“He was a very brave man,” tweeted retired IAS officer KBS Sidhu about Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh Bhikhiwind, who was shot dead in Punjab’s Tarn Taran by two unidentified men on Friday, 16 October.
"“As Deputy Commissioner Amritsar from 1992 to 1994, I had seen that he (Balwinder Singh) was the sole person in village Bhikhiwind who had taken arms, quite literally, against terrorists. He was very courageous and fearless.”" - KBS Sidhu, IAS officer
Bhikhiwind was a famous anti-terror figure in Punjab, who had survived multiple attempts on his family’s and his life. He was awarded the Shaurya Chakra by the Ministry of Defence in 1993.
Undaunted, Fought Alongside Family
The Shaurya Chakra citation about Bhikhiwind reads:
"“Undaunted, Sandhu brothers and their wives fought the terrorist with pistols and sten-guns provided by the government. The resistance shown by Sandhu brothers and their family members forced the terrorists to retreat. All these persons have displayed courage and bravery of a high order in facing the attack of the terrorists and failing their repeated murderous attempts.” "
Bhikhiwind was also famous internationally, and even featured once in a National Geographic documentary, according to media reports.
India Today referred to him as a “die-hard Communist” and reported that he was against radicalisation of Sikh-youth and the Khalistan movement. Reportedly, he taught his family how to use arms and take on terrorists.
According to the India Today report he, along with his family, transformed their village into a “fort” of sorts.
According to media reports, Bhikhiwind had been given police security because of the constant threat to his life from militancy. However, his security, on the recommendation of Tarn Taran police, was withdrawn last year.
He was 62 when he passed away.
(With inputs from India Today.)
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