Shabeg Singh

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Shabeg Singh
Gen. Shabeg singh.jpg
Major General Shabeg Singh
Birth name Shabeg Singh Bhangu
Born 1925
Khiala Kalan, Amritsar, Punjab
Died (1984-06-06)6 June 1984
Akal Takht, Amritsar, Punjab
Service/branch Army
Years of service 1944 – 1977
Rank Major General
Unit Garhwal Rifles
3/Parachute Regiment
11 Gorkha Rifles
Commands held GOC, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and parts of Odisha
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani war of 1971 (India) and Operation Blue Star 1984 under Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale
Awards AVSM and PVSM
Memorials Gurdwara Yaadgar Shaheedan, Amritsar
Relations Mehtab Singh Bhangu

Major General Shabeg Singh AVSM PVSM (1925 – 1984), was an Indian Army officer who, post dismissal, joined the extremist leader of Damdami Taksal Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as a military adviser.[1] He organised the sikh militants in the fortification and defense of the Golden Temple. During his military service he was involved in training of Mukti Bahini volunteers during the Bangladesh Liberation War.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Shabeg Singh was born in 1925 in Khiala village (earlier known as Khiala Nand Singhwala), about nine miles (14 km) from the Amritsar-Chogawan road. He was the eldest son of Sardar Bhagwan Singh and Pritam Kaur, and had three brothers and a sister. He was sent to the Khalsa College in Amritsar for secondary education, and later to the Government College in Lahore for higher education.[citation needed]

Military career[edit]

In 1942, an officers selection team visiting Lahore colleges recruited Singh to the British Indian Army officers cadre.[citation needed] After training in the Indian Military Academy, he was commissioned in the Garhwal Rifles as a second lieutenant. Within a few days the regiment moved to Burma and joined the war against the Japanese, which was then in progress. In 1945 when the war ended, Singh was in Malaya with his unit. After partition, when reorganization of the regiments took place, Singh joined the 50th Parachute Brigade of the Indian Army. He was posted to the 1st battalion of the Parachute Regiment, where he remained till 1959. He later commanded the 3rd battalion of 11 Gorkha Rifles.[3]

Operation Blue Star[edit]

After his dismissal, Singh joined the sikh fundamentalist leader of Damdami Taksal Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who wanted to declare a separate country called Khalistan for the Sikhs.[1] Singh served as a military adviser to Bhindranwale.[3] Singh had said that he had joined Bhindranwale's militant group due to the alleged humiliation he had received during the security checks being done during the Asian games in New Delhi.[4]

In December 1983, the Sikh political party Akali Dal's President Harcharan Singh Longowal had invited Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale to take up residence in Golden Temple Complex.[5] Shabeg Singh and his military expertise is credited with the creation of effective defenses of the Temple Complex that made the possibility of a commando operation on foot impossible.[6] He organised the armed militants present at the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar in June 1984. Indian government forces launched Operation Blue Star to take out the armed militants from the complex. At the initial stages of the operation, Singh was killed in firing between Akal Takht and Darshani Ḍeorhi. His body was later found and identified when the operation was over.[7]


  1. ^ a b Danopoulos, Constantine Panos/Watson, Cynthia. The political role of the military : an international handbook. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1996. p. 184
  2. ^ Mahmood, Cynthia Keppley (November 1, 1996). Fighting for Faith and Nation. Series in Contemporary Ethnography. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-0812215922. Retrieved 30 May 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Critchfield, Richard (1995). The Villagers: Changed Values, Altered Lives: The Closing of the Urban Rural Gap. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 383. ISBN 9780385420495. 
  4. ^ Mahmood, Cynthia Keppley (1996). Fighting for Faith and Nation: Dialogues with Sikh Militants. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 81. ISBN 9780812215922. Retrieved 8 July 2018. 
  5. ^ Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, Volume II: 1839-2004, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 337.
  6. ^ Tully, Mark (3 June 2014). "Wounds heal but another time bomb ticks away". Gunfire Over the Golden Temple. The Times of India. Retrieved 15 June 2018. 
  7. ^ "Interview Lt Gen PC Katoch". Operation Blue Star - The Untold Story by Kanwar Sandhu - 4. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 

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