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Behla Carnage

Bhai Surjeet Singh
Day of June 8th is of high importance for the people of Taran Taaran. On this day in 1992 took place an historic encounter between the government police and Sikh freedom fighters. Although, news of police encounters with the Sikhs were published daily in which only Sikh lives were lost and police’s bravery was portrayed but Sikhs very well knew that such encounters were fake. They were well informed that the police arrested the Sikhs and then killed them in fake encounters. Visible scars and wounds on the bodies clearly showed that they had been tortured to death. At last, the “brave” police officials had the opportunity to have a real encounter with the real Sikh freedom fighters which showed just how brave the police were.

The real encounter between the Sikhs and the government police took place in village Behla, Taran Taaran. One of the residents of Behla was Bhai Surjeet Singh. He was a Lieutenant of Bhindranwala Tigers Force (BTF) and right hand man of Baba Gurbachan Singh Manochahal. He had built a bunker in an uninhabited house outside of the village and turned in into his residence. The police of Taran Taaran received a tip from a secret informer about the bunker of Bhai Surjeet Singh. Many police officers including SSP Ajit Sandhu, SP Khoobi Raam and many DSPs and inspectors took several policemen under their commands and left for Behla. Their intent was to obtain weapons from the bunker and thought that Bhai Surjeet Singh was not present there. Upon reaching Behla, the police surrounded the uninhabited house. The police officers sent few policemen inside on search and destroy mission and to find the bunker. After a while, the policemen returned unsuccessful. Then the police called the person who had built the bunker and asked him to pinpoint the location of the bunker. The person pointed at a wall that had a secret door to the bunker but the police failed to open it since it was locked from the inside. He then took the police officers on the roof of the bunker and told them to blow it up.

The House of Encounter
Now, the police was convinced that the bunker was locked from inside very securely so they became eager to blow up the roof to get into the bunker. They brought necessary tools and had some policemen start drilling a hole in the roof. When Bhai Surjeet Singh and two of his companions heard the sounds they instantly knew that it was the police. Without saying any words to each other they took up their arms and decided to fight back. Holding their guns, they opened the door from inside and opened fired at the police. Four policemen died at the spot and the reaming police officers dropped all of their two-way radios and ran up the stairs to the third floor. The police surrounding the house opened fire at the Sikh fighters and thus began the real encounter.

The bunker was on the second floor of the house and Bhai Sahib did not know that many of the police officers had run up to the third floor and there was no way out. The police surrounding the house wanted to confirm the safety of their officers so they started to send messages on the radios but the officers had dropped them on the second floor next to the bunker and could not receive any signal. However, Bhai Behla heard the message and decided to go up to the roof to punish all of the police officers who had played a major role in killing Sikhs in large numbers in Majha area. Bhai Sahib’s one companion had become shaheed soon after the firing started and the other was still alive. Bhai Sahib ordered him to stay put and cover for him while he went upstairs. Bhai Sahib tried to get to the third floor but the stairs were directly in target of the police so they opened heavy fires on the stairs. Police officers trapped on the top were really scared and were also firing on Bhai Sahib to stop him. For this reason Bhai Sahib could not get to the stairs. The officers later admitted that had he become successful in getting to the roof he would’ve killed all of the key figures of the police in Majha.

Innocents Sikhs who were Killed
In any case, after a while Bhai Sahib’s second companion also became Shaheed. According to the locals, there were only two real fighters and the third used to bring food and supplies to them. After both of his companions became Shaheed, he alone started to fight back. He held the police back for 36 hours which clearly shows his bravery and cowardice of the police. Bhai Sahib was surrounded from all sides and had no supply of food and water for as long as he fought. No policeman dared to step forward. They all stayed back and kept firing. After more than 36 hours had passed, the police was still unsuccessful. They had realized that the real encounter was not as easy as the fake one. So they came up with a notorious plan. They knew that Behla would not fire upon any innocents especially his locals. So they gathered all the villagers and used them as a shield. They also brought 3mm automatic machine guns, armored vehicles and grenades. The police forced the villagers to walk towards the house and they walked behind them to save themselves. In the meantime, they started throwing grenades and had armored vehicles break into the house. After some time, they became successful in killing the brave Sikh warrior by emptying their automatic machine guns in his chest. Only then the officers stuck on the roof came down.

Only two Sikhs fought the Indian police equipped with heavy artillery for 36 hours which was very shameful to the police. They took six villagers and shot them dead. They gave statements to the newspapers that nine Sikh fighters had been killed in an encounter. The villagers became enraged and exposed the true faces of the police. Since then, Human Rights Organizations have been trying to get justice for the victim families but so far they have been unsuccessful. The bravery of the true Sikhs showed that even today they are capable of repeating the history of their ancestors by fighting thousands.

Taken from Indian Terrorism on the land of Punjab by Baljit Singh Khalsa

Translated by SikhFreedom.com