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Babbar Khalsa
Leader Wadhawa Singh Babbar
Active region(s) Pakistan and India
Ideology Khalistan
Status Active

Babbar Khalsa (Punjabi: ਬੱਬਰ ਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ, IPA: [bəbːəɾ xɑlsɑ]), also known as Babbar Khalsa International (BKI), is one of several Sikh organizations calling for the formation of an independent Sikh state. The envisioned state, called Khalistan (meaning The Land of Pure) by its proponents, would comprise territory in Indian Punjab, and Punjabi-speaking areas in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. Like other related organisations, Babbar Khalsa was most active in the late 1970s and 1980s. The main period of the Punjab insurgency ended in 1993, although infrequent acts of violence are still attributed to it. It was, and continues to be, sponsored largely by expatriate Sikhs, particularly in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Babbar Khalsa International is called a Sikh freedom fighting organization by some.[1][2][3] BKI is listed as a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom,[4] the EU,[5 ] Canada,[6] India, and the United States.

The United States has designated the Babbar Khalsa responsible for the bombing of Air India Flight 182.[7] Babbar Khalsa militant Inderjit Singh Reyat, was convicted in the Air India bombing.[8]


Origins of the Babbar Khalsa

Organizations listed as terrorist groups by India
Northeastern India
National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM)
Naga National Council-Federal (NNCF)
National Council of Nagaland-Khaplang
United Liberation Front of Asom
People's Liberation Army
Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL)
Zomi Revolutionary Front
Al-Badr Mujahideen
Al Barq (ABQ)
Al Fateh Force (AFF)
Al Jihad Force (AJF)/Al Jihad
Al Mujahid Force (AMF)
Al Umar Mujahideen (AUR/Al Umar)
Awami Action Committee (AAC)
Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DEM)
Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HUM)
Ikhwan-ul-Musalmeen (IUM)
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM)
Jammat-ul-Mujahideen (JUM)
Jammat-ul-Mujahideen Almi (JUMA)
Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP)
Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF)
Jammu and Kashmir Jamaat-e-Islami (JKJEI)
Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET)
Kul Jammat Hurriyat Conference (KJHC)
Mahaz-e-Azadi (MEA)
Muslim Janbaaz Force (MJF/Jaanbaz Force)
Muslim Mujahideen (MM)
Hizbul Mujahideen
United Jihad Council
Students Islamic Movement of India Tehreek-e-Jihad (TEJ)
Pasban-e-Islami (PEI/Hizbul Momineen HMM)
Shora-e-Jihad (SEJ)
Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TUM)
North India
Babbar Khalsa
Bhindranwala Tigers Force of Khalistan
Communist Party of India (Maoist)
Dashmesh Regiment
International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)
Kamagata Maru Dal of Khalistan
Khalistan Armed Force
Khalistan Liberation Force
Khalistan Commando Force
Khalistan Liberation Army
Khalistan Liberation Front
Khalistan Liberation Organisation
Khalistan National Army
Khalistan Guerilla Force
Khalistan Security Force
Khalistan Zindabad Force
Shaheed Khalsa Force
Central India
People's war group
Balbir militias
Ranvir Sena

The origins of the name Babbar Khalsa trace to the Babbar Akali Movement of 1920, which agitated against British colonial rule in India. The conception of Babbar Khalsa in its modern day form is widely believed to have been brought about as a result of the Nirankari-Akhand Kirtani Jatha clash on Vaisakhi in 1978, where thirteen Sikhs were killed.[9] The founders of the organization were Sukhdev Singh Babbar, Mehal Singh Babbar and Amarjit Kaur (wife of Fauja Singh, the leader of the procession of Sikhs killed in the unexpected assault by Nirankaris). The initial aim of this panthic organisation was to avenge the death of Sikhs. On 24 April 1980, Gurbachan Singh, the "Baba" (head) of the Nirankaris, was killed; responsibility for this killing was claimed by Babbar Khalsa.

Talwinder Singh Parmar was put in charge of the international wing of the Babbar Khalsa in 1981, with Sukhdev Singh Babbar remaining the overall chief or "Jathedar". Wadhawa Singh Babbar and Mehal Singh Babbar were assigned as vice-Jathedars.


The crackdown on Sikh militant organisations by the Indian Government in the early 1990s, followed by the criminal and government infiltration of the Khalistan movement and the various militant organisations respectively, greatly weakened the Babbar Khalsa, ultimately leading to the death of Sukhdev Singh Babbar (9 August 1992) and Talwinder Singh Parmar (15 October 1992). Parmar's death remained controversial, and today he is accepted to have been shot dead by Indian police during custody; the Tehelka investigation found that Indian security forces had killed him after interrogation and were ordered to destroy his confession statements,[10] Canada's CBC network also reported that Parmar had been in police custody for some time prior to his death.[11]

The death of Sukhdev Singh Babbar, described by India Today as “the most prominent leader since 1978” who had “an aura of invincibility”, severely weakened Babbar Khalsa.

Contrary to belief in certain quarters, Sukhdev Singh Babbar and the late Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale collobarated with each other during the Indian Army's operation to flush Sikh militants that had taken over the Golden Temple complex.


Despite setbacks incurred in the early Nineties, Babbar Khalsa is still active under ground, although not to the extent it once was. The organisation at present is predominantly active in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium, Norway, Switzerland and Pakistan. Current leadership resides with Wadhawa Singh Babbar, with Mehal Singh Babbar as deputy Jathedar.

On 31 August 1995, Dilawar Singh Babbar assassinated Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh in a suicide bomb attack at the civil secretariat in Chandigarh.[12] Dilawar claimed allegiance to the Babbar Khalsa and four other members of the Babbar Khalsa were named responsible for the killing.

On 31 May 2005 two alleged members of the Babbar Khalsa, Balvinder Singh Babbar and Jagannath Yadav were arrested and charged with the bombings of cinemas showing Jo Bole So Nihal in New Delhi on 22 May 2005. On 1 June 2005 the Delhi Police seized arms and ammunition from the house of Jaspal Singh Babbar. The seized items included 1 kg of RDX, a timer, detonator, a .303 rifle, 20 rounds of ammunition, the uniform of a head constable of the Punjab Police along with several fake driving licences.[13]

One week later the Delhi police arrested Babbar Khalsa's India Operations Chief Jagtar Singh Hawara Babbar. Hawara had escaped from jail in Chandigarh through a long tunnel dug by inmates. At the time, he stood accused of being the mastermind behind the assassination of Beant Singh in 1995. Among the items recovered in the arrest were 10.35 kg of RDX, four pistols, 207 live cartridges, remote control devices, and a hand grenade.[14]

On 21 March 2006, Babbar Paramjit Singh Bheora, the current head of Babbar Khalsa's India operations, was arrested, along with Jasbir Singh Babbar and Bhupinder Singh Babbar. Bheora had assumed the position of head of India Operations following the arrest of Jagtar Singh Hawara Babbar.

According to Delhi Police, items recovered in the arrest included 4 kilograms of RDX, 3 detonators, 1 remote control device with a wireless set, 1 timer, 3 Star make pistols, 39 cartridges and a stolen car. Bheora had allegedly worked with Jagtar Singh Hawara Babbar Jagtar Singh Tara Babbar in digging a 100-foot escape tunnel in Budail jail.[15] According to Punjab Police, Paramjit Singh Bheora confessed to recruiting up to 24 people into Babbar Khalsa, allegedly stating his intention to send 6 of them to Pakistan for training and to purchase some weapons.[16]

The Punjab Police arrested 4 more people associated with Babbar Khalsa International (India branch) chief Paramjit Singh Bheora.[17] Punjab Police apprehended Amanpreet Kaur, wife of Paramjit Singh Bheora along with 4 other suspected militants. The police also recovered some weapons from them.[18]

Police arrested an aide to Jagtar Singh Hawara Babbar, known as Gurinder Singh Babbar in the town of Jagraon. Gurinder Singh Babbar was later charged by Indian Police for planning to assassinate a retired army general who played a vital part in Operation Bluestar and for providing shelter to Hawara when he escaped from Burail prison.[19]

Following these developments, Indian Police arrested Harpal Singh Cheema in New Delhi at Indira Gandhi Airport. According to the Indian Police, Cheema allegedly had links to some Sikh militant groups such as Babbar Khalsa.[20]

The Canadian government decided to deport a Babbar Khalsa militant, Bachan Singh Sogi Babbar, on charges of planning to assassinate former Chief Minister of Punjab Prakash Singh Badal along with his son Sukhbir Singh Badal, and former Punjab Police Chief KPS Gill.[21] Bachan Singh Sogi Babbar was considered to be number three in the Babbar Khalsa hierarchy, after Wadhawa Singh Babbar and Mehal Singh Babbar.[22]

On December 13, 2007, Punjab Police arrested three members of the module led by Gurpreet Singh Babbar. The 3 were identified as Gurinder Singh, a local Friends Colony resident, Zorawar Singh alias Zora of Mandi Gobindgarh and Parmider singh alias Babloo of Amloh in district Fathgarh Sahib. Police also recovered 9.75 kg of RDX. They allegedly planned to assassinate 2 major religious leaders; Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and head of another sect. Police also recovered 300 gms RDX, two detonators, two timers, 40 cartridges of different bores, four boxes of other explosive material, two kg of copper wire and two mobile phones along with several other articles. The arrested BKI members have confessed that Gurpreet was running a training camp for terrorists in Garhi Mansowal village (Punjab) near Garhshankar in district Hoshiarpur. The three were imparted training in assembling explosive devices at this camp. Thee chief of the module, Gurpreet Singh Babbar alias Khalsa is still absconding.[23]

On December 30, 2007, The Punjab police claimed to have solved the Shingar cinema blast case with the arrest of four activists of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI). Announcing the arrest of the four– Gurpreet Singh Babbar alias Khalsa, Palwinder Singh, Sandeep Singh alias Harry and Ravinder alias Rinku. DGP N.S. Aulakh said the motive behind the October 14 blast, which killed six people and injured 37, was to revive terrorism and to create communal tension. A fifth man, Harminder Singh Babbar is still absconding. Incidentally, Gurpreet had escaped arrest days before the blast when a car laden with RDX was intercepted at Mullanpur near here. The driver of the car was Gurpreet, who managed to give police a slip then. The number of arrested BKI activists in December alone is 11.[24]

The Vancouver Sun reported in February 2008 that Dabinderjit Singh was campaigning to have both the Babbar Khalsa and International Sikh Youth Federation delisted as terrorist organizations.[25]

See also


  1. ^ "". Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  2. ^ Fighting for faith and nation ... - Google Books. Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  3. ^ India today - Google Books. 2009-04-24. Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  4. ^ "Proscribed terrorist groups in the UK". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  5. ^ "EU list of terrorist groups" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  6. ^ "Canadian listing of terrorist groups". 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  7. ^ "US designation of Babbar Khalsa responsibility for Flight 182" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  8. ^ Ottawa, The (2008-02-09). "Air India bomb maker sent to holding center". Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  9. ^ "Punjab: The Knights of Falsehood; Psalms of Terror". Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  10. ^ "Free. Fair. Fearless". Tehelka. Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  11. ^ "CBC News In Depth: Air India - Bombing of Air India Flight 182". Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  12. ^ The Telegraph, Calcutta, India, "Beant trial trio in tunnel getaway" 22 January 2004
  13. ^ The Tribune, India, "2 Babbars held for Delhi cinema blasts" 31 May 2005
  14. ^ The Tribune, India, "Delhi blasts: Babbar Khalsa chief Hawara held" 8 June 2005
  15. ^ The Tribune, India, "Bheora, 2 other Babbars arrested" 21 March 2006
  16. ^ Express Newsline, India, "Bheora recruited 24 men after escaping" 1 April 2006
  17. ^ Outlook India, India, "Four associates of BKI militant Bheora arrested" 4 April 2006
  18. ^ India Monitor, UK, "Police nab five terrorists in Kapurthala" 4 April 2006
  19. ^ Express India, India, "Jagraon Police nets ‘big fish’: Hawara aide nabbed from bus stand" 28 April 2006
  20. ^ India Monitor, UK, "Terrorist nabbed at IGI Airport" 3 May 2006
  21. ^ Zee News, India, "Canada deports Babbar Khalsa militant" 3 July 2006
  22. ^ Zee News, India, "Police remand of Sogi extended till July 13" 10 July 2006
  23. ^ India, "Punjab Police foil attempt to assassinate Sacha Sauda head" 13 December 2007
  24. ^ India, "4 Babbar Khalsa men held for Ludhiana cinema blast" 30 December 2007
  25. ^ Bolan, Kim (February 18, 2008). "Sikh leader solicits support". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2009-05-31.  


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