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Santokh Kala

In order to suppress the Sikh freedom movement in Punjab the Indian government had granted unlimited powers to its nefarious police forces. Using these powers SSP Izhaar Alam established his rogue groups, widely known as Black Cats, which he named “Alam Sena”. Later on he changed the name to “Panthic Tiger Force”.

It is not known how many goons were enlisted in the despicable groups but the name Santokh Kala was mentioned the most in the newspapers. Before the year of 1984 he used to be a thug and mostly stayed in the company of robbers. During the time of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji he started to go to Darbar Sahib and established his relations with many Sikhs. After Operation Blue Star he spent some time with freedom fighters of ‘Bhindrawala Tiger Force’. When he was arrested the police checked his background and came to know that he was a characterless person. S.S.P Alam bribed him and convinced him to join his group, Alam Sena.

Kala had known many of the freedom fighters very well. For this reason Alam gave him some weapons, a car with black windows and appointed him the leader of one of the groups of 25. He was stationed near the areas of Darbar Sahib. Kala and his goons would keep an eye on all four entrance doors of Darbar Sahib and whenever any Sikh fighter was spotted he was captured and taken to Maal Mandi police station of Amritsar which was known as a slaughter house. If anyone resisted he was shot dead and his body was presented to Alam as a gift.

Due to unlimited powers given to Kala and his goons, they feared no one in the police. They became so indulged in their powers that they started making plans of forcibly taking over Gurdwara Baba Deep Singh Ji and Darbar Sahib. He killed most of the Granthis of Gurdwara Baba Deep Singh one by one. Bhai Nirvair Singh was shot dead inside the Gurdwara Sahib. This case was widely publicized by the newspapers. After Kala succeeded in taking over one Gurdwara Sahib he preceded towards Darbar Sahib. This was few months before Operation Black Thunder. Since Sikh freedom fighters had control over Darbar Sahib, Kala was unable to do anything. With the help of the police he started to get on top of the buildings near Darbar Sahib and challenge Sikh fighters on loud speakers. He made insulting comments about Sikhs and cursed at them. In return, Sikh fighters fired a few shots and injured D.I.G Virk. This gave the government an excuse to attack Darbar Sahib once again which was called Operation Black Thunder.

The operation enraged the Sikh masses and Kala was forced to leave all the Gurdwaras he had taken over by force. After a while, Kala started appearing in the news and gave many interviews to Washington Times and Sunday News. Later on, Washington Times published his interview part of which is as follows:

One secret group of criminals is stationed in Amritsar area to kill those who demand an independent state. According to the members of this group they are fully supported by the police. Some of the members equipped with weapons have been seen walking in the police stations and talking to some of the high government officials. The leader of this group is known as Santokh Kala. Kala revealed to us that he has helped the police in capturing many of the famous Khalistanis. In his own words he told us “We are a group of about 25. We wonder around in the streets in our government issued cars and wherever we see a Khalistani we kill him on the spot. We are ordered to capture them alive otherwise kill them. I have so far killed about 50 Sikh fighters.” He also showed us a card which he called a permit. On the permit it was written “This permit belongs to Santokh Kala. He is working for 25th Battalion of C.R.P. in Amritsar.” On the permit the stamp of 25th Battalion was visible in purple color. (Washington Times, 5 April 1988)

Sunday News also published an article on Kala.

Kala told us, “Whenever we break the law we inform the police officers so they don’t file any case against us. According to him one police officer told Kala and his goons, “We are in the middle of a war. Sometimes you will have to make decisions that are not moral or according to the law but without such decisions terrorism cannot be eliminated.” Kala also told us that the Indian government and the Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi were fully aware of the situation and activities of Black Cats. (Sunday News, 1988)

These groups had the freedom to loot the public and rape women. Enjoying these rights Kala robbed many banks. After the government officials found out the truth they told Kala to stop robbing banks but he was free to loot the Sikh masses in the villages. When Alam was transferred to Jalandhar he moved all of his criminal groups with him. After being promoted to D.I.G he moved back to Amritsar but he was unable to get any help from Kala. On the day Alam moved to Amritsar, Bhai Baljinder Singh and companions of Bhai Sukhdev Singh and Bhai Harjinder Singh (Sukha-Jindha) shot Kala dead in his own house. His wife was also killed in the firing. Kala’s children were raised by the police. It is not known who was appointed the next leader of Kala’s group. Although one chapter of India’s criminal activities had ended but oppression against the Sikhs continued to grow.

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

Translated by Sikh Freedom