Freedom

After nine long years of waiting, struggle and legal battles, the twenty-two Nihang Singh's falsely imprisoned insi...

 

FREEDOM

"THOSE WHO DENY FREEDOM TO OTHERS DESERVE IT NOT FOR THEMSELVES; AND UNDER A JUST GOD CANNOT LONG RETAIN IT"

- ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Dr. Kamalroop Singh, Akali Nihang (London) - BabaSurjeetSingh.com

It was the morning of the 2nd of July 2016 when I received a message from the Singh's in India. After nine long years of waiting, struggle and legal battles, the twenty-two Nihang Singh's falsely imprisoned inside the Patiala central jail were finally released. It was news that me and many Singh's from around the world were eagerly waiting to hear for so many years. The joy amongst the Singh's around the world was immense. I could literally hear the battle cry of victory that Dashmesh Pita blessed us with, throughout the entire day and as for the twenty-singhs Singh's and their families, it was an emotional day.

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Ragi Baldev Singh ji (Center) doing kirtan seva at the Buddha Dal (31/07/2016) for the first time after being released
(Photo by Bhai Joravar Singh ji)

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Baba Ram Singh ji (Center) was one of the 22 Nihang Singh's who were falsely imprisoned at the Buddha Dal gathering (31/07/2016)
(Photo by Bhai Joravar Singh ji)

It all began in the year 2005, when the then Jathedar of the Buddha Dal Baba Santa Singh ji had appointed Baba Surjeet Singh ji, the head of the horses as the next person to lead the Buddha Dal:

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"Surjit Singh to head Buddha Dal - Tribune News Service - Talwandi Sabo, April 16 2005

Speculations regarding the new head of the Buddha Dal were laid to rest today with Baba Santa Singh choosing Baba Surjit Singh as his successor. The debate over the Buddha Dal's successor started eight years back when Baba Balbir Singh, known for his proximity with Baba Santa Singh, left the dal to form a new group. He still claims himself to be the head of the dal. The matter again hit the headlines on March 15 this year when Baba Balbir Singh suddenly reached Damdama Sahib to meet Baba Santa Singh. Sources said Baba Santa Singh wanted to quit due to the age factor and he had also formed a five-member committee to manage the affairs of the dal. The sources said there were discussions among the dal members at Gurdwara Degsar Bor Sahib, in which the names of Baba Dayal Singh and Baba Surjit Singh came up. Baba Uday Singh proposed the name of Baba Surjit Singh, while Baba Dayal Singh seconded his name. Sources said heads of various Nihang organisations, including Tarna Dal's Makhan Singh, Baba Gurdev Singh Anandpur Saheb, Baba Avtar Singh of Vidhi Chand Dal, and Baba Trilok Singh Tarna Dal Khayale Wale, met Baba Santa Singh and supported Baba Surjit Singh's name for the post of the 14th head of the Buddha Dal. Baba Santa Singh then presented his successor a 'siropa'. Nihang bodies pledged their full support to Baba Surjit Singh, who hails from Marad village of Gurdaspur. He became a dal member about 30 years back. On Vaisakhi 2005 the Jathedari of Buddha Dal is given to Baba Surjit Singh.

While the entire Panth was celebrating on this joyous occasion, this news did not go down too well with one man - Balbir Singh, once a caretaker of Jathedar Baba Santa Singh ji. For years, he had his eyes set on the sacred seat of the Jathedar, something that a man is only blessed with after decades of strenuous seva (selfless service). And while the entire Dal was present in the Ardas for Baba Surjeet Singh ji, Balbir Singh was sulking in the dark corners of his room trying to think of ways to overturn the decision of the Panth.

Many years before, due to fraud with the Buddha Dal's land and money, Baba Santa Singh ji was forced to expel Balbir Singh from the Buddha Dal and asked him to leave the premises of Bagichi, the headquarters of the Buddha Dal in Patiala, Punjab.

Many years later Balbir Singh came back to the Bagichi and fell at feet of Baba Santa Singh ji and begged for pardon. Baba Santa Singh ji's compassionate heart was forced to forgive Balbir Singh and so Baba ji reinstated Balbir Singh back into the Buddha Dal, but little did anyone realize that it would be a decision that not only Baba Santa Singh ji, but the entire Buddha Dal would regret.

During the many months of his absence, Balbir Singh had joined hands with the SGPC and the Corrupt Government of Punjab. Together these three parties conspired to take over the Nihang Singh institution for which the SGPC and the Punjab Govt. provided Balbir Singh with the Financial and Physical muscle required.

Shortly after being reinstated back into the Buddha Dal, Balbir Singh started playing his cards. His first task was the removal of the most trusted Singh's of Baba Santa Singh ji. After gaining success in his initial task, his next agenda was to compel many of the Singh's of the Nihang Singh Dal's to switch sides. He achieved his by bribing, blackmailing and threatening many men. It is alleged that his third and final strategy was the murder of the senior most Singh's of the Buddha Dal and the kidnapping and torture of Baba Santa Singh ji.

It is alleged that Baba Santa Singh ji, who was over 92 years at the time was regularly beaten, poisoned with un-prescribed medication and was mentally abused. He was forced to handover the Possession of the entire Buddha Dal to Balbir Singh by him and his hired Goons. Whenever Baba Santa Singh ji refused, he would be beaten and tortured even more by Balbir Singh.


Baba Santa Singh being restrained with two hands on Balbir Singh's fake inauguration as Jathedar of Buddha Dal.


It is alleged that Balbir Singh continued torturing the Jathedar to the point that he eventually became unable to speak, move or respond. That was when Balbir Singh furnished false documents and used Baba Santa Singh ji's thumb prints to sign all the property and documents of the Buddha Dal to his name.

Baba Surjeet Singh ji and the rest of the 22 Nihang Singhs were a part of the "Chakarvarti Dal" (The Moving Army) who's responsibility is to constantly move from one place to another and preach Gurbani and organize Amrit Sanchars. When all of this was happening, Baba ji and the rest of the 22 Nihang Singhs were oblivious to all that was going on in Patiala.

As soon as Baba Surjeet Singh ji came back, he was informed by the Singh's at Bagichi about the ongoing events. Baba ji and the rest of the 22 Singh's immediately rushed to the spot where Baba Santa Singh ji was being held captive but were stopped by the guards at their posts and were denied an entry into the room. On refusing to obey the guard's orders, Baba Surjeet Singh ji proceeded to enter the premises of the room.

That's when the people who were inside the room started firing at Baba Surjeet Singh ji and the rest of the Singh's. The Singh's with Baba Surjeet Singh ji all received wounds. Someone lost an eye; someone was shot on the shoulder, someone on the arms, etc. The Old Singh Sahib in the photograph below, on the left was shot on his left knee, permanently damaging it. He is now sadly forced to walk uses crutches as can be seen from the image. Baba Ji's Jatha returned fire and sadly three of Balbir Singh's party some his family members died on the spot from their injuries.

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(Photo by Bhai Gurjinder Singh Nihang Singh)


Although most of the Singh's were inflicted with severe wounds, Akal Purakh saved them and there were no casualties. Baba ji and the Singh's with him hid for cover to avoid the rain of bullets.

Baba Surjeet Singh ji went on the run due to false charges, but his were later picked up from the hospital, and Baba ji turned himself into the local authorities and were arrested under false charges of murder. They were immediately taken to the Patiala Central Jail without any hearing or orders from the court where Jathedar Baba Surjeet Singh ji eventually died in September 2014 from the unhygienic conditions that took a toll on his physical health.

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Courtesy of Nav Kandola

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(Baba Surjeet Singh ji's Final Rites were Done at the Buddha Dal Chioni in Lakhi Jungle)


As soon as I found out from the Singh's residing in India that Baba ji and 22 other Singhs had been arrested on false charges, I along with S. Ranjit Singh Lal (U.K) arranged for a ballistics report that could be filed in the court to help prove the innocence of Baba ji and the rest of the 22 Nihang Singh's in the year 2007. One of the top most Ballistics expert from U.K was requested to prepare an impartial report on the case. After carefully examining all the evidence, reports, chargesheets and statements from the defence and prosecution, it was concluded by him that there wasn't any evidence to support the charges filed by the prosecution against Jathedar Baba Surjeet Singh ji and the 22 other Nihang Singh's.

Below is the image of the front page of the ballistics report that was presented in the court by the ballistics expert from U.K.

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(Dr. Kamalroop Singh and S. Ranjit Singh Lal from the U.K arranged for this very expensive ballistics report)


Even though the case filed against the Singh's was false and lacked evidence, the corrupt State and Central Govt. of India did not release the Singh's and unnecessarily dragged the case for nine years. During the Initial years, the Singh's suffered a lot inside the Patiala Central jail, but a change in the jail superintendent after a couple of years saw the ill-treatment of the Singh's coming to an end.

The family member's of the Singh's imprisoned also suffered mentally, emotionally and financially. Many family members of the imprisoned Singh's were threatened; their properties were forcefully ceased by Balbir Singh and his hired goons. Many of the imprisoned Singh's were the sole breadwinners of their families and had left behind little children or their old parents.

During these 9 years, many leading newspapers and tabloids had taken an interest in the Nihang Singh's cases and published several articles in their papers supporting the imprisoned Nihang Singh's after conducting their own respective research. The most recent of such articles was the one below:-

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(Image of a newspaper article from a leading Indian Tabloid)


Four months after this article was published, the court ordered the imprisonment of four of Balbir Singh's men for giving false witnesses in court, and the release of the Nihang Singh's from jail. Which we had confirmed years earlier in terms of the above mentioned report.

My motive for writing this article was to create an awareness amongst the worldwide Sikh Sangat as many individuals and Organizations around the world had questioned the innocence of the imprisoned Nihang Singh's and had turned down our repeated requests to help us in our battle to free these innocent men. During these 9 years a lot of individuals from around world supported us and helped us in our battle against this injustice and I would like to humbly thank them for their continual support and would like to congratulate them on this victory against the unjust tyrants, but sadly the battle is still not over as only 14 out of the 22 Nihang Singh's imprisoned were released and 8 Nihang Singh's have still not yet been released.

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(8 Nihang Singh's have still not yet been released by the Govt. of India)
(Images by Bhai Gurjinder Singh Nihang Singh)

An appeal has been filed in court to challenge the court's decision for not releasing the 8 Nihang Singh's.

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Dr Kamalroop Singh (the author) with Baba Surjeet Singh Ji.

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