Vegan Sikh Geek

A Different Perspective on August 31, 1995

March 21, 2012

Question: Who is currently on death row, eagerly anticipating being hanged to death on March 31, 2012?
“Easy. Everyone is talking about it, it’s all over the Punjabi news, and every other post (or more) on Facebook is about it: Bhai (Brother) Balwant Singh Rajoana.”

Question: With what is Bhai Balwant Singh charged?
“Alright, had to think about it/look it up, but readily available information: He masterminded the plot to assassinate Beant Singh (who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Sikhs).”

Question: Who actually killed Beant Singh and how?
“Maybe not as easily available, but still not difficult: Bhai Dilawar Singh was the suicide bomber, while Bhai Balwant Singh was the backup bomber.”

Question: How many people died?
“Wait, is this a trick question? Hmm, 2 people, if you count Bhai Dilawar Singh.”

What about the security personnel? What about the innocent civilians? The only place I could find reference to it was in the court documents. Nobody talks about it publicly. The only reason I tried looking was because a concerned brother had mentioned it privately.

Excluding Bhai Dilawar Singh, 17 people died that day. One of them was a gutless, ruthless, selfish, cold-blooded person by the name of Beant Singh. The world, and not just the Sikhs, was done a favour when he left it. The other 16, however, should be assumed guiltless. They had families who were left to fend for themselves. They had names:

Yashpal Bali, Kultar Singh, Laxman Das, Jagdish Singh Kutana, Swaran Singh, Rajinder Parsad, Balbir Singh, Dr. Anil Kumar Duggal, Tota Ram Sharma, Ajaib Singh, Jagdish Singh, Mukhtiar Singh, Chamkaur Singh, Ranjodh Singh Mann, Dhanwant Singh and Baldev Singh

These names will be forgotten. They already are. Nobody will recall that 16 others needlessly died when Beant Singh was assassinated. Bhai Balwant Singh did a great service to the world by being involved in the plot to rid the world of a person who had the deaths of 50,000 innocents to his name, which is covered up as “bringing peace back into Punjab”. That being said, the others killed were either doing their job of protecting a government official or were bystanders and were innocent.

Bhai Balwant Singh does not shy away from his death sentence; he can’t wait. Like the Spartans and Samurai, Sikh warriors believe the greatest death is an honourable one fighting against injustice. Sikhs do not oppress, and have only ever fought in defense. Sikhs are also to accept the consequences of their actions. Bhai Balwant Singh is responsible for the death of 16 innocent people, and accepts the consequences of his actions. The rest of us ought to as well.

“You believe Bhai Balwant Singh should be given capital punishment?”
I believe Bhai Balwant Singh, as honourable as his intentions may have been, blundered in the killing of innocent civilians. He needs to face some form of justice, and I think he accepts this.

If all the protests calling for his release are somehow successful, and Bhai Balwant Singh is let go by some miracle, the Indian Government will find another way to kill him. It will be much quieter and blame will be shifted elsewhere.

If all the protests against capital punishment are successful, and his sentence is switched to life imprisonment, the Indian Government will find a way to kill him in prison. It will be much quieter and blame will be shifted elsewhere.

“Do you support the assassination of Beant Singh?”
Beant Singh committed a terrible international crime: genocide. In a democratic nation such as Canada, he would have been tried in the court of law. All testimonies would have been heard. All available facts would have been collected. He would have been brought to justice.

“But India is the world’s largest democracy!”
Democratic nations don’t have Prime Ministers (e.g. Indira Gandhi) who rewrite the constitution to make their illegal activities legal. Democratic nations don’t disappear thousands of minorities and claim ignorance. Democratic nations don’t use their military oppress their own innocent citizens. India does. India is as democratic a nation as the late Christopher Hitchens was religious a man. Their justice system is something of a joke and there are human rights cases that have been going on for decades.

If anyone actually reads this, you may disagree with me. I love a good discussion and would like to learn from you.

Akaal Sahaai (God Bless)

Navdeep Singh

Written by Navdeep Singh. His work is on GitHub. He's also on LinkedIn.