HT reproduces excerpts of transcriptions on key events
1. ‘Khalistan’ announcement Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, senior Akali leader: “At around 6 pm on 5th June, four to five Sikh youth came to where I along with Akali Dal president Sant Harchand Singh Longowal and SGPC president Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra were sitting. They were carrying a box.chandigarh Updated: Jun 11, 2013 10:03 IST
1. ‘Khalistan’ announcement Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, senior Akali leader: “At around 6 pm on 5th June, four to five Sikh youth came to where I along with Akali Dal president Sant Harchand Singh Longowal and SGPC president Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra were sitting. They were carrying a box.
They were also carrying SLRs and they placed them on stands with their barrels pointing towards all of us. They told us that the ‘box’ is connected with Gen Zia-ul-Haq in Pakistan. They told Jathedar Tohra and Sant Longowal to declare the formation of Khalistan, so that the Pakistani Army can launch an attack. Both Tohra and Longowal are not alive today, so I am saying this under a solemn oath of allegiance to the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, because I want to speak the truth that Sant Longowal kept completely quiet.
He did not say anything. He kept sitting there, unnerved. We were also sitting there. These Sikh youth, five of them, had come to kill us, we were sure. Then Jathedar Tohra spoke. He said, ‘Dekho naujawano, eh jedi jang hai eh Hind-Punjab di jang hai.’ He kept his balance and also said that ‘Jang Hind-Punjab da hon lagga hai,te dohin pase shahanshahi faujan bhariyan ne’.
He said this battle is between Sant Bhindranwale and Mrs Indira Gandhi. He told them that he or Sant Longowal were not leading this battle. This battle is being led by Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Be fair to us and please ask Sant Bhindranwale to issue a statement on the creation of Khalistan first.
You have a tape-recorder. Please record and play his statement to us and then we will make the necessary comment on whatever he says. He did not say that he will make the announcement for Khalistan. I don’t know how history will judge the Akali leadership but this is the truth. The youth then left the place. God knows why they left. And they never came back.”
2. Killing of Sikhs in cold bloodBalwant Singh Ramoowalia: “It was late in the night (June 5th night/June 6th early morning) when the army men brought out some captured persons in front of us. The army men pointed their automatic guns towards the captured Sikh youth. They sternly told them, some 35 to 40 of them, to sit down cross-legged in a row.
The captured Sikhs appeared to be from Kashmir, they didn’t look like Punjabi Sikhs. An officer waved a handkerchief and they were shot dead by the army men with bullets which were sprayed on them from left to right and then right to left. I have never seen people being killed like that, with bullets.
I have been a farmer and I have cut the crop and made its bundles. The crests of these Sikh youth collapsed similarly. No one moaned or uttered anything. I know my statement will be called into questioning, but 28 years after it happened, I am going on record on this. I am really sad that people were queued up and killed in cold blood. The army men were very angry, very abusive, mad with rage. May be they had lost their fellow army men in the battle elsewhere in the complex.
This happened between 3am and 3.30am, after a grenade blast nearby. It was my turn next as a part of the next group of Sikhs that was being queued up for killing. I was also told to sit down similarly. I said my prayers. By chance, I remembered that I had in my pocket my identity card as an ex-member of Parliament, of the Lok Sabha. I took it out and flashed it as I raised my hand. I said, “Can I speak for a while? I am Ramoowalia, a former member, Lok Sabha, I and all these persons, who are under your custody belong to Sant Harchand Singh Longowal. We are non-violent people, (have) nothing to do with the armed struggle, we are here, just as a part of Akali Dal’s peaceful morcha.’ He asked me, ‘What is your name?’ I said, ‘My name is Ramoowalia.’
He asked me once again. I told him, ‘I am not misguiding. Not misleading. This is my identity card. Please check it up.’ God knows, the army man was so enraged, he could have just shot and killed me. But he said, ‘Stop’. The other army men lowered their guns. And two to three of them came up to me…in those days I use to wear Safari suits, these are there in the photographs also, pant and shirt…I was wearing a Safari suit, it was soaked in blood, they came and pointed their guns under my ribs and pushed me to a side. Then the officer again asked me, ‘Are you reallyRamoowalia?’ I said, ‘I am really Ramoowalia.’ He said, ‘how are you here? You are not supposed to be here.’ I said, ‘Why’? He said, ‘You are supposed to be with Sant Longowal.’ I said, ‘Sant Longowal is sitting in the adjoining room. I have breached the wall and come’.”
3. Brigadier (retd) Onkar Singh Goraya: “Bhan Singh, Abhinashi Singh…in fact, even when I was in the Sarai Complex, Bhan Singh had come to me. And Bhan Singh said, reluctant and fearful, Colonel saab, something serious has happened, which we want to tell you about. I said, ‘Please tell me without any hesitation.’ But since we were stepping out of the complex, there wasn’t any time to hear him out properly. Now, we were at the Inspection Bungalow (in Amritsar). So I asked him.
I said, ‘You were going to say something. What happened?’ He said the army men in Darbar Sahib have done something awful. This was shared with me by (Balwant Singh) Ramoowalia also. But Bhan Singh told me separately. He said that some Sikh youth, who were wearing only their breaches, were lined up against a wall in the Golden Temple complex and killed with a machine gun. He also showed me the wall in the complex which had the bullet marks, when I went back in the second time in the afternoon.”
4. How General Shabeg Singh went down Balwinder Singh Khojkipur, close associate of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale: “On the night of 5th June, General Shabeg Singh was hit by bullets. I was also coming from the Deodi side. He said, ‘Balwinder, I have been hit by a bullet.’ So I picked him up and took him to the basement of the Akal Takht, where he put his head on Sant Bhindranwale’s thighs. Sant jee asked him, ‘Jarnail Saab, how are you feeling?’ The General said, ‘One, this is the abode of Guru Ram Das; two, this holy place belongs to Guru Hargobind jee; three, my head is lying in your lap. I feel absolutely relieved. My vow has been accomplished that I should give my life for my religion. I accomplished a lot while fighting huge battles for India. My end is passing off beautifully…’ With those words, he passed away.”
5. How Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale went downBalwinder Singh Khojkipur, close associate of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale: “At 8.45am on 6th June (1984), he held the ‘ardaas’. We were all with him. He then recited the ‘Kirtan Soila’ path. He placed his kirpan and arrow in the ‘shastars’ (arms) of Guru Hargobind Sahib. He then stepped out of the Akal Takht along with everyone else. Bhai Amrik Singh was walking ahead of him. We were walking right beside and behind him. And then a grenade fell. It destroyed the ‘Darshni Deodi’ next to the Akal Takht, which fell down. From there, he moved towards the ‘Darshni Deodi’ to offer his prayers to Guru Ram Das. I was also with him.
Then there was a volley of fire from the tank that hit him. He fell down alongside the tank. I also received bullet wounds in my legs and I slowly lay down on the ground. Later, the commandoes came and they took over everything.”
6. How pilgrims were held hostage by the militants Brigadier Goraya: “In the open area in front of the Ghanta Ghar, where pilgrims wash their feet before entering into the Golden Temple, I saw four-five dead bodies lying there. The CRPF told me that in the morning, some pilgrims tried to come out of the complex and were gunned down by the militants.”
(Transcripts courtesy Day&Night News)
First Published: Jun 11, 2013 09:59 IST