Op/Ed: “I Have Absolutely No Faith In The Indian Judicial System” – Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara

In a written statement to the judge, Jathedar Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara during the court hearing for Beant “Singh” assassination case very clearly rejected the Indian state, and its judicial system for the second time.  Despite potentially facing the death penalty, Bhai Sahib has once again illustrated his fierce commitment to our qaumi sangarsh, refusing to fight his case in an Indian court. 

Whether he was facing the death penalty in the prime of his youth in 1998, facing extradition and torture when arrested in Thailand, and now facing grave sentences in a number of additional cases, Bhai Sahib has exhibited uncompromising strength and surrender to the vision and mission of the Guru Panth. 

Beyond merely being a symbol, Jathedar Jagtar Singh – and all those jujharoos who remain in prison, are living examples of courage, sacrifice, and determination. A constant reminder to each one of us of our responsibilities to the Panth. Every Khalsa who has joyfully accepted shaheedi or imprisonment for the qaum has always done so with the firm faith that future generations will take their place and continue the struggle until its victory. 

The onus is on us to contemplate how we will shoulder this responsibility. 

Following is translation of Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara’s letter to the judge.  The translation has been provided by the Baagi Media Network.

January 6, 2016

Those who continue to merely live life after losing their honour
Every morsel they eat is haraam (impure/cursed)|| (1)

Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, 
Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Respected Judge,

To free Hindustan from the British, Sikhs gave 90% of the sacrifices. Before the Partition of 1947, Gandhi, Nehru, and Patel had promised the Sikh qaum that after Independence, an autonomous region would be setup in the northwest of India where Sikhs would ‘enjoy the glow of freedom.’ But immediately after Independence, they turned their backs on their promises. During partition, they betrayed the Sikh qaum and cheated us. 

When Hindustan’s constitution was written, an attempt was made to finish the idea that the Sikh qaum was an independent nation, and alienate its political identity by assimilating the Sikh qaum under the heading ‘Hindu’ in Article 25. For these reasons, Sikh representatives rejected the constitution and refused to sign the document. On October 10, 1947 – mere months after Independence – the Delhi throne declared Sikhs a ‘criminal tribe,’ giving Sikhs the status of second-class citizens. 

In order to have their demands met, Sikhs launched several agitations in which thousands were arrested and countless fell to police bullets to embrace shaheedi. Then finally on November 1, 1966, the rulers of the Delhi throne conceded a frail Punjabi-speaking state after removing several Punjabi-speaking districts from its borders. When distributing the river waters of Punjab, the Indian state completely ignored the interests of Punjab and imposed a policy to weaken Punjab economically after ignoring international riparian laws and the terms of its own constitution.

By viciously attacking Darbar Sahib and several other Gurduaaray in June 1984, the oppressive and sectarian government tried to destroy our Ankh (honour/self-respect) and destroyed Sri Akaal Takht Sahib. Shots were fired at Sri Darbar Sahib and Guru Granth Sahib’s saroop was pierced by army bullets. The date Indira Gandhi selected for the attack, had a massive gathering of sangat commemorating Guru Arjan Dev Jee’s shaheedi purab due to which countless seniors, youth, women, and children were killed. In November 1984, Delhi and many other cities, saw 10,000 Sikhs massacred. Men were set ablaze with tires around their neck, women were raped and millions were looted in the light of day. 

Respected Judge, the laws of this country for minorities are different from those of the majority. If men of the majority community hijacked a plane in anger following Indira Gandhi’s arrest [for electoral fraud] they are made ministers, but if Sikh youth hijack a plane to protest the invasion of Sri Darbar Sahib, they are declared traitors and thrown in jail for life. Those Singhs who punished Indira Gandhi for her evil deeds were hung, but those responsible for the massacre of thousands in November 1984 are made ministers. After 31 years, Sikhs have protested, appealed, and cried for justice from the courts but to this day, the court has not punished those responsible. 

Were those held responsible for the destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992 by the Liberhan commission given any punishment? Did any of those Shiv Sena or BJP leaders, identified by the Sri Krishna Commission as responsible for the 1992 massacre of 900 Muslims in Mumbai receive punishment? In Gujarat, 11 were hung and 20 imprisoned for life in the aftermath of the Godhra incident, but on the other hand were any of those politicians and police officials punished by any court for murdering thousands of Muslims in Gujarat?

Respected Judge, the oppressed history of minorities in India after 1947 is very long and continues to this very day. Because of the injustices to minorities in this country, and the inability of the courts to provide justice to them, I have absolutely no faith in the Indian judicial system. For this reason, I will not fight my case and no lawyer will present a defence on my behalf. You can come to whatever decision you like, I will accept it without hesitation. 

Jagtar Singh Tara


(1) ਜੇ ਜੀਵੈ ਪਤਿ ਲਥੀ ਜਾਇ ।। ਸਭੁ ਹਰਾਮੁ ਜੇਤਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਖਾਇ ।।


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