Noteworthy News and Analysis from Around the World

In-Depth Coverage of Issues Concerning the Global Sikh Community Including Self-Determination, Democracy, Human Rights, Civil Liberties, Antiracism, Religion, and South Asian Geopolitics

Home | News Analysis Archive | Biographies | Book Reviews | Events | Photos | Links | About Us | Contact Us

Daljit Singh Bittu Released on Parole


The Tribune, Nabha/Ludhiana, Oct. 7, 2005

Photo: Daljit Singh Bittu

Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu, president, Shiromani Khalsa Dal [formed during the summer of 2004], was today set free on parole after 10 years of detention from the high-security Nabha jail on orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the presence of the Damdami Taksal chief, Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma. Besides his sister, Birpal Kaur, and other relatives, a large number of political leaders were also present.

Bittu's marriage with Bibi Amrit Kaur, niece of Gursharan Singh Gama [co-accused], is scheduled to be solemnised on October 8. Bhai Bittu returned home after 21 years. Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma and others later took him to a local gurdwara in a big procession from the jail premises. He was presented a siropa [robe of honor] after paying obeisance before Guru Granth Sahib. Mr. Tej Sandeep Singh Ajnoda, president, Sikh Students' Federation (Bittu group) welcomed his release on parole. On this occasion, Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu thanked all those who had helped him. Later he was taken to Ludhiana in a big procession.

There were many moist eyes at a modest house in Gurdev Nagar here when an elderly couple embraced their son after over two decades.

Khalistani ideologue and president of the Shiromani Khalsa Dal Daljit Singh Bittu arrived home to a warm welcome from family members, aides and friends here this evening. In the wake of Operation Bluestar, he had gone underground. Arrested in 1996 from a farm house near Anandpur Sahib, he was today released on parole for just 21 days from the high-security Nabha jail to get married.

Talking to The Tribune after meeting his aged parents, Dr. Ajit Singh and Mrs. Palwinder Kaur, the former chief of the All-India Sikh Students' Federation rued the end of traditional Akali politics, which had strived for fulfilling the aspirations of Sikhs besides pursuing political goals.

'Nowadays, we see pygmies masquerading as Panthic leaders who are more interested in filling their pockets by subverting the verdict of the people. The cause of the Panth has been repeatedly sacrificed at the altar of political exigencies,' he added.

Referring to the Parkash Singh Badal brand of politics, he said the sole aim of the Badals and their ilk was to maintain control over the coffers of the S.G.P.C. and use the money to fund their illegal activities.

The former hockey player and student of veterinary sciences at P.A.U. [Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana] said their party would aim to provide a direction to the Sikhs, especially youth. People are at the crossroads and are waiting for an opportunity to express their disgust with the current leadership, he opined.

He appealed to everyone to stop the blame game and do some serious soul searching. 'Over the decades, the Sikh ideology has been eroded and events subverted as per a clever gameplan to sideline and project the community in bad light. It is our misfortune that uneducated and myopic leaders have been willing tools to carry out such evil designs for petty and personal gains,' he pointed out.

Replying to a query on what motivated him to join the movement, Bittu said it was the call of the time and he could not strangle the voice of his conscience. 'It was my duty towards the Panth,' he added.

Looking back at two tumultuous decades, he said Sikh youth today lacked role models and our aim would be to project our heroes and glorious past with greater clarity. Facing and overcoming challenges is a part of the Sikhs' culture and every obstacle will be surmounted,' he stressed.

He agreed that the Sikhs needed more educated leaders who were willing to work for a larger cause.