A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
From the Kanishka bombing to the assassination of Beant Singh, Babbar Khalsa has been at the forefront of militant violence
The longest-surviving Khalistani militant group, the Babbar Khalsa International ( BKI), has been responsible for some of the biggest terrorist strikes including the mid-air bombing of Air India Flight 182 Kanishka in 1985. Presently headed by Wadhawa Singh Babbar alias Chacha from Lahore, Pakistan, the BKI remains the most organised Sikh militant organisation with supporters in North America, Europe, South Asia and Australia. Created in the wake of a bloody clash between Sikhs and adherents of the breakaway Nirankari sect in Amritsar on April 13, 1978, the BKI’S existence as a militant group was first noticed in leaflets in 1980 shortly after the assassination of the Nirankari chief Gurbachan Singh.
Sukhdev Singh Babbar, his brother Mehal Singh, IndianCanadian Talwinder Parmar and Wadhawa Singh were founding members of the group, which formed its first armed unit under Parmar in Canada in 1981. Four years later, he executed the Kanishka bombing, killing 329 people.
After both Sukhdev and Parmar were killed in encounters with the Punjab Police in 1992, the leadership moved to Wadhawa and Mehal in Pakistan. The two plotted the assassination of then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in August 1995.
In 2003, Mehal moved to Paris following differences with Wadhawa who sought to rebuild the BKI by organising the January 2004 Burail jailbreak to liberate three key conspirators of the Beant Singh assassination including Jagtar Singh Tara. Intelligence officials say the jailbreak was funded by the ISI.
Tara joined Wadhawa in Pakistan and together, under the ISI’S tutelage, they organised a series of strikes starting with the twin cinema bombings in Delhi in 2005. In March 2011, Tara announced the creation of the Khalistan Tiger Force which some intelligence officials believe is only a ruse to lure younger Sikhs by giving the BKI a newer look.
WADHAWA SINGH BABBAR 65 Chief of Babbar Khalsa International. He is known to be based in Lahore for over two decades, supervising terror strikes against India with ISI support.
JAGTAR SINGH TARA EARLY 40s Once a taxi driver in Delhi, Tara was Wadhawa’s second in command in Lahore. He recently parted ways to launch the Khalistan Tiger Force.