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The Multifarious Faces of Sikhism throughout Sikh History
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Baba Kartar Singh Samparda/Chowk Mehta Samparda cont'd

One such enemy of theirs is the ‘Nang’ (imposter Nihang) named Ajit Singh Pula. The tale of hatred between Ajit Singh Pula and the ‘Dam Dami Taksal’ at Chowk Mehta begins in late 1985/early 1986 when a preacher from Chowk Mehta was on stage at an event during which he began to insult the Nihang tradition of 'Chatka'.

A Nihang arries out 'Chatka' on a 'Chatanga' (a specially selected goat for sacrifice)

Present in the congregation was Akali Nihang Baba Kahn Singh, second in command of Baba Bkala Tarna Dal, and Ajit Singh Pula’s superior. On hearing the insults of the preacher, Baba Kahn Singh reprimanded him but the preacher continued airing his anti-Nihang views. Seeing that his warning was not heeded, Baba Kahn Singh killed the preacher on the stage. This action prompted 2 militants from Chowk Mehta into dressing up as Nihang Singhs and sneaking up to the elderly Baba Kahn Singh during his visit to Sach Khand Hazoor Sahib, and shooting him in the back. On killing Baba Kahn Singh, the Chowk Mehta militants in Punjab announced, that no one may hold the religious services for Baba Kahn Singh unless they wish to be killed.

Ajit Singh Pula
Ajit Singh (standing left) carried out a bloody campaign against the
Khalistani militants during the 1980s, funded by the Punjab Police and wealthy businessmen

Akali Nihang Baba Santa Singh, a one-time associate of Baba Kahn Singh heard of this threat. In opposition to the Chowk Mehta sentiments, Baba Santa Singh declared that whichever Nihang Singh holds the religious services for Baba Kahn Singh will be given the ‘Jathedari’ (leadership) of Baba Bkala Tarna Dal after the passing of Akali Nihang Baba Bishan Singh. One hard case and loose cannon named Nihang Ajit Singh Pula, himself a protégé of Baba Kahn Singh, stepped in to do religious services for his murdered mentor.

96 Crore Jathedar Akali Nihang Baba Santa Singh Ji

The present head of the Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa and the Akal Takht, paying respects at Durbar Sahib in 1974

The militants of Chowk Mehta, being the terrorists they were made numerous attempts on the life of Ajit Singh and then began to target his family members – both women and children. It is said that during one such encounter, a female member of Ajit Singh’s family was killed. Seeking vengeance, Ajit Singh approached the head of the notorious Punjab Police, K.P.S. Gill, who was engaged in hunting down the terrorists within Punjab.

K.P.S. Gill
Scourge of the Khalistani militants who's strategy managed to cripple militancy in Punjab

Ajit Singh offered his services to Gill and for this he received firearms and other hardware. Ajit Singh’s ranks began to swell up with desperado Policemen who had themselves been victims, or had lost family members to the Sikh terrorists. It is said that Ajit Singh’s gang became a haven for criminals, muggers, and petty gangsters. In short, Ajit Singh’s men were vigilante thugs who presented themselves as Nihangs. They existed in a realm beyond the law, and while being supported by the Punjab Police carried out many secret and illegal operations designed to wipe out Khalistani militancy/terrorism in Punjab.

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