Shaheed Bhai Kulwant Singh Khukhrana
Among the fearless warriors hailing from the Malwa region of Punjab is Shaheed Bhai Kulwant Singh Khukhrana. Bhai Sahib was born to Sardar Pala Singh and Mata Bhagwan Kaur on March 1, 1961 in village Khukhrana, district Moga. Bhai Sahib had 4 brothers and 3 sisters, Bhai Sahib’s elder brother, Bhai Balwant Singh Khukhrana also attained Shaheedi in the Sikh Freedom movement. Bhai Sahib studied at the local village school in Khukhrana until 10th class. Upon passing 10th class Bhai Sahib took admission into the Bhupindra Khalsa High School in the Moga district. Bhai Sahib remained in Moga area to pass his ITI course.
In the 1980’s Bhai Sahib was the president of the student union at ITI in Faridkot. In these days the Comrades, Narkdharis and many more cults were active in their preaching against the beliefs of the Sikh religion. At a youth festival of ITI, the Comrades came into the institute and attempted to take over the stage to speak against the Sikh struggle but Bhai Sahib, as President denied the comrades the opportunity to speak on stage. Upon hearing about this, Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale sent a message to Bhai Kulwant Singh to come to Sri Darbar Sahib to meet them. Bhai Sahib and his elder brother, Bhai Balwant Singh went to meet Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and when Sant Ji saw the two brothers, both of whom had their hair cut and beards shaven, Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale said, “Your actions at the youth festival in Faridkot were those of a Singh, your appearance should reflect that too.” After the meeting with Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, both brothers started keeping their kes (hair). Soon after Bhai Kulwant Singh began attending and participating in the All India Sikh Student Federation (AISSF) meetings and was appointed President of the Federation for the Faridkot area by Bhai Amrik Singh.
2-3 months prior to the attack on Sri Darbar Sahib, Bhai Kulwant Singh was engaged to Bibi Charanjit Kaur, daughter of Sardar Bood Singh of village Thathi Bhai also of the Moga district.
On May 31, 1984 Bhai Kulwant Singh received news of the army surrounding Sri Darbar Sahib and attempted to reach the holy city but was forced to return from the Police checkpoints which were posted all over Punjab. Following the attack on Sri Darbar Sahib which left thousands of Sikhs dead and Sri Akaal Takht Sahib in ruins, the police and army began arresting Sikh youth across Punjab to resist a backlash, many thousands were detained in jails and army camps, tortured for information and in some instances killed as a result of their injuries.
A Pandit from village Khukhrana, who often spoke against Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, celebrated the attack on Sri Darbar Sahib by distributing sweets. For this reason he was punished by Bhai Kulwant Singh and Bhai Balwant Singh Khukhrana. As a result Bhai Kulwant Singh was arrested from his village and after being charged with murder along many false cases framed upon him, he was sent to Ferozpur jail where Bhai Sahib spent 18 months. In Ferozpur jail Bhai Sahib met Giani Ram Singh and Bhai Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala where they frequently discussed the subject of the Sikh struggle. Due to the Pandit’s family withdrawing their case Bhai Sahib returned to his home in Khukhrana, however the Police demanded Bhai Sahib present himself at the Police station daily.
Upon release, the Police continued harassing the family. Even on May 7, 1986, the wedding day of Bhai Sahib and Bibi Charanjit Kaur, the Police came to intimidate and harass the family. Soon after the wedding of Bhai Kulwant Singh, Bhai Balwant Singh Khukhrana decided leaving home and going underground was the best way to avoid the continuous harassment by the Jaito police. In the following Police raids, unable to find Bhai Kulwant Singh or Bhai Balwant Singh, the Police arrested their father, Sardar Pala Singh, however the local Panchayat managed to secure his release.
Bhai Sahib’s family were facing difficult times and as a result they moved home and started living in village Bajekhana of the Moga district. Even here an informant had made the whereabouts of the family known to the police and the cycle of harassment continued. Eventually the family left and found accommodation near Sri Dukh Nivaran Sahib in Patiala with Bhai Kulwant Singh.
In these days Bhai Sahib was reunited with Jathedar Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala in Patiala and began partaking in activities under his command. Bhai Sahib continued giving speeches at Sikh Student Federation meetings and soon became the President of Sikh Student Federation in the Malwa area.
On November 10, 1986 Bhai Sahib attended the Sri Akhand Paath Sahib held in memory of Shaheed Bhai Waryam Singh Khapianwali. Bhai Sahib attended as the President of Sikh Student Federation and delivered a speech to the sangat saying: “These fake encounters and false arrests by the Indian security forces is not finishing the movement, instead it is fuelling the movement for freedom. When the racist group, Shiv Sena break the law and attack innocents in Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur the government does nothing, but when a Sikh talks about justice he or she is labelled a terrorist. If the government wants peace in Punjab then they should fulfill the basic needs of the Sikhs.”
Under the orders of Jathedar Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala, Bhai Sahib along with his family moved to accommodation at Ludhiana University where Bhai Sahib established links with one of the Professors. It was in June 1987, when Bhai Kulwant Singh did his first action under the Khalistan Liberation Force. A SHO of Moga was infamous for raping Sikh women at police stations and killing innocent Sikhs in fake encounters. Jathedar Budhsinghwala sent Bhai Kulwant Singh with the instructions to to put a bullet in the SHO’s forehead. When Bhai Kulwant Singh encountered the SHO, he was travelling on a motorcycle which made it difficult for Bhai Sahib to put a bullet in his forehead. After some minutes of a high speed pursuit, Bhai Sahib fired at the SHO and caught him in the waist. After shooting the SHO the Singhs escaped from the area, the SHO was taken to the hospital where he named Bhai Kulwant Singh as the shooter, the following day the SHO died.
April 1988: The SGPC held a conference at Ludhiana University where Professor Darshan Raagi and Gurcharan Tohra where in attendance. The KLF group had decided to punish these 2 treacherous individuals. The command of this action was given to Bhai Kulwant Singh by Jathedar Budhsinghwala. Bhai Sahib, Bhai Darshan Singh Billa and Bhai Balwant Singh Khukhrana were provided with fake ID cards by a close friend of Bhai Sahib who worked at Ludhiana University as a Professor. These ID’s helped the Singhs enter the University to attend the conference. Amidst a heavy presence of the Indian security forces, a shootout took place in which 5 policemen were killed along with 8 members of Gurcharan Tohra’s party. The KLF Singhs managed to escape but Bhai Darshan Singh Billa was wounded was taken to hospital in Jalandhar for treatment.
June 25, 1988: At Nehru Park, Moga the RSS would hold training camps and daily exercises where they regularly preach hatred against the Sikhs and the Sikh Freedom Fighters. When Bhai Kulwant Singh became aware of this, he discussed with Jathedar Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala about taking action against these camps. In a coordinated attack Bhai Kulwant Singh, Jathedar Budhsinghwala, Bhai Sarabjit Singh Jeeta of Khalistan Commando Force, Bhai Manohar Singh Dheera and Bhai Santokh Singh Fauji reached the park and threw grenades into the crowd of the RSS trainees and opened fire with their assault rifles. As a result 26 RSS men were killed and 22 were injured.
Bhai Sahib regularly met other active Jujharoos from various groups of which one was Bhai Nirmal Singh ‘Nimma’ Mianwind. Bhai Nimma requested Bhai Sahib to eliminate an evil SSP from Jalandhar who was responsible for the brutal torture and murder of many Sikhs. Bhai Nirmal Singh ‘Nimma’ explained that he could not carry out this actionn as he was known to the SSP, Bhai Kulwant Singh happily accepted to take on this task.
August 1988: the father of the SSP had died and Bhai Kulwant Singh along with his brother Bhai Balwant Singh Khukhrana, Bhai Darshan Singh Billa and Bhai Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal attended the cremation ceremony in disguise. Seeking their opportunity the Singh’s opened fire on the SSP and in the process a Hawaldar and another policemen providing security for the SSP were also killed. The group then split up and escaped unharmed.
October 1988: Bhai Kulwant Singh arrived at Firozpur to acquire a motorcycle from Bhai Santokh Singh Fauji who alerted Bhai Sahib about a man named Nirmal Badmaash who had been spouting venom in the newspapers against the Sikh Freedom Movement. Upon hearing this, Bhai Sahib felt that Nirmal Badmaash should be punished. Bhai Kulwant Singh arranged to meet Nirmal in a shop in the guise of a journalist wishing to interview him. As Nirmal entered to give his interview he was greeted with 3 bullets and died on the spot. Bhai Kulwant Singh made his escape and left with Bhai Santokh Singh to reach a safe house in Ludhiana.
March 1989: Bhai Surinder Singh Shinda ‘Wadhaghar’ of Khalistan Commando Force and a Singh from village Bhai Ke Drolhi looted the Co-Operative Bank to help fund the Sikh Freedom Movement. The bank manager recognised Bhai Surinder Singh Shinda and was persistent in seeking his arrest. Bhai Shinda had sent many messages to the manager to quit causing problems as the money looted from the bank belonged to the Government not the manager, these warnings did not stop the bank manager from his pursuit for the Singhs through the Indian security forces. As the bank manager was from Bhai Kulwant Singh’s area, Bhai Shinda asked Bhai Sahib to take care of the bank manager. Soon after, Bhai Kulwant Singh and Bhai Balwant Singh Khukhrana eliminated the bank manager at his home. Approximately 15 days later Bhai Kulwant Singh located Hari Chand, a Commrade leader from Karnal who was a staunch opponent of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s ideology. Bhai Sahib and fellow cadre eliminated this leader also.
May 1989: A Sirsa cult leader by the name of Charan Das would often talk against Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the Khalistan movement. Bhai Kulwant Singh and a fellow cadre visited the Dera armed with an AK47. When the Singh’s entered and spotted Charan Das, they tried to open fire, but the AK47’s trigger jammed, in a quick improvisation the Singh’s grabbed swords which were hanging on the wall and cut Charan Das into pieces, whilst shouting “Khalistan Zindabad” they escaped the from the scene.
December 1989: Dr Prem Kumar of Patiala was a police informant who would pass on information of any sightings of Jujharoo Singhs or those who visited to have their wounds attended to. Bhai Kulwant Singh had visited this doctor twice for medicine and on the third occasion Bhai Sahib asked, “My friend has skin problems, can you please check him?” Dr Prem Kumar nodded and told Bhai Sahib to bring the friend to the clinic the following day. The following day Bhai Sahib came to the clinic with Bhai Darshan Singh Billa. Dr Kumar took Bhai Darshan Singh Billa and Bhai Kulwant Singh to the examination room. As they entered the room, Bhai Kulwant Singh grabbed a pillow and covered the face of the doctor which acted as a makeshift silencer as Bhai Darshan Singh Billa shot him dead. The Singhs vacated the room and escaped, the clinic staff found Dr Kumar’s dead body 10 minutes later when the puddle of blood came seeping out of the room and into the corridor.
1990: In the village Gureh, district Jagraon lived a retired officer Gurdial and his son Mukhtiar who would pass information to security forces and have Jujharoo Singhs arrested. Bhai Darshan Singh Dalla and Bhai Bhupinder Singh Kooner were amongst those arrested due to the actions of the father and son. Bhai Kuldeep Singh Sheikhapura lived nearby these informants and discussed with Bhai Kulwant Singh on how to punish them. Bhai Kulwant Singh Khukhrana, Bhai Kuldeep Singh Sheikhapura, Bhai Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal and Bhai Amarjit Singh Khullar began their planning. First they located the house of the informants. The home was surrounded by large walls so the Singhs returned at night with a ladder. Bhai Ajmer Singh Lodhiwal climbed the wall and then opened the gate to let in the other Singhs. From inside the home, Gurdial and Mukhtiar heard noises and came to inspect, but by this time Bhai Kulwant Singh had just entered the home. Spotting the father and son Bhai Kulwant Singh opened fire with his Stengun killing them both on the spot. The Singhs took their ladder and escaped. When the police came to investigate they were left baffled on how the Singh actually managed to penetrate the secure surroundings provided by the tall walls.
In February 1991, Bhai Kulwant Singh was blessed with a daughter and soon after the day came which every warrior awaits. On March 31, 1991 at approximately 3:30pm, Jathedar Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala, Bhai Kulwant Singh Khukhrana and Bhai Manohar Singh Dheera were returning from a meeting in Moga when the police were tipped off regarding their whereabouts. Soon the Moga police was on the tail of the Singhs, and requested further assistance from Mehna police via wireless. Bhai Manohar Singh Dheera was driving the motorcycle, Jathedar Budhsinghwala was in the middle loading the revolver for Bhai Kulwant Singh, who was sitting at the back facing the chasing police, firing at them. The Mehna police had setup a roadblock causing the Singhs to take a sharp turn but this resulted in the motorcycle crashing into a tree. Bhai Manohar Singh Dheera broke a bone in the arm and Bhai Kulwant Singh was seriously injured. Bhai Sahib continued to fire at the police allowing Jathedar Budhsinghwala and Bhai Manohar Singh Dheera to escape.
The following day, April 1, 1991, the newspapers reported that Bhai Kulwant Singh Khukhrana had been killed in an intense encounter. The body of Bhai Kulwant Singh was not given to the family. Exactly 10 days after Bhai Kulwant Singh’s shaheedi, Jathedar Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala punished SHO Gurbachan who led the police during the encounter in which Bhai Kulwant Singh Khukhrana attained Shaheedi.
Information gathered from family of Shaheed Bhai Kulwant Singh Khukhrana.