Shaheed Bhai Balbir Singh Khaira - International Sikh Youth Federation

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Shaheed Bhai Balbir Singh Khaira also known as'Sakheera' was born in Shahpur, Jalandhar on July 9, 1962 to his mother Balwant Kaur and father Sardar Gurnam Singh. Balbir Singh Khaira had just finished his 8th grade of studies before arriving to Canada in 1978. Bhai Sahib continued his education at Crescent Heights High School in Calgary, where he joined the school wrestling team. After receiving a recommendation from his high school gym teacher, Bhai Sahib went onto participate in the Wrestling Nationals tournament and won the Gold Medal. Bhai Sahib was a student of good nature and was well liked by those he surrounded. Bhai Sahib mixed well with all crowds (Black, White, and Asian) in Canada. After graduation, Bhai Sahib began working at the Foothill Steel Foundry of Calgary. Bhai Balbir Singh Khaira was quite content with his life in Canada. This all changed after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered the Indian Military to attack the Golden Temple on a day that was one of the busiest in the year, June 1984.

Bhai Balbir Singh Khaira left Canada in October 1985 to join the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), which was led by General Avtar Singh Brahma at the time. General Avtar Singh Brahma shared a special relationship with Bhai Balbir Singh Khaira and appointed him second in command of the Khalistan Liberation. General Avtar Singh Brahma had nicknamed him 'Sakheera' after Bhai Sukhdev Singh Sakheera who was a close companion of his and was martyred 1986. General Brahma felt that Khaira had many similarities and shared the same the humble characteristics as Sakheera, they even resembled each other. This also caused confusion with the police and led them to think Sakheera was still alive.

The Indian security forces of Punjab had gotten into the habit of frequently staging fake encounters, which resulted in the deaths of several thousands of Sikh youths. Khalistan Liberation Force was one of few organizations that stood up for human rights and fought back with lethal force. Bhai Balbir Singh Khaira had rocket launchers, grenades and AK47's at his disposal to battle the Indian security forces. A case was registered against Bhai Balbir Singh Khaira for kidnapping Indian Diplomats in Pakistan and the Indian government put a nationwide warrant out for his arrest. Bhai Balbir Singh Khaira had successfully defeated Indian Security Forces on multiple occasions.

On March 29, 1989 Bhai Balbir Singh Khaira and two associates were on their way to a meeting in Nawashaher, close to Khatkar Kula. According to SSP Izhaar Alam, they had received information from one of their informants who had successfully infiltrated Bhai Balbir Singh Khaira's circle. The Indian Security Forces had a fierce encounter with Bhai Balbir Singh Khaira, Bhai Swarn Singh alias Nikka Baba and Bhai Manjeet Singh, which lasted 3 hours and the three were martyred after running out of ammunition.

Shaheed Bhai Balbir Singh Khaira made many great contributions to the Sikh panth. Bhai Sahib had earned much respect from his peers in the Khalistan Liberation. Even the local Hindu communities enjoyed cordial relationships with Bhai Sahib.

Ritchie Bains

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