London — Last minute queries by the British Home office did not prevent separatist Sikhs here from going ahead with the inaugural broadcasts of the so-called Khalsa Voice from an unknown commercial radio station in West Europe of Tuesday night.
The 15minute inaugural programme consisted of recitations from the holy Granth Sahib and a discussion on a current topic, according to the leader of the Khalistan, Dr. Jagjit Singh Chauhan, who said that a brief message from him was also included.
Hours before it was scheduled to go on the air, the British home office sought to obtain advance transcripts of the programme, Dr. Chauhan said. Sikh Regimental Gurdwara Blamed for June Revolt Bid to Ban Gurdwaras in Army Centers Jabalpur the usual Sunday meetings (satang) at the Gurdwara were mainly responsible for stirring the jawans of the Sikh Regimental Centre at Ramgarh (Bihar) to revolt on June 10 last year.
This became evident on Monday as witnesses deposed before the military board now hearing the cases of the revolvers.
Currently committed to the court martial here are two armed deserters Havaldar Hari Singh and Naik Sadhu Singh of the Centre who were charge sheeted for looting arms and ammunition and mutiny.
In all, 1,058 other ranks, mostly recruits, and 48 noncommissioned officers of the center revolted, reportedly as a reaction to the Army action in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar a week earlier. They killed the regimental commander, Brig. S.C. Puri, broke open the armoury and fled towards Punjab with arms and ammunition.
The board examined six witnesses, all recruits of the center on the second day of the court martial proceedings on Monday. The witnesses themselves were deserters, who, after serving 28 days of rigorous imprisonment in the Army jails, were allowed to return to their positions.
According to their deposition, the atmosphere in the regimental barracks became surcharged with emotion soon after the jawans returned from the gurdwara at about 9 a.m.
The jawans were told by some NCOs to pack up, go to the kot (armoury), collect arms and mount the vehicles’ parked near the armoury for the trip to Punjab.
Some hard core elements among the deserters fired in the air to pressurize others to revolt. The news that the commander had been killed had an electrifying effect and the desertion initially limited to a few, became a massive one.
At the same time the witness recalled the rumour was spread that the Army had moved in and all Sikhs would be killed unless they fled.
Some of those who hesitated to leave were allegedly slapped by the accused Sadhu Singh.
The deserters hijacked eight or 10 more civilian vehicles and sped towards Allahabad. Some of the deserters turned back when they learnt from approaching vehicles that Army units had blocked the road leading to the bridge near Allahabad.
A majority of the deserters, however, became demoralized when they found the civilian population hostile towards them. They laid down their arms and surrendered when the Army units blocking the bridge warned them of the consequences through loudspeakers.
No shots were fired when the deserters encountered the Army units. Even those who did not surrender their left their arms behind changed into civilian clothes and sped away. Later, they too surrendered to the police in a bid to find shelter from the hostile civilian population.
All the deserters were detained for 10 days at the ordinance depot in the Allahabad fort before being removed to other places for trial.
Article extracted from this publication >> March 15, 1985