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Damdami Taksal to Honor Apar Singh Bajwa
By VARINDER WALIA and SANJAR BUMBROO
The Tribune, Amritsar, Jun. 2, 2005
Photo: Apar Singh Bajwa
Damdami Taksal today decided to honour Mr. Apar Singh Bajwa, a retired S.P., who was instrumental in recognising and cremating the body of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale 21 years ago.
The decision has come as a surprise because Damdami Taksal had been claiming for more than two decades that Sant Bhindranwale is in 'chardi kala' (high spirits). Those, who had announced that Sant Bhindranwale was killed in the Army operation during Operation Bluestar had to face the wrath of Damdami Taksal. So much so that the activists of the taksal had made an attempt on Mr. Manjit Singh Calcutta, a former S.G.P.C. secretary, in the U.S. as he had challenged the claims of Baba Thakur Singh, successor of Sant Bhindranwale, regarding the death of the latter.
While Bhai Mohkam Singh, spokesman of Damdami Taksal, has announced that Mr. Bajwa would be honoured with the Dewan Todar Mal award for cremating Sant Bhindranwale as per Sikh rites, the retired cop is in a dilemma to receive the award.
Talking to The Tribune, Mr. Bajwa said it was 'ridiculous' to accept the truth about the death of Sant Bhindranwale after more than two decades. He said the taksal should have accepted his version earlier. He had identified the body of Sant Bhindranwale on June 6 in the presence of Army officials. He claimed that his verbal explanation was sought by the senior police officers at that time for ensuring cremation as per Sikh rites.
In reply to the explanation, he (Mr. Bajwa) had told his seniors that it was his moral duty to show respect to the body. 'Even enemy's body is cremated as per the rites of his faith.' Mr. Bajwa claimed that he had told his seniors to accept the fact and tell the Sikh masses that Sant Bhindranwale was cremated as per Sikh rites. On his suggestion, the government had declared that Sant Bhindranwale had been cremated as per Sikh traditions.
Mr. Bajwa revealed that Sant Bhindranwale was killed on June 6 along with Bhai Amrik Singh, the then president of the All-India Sikh Students Federation, Maj.-Gen. Shabeg Singh (retd.) and Baba Thara Singh. His body was recognised by his brother, Subedar Major Harcharan Singh Rode (who retired as a captain), the superintendent of police and a battery of police and civil officers in the presence of the military.
Meanwhile, Baba Budh Singh, a carpenter by profession, claimed that he was also an eyewitness to the cremation of Sant Bhindranwale on the night of June 6. Recalling the event that took place in the night, he said he posed as a helper at cremation ground of Baba Shaheedan Gurdwara to gain entry. He added that the body of Sant Bhindranwale was drenched in blood and it was cleaned with milk and desi ghee.
He said there were around 250 military men present at the cremation ground. He said he remembered that at that time Mr. Apar Singh Bajwa, D.S.P., and Mr. Surinder Pal Singh, S.H.O., were present.