Op/Ed: Shaheed Kehar Singh – “Hung For Being A Sikh”

Shaheed Beant Singh (Left), Shaheed Satwant Singh (Center) and Shaheed Kehar Singh (Right)
Shaheed Beant Singh (Left), Shaheed Satwant Singh (Center) and Shaheed Kehar Singh (Right)

Bhai Kehar Singh was Shaheed Beant Singh’s uncle (fuffar ji) and a devout amritdhari Sikh. He came from the village of Mustafabad near Fatehgarh Sahib but worked in Delhi as an assistant in the field of Director General Supplies and Disposal. As they both worked and lived in Delhi, Kehar Singh got on very well with his wife’s nephew, Beant Singh. They would meet up frequently and discuss the finer points of Sikhi.

In October 1984, Kehar Singh and his wife Jagir Kaur took Beant Singh and his wife Bimal Kaur, to go see for themselves the destruction and carnage that had taken place at the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar. As they stood with heavy hearts, Kehar Singh offered inspirational words, “do not grieve, if you have love for Sikhi, then learn that giving your head and taking a head for Sikhi are equal. After all, someone has to be the sons of Sukha Singh and Mehtab Singh who took the head of Massa Rangarh to stop the desecration of Sri Darbar Sahib and became legends in Sikh History. We need to remember them, and become like them”.
During the intense interrogation torture, Satwant Singh always maintained that there was no conspiracy to assassinate Indira Gandhi involving Kehar Singh and that Satwant Singh and Beant Singh had acted alone. But the Government did not accept this, and took an innocent Sikh, Kehar Singh, framed him with the assassination case and sentenced him to death.

On 6th January 1989, Kehar Singh walked to the gallows with a prayer on his lips. The capital punishment given to Kehar Singh evoked strong reaction from the senior political leaders at the national level as there was no evidence but he had been sentenced to death for his alleged involvement in the conspiracy to assassinate Indira Gandhi. Four senior Opposition leaders came out against the hanging of Kehar Singh hours before the execution of the death sentence. They tried to reach Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to prevent what they said would be senseless, inhuman and judicial murder. Kehar Singh told his son on the eve of his hanging, “this has happened with the Sikhs before, it is still happening today and it will continue to happen. This is nothing new, but if by my sacrifice, the Panth can be strengthened, it is for the good. I did nobody any harm”.

Kehar Singh’s only crime was that he was a Sikh who happened to be related to Beant Singh. A man whose guilt was in grave doubt was sent to the gallows by a government incapable of making a distinction between right and wrong, between compassion and vindictiveness. Kehar Singh’s hanging was MURDER, but seeking the truth has never played a large role in the Indian justice system. The brutal Indian regime may have killed Bhai Kehar Singh, but in the hearts of all Sikhs, he will live forever.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here