Unheard: Atrocities On Sikh Women in Punjab

September 3, 2009 - Posted in Featured

Sikh women crying

Sikh women crying

“If any action occurs in this village, every single male is going to be taken out and shot. Then we’re going to take all the women to our camp and there we’re going to create a new breed for Punjab.”

Brig. RP Sinha addressing assembled Sikh villagers on March 8, 1991, International Women’s Day

And this was the way International Women’s Day was celebrated in Punjab. The untold story of the Sikh Resistance Movement is the story of Sikh women. It is a feature of Punjabi culture that atrocities on women are rarely reported and remain hidden. Families feel ashamed to speak of the treatment women received at the hands of Indian Security Forces, but this story must be told.

Many Sikh women participated in the Sikh resistance movement as fighters. Like their sisters from past ages, Sikh women joined their brothers in the fight for freedom. Many brave Singhnees fought side by side with their Singhs and attained Shaheedi. The examples of Shaheeds Bhai Ramininderjit Singh Taini Babbar and Bibi Manjeet Kaur Babbar , Bhai Pritpal Singh and Bibi Harjeet Kaur, etc are notable.

Sikh women often worked as messengers for Sikh Resistance groups as well as preparing hideouts and serving tired Sikh fighters.

But unfortunately, many Sikh women were also the target of the bloody thirsty Indian Security forces. Sikh women were ruthlessly tortured, not only physically but also mentally. They were used as tools to force the surrender of Sikh fighters who were their relatives and also as a means of humiliating families. When Sikh women were arrested with their husbands, the husbands were often forced to watch the rape of their wives. Rape was used as an interrogation tool.

The Indian Forces also began a program of “shudhee karan” which was a code name for the rape of Sikh women. They joked that the offspring of their rapes would change the genetic makeup of the Sikh community and they would kill the Resistance in this way. Many rape victims took their own lives, unable to live with the ongoing humiliation at the hands of the Indian police.

Shaheed Bibi Amandeep Kaur

Shaheed Bibi Amandeep Kaur

The first example of the atrocities heaped upon Sikh women is that of Bibi Amandeep Kaur.

Bibi Amandeep Kaur was the sister of Bhai Harpinder Singh Goldy aka. Pamma of the Khalistan Commando Force. She was only twenty when she was arrested, tortured, raped and then killed by the Punjab Police.

Bibi Amandeep Kaur, before her Shaheedi was on the run but had the courage to tell her story to human rights workers.

Here is her story in her own words, shortly before she was murdered:

“Jaswinder Singh Sraa son of Surjeet Singh of Jassowal village Ludhiana district. Was born and brought up on the UK. He presently lives in Mississauga Canada.

He came to India on October 12, 1991 for marriage on October 24th. We along with my father Jaswant Sngh, village Headman Bhag Singh and Member of Panchyaat Meet Singh went to the office of the sub-registrar, Rampura Phul, for registration of the marriage. As we came out of the courtroom, the SHO of Phul, picked up three of us, me, my husband and my father. We were taken to Phul Police Station where SSP Kahlon, SP Mohkam Singh, DSP Aulah and SP of Operations were present.

The SSP on seeing us, promptly ordered that my two male relations be stripped naked in my presence. He then took out the picture of his slain son and addressing them remarked that he had taken the revenge for the murder (by dishonouring me, the sister of an underground Sikh activist).

Kahlon then started abusing my husband and father. He took hold of a lathi to beat the two. It was then the turn of his subordinates who beat us with their leather belts. The SSP ordered that my husband and father slap each other.

After this cruel exercise, we were blindfolded. I was relieved of my two wedding rings, a pair of ear-rings and one golden chain. From my husband, the SSP snatched $500 and a bracelet of 3.5 tolas and his wedding ring. My father was similarly robbed of Rs. 2500. I and my husband were put into our van PCL-8433. We heard the SSP directing his staff to set our house on fire and bring the wife and younger daughter of Jaswant Singh (my mother and sister) to the police station for similar treatment.

After Kahlon left, we were brought back to the police station. While my husband and father were put in the lock-up, I was kept out for maltreatment [i.e. for sexual assault].

Early next morning we three were taken to Sardulgarh by our van. On October 27, my mother Surjeet Kaur was brought to us. She told us her story of dishonour [rape], torture and maltreatment. She was kept in a Rampura police station and at the head office of CIA Bathinda.

In our absence, the police from Rampura Phul ransacked our house and removed all our belongings. The village panchayat was not let anywhere near the house. No seizure report was prepared and handed over to the panchayat or anyone else.

I, my mother and father were kept in Sardulgarh police station for 12 days. But my husband was moved to Phul police station on October 29. The SSP was present there. He ordered my husband’s release on October 30, telling him to forget about his marriage to me and leave India immediately, which he did the next day. In the meantime, the village panchayat came to know of our detention at Sardulgarh and they came there to rescue us but we were removed stealthily to Boha police station.

At Boha, I was not given even water for washing under SSP’s order. We were maltreated there [the woman was reluctant to give details of the mistreatment].

After eight days, the three of us were removed from Boha to CIA Bathinda. My mother and I were released from three weeks of illegal detention. My father was kept in CIA Bathinda and at Phul and was produced in a court on November 30. A case was registered against him.

While we were in custody, Jaswinder Singh, who happens to be brother of my father, telephoned DGP KP Gill at telephone No. 753-546840 requesting him to intervene but Gill told him that Kahlon did not listen to his advice.

We have learnt that the SSP had picked us up because on October 23, 1991, some millitants had abducted six traders of Phul and the police suspected my 16-year-old brother Harpinder Singh Goldy aka. Pamma’s hand in the abduction. My brother had gone underground in the wake of police harassment in August 1991 when he was studying in class 10 + 1 .

I have gone underground to escape further humiliation and torture because the SSP Harkishan Kahlon is after me, for unknown reasons. Because of the “treatment” given to my husband, he has left me and does not wish to keep me as his wife any longer.”

Shaheed Bibi Amandeep Kaur

Shaheed Bibi Amandeep Kaur

Bibi Amandeep Kaur stayed in hiding until January 21 1992. The police then played a sinister game. They asked he to return to her house, returning all her property and insisted they would not harass her any more. They also bailed her father the day before. Jaswant Singh did not trust the police so he did not return home. Amandeep Kaur did. When her mother was out, two gun men with masked faces came on behalf of SSP Bathinda, Kahlon, and shot Bibi Amandeep Kaur dead on January 21st at 7:30pm.

Shaheed Bhai Harpinder Singh Goldy

Shaheed Bhai Harpinder Singh 'Goldy'

Bhai Harpinder Singh Goldy, brother of Bibi Amandeep Kaur, at age 18, also later sacrificed his life for the cause of Sikh freedom.

Another such case is of Bibi Gurmeet Kaur. Bibi Gurmeet Kaur was a student of the 10 grade at village Lehrkaa near Kathoo Nangal. Bibi Gurmeet Kaur and her older sister Bibi Parmjeet Kaur had gone to visit their father Swarn Singh and brother Satnam Singh who were in prison for giving shelter to Sikh Resistance fighters. They had returned home on April 21, 1989 when the Indian police raided their home and arrested Bibi Parmjeet Kaur. The police told villagers that the Deputy Commissioner wanted to record her statement. Parmjeet Kaur was kept in custody one night and then returned home. Next Gurmeet Kaur was arrested and kept for two nights. She too was released but threatened with dire circumstances if she told what had happened to her. Gurmeet Kaur did not remain silent and recounted what had happened to her.

When Gurmeet Kaur was brought to the police station, she was stripped naked and tortured in the verandah of the police station in plain view of all the police officers. That night, the police blindfolded her nd locked her in a room. In that room, drunken Indian Police officers took turns raping her. Gurmeet Kaur fell unconscious and when she woke the next morning, she found herself covered in blood and stark naked.

The next day, Gurmeet Kaur was tortured again. The perverse and twisted police officers went so far as to put salt and chili peppers into Gurmeet Kaur’s private parts.

On April 24, when Gurmeet Kaur was released, she could not walk. She was taken to hospital for treatment by the villagers.

Sikh women crying

Sikh women crying

These cases are not unique. Gang rapes and humiliation were common in Punjab. 19 year old Baljeet Kaur, sister of Sikh fighter Bhai Gurjeet Singh was also gang raped. Bibi Rachhpal Kaur was arrested for no reason but for having caught the eye of the police party and on September 5, 1989 was gang raped by the Kali Das Sharma and other police officers.

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22 Responses to “Unheard: Atrocities On Sikh Women in Punjab”
  1. Manbir says:

    je sikh sikh na mare tan sikh kadi ve na hare.
    we need the khalistan .
    we are ready for our fridom
    The Khalsa once saved thousands of abducted Hindu women from being molested and sold by the Afghans. Why cant we even save our own now? Our sisters continue to suffer in Punjab. And the Panth continues its long slumber.
    plz tell us .what we have to do ?

  2. Amanpreet Singh says:

    The Singhs that fought for their freedom were labeled terrorists; is it a crime to stand tall with courage and face your oppressors?
    We need the khalistan, it is not merely a state but a republic, khalistan is the ideology of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale.
    We need to band together. How can we be united under the khalistan if we cant stop killing each other. Upon reading these stories, i have a deeper respect for Woman. It boils my blood to hear of such atrocities but i know God will get those responsible.

  3. gurjot singh says:

    ki ae police officer PK sharma, Kahlon etc halle v zinda ne??? Ehna nu kisse SINGH ne maareya nai halle tak????

  4. gurkaran says:

    waheguru……wahaguru…..you get so sad listening to stuff like this:(

  5. seriously
    this is so bad i cried my wits out when i listened to the story of those innocent girls may their soul rest in peace…..

    GOD will surely punish those who are responsible for it

  6. buzdil says:

    These low life hindu police animals should have their sisters and wives raped and humiliated, please before any one complains that is against sikhi, our fore fathers fought the muslims to free hindu women while these spineless bastards hid in their homes, we now see on tv and films about the brave marathas and rajpoots, And yes their BRAVERY was to offer their women to the muslims to save their worthless necks and from 1978 till 1996 these bastards have humiliated the sikhs by dishounoring our women, and the worst part is there were sikh police men watching their co-religious girls getting raped and killed by the penis worshipping hindu, how low can one get. SHAME SHAME SHAME ON THESE KESADHARI HINDUS. I pray to almighty that time should come when their women folks are dishonoured by the same police force for which they have sold their souls to serve. and that goes for every kesadhari hindu in the garb of a sikh. one doesn’t become a sikh just being born into a sikh family.

  7. buzdil says:

    I was really not a person to advocate khalistan, but after reading just few lines(i couldn’t read all it is to disturbing) i want our own homeland where the sikhs will never have to fight for their safety ever again. we did it once before and we will do it again, it will take time but we will get our home. And this time we will make sure that we do not have a head of state like ranjit singh the so-called shere punjab, this time will not have anybody like badal, master tara, this time we will make sure that he is like Bindrawala.

  8. Real Khalsa says:

    As a Hindu boy who was born and grew up in Punjab of 70s & 80s I can safely say , all of this was an after effect of what was done to Hindus in Punjab from 1978 to 1991. Even Sikhs were tired of the militancy there. KPS Gill and Beant Singh were both Sikhs and so was the majority of the police force in Punjab. Besides, you can have your Khalistan if you wish. We don’t want so many loonies here in India in any case. We have plenty of our own. I am more than convinced a Khalistan would have a similar fate as that of present Pakistan and Bangladesh. Failed state at best it would be. Why do you think Khalistan movement failed in first place after gaining so much support in its earyly years from locals ? The so called Khalistanis / freedom fighters blinded with young age, power, gun, easy money and lust started committing similar crimes as mentioned on this site to their Sikh brothers / sisters. Soon enough people realised and frankly everyone had enough of the non-sense. Bhindrawale was a great guy but he lost the plot due to his association with Pakistan. How could you even shake hands with the murderers of the Gurus. How could you ? I am sure Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj would be very very proud of that. And what of the Punjab in Pakistan ? Why don’t we start with that territory first ? The great Sikh Khalsa warriors that you are please take your share of Punjab and the land of My sachhe padshaah shri guru Nanak dev ji maharaj. Sadly, all you guys have miss the reason Bhindrawale stood for……. Soora so Pahchaniye, Jo Lade Deen ke Hayet….. Thats how we started but Alas ! Power, ego, darkness got better of him. He brought Indian forces to the holiest of the holiest of the holiest places on this planet and was responsible for the ruins. Using a religious place for hiding ? How brave ? True Khalsa I am sure. He started well for the right of “Farmers and exploited poor Sikhs but soon lost the plot. He was just a pawn in the bigger schme of thing. A true Khalistan would be one where anyone can come to a Gurudwara and eat the langar, pray for the glory of Wahe Guru and the Om santkar. Wahe GURUJI KA KHALSA , WAHE GURU JI KI PHATEH. … Om My Guru Ji Maharaj… please show light to the ignorants and give the valour to fight our own daemons. Jo Bole So Nihall, Sat Shri Akaal. I strongly condemn 1984 and what happened to Sikhs in Delhi.

  9. Bimal says:

    This is so bad , nothing can justify such an act towards women . so sad to see that even sikhs were involved in doing this . Doesn’t this prove that even if Khalistan is formed, the state of affairs will remain same . Punjab has an Akali Govt. now and we all know how they are handling the state . Sikhs should be true sikhs first, this should be the first step towards the formation of Kahlisatn. I read Kartar singh’s ‘ Life of Guru Gobind Singh’ and was deeply moved by the life of the greatest soul that visited earth. His each and every act demonstrate his purpose to be here . See what he wanted his Khalsa to be , once you are a Khalsa the fateh will be your’s .

  10. Bimal says:

    Real Khalsa ji

    what happened to Hindus?? look what happend to sikhs . 3000 + of them were butchered in delhi, they were all unarmed in isolation , the kids were burned alive . don’t you think such attack deserves retaliation, specially when the Govt on Govt insured that no pertuberator of such acts ever gets punished , I support targeted killings of politicians and to an extent police officers who were involved in such cowrdice .

  11. I will make khalisthan. Wait till i ready to make it and take revenage of innocent sikhs killed and humilated by hindus and their spporters. Khalisthan zindabad

  12. J.K.SINGH says:

    @real khalsa,by writing ur name a real khalsa u can’t be real n u can’t be even khalsa.anyways,coming back to ur comment i think u don’t knw anything or u want to misguide sikhs on sikh site.from top u, said that khalistani freedom fighters blinded with gun,lust,young age etc.had committed serious crimes.i oppose this.ur indian officers had committed such a unhuman crimes not our freedom fighters because if our khalistanis had done this then u wouldn’t be here.khalistanis had always help people of every religion n u r saying khalstanis had commited crimes,wat rubbish,when u people killed innocents,then it was good thing but when we had killed criminals then it was crime.now coming to ur next statement in which u have said that bhindranwale was hiding in golden temple n he was responsible for army action.i oppose this rubbish statement.if army was to kill bhindranwale then-:
    1)why they don’t kill bhindranwale when they come to delhi,pune,chennai etc.
    2)why they attack other 48 gurdwares
    3)why they kill people who surrendered
    4)why they come into golden temple with shoes
    5)why they disrespect our guru GRANTH SAHIB g
    6)why they strucked a bullet in guru GRANTH SAHIB G
    7)why they rape women inside golden temple
    8)why they kill babies of 2-2 months inside temple was they were a dreadful terrorist?
    n coming back to bhindranwale,he was a gr8 saint n soldier of sikhism n was a freedom fighter n that i can prove it.n at last i can say that indian government is worst n india is not democratic,secular n peaceful country. however u indians had made n image of india “a secular n peaceful country” when even it’s not.u r fooling whole world by saying this but i will nake ur image india n will tell the truth to whole world that it’s not wat u see.the struggle of khalistan is not failed n it won’t be n will be active active again.n mr “real khalsa” i think u won’t b having any answer now n if i had written something false then tell me but first read history then only say don’t beleive in indian media.

  13. hyuj says:


  14. Rajvir says:

    Sikhs can’t trust on Hindus anymore. In 1984 anti sikh riots I was eight years old & I can’t forget that what hindus had done with sikhs in these riots.They killed thousand of innocent sikhs, & they misbehaved with Darbar Sahib also.
    I hate each & every hindu of this world.

  15. Satveer Kaur says:

    @ “Real Khalsa” Firstly, you say you are a Hindu and call yourself Khalsa? :/
    Secondly; WHAT WAS DONE TO HINDUS IN THE 70s AND 80s?!!!! Sikhs were treated MUCH worse than any Hindu since 1947 let alone the 70s and 80s (although it did get worse then). KPS Gill and Beant Singh were merely pawns of the anti-Sikh government; having the name “Singh” does not automatically make someone a Sikh. The Khalistan movement “failed” because the government got most of the Sikhs with any strength killed and then put young children onto drugs so that when they grow up, which they now have, they wouldn’t be able to handle themselves let alone anything else.
    Most Sikhs in India know less of what happened in India than I do, and I’m not very knowledgeable, either because they are on drugs or because they don’t have the access to the truth, only to state-controlled media which won’t tell you about the state-controlled murders of thousands of Sikhs. Others are too scared because of what happened to fellow Sikhs whilst they grew up, or to anyone who opened their mouth about anything.
    Also, Bhindranwale was not hiding in the Harmandir Sahib, but was there, along with hundreds of thousands of Sikhs to commemorate the martyrdom of our 5th Guru. POWER, EGO AND DARKNESS??!! Do you know anything about him or are you just barking from wherever you can? Along with reciting the prayers as per his duty as a Sikh and the Jathedar of the Akal Takht and the head of the Damdami Taksal, he did Japji Sahib 101 times a day – how can a person who tells himself “Nanak hukmai je bhujhe tha haumai kahe na koi” 101 times a day let haumai take over him? He was a true Gursikh and fought for the rights of Sikhs – he was always neutral about Khalistan until during the attack on the Harmandir Sahib.
    I think you mean a true Khalsa not “Khalistan” (that’s a proposed state, not the title of a person) and we don’t just go to the Gurdwara to eat langar, we go to gain the knowledge and wisdom that our Guru possesses.
    PS you’re probably not going to come back to read this but most of it had to be said.

    @ Maninderjitsingh Khalistan cannot be made by a single person – and certainly not without the assistance of the Guru and our battle isn’t against Hindus but against injustice and oppression. I suppose all we can do is pray to Waheguru and the Guru that we will find the strength from Gurbani to perhaps unburden this world of a tiny fraction of the evil that is out there.

  16. sirisha says:

    Their eyes look innocent, though i dont know, what happened in 84, looks like the above police atrocities were supported by govt that time. pls remember men-in-uniform are biggest thugs and when they are govt support- they show their courage on women and children.
    But what is disturbing is hatred that is being spread among Hindus and Sikhs…
    people should be made aware of Indian history under mughals …. sikhs and hindus suffered equally that time…pity that post independence the county is in hands of anti-nationals !
    I believe no sikh or hindu want to kill each other….this is a bigger game by evil people…..politics of evil people…..

  17. kuldip kaur says:

    why this Hindu real Khalsa boy starts putting salt on wounds of sikhs.Is he a demon? After hearing such episodes we can only see onething and that is that ruler is Hindu and Hindu Brahmin wants to control Sikhs to those limits that no one will ever talk of Sikhism let alone Khalsa. Had it been a Khalsa rule Khalsa would not have allowed all this to happen even to Hindu girls what to talk of Sikh girls. So only solution is Khaistan.

  18. anomymous says:

    i am Sikh and proud. we should respect what people went through for our faith. think that everything you’re doing is for god. you can never feel a greater happiness than pride.

  19. reply to the so called "REAL KHALSA" says:

    what was done to the hindu’s through 98-91; nothing happened to them; a KHALSA would not RAPE a women; he would not kill ther enemies parents and humiliate them through torture and burning of there sacred shrins and looting; so tell me when has a sikh from your so-called bhindrawale terrorist gang ever destroy or loot a temple; a sikh would never do that; and sant jarnail singh bhindranwale was like none other sikhs he was a true warrior from within, a true saint; hindus actually came to him to settle disputes; sant ji took care of things from land disputes to hindu women degradation by police; did u know that hindu’s came to the sant when police raped there women; and has the khalsa ever burned your bhagvat gita like you did to us; what would you hindu’s do if a group of sikh’s burned your gita; would you not pick up weapons; that’s what we did and we were called terrorists; punjab police had a faction called “KALLA SINGHS” these fake singhs would dress up as the khalsa and go out to the villages and commit henious acts against humanity itself; the women are worshipped in hindu religion and they raped the women in delhi; that’s what some of u hindu’s did; some of our hindu brothers were kind hearted and they sheltered us and protected us special arddass would be given out for the welfare of those hindu brother’s who did as much as they could; remember one thing hakumat of india the DIVA lighted by SANT JARNAIL SINGH JI KHALSA still exists in the hearts of sikhs and it will never be extinguished even with the strongest of storms; KHALSA remains in “CHARDI KALA” and always will like in the times of the mughals;

  20. Sukhdeep says:

    Firt of all i object what this mr.real khalsa says,the so u called loonies are the ones who saved ur hindu peoples wifes n sisters.next thing bhindrawala lost fight becoz u hindu entered in the form of nakli sikhs in many millitant groups n the third thing is that we have more danger from u hindu people than the muslim people that lived in pakistan becoz the muslims are not the murderes of guru sehbans but zalims are murderes of guru sehbans .even there are 5000 muslims in the force of baba anda singh bahadur so please change ur name u r not a real khalsa u r a real kattar hindu

  21. Sukhdeep says:

    If we people want khalistan then we must be practical as guru sehbans have taught us.we sikhs should be fully skilled in fighting techniques. I also want to address the sikh girls that they should also learn martial art techniques learn to use modern technology weapons so that no such humiliation should take with them as it was in 1984.becoz if our sisters n mothers are weak in fighting skills these hindu cowards would blackmail the sikh fighters and our revolution will bocome weak

  22. Anonymous says:

    As an Indian i totally feel ashamed about what happened way back in 84 …The Comments by realkhalsa seem sensible.