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Kulwant Singh was born in the village of Varpal in Amritsar, to Surjit Kaur and Sadha Singh. He was the youngest of 7 brothers and was blessed with Amrit at the age of 7 years. The Varpal family have made huge sacrifices for the Sikh nation as two of Kulwant Singh’s elder brothers, Hardev Singh and Bachittar Singh, were killed by Police in fake encounters in the 1990’s. 

Kulwant Singh was an electrician by trade but equally dedicated to preaching the message of the Guru’s and recited Simran at every opportunity. Bhai Pal Singh France, a well respected Gursikh who toured Punjab preaching about the Gurus teachings and how to live a life clean from the evils of drugs and alcohol, took on Kulwant Singh as his driver. 

In July 2010, Inspectors Harwinder Singh and Balbir Singh arrived at the Varpal family home late at night to arrest Kulwant Singh. His family were told by the police that he would be released soon after they had finished questioning him. However, he was kept in unlawful custody for 4 days at the Mal Mandi Police Station in Amritsar before being released. Predictably, a little later the police returned to re-arrest him, but this time using brutal force. The police grabbed him by the hair and flung him into their jeep and drove off leaving the family in the dark.

An Amritsar Sessions Court Judge approved police remand for a further 5 days of interrogation, in relation to a case that had been fabricated by the Police. In this period of remand, the cruellest torture was inflicted on the body of Kulwant Singh. Electric shocks, arms and legs bones broken with force, hot irons placed on the body and finally his fingernails pulled out. 

When the Police were done, Kulwant Singh was thrown into Amritsar Jail on 1 August 2010. Seeing Kulwant Singh’s condition, the Jail Chief immediately admitted him to the intensive care unit at Guru Nanak Hospital, Amritsar. In total Kulwant Singh spent 26 days in hospital recovering from the wounds he had received. The Varpal family hired the Human Rights Advocate V P Singh Bhatia, who made an appeal in the High Court, for his release. The decisions of the original Judge were scrutinized along with top Amritsar Police officials who were involved in Kulwant Singh’s torture. The guilty parties could sense the threat of punishment was imminent.

Once out of hospital, Kulwant Singh was imprisoned with Pal Singh France and Makhan Singh. On 11th February 2012, while the others were out of their cell, he stayed behind and took an afternoon nap. As he slept unknown assailants threw a flammable substance on him and set him alight. Despite his desperate attempts, he could not douse out the fire which engulfed his body. Eventually, somebody came to help put the fire out, but Kulwant Singh had suffered third degree burns to the face, neck, chest and thighs. He was left fighting for his life.

It’s worth noting that the incident occurred the day before he was due to give evidence in court, which was expected to lead to the conviction of the police officers responsible for his horrendous torture. Sadly, on 14th February 2012 he attained shaheedi reciting Waheguru. Justice denied.

The police classed Kulwant Singh’s death as ‘suicide’ but his family know the truth is very different. Kulwant Singh’s last words were "I was set on fire by attackers, I didn't try to kill myself, instead, someone tried to burn me alive".

With the Sangat’s support, SOPW immediately set up the pension welfare for his elderly mother Surjit Kaur, who in her lifetime, had to endure the pain of the death of three sons. Unfortunately, for Mata Surjit Kaur this pain was unbearable and she too passed away some eight months after Kulwant Singh, in October 2012. Since then, SOPW with the help of the Sangat have continued our support, the Varpal family home was in a state of disrepair and needed urgent rebuilding. We are pleased to announce that this has now been completed. Furthermore, we have been funding the full time education of Amandeep Kaur (neice of Kulwant Singh). Although we cannot bring back the family members they lost, we can show them that the worldwide Sikh Sangat stands with them. 

 

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