.

The wives of Sukhdev Singh and Mehal Singh are sisters who belong to the adjoining villages of Ghariala.

Amarjit Singh, who leads a modest life along with his family in this village, said after the formation of the Badal government, the police had stopped conducting raids on their farmhouse. When a TNS team knocked at the door of Amarjit Singh, he was a little terrorised and asked whether everything was OK.

Interestingly, both Mehal Singh and Sukhdev Singh, who led a reign of terror in the state, had not committed a single crime in their own area. Mukhtiar Singh, nambardar of the village, and other villagers said all four brothers of Sukhdev Singh had never indulged in a duel with anybody in the village.

The entire family of Labh Singh, a self-styled general of the Khalistan Commando Force, alias Sukha Sipahi, who belonged to Panjwar village, has also migrated to a foreign land. The ancestral house of Sukha Sipahi, which remained abandoned for years after his killing at Tanda near Hoshiarpur, is occupied by his relatives.

The house was forcibly occupied by a migrant PSEB employee a few days after the killing of Sukha. It is now occupied by his cousin, Baljit Kaur.

The occupant claimed that the entire family of the slain militant had migrated to Canada. She said the father-in-law of Sukha lived in the abandoned house after his death for a while. However, he committed suicide by jumping himself before a train after he was ‘mercilessly’ beaten up by the police.

Villagers told the TNS team that Sukha was a constable in the Punjab Police. After coming close to Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, he deserted the police and joined the militant fold.

The village of Sukhdev Singh Babbar and Mehal Singh Babbar is only 4 km from the border. Panjwar, the village of two chiefs of the Khalistan Commando Force, is only 14 km from the border.

Sukhdev Singh Babbar could study up to the middle level. The villagers said the day of the Nirankari-Sikh clash (April 13, 1978) was also the day when his marriage was fixed. On this day, he took the pledge to take revenge on the Nirankaris.

However, the villagers said the “king-like” lifestyle of Sukhdev Singh Babbar, which came to the fore after his killing, had shocked his family members living in Dassuwal.

(To be concluded)

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