Talwinder Singh Parmar
Talwinder Singh Parmar
Talwinder Singh Parmar
|Nickname(s)||Talwinder Singh Babar|
|Born||26 February 1944|
Panchhat, Kapurthala, Punjab, India
|Died||15 October 1992 (aged 48)|
Kang Arian, Phillaur, Punjab, India
|Allegiance||Babbar Khalsa International|
|Years of service||1979 - 1992|
|Rank||Founder of Babbar Khalsa|
Parmar moved to Canada in 1970. He became involved in activities of the banned terrorist organisation Babbar Khalsa and became its leader in Canada in 1979. His sect was called Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and was based in Vancouver, British Columbia, whereas Sukhdev Singh Babbar was the Chief of Babbar Khalsa in India. Parmar later became a naturalized Canadian citizen.
In 1981 he was involved in the killing of 2 Punjab police officers and was arrested in 1983 in Germany. He was released after a year in prison in Germany and he went to Canada. The Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the bombing of Air India Flight 182 concluded that Talwinder Singh Parmar, although never convicted, was the leader of the conspiracy to bomb Air India flights in 1985. He was killed in a gun fight with Punjab Police on 15 October 1992; details of this incident are disputed.
Parmar became involved in activities of the banned terrorist organisation Babbar Khalsa founded in 1978 and became its leader in Canada in 1979.
Murder of Punjab Police officers
On 19 November 1981 the Punjab Police was looking for Tarsem Singh Kalasinghian and his accomplices, when on the morning of 19 November 1981 an encounter took place at Daheru village in Ludhiana district in which Police Inspector Pritam Singh Bajwa and Constable Surat Singh of Jalandhar were gunned down. All of the militants hiding in a house of Amarjit Singh Nihang managed to escape. Among those named in the FIR were Wadhawa Singh (present chief of Babbar Khalsa now based in Pakistan), Talwinder Singh Parmar, Amarjit Singh Nihang, Amarjit Singh (Head Constable), Sewa Singh (Head Constable) and Gurnam Singh (Head Constable). This is believed to be the first act which gained Babar Khalsa and its chief Talwinder Singh Parmar notoriety. In 1982, India issued a warrant for Parmar's arrest for six charges of murder, stemming from the killing of police officers.
In 1983, he was arrested in Germany on charges of murdering two police officers in Punjab in 1981. Parmar was released after a year in jail and he then returned to Canada. India requested for his extradition from Canada. The request was turned down, and Canada declined to extradite Parmar to India.
Babbar Khalsa activities from Canada
During his residence in Canada, Parmar continued to lead BKI activities. He was involved in terror financing, recruitment and radicalization of sikh youths, procurement of small arms and explosives, and the development and coordination of terrorist attacks.
Historically, to get the financial and material support needed for terrorist activities BKI has used in-person meetings, public rallies and fundraising events. Parmer organized and featured at Sikh rallies and fundraisers across Canada. Parmar was instrumental in channeling financial support to BKI from overseas Sikh communities.
Conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi
On 8 April 1985 he was wiretapped while he phoned a German man from his Canadian residence, and discussed whether it was feasible to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi. However, the recordings of the conversation were later erased by Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
Air India Flight 182
On June 23, 1985: BKI militants bombed Air India Flight 182 going from Montreal, Canada to New Delhi, India. The Boeing 747 was destroyed in the bomb explosion at an altitude of 31,000 feet in Irish airspace and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. All 329 passengers were killed, including 268 Canadian, 27 British and 24 Indian citizens. Parmar and Inderjit Singh Reyat were arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on explosive charges, linking the two to the Air India Flight 182 bombing and 1985 Narita International Airport bombing. Parmar was acquitted of all charges. Inderjit Singh Reyat admitted to building the bomb, was convicted in the Air India bombing. Reyat a member of the ISYF, was found guilty of manslaughter for making the bombs and had to spend more than 20 years in prison at Canada, and is the only individual convicted in these attacks as of 9 Feb 2009.
The Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182 concluded that Talwinder Singh Parmar "is now believed that he was the leader of the conspiracy to bomb Air India flights"
Alleged confession to Punjab Police in 1992
In July 2007, the investigative magazine Tehelka reported that Parmar may have confessed to the Punjab police during interrogations preceding his death. He is accused of supplying the dynamite to Lakhbir Singh Rode, a nephew of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was claimed to have been the mastermind behind the bombing of Air India Flight 182. Tehelka reported that Parmar had been interrogated in India between 9 and 14 October 1992, by senior police officers, where he revealed that the Air India 182 blasts were instigated by Lakhbir Singh Rode.
Recently, retired Punjab Police DSP Harmail Singh Chandi, the key official behind Parmar's arrest at Jammu in September 1992, and his subsequent interrogation before he was killed, has come forward with audiotapes and statements from Parmar's confessions. Despite being ordered to destroy these records, he had apparently preserved them in secret. The confession apparently outlines many details of the plot:
- "Around May 1985, a functionary of the International Sikh Youth Federation came to me and introduced himself as Lakhbir Singh and asked me for help in conducting some violent activities to express the resentment of the Sikhs. I told him to come after a few days so that I could arrange for dynamite and battery etc. He told me that he would first like to see a trial of the blast...After about four days, Lakhbir Singh and another youth, Inderjit Singh Reyat, both came to me. We went into the jungle (of British Columbia). There we joined a dynamite stick with a battery and triggered off a blast. Lakhbir and Inderjit, even at that time, had in their minds a plan to blast an aeroplane. I was not too keen on this plan but agreed to arrange for the dynamite sticks. Inderjit wanted to use for this purpose a transistor fitted with a battery.... That very day, they took dynamite sticks from me and left.
- Then Lakhbir Singh, Inderjit Singh and their accomplice, Manjit Singh, made a plan to plant bombs in an Air India (AI) plane leaving from Toronto via London for Delhi and another flight that was to leave Tokyo for Bangkok. Lakhbir Singh got the seat booking done from Vancouver to Tokyo and then onwards to Bangkok, while Manjit Singh got it done from Vancouver to Toronto and then from Toronto to Delhi. Inderjit prepared the bags for the flights, which were loaded with dynamite bombs fitted with a battery and transistor. They decided that the suitcases will be booked but they themselves will not travel by the same flights although they will take the boarding passes. After preparing these bombs, the plan was ready for execution by June 21 or 22, 1985. However, the bomb to be kept in the flight from Tokyo to Delhi via Bangkok exploded at the Narita airport on the conveyor belt. The second suitcase that was loaded on the Toronto-Delhi ai flight exploded in the air." - from alleged confession by Talwinder Singh Parmar
After this interrogation, Parmar was shown as having been killed in an exchange of fire between police and six militants in the early morning of October 15, 1992, near village Kang Arian in Phillaur sub-division. However, Tehelka claims that actually, Parmar had been killed while in custody. It cites discrepancies between the First Information Report (FIR) regarding the incident, and the post-mortem report. According to the FIR, Parmar was killed by AK-47 fire by SSP Satish K Sharma, firing from a rooftop, at 5:30 AM. The PMR shows that the line of fire of the three bullets are different, which is not possible if one person is firing from a fixed position. Also, the PMR says that the time of death was between 12am and 2am.
The tapes and statements are claimed to have been handed over to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the John Major Commission of Inquiry that is reinvestigating the Kanishka blast. This was made possible through the efforts of the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO), a Chandigarh-based NGO that conducted interviews of Parmar's associates and prepared a comprehensive report over seven years.
Tehelka reports that "the PHRO's Principal Investigator Sarbjit Singh and lawyer Rajvinder Singh Bains flew to Canada along with Harmail in June and produced their findings before the Commission's counsels". Official inquiry spokesman Michael Tansey told The Globe and Mail: "We're aware of this article in Tehelka, and we will explore this and any other allegations when the hearings resume in the fall."
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