Shaheed Bhai Harminder Singh Sandhu was a Sikh intellectual and General Secretary of the All India Sikh Student Federation (AISSF). He was considered the political brain of the organization. Shaheed Bhai Harminder Singh enjoyed close proximity with Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale and other prominent Sikh leaders before he was assassinated 26 years ago on January 24, 1990.
When Bhai Harminder Singh Sandhu was serving in the AISSF, Bhai Amrik Singh was serving as its president.
Punjabi version of this interview was published in February 1990’s edition of magazine ‘Sant Sipahi’. Translated version of this interview is being presented here for the Sikh24’s audience.
Question: After Operation Bluestar, you were accused of being a traitor. What is your response to this?
Answer: It was purely an Indian government’s conspiracy to create illusions about me in attempt to sledgehammer our struggle for the establishment of sovereign Sikh state Khalistan. On one side I was being tortured physically and mentally but on the other side rumours were being spread about me by the Indian agencies.
I was not even informed about martyrdom of my wife Paramjit Kaur during the 1984 attack. I don’t know what type of government agent I was [if my family and I endured so much torture]?
Question: How did you get to know about your wife’s martyrdom?
Answer: When the CBI team started interrogating me, I was asked to identify some photos of martyred Sikhs in the government’s record. Photos of dead body of Bibi Upkar Kaur and my wife Paramjit Kaur were also in the collection. That’s where I got to know about their martyrdom. Despite knowing who they were, I refused to confirm their identity.
The photos were numbered 16 & 17 in the confidential files of the Indian government.
Question: How did you use to spend your time Jail?
Answer: During imprisonment, I used to spend most of my time while pursuing my academic studies and reciting Gurbani. Beside Nitnem Baanis, I have also memorised scriptures of ‘Asa Di War’, ‘Shabad Hazare’, ‘Sukhmani Sahib’ and ‘Barah mah’.
I have also won gold medal in M.A. (History) from Guru Nanak Dev University.
Question: Are you continuing your study?
Answer:Yes, I am pursuing my Ph. D (Doctorate of Philosophy) on the Dasam Granth.
Question: Politically, on one side you talk of Khalistan but on the other side you supported Simranjit Singh Mann led Shiromani Akali Dal in elections. Why?
Answer: Yes, we (the All India Sikh Students Federation) supported Simranjit Singh Mann in elections as it is a way to transfer political power in this country. But our main goal is a sovereign Sikh state Khalistan which is necessary to promote Sikhi and secular politics.
As per utterances of Sant Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale, foundation of Khalistan was laid when the Indian army invaded into sanctum sanctorum Sri Harmandir Sahib.
Question: Which way you will espouse for the achievement of Khalistan as the militants believe in armed struggle?
Answer: Militants have adopted armed struggle against the state oppression. Our way for the achievement of Khalistan could be different but our goal is same.
To achieve Khalistan, we would have to move ahead step by step. Our initial attempt is to make government bow before Punjab masses for their righteous demands via referendum.
Question: Is your program of erecting Khalsa Panchayat system a step towards this?
Answer: Motive of Khalsa Panchayat system is to establish a regime of truth and righteousness on the basis of religion. In the architecture of a democracy, Panchayat is a basic unit which is capable of solving the village level issues itself.
Question: What type of aid are you expecting from the Sikh diaspora? Are you getting any aid currently from abroad?
Answer: Sikh diaspora is very excited about the establishment of Khalistan. Sikh bodies abroad have tendered their proposals for aid to us but currently we have refused to take any aid because firstly we want to force Indian government by raising International pressure to accept righteous demands of Sikhs.
Question: What are your views about old Akali Dal and SGPC?
Answer: Akali Dal has totally lost its credibility and a new leadership is emerging. SGPC is an only Sikh institution which can become a tool for referendum on Sikh ideology but currently it needs a total transformation in its working.
Question: What are your expectations from V.P. Singh led new Union government of India in relation to Punjab?
Answer: We don’t think that V.P. Singh would be able to do anything for Punjab but we would definitely give a chance to Simranjit Singh Mann led Shiromani Akali Dal to try his way.
It is our belief that the V.P. Singh led Union government won’t be able to deliver anything to the Sikhs beside ministries, and this will consequently divert Sikhs from their original goal.
Question: What would you say about Indian machinery’s reaction to your open stand in favour of Khalistan?
Answer: I clearly say that I am adamant on my stance for the establishment of Khalistan and am also aware of the cheap tactics of Indian government.
I had challenged Rajiv Gandhi (son of Indra Gandhi and former Indian Prime Minister) to have live debate with me on TV on the issue of ‘Khalistan’ but he ran away. I am adamant to dedicate my entire life for the establishment of Khalistan at any cost.
Question: Don’t you feel the need of personal security as all leaders these days remain shielded by gunmen?
Answer: I will never demand security from a government that attacked our sacred shrine SriHarmandir Sahib, demolished our supreme throne Sri Akal Takht Sahib, murdered thousands of innocent Sikhs and committed severe atrocities on common masses.
Also, I don’t have any threat from underground militants. But still if I fall victim to any conspiracy then I would feel myself lucky enough to have sacrificed my life for the establishment of a sovereign Sikh state Khalistan.
Question: What’s your stand about Sikh youths languishing in jails?
Answer: Our most important task is to get released our brothers from jails. We have clarified our stand about unconditional release of Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda and Bhai Sukhdev Singh Sukha via media. We have also continued our efforts for the release of all Sikh prisoners.