Thursday, April 12, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Police arrests Zaffarwal
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The curtain finally rung down on the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) chief Wassan Singh Zaffarwal's case with his arrest by the Majitha police late this evening. One of the most wanted persons in connection with militancy in Punjab, he was involved in more than a dozen cases, including those of murder and attempt to murder.

Wassan Singh Zaffarwal has been one of the most dreaded Sikh militant and was declared a proclaimed offender in at least half a dozen cases, including a few in Dasuya, Amritsar and Batala police districts.

The Tribune was the first newspaper to report his presence and his intention to surrender before the Punjab Police.

When contacted, the Director-General of Police, Mr Sarabjit Singh, confirmed that Wassan Singh Zaffarwal was arrested from Amritsar bus stand by the Majitha police at about 6 p.m.

Born in a poor farmer's family of Zaffarwal village in Gurdaspur district, Wassan Singh, a school dropout, started as a class IV employee in Dhariwal Mills. Being a baptised Sikh, he used to undertake recitation of Gurbani during ‘akhand paths’. Later, he joined Damdami Taksal and became a follower of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

He was a member of the Panthic Committee headed by Gurbachan Singh Manochahal. Later, he developed differences with Gurbachan Singh Manochahal and formed his own Panthic Committee. He also floated Khalistan Commando Force and was responsible for many militancy-related incidents not only in Punjab but also in Rajasthan, Gujarat and other parts of North India.

Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, who pronounced Khalistan from Akal Takht on April 29, 1986, was declared a proclaimed offender in a number of cases as he moved to Pakistan after the declaration. He continued to coordinate the activities of KCF(Zaffarwal) men from Pakistan and used to sneak into India but mostly stayed in Pakistan before managing to go to Europe.

In 1995 he moved to Switzerland and was reportedly running a hotel near Zurich. Married to Darshan Kaur, he has a college-going daughter and a teenaged son. Besides, he has three brothers and two sisters.

Some weeks back he reportedly moved back to India and was being persuaded by some of his close contacts, including those in the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal , to surrender.

With a long flowing beard, he did not change either his dress or lifestyle even while living in Switzerland. His arrest this evening brings to an end his career in militancy spanning over almost two decades Born in 1952, he was married sometime in 1979-80.

His father Surjit Singh, an ardent Akali, owns a couple of acres of land in Zaffarwal village while two of his brothers are working as drivers and third one worked in a sugar mill. One of his sisters is married in Langah village.

He was arrested twice for interrogation in 1980 as a follower of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, to whom he was introduced by Baba Swaran Singh of his village. Though he was baptised earlier also but he also took ‘amrit’ from Damdami Taksal. After Operation Bluestar, he left his job and joined militancy.


Pak-based ultras not to surrender
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Nankana Sahib, April 11
Pakistan-based militants while criticising the proposed move of Wassan Singh Jaffarwal, chief of the Khalistan Commando Force, to surrender, have announced that they would prefer to die as “rebels” than surrender before the security forces.

However, Mr Gajinder Singh, Chairman of the Dal Khalsa International, while talking to TNS said his faction was against the cult of violence and would launch a peaceful mass movement to win the hearts of people. He said the Dal Khalsa might contest the general election of the SGPC, due next year.

He discussed at length the “gains and losses” of the violent movement in the past. He indicated that the Dal Khalsa would continue to fight for achieving the goal of Khalistan through peaceful and democratic means.

On Zaffarwal, he said if he surrendered, it would be great betrayal to the Sikh “martyrs” and the Panth. Quoting from his poetry, Mr Gajinder Singh said he had learnt how to fight from the “womb of mother”.

Unfolding the plans of the Dal Khalsa, Mr Gajinder Singh expressed hope that it (Dal Khalsa) would gain political mileage as the mass base of Mr Badal’s Akali Dal and the Congress was eroding fast.

He claimed that the “third front” had no future in Punjab. To a question, he said he might go to India, but would not surrender. Any proposal like general amnesty etc was not acceptable to him.

Mr Balbir Singh Nijhar, a Canada-based Babbar Khalsa International member and Mr Surinder Singh Sekhon, Germany-based Dal Khalsa’s vice-president have also rejected the offer of the Badal Government of surrender.

The literature, distributed by the Khalistan Zindabad Force, the International Sikh Youth Federation etc reiterated the call for a separate Sikh state.

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