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Keval and Pappi

Many of the Cats were hired by the police for the sole purpose of maligning the Sikh movement. In the area of Batala two infamous Cats were Keval and his brother Pappi. Due to their criminal and immoral activities their names were known by men, women and children. Keval and Pappi were residents of village Jangla. Their mother died right after giving birth to Keval and their father married another woman. They went to school up to fifth grade. Due to their misbehavior they were kicked out of the school.

By the time they reached the age of adulthood, the Sikh freedom movement had begun in Punjab. Seeing the power of the Sikhs and support of public to the Sikh fighters, Keval joined Damdami Taksal and later on became close to Bhai Sukhwinder Singh Gora and his group. Soon after he realized that their behavior and activities were much different than that of his own and did not suit his character. So he turned to the police and was soon hired by S.S.P. Sukhdev Brar as a Cat along with his brother Pappi. They were total five brothers but only Keval and Pappi became the Cats. They were stationed in the area of Batala and their job was to malign the image of the movement, get close to the Sikh fighters, earn their trust, and then kill them.

Bhai Sukhwinder Singh Gora and his group soon found out about the activities of Keval and Pappi and decided to punish them. Keval and Pappi found out about their fate decided by Bhai Sukhwinder Singh and soon left his group. Then they decided to become close to other freedom groups in which they achieved little success but due to their misdeeds and criminal activities the public started to despise them and soon they became the main targets of Sikh freedom fighters. Forcing people to work for them for free and then killing them had become their habit. One time, a person refused to work for them which awakened the Satan inside them. They made him run for quite a long time. He begged for his life and kept asking for his crime but they shot him dead while he was running. He was a poor person and the only one supporting his family with food and shelter.

Clash with Sikh Fighters

Their activities gave them more and more courage to commit further crimes. They started to tie all the men of a household and dishonor their women in front of them. In 1990, Bhai Dharam Singh Kashtival’s group found out about their heinous activities against the public and decided to punish them. Bhai Dharam Singh and his companions captured both Keval and Pappi and tied their hands behind their backs. Both of the criminals started begging for their lives and taking oaths to become better civilians. Bhai Dharam Singh took them to a Gurdwara Sahib and asked them to give him their word in the presence of Guru Sahib that they would stop harassing the public. Both gave their promise and they were let go but after a while they returned back on their path and continued their crime.

Bhai Kashtival’s group once again started planning to punish them. When Keval found out, he wrote a letter to Bhai Sahib saying that Bhai Sahib was mistaken about him and his brother. He invited Bhai Sahib to sit down and talk with him to clear any misunderstanding. He picked a place and informed the police to surround the area. Bhai Sahib did not trust Keval and using his intuitive leadership skills, divided his men into four groups and instructed them to take positions in different directions. Bhai Sahib took a few men along and met Keval at the chosen place. Keval failed to answer any of Bhai Sahib’s questions and could not justify his acts. Bhai Sahib captured Keval and tied his arms behind his back. His companions suggested that both brothers should be killed together and killing only one would not benefit anyone. Keval and Pappi both had the policy of staying and working at different places so they would never be captured together. Keval quickly thought of a conspiracy and told Bhai Sahib that he had buried some weapons at a place of which only he knew the whereabouts. Bhai Sahib told him to take them to that place. Keval led Bhai Sahib and his men to the area that was surrounded by the police. He signaled the police to start firing and quickly fell on the ground. The police started shooting at the Sikh fighters as soon as they received the signal from Keval. One Sikh was seriously injured but the rest took their positions and started firing back. Hearing the sounds of bullet firing other groups of Bhai Sahib showed up at the place of encounter and started firing at the police. The Indian military tried to identify the Sikhs and their positions but Sikh fighters cleverly escaped through the fields and managed to get away. Once again, Keval saved his life the second time.

Subsequently, he decided to get back at Bhai Dharam Singh. He chose the house of Bhai Geja Singh, companion of Bhai Dharam Singh, and broke into the house in the middle of the night. At that time there were only brother and mother of Bhai Geja Singh. First he insulted both of them and then killed the brother. Seeing the death of her young son the mother started to cry. Keval started to do Bhangra and said to the crying mother by grabbing her hands, “Don’t cry old woman. Start dancing with me.” After this incident Keval and Pappi started to target families of Sikh freedom fighters. They would keep the police with them every time they broke into anyone’s house. They would torture the men and rape women. No one could stop them. They had so much authority that they considered many of the police officials their servants. For this reason many of the police officials started hating Keval and Pappi. One time D.S.P. Ajaib Sinh greatly insulted Keval by blackening his face and wondering him around the area. The D.S.P. was not only yelled at by S.S.P but his promotion was also withheld.

Activities and Support of the Indian Government

The Indian government fully supported them even after the decline of the Sikh movement. In 1999, a rich Punjabi went to Punjab from a foreign country to arrange the marriage of his son. He invited Keval and Pappi to the wedding and told them all about his successful business. Realizing how much money he had, they raided his house the next day and looted thousands of dollars and gold. The police investigated the case and found Keval and Pappi to be guilty and arrested both of them. Everyone thought they wouldn’t be released for a long time now but after a few days they were let free by the government and all charges were dropped.

Another time, Pappi went to visit his relatives in Beas. His relatives did not get along well with their neighbors. They told this to Pappi who pointed his AK-47 towards the house of their neighbors and emptied his cartridge. After Pappi left, the neighbors called the police and showed them the empty rounds. The police investigated this case and raided the resident of Keval and Pappi. The police confiscated many weapons and arrested both of them. Once again, people of the area thought that the police will not release them but with the help of the government both came out after a few days and all charges were dropped.  In the year of 2000, both were arrested in a charge of printing fake money in Amritsar. This time people were sure that they would not be released but the high government officials released them after a few days.

After a while, Keval and Pappi got involved in a dispute with a rich Gill family of their local village. They tried to take over the property of the rich family by force but they retaliated. Then Keval kidnapped his own brother, Harpala, and his servant and blamed it on the Gill family. The police arrested 11 members of the family. While investigating the case the police realized that the family members were innocent but disappearance of Harpala and his servant remained a mystery. In the year of 2002, Harpala cleverly escaped from Keval’s place and revealed the truth to the police. He told the police that it was in fact his own brother who had kidnapped him and his servant who was separated from him two months ago. Once again the police arrested Keval and Pappi but the government let them go free. Whereabouts of the servant are unknown till this day. According to the locals, Keval killed the servant and buried the body at an unknown place.

Last Crime and their End

Keval and Pappi were also involved in murdering people for money. Dr. Avtar Singh, resident of Batala had some dispute with his in-laws and accidentally killed one of the members of his in-laws. The police arrested many of his family members. According to Avtar Singh, his in-laws hired Keval to avenge the death of their family member. Keval and his group kidnapped Avtar Singh who offered large amount of money to save his life. He even asked Harjeet Singh, principal of his school, to take some money to Keval’s house. According to Harjeet Singh, Keval was telling his wife that this time he had captured a rich man and there will be no shortage of money for his daughter’s wedding now. Later on, Keval kidnapped Harjeet Singh also and kept him along with Avtar Singh. They were moved to a new place every morning. Usually either Keval or Pappi would stay behind to guard the place but coincidentally one time both of them had to go and left one of the group members Mohan Singh Fauji behind. Fauji used to wake up early in the morning to say his religious prayers. He seemed like an honest person to Avtar and Herjeet Singh. They asked him why they had been kept like this for weeks now. In reply the Fauji said, “You owe Keval 3 million rupees. Either give the money back or send them to a foreign country like you promised them.” Both Avtar and Harjeet were shocked to hear this. They told their side of the story and convinced Fauji that neither they had any travel agency nor did they owe any money to Keval. On the contrary Keval owed them 30 thousands rupees.

After this conversation Fauji started to observe the behavior and activities of Keval and Pappi more carefully. He observed that Keval would force Harjeet to call the house of Avtar Singh to tell his family members that he needed money to pay the bail for their arrested family members. He was threatened not to say anything more than he was told. Fauji realized that Keval and Pappi were keeping secrets from everyone and more likely they had made plans to kill everyone after getting the money. So Fauji talked to his other companions and they all decided to kill Keval and Pappi. On the day of November 28th, Fauji and his companions had to go meet Keval and one of their members had to stay back with Pappi to keep an eye on Avtar and Harjeet. Upon leaving they told Avtar and Harjeet to attack Pappi with the help of one of the guards who was left behind. In the afternoon Pappi’s phone conversation with Keval got cut off. After numerous unsuccessful attempts he became worried. Avtaar Singh sensed that Fauji had killed Keval.

In the evening, Fauji and his companions returned to Pappi and brought dinner for him. They prepared the food and gave one plate to Pappi. Due to his untruthful nature he gave the dinner to Avtaar Singh. Avtaar Singh took some bites out of the food and asked Pappi to bring him some water. While Pappi went to get water, Fauji filled up his rifle. Seeing Fauji with his rifle, Pappi tried to snatch it from him but it was all in vain. In the meantime, other companions of Fauji entered the room and shot Pappi with their rifles. Then they took out dead body of Keval which they had brought with them in a bag. He had been stabbed to death. After eating dinner, they threw Keval’s body in the river and buried Pappi’s body in the fields. Two Cats who had always been under the protection of the government were finally punished by their own members. It is said by the locals that Mohan Singh Fauji used to be an active member of the Sikh movement who joined the group of Keval and Pappi to punish them for their criminal activities. Their death was good news to everyone in the village and ended the oppression and injustice of the government sponsored Cats.

Keval’s dead body was discovered by the police after a couple of days and Pappi’s body was found in the fields. Both dead bodies had been rotted and were shown to the villagers. Their murderers were arrested and are still in jail. Because of their crimes and oppression, people fear that Keval and Pappi would come out of their graves alive just like they used to come out of the jail. Even today fear spread by the government and its Cats can be seen in the eyes of people.

Source: Indian Terrorism on the land of Punjab by Baljit Singh Khalsa

Translated by Sikh Freedom