…Seeing all this fury and frenzy Bhindranwale was convinced that the fate of Sikhs in India was in peril. He, therefore, devised some means and ways to defend themselves from the future onslaught of the Hindu Government.
It was due to the criminal policy followed by Indira Gandhi that had compelled Bhindranwale to exhort the Sikh youths to form squads of three in each village and Mahallas and purchase motorcycles and revolvers to defend themselves if they were again attacked by the enemies.
He pleaded with the Sikhs to become Amritdhari and Shasterdhari if they want to live in India with honour. He reminded them of the glory of the Khalsa who fought the tyrant Mughals and in the long run won the war. In the second half of 1983 Indira Gandhi was actively supporting Longowal who had betrayed the cause of the Sikh Panth and was secretly collaborating with the Centre in order to isolate and eliminate Sant Bhindranwale.
Longowal gave a green signal to the Centre to arrest Sant Bhindranwale from
room no. 47 of Guru Nanak Niwas. That is why the Sant shifted to the Akal Takht so that he may carry on his struggle to fulfill his mission. Longowal and his courterie raised objections that no person could live in the Akal Takht but Sant Bhindranwale countered this by citing numerous instances when Akali leaders including Master Tara Singh had been living there. When Longowal and the company failed in their nefarious design to oust Bhindranwale, the Longowal clique pressurised Jathedar of Akal Takht to issue Hukamnama against Bhindranwale but by that time the Sant had become so powerful with the unstinted support of Sikh masses that Giani Kirpal Singh could not dare to oblige Longowal. Longowal felt frustrated on his failure to push out Sant Bhindranwale.
Nevertheless he continued his vicious onslaught on the gallant Sant. He engaged Gurcharan Singh, an ex-Naxalite, Office Secretary of his Akali Dal to eliminate Sant Bhindranwale at any cost. This villain employed one Surinder Singh Chhinda and an immoral young woman Baljit Kaur and assigned them the job to exterminate the Sant. Somehow or the other they could not succeed in harming the Sant. However both these hired assassins treacherously killed on 14th April, 1984 Surinder Singh Sodhi the trusted right hand man of Sant Bhindranwale. This outrageous crime was committed in the Sindhi Hotel situated just outside the Golden Temple Complex.
Malak Singh Bhatia helped Chhinda to escape after theTreacherous murder of Sodhi. But within 24 hour Sodhi’s death was avenged by killing all the conspirators including the assassin and his mistress Baljit Kaur. This conspiracy was apparently hatched at the behest of Longowal.
Now Longowal feared that he, too, would be punished by the Khalsa for his unpardonable and heinous crime. He, therefore, doubled his efforts to seek help from the Central Government to eliminate Bhindranwale lest he himself should perish. He talked to Indira Gandhi on telephone and gave her clear signal to take any action which she deemed fit to eliminate Sant Bhindranwale.
Lndira Gandhi and her son, Rajiv Gandhi, had already decided to take military action against Bhindranwale and for that purpose commandos were being trained at Chakrata, a secret Centre
setup for imparting guerilla training to the selected soldiers. The commandos were being trained there since March 1984 who were later to be sent to attack the Golden Temple Complex.
A special large model of the Golden Temple Complex was prepared at Chakrata, to enable the commandos to make themselves familiar with the exit and entry routes of the Complex so that they may not experience any difficulty at the time of actual military action to achieve their set goal.
As has been explained earlier Sant Bhindranwale was under persistent attacks from Longowal and his clique. Longowal launched a tirade against Sant Bhindranwale branding him as a Congress Agent and, therefore, he did not allow the Sant to address the Sikh congregations from Manji Sahib. The Sant voluntarily refrained from going to Manji Sahib not because he feared Longowal but because he still wanted keep unity in the Akali workers which he had brought about with great efforts.
He, however, continued addressing the Sikh audience from the roof of Guru Ram Das langar building. This reduced the number of audience to be addressed by Longowal at Manji Sahib whereas the Langar building hummed with enthusiastic Sikhs. The result was that Longowal was deserted by the Sikh masses and it was he who stood isolated not Sant Bhindranwale.
It was his charismatic personality and devotion to the Sikh cause that Sant Bhindranwale captivated the hearts of the Khalsa Panth. He sarcastically questioned as to who actually was the agent of the Centre, he or Longowal? The Sant cited many instances which proved to the hilt that Longowal and his clique were the real agents of the Centre. He disclosed that the Government had cancelled fire arms licenses of all of his followers whereas Gurcharan Singh, the villain, and Jiwan Singh Umranangal, a freak of nature, were issued licenses for keeping sten carbines.
Almost all Akali Members of Legislative Assembly dined with Darbara Singh, whom Bhindranwale
compared with Zakarya Khan, and whose hands were stained with the blood of the Sikh youths. Parkash Singh Bada! Married his daughter to a grandson of Partap Singh Kairon, the late Congress Chief Minister of Punjab, who had tortured and persecuted late Jathedar Mohan Singh Tur, the former President of SAD. Baiwant Singh Ex-Finance Minister obtained licenses from the Congress government for setting up industries and Surjit Singh Barnala handed over Bhai Ranjit Singh, alleged killer of the Nirankari Chief, to the Centre. All these supporters of Longowal were hobnobbing with the Centre with a view to forming a coalition government with the Congress by throwingthe Anandpur Sahib Resolution to winds.
Sant Bhindranwale said, in spite of all this, they claimed to be Akalis and he is dubbed as a Congress Agent. The truth is clear as to who were the Congress Agents. Sant Bhindranwale disclosed publicly that Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv Gandhi expressed their wish to hold secret negotiations with him but he declined the offer. He however expressed his willingness to hold talks openly in any Gurdwara or some public place but the mother and the son were reluctant to meet him in the open. This is in contrast to the secret negotiations being held by the Longowal clique with the Congress.
To the allegations levelled against him by the Government that he was an extremist and separatist he explained “I exhort the Sikhs to become Amritdhari; I advise them to give up all kinds of intoxicants and narcotics; I tell them not to harm any innocent person; I tell them to follow the path shown by Guru Gobind Singh and take revenge from the sinners. In short I exhort them to became true Sikhs. And similarly I advise every Hindu to become true Hindu and a Muslim a true Muslim. If in spite of all this I am branded an extremist then I am proud to be called an extremist.”
Another charge levelled against Bhindranwale was that he was a Khalistani and, therefore, he is a separatist. He explained when asked by the Press reporters, “I never demanded Khalistan, but if the Centre willingly gives us Khalistan I would not decline the offer.” But on 3rd June, 1984 when the Golden Temple Complex was under the siege of the Indian Army and the zero hour of brutal attack on it was imminent, Sant Bhindranwale did say unequivocally “now we cannot live in India; we need a separate home.” Earlier, too, he expressly and repeatedly said that the day the Indian Army attacked the Golden Temple and Akal Takht, foundation of Khalistan would be laid. Unfortunately his warnings have had no effect on the arrogant Indira Gandhi and other Hindu leaders.
It is a tragedy that all Opposition Parties formed and led by the Hindus unanimously supported and exhorted Indira Gandhi to take military action against the Sikhs led by Bhindranwale.
Longowal bragged that the Akali Dal is an organisation of the martyrs and as such he boasted that he was President of that glorious organisation. It is true that the Akali Dal has been founded and nourished with the blood of martyrs but it is most unfortunate that a coward and cunning person like Longowal happened to be its president. In response to his boastful utterances Bhindranwale retorted that Longowal is the 14th President of SAD and questioned him whether any of the 14 Presidents ever sacrificed their life for the sake of Sikhism’?
Evidently none of the fourteen Presidents attained martyrdom. And when such an opportunity came their way they turned their face and fled. The Sant declared that he, too, was the 14th Jathedar of Dam Dami Taksal and that its very first Jathedar Baba Deep Singh Shaheed laid down his life in defence of Akal Takht. He therefore, proudly declared that the very founder of the Taksal attained martyrdom but what the Akali Presidents have done.
Master Tara Singh, Sant Fateh Singh and others undertook fast unto death in order to compel the Centre to accede to Akali Dal’s demands. When the Centre did not yield they broke the fast as well as the Ardas. None of them dared to sacrifice life for the sake of the Sikh Panth.
Sant Chanan Singh, Jiwan Singh Umranangal and some other Akali leaders vowed to burn themselves alive if their demands were not met. They even constructed “Kunds” for burning themselves but they shamelessly came out of the Kunds when the Centre refused tooblige them.
And this was boastful claim of Longowal that he had presided the organisation of the martyrs. Humiliated by the taunts of Sant Bhindranwale, Longowal thought upon a plan to raise an “Army of Marjiwarhe” (those who were ready to laydown their lives) during the Akali Morcha.
Even then Sant Bhindranwale was the first who took the oath at Manji Sahib near the Akal Takht. Longowal, Balwant Singh, Barnala and other Akali leaders and more than one lakh workers took similar oath there from 13th April 1983 to May 1983.
They pledged and vowed to sacrifice their lives for the cause of Sikh Panth and to defend the Golden Temple Complex if it was attacked by the army.
It is pertinent to note that Longowal, Surjit Singh Barnala, Balwant Singh Ex Minister, Balwant Singh Ramuwalia and others repeatedly declared from the stage of Manji Sahib that if the Centre ever sent army to attack the Golden Temple Complex the army shall have to walk over their dead bodies, “tanks would roll over our dead bodies.” They took this oath at Manji Sahib before Guru Granth Sahib in the precincts of Golden Templeand Akal Takht.
But when the army actually attacked the Golden Temple Complex in June 1984 the impostors and cowards like Surjit Singh Barnala, Ravi Inder Singh, Balwant Singh and others had confined themselves in their air-conditioned homes. Longowal, Tohra, Ramuwalia and some others, who were present in the Complex, huddled themselves in the office of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee to save their lives and surrendered to the Army by raising their hands above the heads.
Even Harminder Singh Sandhu, Gen. Secretary of AISSF meekly surrendered. It was only the “gallant defender” Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who along with his faithful companions fought the Indian army with dauntless courage and unprecedented valour in defence of their faith and holiest.
Longowal, the cowardly and the shameless traitor, who had once boasted that the army would walk over their dead brave Sikhs.