Reported By V. Singh Presently serving a 17 years sentence at Lewisberg Penitentiary, the maximum security prison in the United States, Dr. Gurpartap Singh Birk is the only Sikh inmate held among the most dangersous criminals in the country.
In May 1985, Dr. Birk was arrested and charged in a conspiracy to kill Rajiv Gandhi, and Bhajan Lal, and a conspiracy to overthrow Government of India and so many other charges. If convicted in all the charges, he would have faced 3 life imprisonments plus 20 years in prison. That means he would have never gotten out alive. But the was lucky enough to win most of the cases he was charged with, maximum sentences he got was 10 years from New Orleans and 7 years from New York, to run concurrently.
Dr. Birka versatile genius holds a doctorate degree in medical electronics. He is one of the best computer analysts in the United States, and was earning about $120,000 a year. What made a man of his caliber to get involved in all these troubles was the question even’ judges and attorneys could not understand.
He was born in Virk village near Phagwara (Punjab), but was raised and educated in England. Dr. Birk came to U.S. in 1982 to work for Automatic Tolls Computer Company in New York. He used to stay at Sheraton Hotel in New York at his company expense, and was living a peaceful and nonpolitical life. He hardly knew many people in the Sikh community. But the attack on the Golden Temple in 1984 shocked him. He was contacted by a Sikh youth and he started coming to the Gurdwara, not to be a politician but to do something for the Sikh panth. Soon after Dashmesh Regiment, of Sikh Student Federation came into existence in New York and Dr. Birk was selected President of this strong organization which was wholeheartedly supported by at least 5000 Sikh youths.
In November 1984 the killing of thousands of innocents Sikhs gave another shock to Dr. Birk and his Organization. He planned to get even with the culprits and the killers of innocents.
Unfortunately, he did not know that some of the people he was dealing with were undercover agents, who would put him in the. Worst trouble of his life all his dreams were shattered when he got arrested in New Orleans,
In prison, he has no expression of worry on his face; he always laughs and jokes with other inmates. He faced his tragedy with such courage that when prosecutors threatened to put him behind bars for the rest of his life, he simply laughed and said, “Do whatever you want?”
He was optimistic about his chances of winning in court and, indeed, won most of the chases against him. While making a speech in court, he did not ask the judge for mercy instead he told him, how innocent Sikhs are being persecuted in India.
Dr. Birk’s wife and two sons: living in England. His children always ask their Mom, “Where is Dad?” She cannot come up with a good answer, but she says, “She is proud of her husband”. As the chances of parole for Dr. Birk are very slim, he may not be able to join his family until 1991.
Article extracted from this publication >> February 12, 1988