Events from Sikh History

1978 Bloody Vaisakhi

Procession In StreetsOver 1 million Sikh pilgrims had assembled at Amritsar on the Vaisakhi day of 1978. At the same time the Nirankari-called Sect of bohemians from Delhi and other parts of the Indian sub-continent held a procession and a conference at Amritsar. During their Conference the speakers made venomous attacks on Sikhism Sikh Gurus Sikh scriptures etc. A few Sikhs under the command of Bhai Fauja Singh marched from the Darbar Sahib to protest against this fake Nirankari procession in which Gurbachan Singh Nirankari had seated himself on a higher position than Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Sri Guru Granth Sahib the prevalent Guru of GurSikhs is always respectfully seated at the highest platform in any congregation. Anyone seated on a platform higher than that of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is considered disrespectful and sacrilegious among Guru Khalsa Panth.     

Further the Nirankaris were hurling grave and malicious insults against the GurSikhism religion beliefs and sentiments. Oblivious to the GurSikhs the Nirankaris had other plans including a para-military platoon armed with lethal weapons guns revolvers acid-filled bottles and mechanical propellants for shooting poison-tipped arrows all well positioned behind a row of trucks. The GurSikh protestors were persuaded by the police officers on duty into believing that steps were being taken to stop further provocations of GurSikhism sentiments. Then the voice of Gurbachan Singh Nirankari chief was heard over the sound system saying "these Sikhs think they can stop us from freely carrying out our program. Let them know today how mistaken they are. Time has come to be active for those who have come here for this job". Suddenly the para-military platoon briskly advanced toward the GurSikh protestors. The police on duty hurled tear-gas bombs against the unarmed GurSikhs converting them into sitting ducks for their hunters. Even some Hindu police officials like O.D. Joshi joined the Nirankaris' attacks on the protesting GurSikhs. When it was all over 13 lay dead and over 50 were seriously injured. The batch of protesting GurSikhs were from Akhand Kirtani Jatha and Bhindranwala Jatha led by Bhai Fauja Singh included the following 13 who laid their lives: 

  1. Bhai Amrik Singh1978-Shaheeds2
  2. Bhai Avtar Singh
  3. Bhai Darshan Singh
  4. Bhai Dharamvir Singh
  5. Bhai Fauja Singh
  6. Bhai Gurcharan Singh
  7. Bhai Gurdial Singh
  8. Bhai Harbhajan Singh
  9. Bhai Hari Singh
  10. Bhai Kewal Singh
  11. Bhai Piara Singh
  12. Bhai Raghbir Singh
  13. Jathedar Ranbir Singh ‘Fauji’

The irony of the Sikh situation was this that Punjab was being ruled by a so-called Sikh Party; Amritsar was one of the holiest cities of the Sikhs; one minister Mr Jiwan Singh was also present in the city; the city was the headquarters of the Akali Party and the Sikh Parliament (SGPC) and the Nirankaris had long been attacking the Sikh religion and this was known in the Government. Furthermore all the killers of the Sikhs escaped from the Punjab safely even with the help of officials of the Punjab Government (including Niranjan Singh an official of the Punjab and allegedly the Chief Minister of the Punjab).

Throughout the world the Sikhs exhibited their fury. However the Akali ministers of Punjab province bowed before the Central (Hindu) Government and refused to ban the activities of this gang of bohemians. Meanwhile these ministers addressed various Sikh congregations and spoke against the Nirankaris so that the Sikh masses should not become furious against them for their indifferent (or pro-Nirankari) attitude.
Thus this became the starting point of the new phase of the struggle of the Sikh nation. The lead was given by the Sikh Youth under the guidance of the Sikh intelligentsia. They had to fight various platforms: the Hindus the Communists and some of the pseudo-Akalis who loved their office more than their nation.

This Amritsar massacre was one of the most significant incidents of this century for GurSikhs. It led to the murder of Lala Jagat Narain the rise of the Khalistan demand attack on the Golden Temple and Sri Akal Takhat and enormous destruction of lives and properties in Punjab Delhi and other locals of GurSikh population. It should be noted that although Gurbachan Singh's movement call themselves Nirankaris they do not have anything in common with the original Nirankari movement that made enormous sacrifices and significant contributions for Gur Panth’s reform.
On October 6 1978 a Hukumnama bearing the seal of Sri Akal Takhat (by the Jathedar of Sri Akal Takhat Amritsar) was issued calling upon GurSikhs all over the world to socially boycott these fake "Nirankaris" and not allow their faith and creed to grow or flourish in the society. This Hukumnama was prepared by a committee comprising of the following:

  • Giani Gurdit Singh
  • Giani Lal Singh
  • Giani Partap Singh
  • Giani Sadhu Singh Bhaura
  • Sardar Kapur Singh
  • Sardar Parkash Singh
  • Sardar Satbir Singh

Through this Hukumnama all GurSikhs were asked to stop "roti beti di sanjh" food and marital relations with the fake Nirankaris. Gurbachan Singh was subsequently killed by the GurSikhs on Apr. 24 1980. However the repercussion of the initial event continue to persist.

Register today to access exclusive content and features.

Read Rehat Maryadha online.