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Massacre of Jatana Family

Bhai Balwinder Singh Jatana
Bhai Balwinder Singh Jatana was only 25 when he left his family to join the Sikh freedom struggle. From 1987 to 1991 he was very active in his area and had many encounters with the local police. He was so well respected in the area that even Hindus looked up to him for protection and came to him to resolve their matters. Many times, the Indian police had arrested his family members numerous times in order to force him to surrender but it was all in vain. Bhai Sahib had strong determination and never gave up.

The police had tried everything possible to capture Bhai Sahib and was running out of ideas. At last, time of opportunity came to them. S.S.P. Sumedh Saini’s, a brutal cop, car was blown up by Sikh fighters in which Sumedh Saini severely became injured and was hospitalized. Police Cat Ajit Phoola met Sumedh Saini at the hospital and a long meeting was held. It is not known what was discussed in the meeting but the outcome became apparent when Phoola announced to the reporters that attack on Sumedh Saini will be avenged. Police quickly held Bhai Balwinder Singh responsible for the incident and set out to “seek revenge”.

Dwarki Kaur
Jasmair KaurJasmair Kaur
On the night of 30th August, 1991, Phoola and his group along with the local police went to the house of Bhai Jatana. At this time there were four family members of Bhai Jatana present: Grandmother Dwarkee Kaur (80 years), Aunt Jasmair Kaur (40 years), Cousin Manpreet Kaur (13 years) and Nephew Simranjeet Singh (5 years).

When the police entered the house all four members were sleeping. Without further due, the police fired upon everyone and killed them while sleeping. A young child of 5 years old was not spared and was shot dead also.

Next day, police sent a team in disguise to investigate if the local villagers knew anything about the perpetrators. One member asked a local villager, “How many were killed?” The villager  replied, “Four”. The member shockingly said, “But there were supposed to be five.” The villager did not understand the implication behind the statement but it was revealed by other villagers later that some policemen had come to the village to find out how many family members of Bhai Jatana were present in the house so that a killing squad could be sent at night.

Manpreet KaurManpreet Kaur
Simranjit Singh
When the police came there were five people in the house. During the turmoil times it was custom to have some members of the family sleep elsewhere. This is why the fifth member, Harpreet Singh, nephew of Bhai Sahib slept at neighbor’s house and thus escaped death. It was a clear sign of police brutality against innocent people of Punjab. The police was unable to capture Bhai Sahib so they decided to go after the family and collect money from the government as a reward.

When Bhai Sahib found out about the death of his family members, he kept calm and said, “Their plan is to divert us from the path of freedom. They kill our families and expect us to kill innocent people (Hindus) in return. Sikhs do not kill anyone out of anger. We will be harming the movement by resorting to police’s actions.” The police knew that Bhai Sahib would come after the killers so they spent night and day looking for him. Raiding multiple places in a day became a common routine for the police. At last, someone in the group betrayed Bhai Sahib and gave his whereabouts to police. When police surrounded him, his companion Bhai Charanjeet Singh was also with him. Both had little to no ammunition at the time so they decided to end their lives by taking a cyanide capsule. No action was taken against the police for killing innocent people. Many like Phoola were rewarded with large sum of money. It was only after the death of Bhai Sahib that the police could sleep peacefully but their terror and oppression continued to haunt the lives of people of Punjab.

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

Translated by SikhFreedom.com