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Jaswant Singh Khalra
A Martyr for Human Rights

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Jaswant Singh Khalra was born in 1952 in Khalra village of Amritsar district, situated on India’s border with Pakistan in state of Punjab.For the Sikhs, the village was very important because of a shrine believed to have been constructed by the first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak. An ancestor of the Khalra family, Sardar Surat Singh, was the leader of the group that fought under command of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur to destroy the facade of Mugal Empire. A monument that commemorates his bravery and leadership still exists in the village.Jaswant Singh’s grandfather Harnam Singh had migrated to Shanghai before the outbreak of the first world war in 1914. There, he became involved with a group of Indian revolutionaries under Gurdit Singh, originally from Sarhali village in Amritsar district and the founder of a group called Ghadr, meaning revolt.Jaswant Singh Khalra’s grandfather Harnam Singh and Gurdit Singh began to work closely from the Far Eastern arena. In May 1914, both of them arrived at the port of Vancouver with 376 Sikh immigrants in a passenger ship called Komagata Maru. Immigrants were refused permission to land, and the ship was compelled to return to Calcutta, arriving there on 27 September 1914.When the ship reached Calcutta, a large group of police officers from Punjab, including David Patrie, were already there to meet them.When the officers tried to identify Gurdit Singh and Harnam Singh who had organized the voyage from Singapore, many passengers got agitated and opened fire with revolvers, wounding Petrie and several others. At this point, troops came in to force the Sikhs into the train, but Gurdit Singh, Harnam Singh and 28 others managed to escape...know more click
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