Baba Balbir Singh, and Three others Arrested by Punjab Police
MOGA, Punjab (KP) - In a deep rooted controversy, the Badal Government carried out a series of raids this past week arresting a total of four Singhs. The operation, carried out to appease anti-Panthic elements, left Panthic observers shocked as Baba Balbir Singh of village Lamma Jatpura was named as one of the arrested persons and allegedly, a large number of weapons were recovered from his possession.Baba Balbir Singh (Lamma Jatpura) , associated with the Damdami Taksal, has been active in Panthic circles for past decades. He enjoys support of a large number of Sikhs in his area and throughout Punjab. Along with Baba Balbir Singh, two of the three additional arrested persons also hail from the village Lamma Jatpura. According to received reports, Baba Balbir Singh was found travelling in a white coloured Maruti car, along with two more Singhs. As reported by the police, large number of gelatin sticks and detonators were recovered from the car. Two more Singhs, namely – Kuljeet Singh Kanta and Bhag Singh, along with Baba Balbir Singh were sent to Police remand until July 6th.After the initial arrests, the police arrested another person named Harvinder Singh/Sukhjinder Singh alias Billa also from Lamma Jatpura and alleged to have recovered a large number of explosives from his possession. The police reported that the four persons were planning on carrying out an attack on the Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim who has been involved in numerous controversies and crimes in the past few years.Baba Balbir Singh enjoys status of a holy person and his arrest has left the entire community in utter shock. Although independent sources have not confirmed the Police statements or presence of detonators or gelatin sticks, it is not uncommon in Punjab for even the Saintly persons to carry self-defense weapons. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee employees are also granted a special license to carry arms. For Police to arrest Baba Balbir Singh solely based on recovery of personals arms is unacceptable.To further raise the controversy behind the arrest, Panthic circles have hinted at close involvement of Parkash Badal and the Shiromani Akali Dal (B) in the recent arrests. Allegation have surfaced in Panthic circles that the recent conference organized in Ludhiana by Paramjit Sarna might have been the cause for the arrests. Sarna had asked leaders of religious and political organizations to gather at the Ludhiana conference and chalk out a plan for reviving the SGPC and release its control from the clutches of Shiromani Akali Dal (B).Baba Balbir Singh’s popularity amongst the Sikhs could have made him a key opponent of the SGPC if Sarna was to overthrow the Badal regime and control over the SGPC. Further, as Baba Balbir Singh’s name has not been heard in the mainstream extremist scenes for a while, his arrest probably came easier than that of anyone else opposing Badal and it certainly left an impact on anyone else thinking of doing the same.Human rights organizations should investigate the arrest of Baba Balbir Singh and other Singhs and seek a rightful and independent inquiry by the court. At the same time, the Sant Samaj organization that claims to represent the voice of Sikh Saints should also come up and raise voice in defense of Baba Balbir Singh who is a respected personality of the entire Sikh Nation.There is no doubt that Baba Balbir Singh’s name has wrongfully been attached with the Khalistan Zindabad Force by the police to defame him and strengthen the fabricated charges against him. Baba Balbir Singh has in past travelled to foreign countries. His last visit to the United States was in April 2007 and if his name was associated with the Khalistan Zindabad Force, he should have never been granted visas to visit foreign countries.