Saturday, 23 June 2012

Shaheed Bhai Surinder Singh Shinder

Shaheed Bhai Surinder Singh ‘Shinder’ was born in Nakodar, Punjab on November 1, 1960 to his mother Surjit Kaur and father, S.P. Sardar Santa Singh Bhaur. He grew up in Phagwara and was educated at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. During his studies he had the opportunity to attend the lectures of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. After graduation he immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1982 and enrolled himself into an electrical engineering program to further his education. Upon completion of his first year he received a scholarship to continue his studies. That very summer he visited India to get married.

Shaheed Bhai Surinder Singh Shinder
Shaheed Bhai Surinder Singh Shinder

When arriving in India he was wrongfully arrested with his father (Retired S.P.) by Punjab Police under the National Security Act (NSA). They were both imprisoned during the attacks on the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of Sikhs and several other Sikh temples. These attacks resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent pilgrims. Bhai Surinder Singh ‘Shinder’ was deeply saddened by the events that led to the attacks on the Golden Temple and even more so after the massacres that followed Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination. This assassination resulted in the ruthless killings of 150,000+ innocent Sikh men, woman and children – an act of retaliatory violence carried out by Indian government officials. This genocide demoralized Sikhs across the globe.

Bhai Surinder Singh ‘Shinder’ was one of many Canadian Sikhs that was deeply hurt by the injustice that was brought upon the Sikh nation. After being released from prison in late 1984, he made a vow to help Sikhs that were being wrongfully killed in Punjab. He had strengthened his relationships with Sikh freedom fighters before returning to Canada. He became especially close with one of the most famous and effective Khalsa generals to have taken part in the Sikh Liberation Movement – Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma. Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma shared a very special relationship with Canadians and other Western Sikhs who had gone to fight for freedom on the land of Punjab, India.

The Sikhs of Punjab had a simple ask from the very beginning: for India to be a democracy in the true sense i.e. allowing all of its citizens to be given equal opportunity and rights, a country that would eliminate discrimination, a nation that would rid its government of corruption. This was blatantly ignored. Shortly after the Khalistan (“Khalis” meaning “pure” and “stan” meaning “land”) movement gained momentum, the State of Punjab closed international media and communication channels so that all the terror struck by the Indian government would remain confined within the State of Punjab. To date, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are not permitted in Punjab to investigate the atrocities committed by the Indian government on the Sikhs. 

Although Bhai Surinder Singh ‘Shinder’ had returned to Canada to continue his studies, he actively kept in touch with his affiliates in India and Pakistan. He was disturbed by how the news and media was falsely being portrayed globally about the events taking place in Punjab – he had a Canadian’s perspective. He had also come to learn that the founder/president of the Punjab Hindu Shiv Sena terrorist organization – Rama Kant Jalota was responsible for the tortures and killings of 800+ youths in the vicinity of his home town, Phagwara. Bhai Surinder Singh ‘Shinder’ visited Punjab on several occasions in the 1980’s and was allegedly accused of assassinating Shiv Sena President – Rama Kant Jalota, several high ranked political figures, police officers and news reporters that were supportive of the genocide in and around the Phagwara area. 

Shaheed Bhai Surinder Singh Shinder
Shaheed Bhai Surinder Singh Shinder

The Indian government had issued a reward on his head, and like many other prominent Sikh freedom fighters he was betrayed by a close associate that turned into an informant (Police Black Cat). Bhai Surinder Singh ‘Shinder’ was unarmed at the time of capture. He was set up in a fake police encounter on his way to the airport as he was returning to Canada. He was martyred on June 17, 1989.
Shaheed Bhai Surinder Singh Shinder
Shaheed Bhai Surinder Singh Shinder

Not only did Shaheed Bhai Surinder Singh ‘Shinder’ sacrifice his life for equal Sikh rights in Punjab, but also a promising future in Canada, his relationship with his parents, siblings and nieces and nephews. He has left behind a legacy that will live on forever in our hearts by fighting for what he believed in and his sacrifice will never be forgotten. May his legacy live on forever.

No comments:

Post a Comment