After the incident of Vasakhi 1978, a agitation was started against
the Nirankaris. Wherever the Nirankaris had their meetings, GurSikhs
would go and protest peacefully. Thus Gurbachan Singh was unable to
address the meetings held at Varanasi, Azamgarh and Allahbad. On 25th
September 1978, Gurbachan Singh reached Kanpur at 9.30p.m, flanked
by police officers to protect him. The news having leaked out, the
Sikhs started a protest march from Gurdwara Gobindpuri, which is at
a distance of about 3 kilometres from the Nirankari Bhawan of Kanpur.
Women and children also joined the protesters.
This time the Nirankaris again had made full preparations for the
Sikhs. When the Sikh protesters reached near the Nirankari Bhawan,
the Nirankaris greeted them with brickbats and even gun-shots. An
armed volunteer of the Nirankaris attacked Jathedar Kishan Singh
with a spear which pierced through his stomach. On this a fight
started. The police fired at the Sikh protesters, a result of which
13 Sikhs died, while 74 were injured.
This incident further increased the Sikhs resentment against Nirankaris
and the government. On 28th September, the dead bodies of those
killed at Kanpur were taken out in a huge procession. A day earlier,
on 27th September 1978, Sikhs of Amritsar, Delhi, Bombay, Lucknow,
Kanpur and many other places observed a one-day protest strike.
The names of some of the Shaheeds are:- Bibi Darshan Kaur, Bhai
Jagjit Singh, Bhai Harcharan Singh, Jathedar Karam Singh, Jathedar
Kishan Singh, Baba Kashmira Singh, Bhai Manmohan Singh, Bhai Gurbir
Singh, Bhai Balwant Singh, Bhai Gurjit Singh.
As the tempers ran high, the Punjab Government, on 28th September,
1978. banned the entry of the Nirankari Chief in Punjab for six
months. But the Nirankari Chief challenged it in the Supreme Court
and the ban was lifted.
On the 30th September, 1978, the Sikhs of Delhi organised a protest
march and presented a memorandum to the Government of India to ban
Nirankari 'Samagams' (congregations). On 4th November, 1978, the
Nirankaris took out a procession in Delhi in connection with their
annual conference. The Sikhs retaliated with a counter protest march
that culminated in violence. The President of the Delhi Akali Dal,
Avtar Singh Kohli, was hit on the head by a police tear gas shell
and was killed. Besides him, Bhai Darshan Singh and a 13-year old
Sikh boy Maninder Singh were also killed. Nine Sikhs were also injured.
On 5th 6th November, 1978, disturbances broke out in some parts
of Delhi and a curfew had to be imposed.
Jan Sangh (BJP) workers provided a protection force to enable the
Nirankaris to continue their functions in spite of disturbances
in the city. Many Arya Samajist leaders, including Lala Jagat Narain,
gave speeches supporting the Nirankaris. This gave a new direction
to the anti-Nirankari agitation. The GurSikhs developed a feeling
that the majority community in India was patronising the Nirankaris
to finish off the separate identity of the Sikh faith.
Realising the attitude of the Government, the Singhs decided to
take matters in their own hands. They took inspiration from Guru
Gobind Singh Ji's words, "When all means of redressing a wrong
have failed, then lifting a sword is pious and just" The Singhs
then pretty much wiped out the Nirankaris in India.
Bhai Ranjit Singh, a member of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha, with two
other Singhs killed the Nirankari chief at his home on April 24,
1980. Bhai Ranjit Singh had managed to find employment at the Nirankari
headquarters in Delhi as a carpenter. Late in the evening, He waited
with an automatic rifle in a room of the centres guest house. One
window of the room opened to the side of the driveway. Bhai Ranjit
Singh shot Gurbachan Singh through it when he returned from a public
function at about 11pm. Ranjit Singh managed to escape by jumping
down a compound wall from the backside of the room.
Bhai Sukhdev Singh Babbar, Jathedar of Babbar Khalsa, was a very
close friend of Bhai Fauja Singh. He heard the news of his martyrdom
when his Anand Karaj ceremony was being performed. He left his newly-wed
wife there and rushed to Amritsar. He played a major part in getting
rid of the Nirankaris, including assassinating the Nirankari 7 "Sitares".
Later he had to go underground, from where he led the Khalistan
movement for 14 years, before he also attained martyrdom in 1992.
Baba Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala emerged after this incident of
Vasakhi 1978 as the pivotal figure for the Sikh reaction against
government of Indira Gandhi. The situation deteriorated as the government
continued its policy of undermining the Sikh Nation. This included
murder, rape and humiliation of Sikhs, in particular Sikh youth.
Baba Jarnail Singh Ji pointed out to the Sikh masses the policy
of the government. Frustration grew within the Sikhs against the
government and Hindu media barons, such as Lala Jagat Narain. The
popularity and influence of Baba Jarnail Singh became a threat to
government, so it resorted to Operation Bluestar on 6th June 1984.
The GurSikhs fought heroically, however many attained martyrdom
including Baba Jarnail Singh Ji.