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This is a shocking tale of a Sikh youth, working for CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force), the national police force of India. CRPF is a paramilitary police force in India. Narinder Singh was posted in the Assam state of India and worked for a very narrow-minded and fundamentalist Hindu officer – Company Commander RN Mishra. This is an incident from around March of 1995.

Narinder Singh was born in a Hindu family but maintained unshorn hair and beard. When he got posted to Assam, his officer RN Mishra found out that he belonged to a Hindu family but practiced the Sikh faith. He did not take it too well. Following is the translation of the news caption published on July 23, 1995 in the Daily Ajit:

Narinder Singh told the press that few years ago he joined the CRPF and he was the only one out of his family who adopted the Sikh faith.

He narrated to the press that the first incident of discrimination and harassment from officer RN Mishra occurred around March of 1995. He called him in his office and asked him to cut his hair and beard. Narinder Singh responded back with humility, “Sir, I love my hair more than my life and I have been keshadhaari (one who keeps unshorn hair) all my life.

Hearing this the commanding officer burst into anger and threatened, “If you don’t remove your jooRa (hair knot), I will teach you such a lesson that you will never forget”.

Narinder Singh humbly pleaded before his officer not to insult him or do anything to humiliate him in front of others. Five of his friends too pleaded with the officer not to push this case. They even wrote a request letter to bring this case to a senior officer. Mishra returned the letter threatening them dire action if they proceeded with the letter.

After getting released on bail, in the murder case, Narinder Singh had arrived at Siri Darbar Sahib, where he met the journalists and narrated them his sad story. Narinder Singh further said, “On March 4, 1995, some cadets tied my arms and legs and took me in front of Mishra. He ordered them to shave off my beard and cut my hair. I repeatedly pleaded with them to let me go but they did not care. I even threatened them that they would have to face the consequences for this but they ignored me and shaved my beard and cut my hair".

After shaving his beard and head, the same evening Havaldar HM Thoni took him in front of Mishra. Mishra clapped and loudly laughed at his new look. He said, “Saalay (wife’s brother, a bad word), if I don’t remove turbans of all Sikhs and cut off their beards, don’t call me Mishra. I will have them wear hats instead of turbans”.

Narinder Singh continued, “After this, Mishra ordered his subordinates to organize a party to celebrate cutting my hair and beard”

“When Mishra said he was going to organize a party to celebrate my humiliation, I could take it no further. My patience was up. I felt that if I did not end this demon now, he will damage my faith severely and will insult and hurt many more of my Sikh brothers”

“I took hold of my LMG (light machine gun) and went to see Mishra. He was surprised to see me with an LMG. He figured out what I was up to. I emptied the whole of LMG on this tyrant”.

“Red alert was declared all over. Everyone was shocked. I dropped my LMG and surrendered saying that I had done what I had to do and now the law could treat me as it wants”.

“In the jail, the officers tried to remove my kaRa (sarbloh bangle) but I threatened them with dire consequences. I told them that I would repeat another Mishra incident if they did not back off. They backed off as I was really up to something.”

“I have no regrets for what I have done. We Sikhs do ardaas everyday asking Vaheguru for Kesh daan. I have no regrets for what I have done.”

Shiromini Committee spokesperson, Manjit Singh Calcutta expressed strong displeasure and protest for treating the faithful Sikh officers like this. He demanded that Narinder Singh be released from jail and taken back into service.

*********** Translation over *************


Kulbir Singh

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