Satwant Singh

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For the rally driver, see Satwant Singh (rally driver).

Satwant Singh Randhawa (1962–1989) was a Sikh bodyguard to the Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, who on 31 October 1984 assassinated Indira Gandhi at her residence along with another bodyguard, Beant Singh. He was from Amritsar and played wrestling in hangman akahara (club) in new Delhi.[citation needed]

The assassination[edit]

The assassination of Indira Gandhi was motivated by Operation Blue Star, an attack on Sikh separatists residing in the Golden Temple complex (Harmandir Sahib) in Amritsar, India. Beant Singh drew a .38 revolver and fired three shots into Indira Gandhi's abdomen; as she fell to the ground, Satwant Singh fired all 30 rounds from his Sten automatic weapon into her abdomen (thus, 33 bullets were fired in total, of which 30 bullets hit their mark). Both assassins subsequently dropped their weapons and surrendered.[1][2] Beant Singh was shot to death during interrogation in custody soon after the assassination. Satwant Singh was arrested and later sentenced to death by hanging along with co-conspirator Kehar Singh. The sentence was carried out on 6 January 1989. [3]

After the execution[edit]

The Indian government did not hand over the bodies of Sikh Terrorists Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh to their next of kin. Their bodies were cremated within Tihar jail. The last wish of both Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh was that their ashes be taken to Shri Kiratpur Sahib.[citation needed] Citing concerns about possible violence, the authorities refused to turn even the ashes over to the relatives for use in religious ceremonies.


Their acts brought their immediate families into limelight,[4] resulting in their winning two Lok Sabha seats from state of Punjab.[5] The Lok Sabha is a directly elected 543 member lower house of the Parliament of India. Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was also an elected member of the same house. A movie called Kaum de Heere was made about him.

Honours and death anniversaries[edit]

In 2003, a Bhog ceremony was held at the highest Sikh temporal seat in Akal Takht, located in the Golden Temple Complex in Amritsar, where tributes were paid to Indira’s assassins.[6] In the year 2004, his death anniversary was again observed at Akal Takhat, Amritsar, where his mother was honored by the head priest and tributes were paid to Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh by various political parties.[7]

In 2007, the death anniversaries of Satwant Singh and his wife were observed in various parts of Punjab and other countries.

On 6 January 2008, the (Akal Takht) declared Beant Singh and Satwant Singh 'martyrs of Sikhism', [8][9][10][11] while the SGPC also labeled them "martyrs of the Sikh nation".[12] [8]

The Sikhism-centric political party in India, Shiromani Akali Dal, observed the death anniversary of Beant Singh and Satwant Singh as 'martyrdom' for the first time on 31 October 2008;[13] every 31 October since, their 'martyrdom day' has been observed at Sri Akal Takht Sahib.[14][15]

Aftermath of execution of Satwant Singh & Kehar Singh[edit]

It was reported in the Indian press that during the aftermath of the executions of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, communal violence occurred in Punjab.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Singh's father was Tarlok Singh.[7] He married Surinder Kaur (daughter of Mr. Virsa Singh) on 2 May 1988 while he was in jail.[17] His fiance married him in his absence by marrying his photo in an Anand Karaj.[18][19]


  1. ^ Smith, William E. (1984-11-12). "Indira Gandhi: Death in the Garden". TIME. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  2. ^ Fighting for Faith and Nation: Dialogues With Sikh Militants - Cynthia Keppley Mahmood. Google Books. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  3. ^ "Indian prime minister shot dead". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "India'S New Chief Given A Go-Ahead - New York Times". 1989-12-22. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  6. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Punjab". 2003-01-07. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  7. ^ a b "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Punjab". Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Punjab". 2003-01-07. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  10. ^ "National : Indira Gandhi killers labelled martyrs". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2008-01-07. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  11. ^ "Indira assassin ‘great martyr’: Vedanti". Indian Express. 2008-01-07. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Bathinda Edition". Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Punjab". Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  16. ^ Reuters (1989-01-08). "Sikhs Kill 14 Hindus After Executions in India - New York Times". Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  17. ^ Special to the New York Times (1988-12-01). "Indira Gandhi Killers To Be Hanged Friday - New York Times". Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  18. ^ "". 1988-06-09. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  19. ^ Miami Herald - 26 June 1988