Shaheed Bhai Ranjit Singh Balangan - Tat Khalsa Budha Dal

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After the partition, Sardar Mangal Singh and his wife Mata Amar Kaur moved to Karnal and then to the village of Balangan in the Gurdaspur area where they settles with their5 children, Bibi Surjit Kaur, Bhai Ranjit Singh, Bibi Gurmej Kaur, Bhai Sukhdev Singh and Bhai Jasbir Singh. Out of these children Bhai Ranjit Singh was born between the years of 1940-1950, who after passing 10th class enrolled himself into the Nihang Jathebandi of Budha Dal. Within Budha Dal with his hard work and love for Sikhi, Bhai Sahib was given the role of Head Granthi. Soon after, Bhai Sahib was made the Jathedar of Gurudwara Baghsar in the Bathinda district. It was during this time Bhai Sahib had his Anand Karaj with Bibi Simarjit Kaur, daughter of Sardar Mohan Singh Nihang of Moga.

While staying in the Dal, Bhai Sahib noticed that the Jathedar of Budha Dal, Baba Santa Singh was doing wrong actions. Bhai Sahib tried to talk and give some good advice to Baba Santa Singh, but the effect was the opposite. Baba Santa Singh thought that a person like Bhai Sahib who has pure and high thinking might try to take his leadership away from him. In fear of his leadership, Baba Santa Singh kicked Bhai Sahib out of the Budha Dal.

After leaving Budha Dal, Bhai Sahib started staying with his family at his in-laws in Moga. Sometime after that Bhai Sahib bought his family to his village of Balangan and started living here. Bhai Sahib then got together all the Nihang Singhs that were kicked out of Budha Dal by Baba Santa Singh and formed a new Nihang Dal by the name of Tat Khalsa Budha Dal. Out of these Singhs, a Nihang Singh by the name of Bhag Singh was chosen as the Jathedar of Tat Khalsa Budha Dal. At that time Bhai Sahib was temporarily staying at Nanak Niwas in the Sri Darbar Sahib Complex, Amritsar. It was here that Bhai Sahib came in contact with Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale. Bhai Sahib had told Sant Ji everything and Sant Ji assured him that Dam Dami Taksal will support Bhai Sahib hundred percent.

Bhai Sahib also published an article in newspapers exposing the wrong doings of Baba Santa Singh, this was done to make aware the general public of Punjab. In this article Bhai Sahib accused Baba Sant Singh of 22 wrong doings that he had full proof of. Upon reading this article, Baba Santa Singh sent his gangsters to Amritsar to attack Bhai Sahib. But this did not go as planned by the gangsters, they hatched up another plan to attack and kill Jathedar Bhag Singh as he came out of Nanak Niwas. Unfortunately this plan worked, the gangsters attacked and killed Jathedar Bhag Singh as he visited someone's house just outside the complex. When Bhai Sahib got the news of this, he along with few Nihang Singhs got together to go to the place where Jathedar Bhag Singh was made a martyr, but Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale stopped Bhai Sahib.

The police took the body of Jathedar Bhag Singh and sent a message to Bhai Sahib to come to the police station and submit a FIR. Baba Santa Singh had strong links in the Punjab police, hence he had told the Thanedar to get Bhai Sahib to come to the police station and then his gangsters will take care of the rest. Bhai Sahib went to the police station, but he got suspicious after the Thanedar he had never met before was treating him like his long lost brother, Bhai Sahib upped his guard. The Thanedar kept on asking Bhai Sahib to drink tea, but Bhai Sahib replied, "I don't drink tea, but prepare hot milk while I go to the toilet and come back." Bhai Sahib sat in his jeep and left the police station, the police tried to chase him but Bhai Sahib safely reached Sri Darbar Sahib Complex.

Bhai Sahib declared himself as a family member of Jathedar Bhag Singh and over watched the case against Baba Santa Singh. The Indian government were delaying justice and Bhai Sahib decided to punish the killers of Jathedar Bhag Singh himself. Bhai Sahib also had the duty to make Tat Khalsa Budha Dal stronger and this happened when Jathedar Kartar Singh and Jathedar Naranjan Singh from the village of Maulviwal joined forces with Bhai Sahib. Bhai Sahib gave the responsibility of Tat Khalsa Budha Dal to these singhs and then returned to Balangan to meet his family for a few days. After a Nihang Singh from Bhai Sahib's Nihang Dal found the person responsible for the murder of Jathedar Bhag Singh. This Nihang Singh who was from Safedo Mandi went into the murderer's house and killed 4 members of the family as the murderer himself was not there. This action shook the whole government to its core. The police started hunting for Bhai Sahib. When the Gurdaspur raided Bhai Sahib's house he was arrested from the in which he was sleeping in. when the Bhai Sahib got to the police station, he found exactly what was going on, he told the police that he had been at home for the last 3/4 days. Bhai Sahib asked the police a question, "Your saying the murders happened at 7/8pm and then you arrested me from Balangan at 9/10pm. Now tell me, do I have a helicopter or a plane that I could get to my village from the murder site so quickly? You can ask the local villagers where I have been for the last few days."

When the police went to Balangan to do their inquiry, the locals did not hesitate to say that Bhai Sahib had been in the village for the last 3/4 days. When the Gurdaspur police was satisfied that Bhai Sahib was not involved in this killing they informed the Amritsar police. The Amritsar police told their Gurdaspur counter parts not to release Bhai Sahib and to hand his custody to them so they can forward him onto the Moga police who already have a case registered against Bhai Sahib. The orders were followed and Bhai Sahib was finally arrested by the Moga police and after being charged with many fake cases he was sent to jail, where he spent a lengthy sentence.

During a jail visit Bhai Sahib told his fellow Nihang Singh that he will be released soon and soon as he is released he will go to Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. But when Bhai Sahib was supposed to be released the judge went on holiday and the release date was moved forward. It was during these days that the Indian army attacked Sri Darbar Sahib and killed uncountable innocent Sikhs. Due to this Bhai Sahib had to spend more time in jail.

To cover the damage they had caused to the Sikh throne, the Indian government asked Baba Santa Singh to carry out the repairs with their money of the Sri Akaal Takht Sahib, which had been bombed by the Indian army. This was called 'Sarkar Sewa' and not 'Kar Sewa'. After being released Bhai Sahib went to do darshan of Sri Harimandir Sahib and seeing the damage had a deep impact on Bhai Sahib. The thing that got Bhai Sahib even more was the fact that Baba Santa Singh had carried out the repairs of Sri Akaal Takht with the money of Indian government. Bhai Sahib contacted all the Jhujaru groups and got the SGPC to do an inquiry into Baba Santa Singh. After the inquiry Baba Santa Singh was ex-communicated by the Sikh nation and at this point Bhai Sahib was made the Jathedar of Budha Dal. Bhai Sahib was given a Saropa at Sri Akaal Takht Sahib to mark this occasion. But Baba Santa Singh did not follow the orders of Sri Akaal Takht Sahib and due to having the support of Indian government, he continued to call himself the Jathedar of Budha Dal.

Roughly 2 months after being made the Jathedar of Budha Dal, the Shaheedi Jorh Mela of Chaar Sahibzade came. After the first Jorh Mela for the older Sahibzade, Bhai Sahib and his Nihang Dal started preparing for the Jorh Mela of young Sahibzade. In the end on 13th December 1985, as Bhai Sahib did the sewa of Palki Sahib, some singhs from Baba Santa Singh's group came and told Bhai Sahib to hand over the Palki Sahib. Bhai Sahib replied with respect and said, "If the SGPC gives you permission to take the responsibility of Palki Sahib then you can happily take it, if not then step out of our way." When the Baba Santa Singh's group went back and reported to him, Baba Santa Singh ordered them to go and snatch the Palki Sahib and bring it to him. These singhs kitted themselves with rifles and once they reached the Palki Sahib, they saw that there was a lot of Sikh sangat and they can't just take the Palki Sahib. Even Bhai Sahib was doing sewa of Dhan Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj with Maryada and his Nihang Dal was also ready with their rifles in case something was to happen. A close Nihang Singh of Bhai Sahib told him, "Jathedar Ji, something isn't right." But Bhai Sahib gave the fellow Nihang Singh courage and said, "If anything is to happen here, then what can be more of blessing then to die at the feet of our Guru."

When the Sikh sangat reached Gurudwara Joti Saroop with the Palki Sahib, Bhai Sahib did the parkash of Dhan Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj and sat on the Tabaya Sahib to do the sewa. The Baba Santa Singh's gangsters started saying that they must perform the Ardas, but Bhai Sahib answered, "You have been exiled from the Sikh panth, hence you have no right to perform the Ardas." Upon hearing this, these gangsters attacked Bhai Sahib and his Nihang Dal. In this attack Bhai Naranjan Singh Maulviwal attained martyrdom and Jathedar Sukhchain Singh who was the brother-in-law of Bhai Sahib was wounded and started to return fire. Bhai Sahib was sitting on the Tabaya Sahib and watching all this while doing sewa of Maharaj, one of the gangsters attacked Bhai Sahib from behind with a sword but Bhai Sahib wasn't hurt badly. By now the whole Sikh Sangat started running trying to save their lives.

Another fellow Nihang Singh of Bhai Sahib by the name of Bhai Prem Singh helped Jathedar Sukhchain Singh get to safety by giving cover fire with his rifle. Bhai Prem Singh saw one of the goons moving forward to attack Bhai Sahib as he sat on the Tabaya Sahib, Bhai Prem Singh shouted, "If you attack our Jathedar, then I will shoot you." But the goon did not listen and continued to move forward and Bhai Prem Singh shot him dead. Both sides were exchanging fire. The goons who called themselves Nihangs did not care about the Satkar of Dhan Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj and they shot Bhai Sahib in the back as he sat on the Tabaya Sahib, but even after being shot Bhai Sahib remained seated and continued to do sewa of Maharaj.

By now the police had also arrived and told both sides to stop firing, but by then the goons of Baba Santa Singh managed to pick up the dead bodies of their group along with the wounded and escaped. Bhai Prem Singh and Jathedar Sukhchain Singh stood there with their weapons and were arrested by the police. One of the goons who was hiding saw that the Nihang Singhs had been unarmed and then shot Bhai Sahib in the back again and ran away. With the second bullet Bhai Sahib was seriously wounded, he then moved away from Tabaya Sahib to prevent any disrespect to Maharaj. Bhai Sahib sat on the floor and looked at his brave fellow Nihang Singhs with pride and said, "Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh." Bhai Sahib then put his sword in front of Dhan Guru Granth Sahib Ji and bowed his head to Maharaj, and then Bhai Sahib attained martyrdom.

Khalsa Fatehnama - December 2006

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