On November 1, an individual named Harmandeep Singh, also known as Toofan Singh, who identifies as a Khalistani Nihang Sikh, posted a video on his Instagram account. In the video, he issued a threat to Bageshwar Dham Sarkar Dhirendra Krishna Shastri. Toofan Singh claimed that Bageshwar Dham Sarkar was threatening Sikhs.
Toofan Singh stated, “He is threatening Sikhs. He is threatening Punjabis. Share my video with him. I want to convey to him, ‘young man, those whom you threaten, we encounter at least 20 like you every day. We don’t incite anyone, but when the need arises, we willingly sacrifice for our religion and even for others’. Are you challenging us? Go and challenge your own father. After saying all this, try entering Punjab. We will confront and teach you ‘how to issue threats’. We don’t just threaten; we take action.” The video, created two weeks ago, has gained widespread attention on social media.
In the video, Toofan Singh used a brief excerpt of Bageshwar Dham Sarkar, where the latter issued a warning against those causing problems for Hindus. Upon investigation, it appears that the full video was not related to Sikhs. Instead, Bageshwar Dham Sarkar was addressing Christian missionaries engaged in conversion campaigns in Punjab. During a Katha, Bageshwar Dham Sarkar stated, “To those opposing me in Punjab, I have a message. Listen to me and understand what I am saying. I am not against you, but if you create trouble for Sanatanis, we will take action. You won’t reap a harvest if you don’t sow a seed. I urge the Punjab government to consider a stringent anti-conversion law. Sanatanis do not engage in conversion in Punjab; we only support Ghar Wapsi. I humbly request the Punjab government to enact a strict anti-conversion law. Innocent people are being harassed, and this poison is spreading. To those of other religions who feel offended, I want to convey that this issue will persist.”
On October 22, Bageshwar Dham Sarkar visited Punjab, where he toured the Golden Temple and Durgyana Mandir before heading to the venue for his Katha. While addressing reporters, Bageshwar Dham Sarkar expressed appreciation for the warm reception he received from Sikhs during his visit to Harmandir Sahib. He then shifted the conversation to the pervasive issue of conversions occurring in the state and other parts of the country. Emphasising his concern, he stated, “I urge these individuals to refrain from entering gurdwaras and temples and from enticing innocent Hindus or individuals of any faith. That’s why I am traveling across the country. Until stringent laws are enacted against ‘troublemakers,’ they will persist in luring innocent Hindus for conversion.”
#WATCH | Pathankot, Punjab | Bageshwar Dham’s Dhirendra Shastri says, “Punjab is the land of saints, of the brave. Punjab is a prosperous land. People on the state are loving and big-hearted…My goal is to spread the message of our culture and Sanatana across the country. I just… pic.twitter.com/LPDZuvhrKP
— ANI (@ANI) October 22, 2023
Bageshwar Dham Sarkar specifically targeted Christian missionaries, addressing a significant problem in Punjab. The controversy escalated when a video surfaced in which Bageshwar Dham Sarkar asserted that he would not allow those who chant ‘hallelujah’ to convert Hindus without consequences.
In response, a Christian organisation in Punjab lodged a complaint against him. Jatinder Gaurav from the Global Christian Action Committee alleged that Bageshwar Dham Sarkar used derogatory language against Christians and urged the police to file a case against him. Gaurav stated, “Baba has come from outside and is attempting to disrupt the peace in Punjab. He is singling out the word… wherever he goes in Punjab, targeting the Christian community. The police have assured us that appropriate legal action will be taken on our complaint. We will escalate our protest if no action is taken.”
Notably, Bageshwar Dham Sarkar did not make any statements against Sikhs or the people of Punjab. His cautionary message was directed at Christian missionaries involved in the conversion of innocent Hindus in the state. However, for reasons unknown, Toofan falsely claimed that the warning was against Sikhs and proceeded to issue threats against Bageshwar Dham Sarkar.
This raises the question: who is Toofan Singh, and why is he gaining significant attention on social media? Upon investigating his background, a series of problematic speeches and actions were uncovered. From endorsing Khalistani terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale to openly supporting pro-Khalistan separatist Amritpal Singh, Toofan Singh has demonstrated radical views from a young age.
Notably, he garnered media attention during a violent protest in Chandigarh, where the police had to retreat due to aggressive Sikh protesters. Toofan Singh actively participated in the protest and proudly wore a bulletproof jacket that had been taken from the police during the clash.
In an August 2021 video interview with Rozana Spokesman, Toofan Singh revealed that his mother passed away when he was four years old, and his father left him at a Gurdwara in Amritsar. Since then, he has been living in Gurdwaras and following Sikhism. Despite being born into a Muslim family, Toofan Singh embraced Sikhism as he grew older. At that time, he appeared to be a young and seemingly innocent individual genuinely devoted to following Sikhism.
In February 2023, a violent confrontation occurred near the Chandigarh-Mohali border on the Sector 52-Sector 53 dividing road, involving armed Sikh protesters from the Kaumi Insaaf Morcha. During the clash, at least 33 police personnel, including female officers, sustained injuries, and numerous police vehicles were damaged. The protesters, advocating for the release of Sikh prisoners known as Bandi Sikhs, some of whom were convicted in the Beant Singh assassination case, included Toofan Singh, who actively participated in the assault on the police. Subsequent to the altercation, Toofan Singh was observed wearing police anti-riot gear, asserting that he acquired it after police personnel abandoned it, considering it a symbol of victory over derogatorily referred to “Bhaiye,” people from UP and Bihar residing in Punjab.
#YouthofPunjab thanks for over glorification & fake stories, a “bully” is created in backyard calling cops of your own state as “bhaiyas” think most of us know “bhaiya” actual meaning in #Punjab pic.twitter.com/jIMoKoUOYg
— Porus ਪੋਰਸ (@porusofpanjab) February 9, 2023
Although specific details about Toofan Singh’s age are unavailable, an interview conducted with him revealed that he claimed to be in the 9th standard. This interview took place after his name appeared on the list of wanted protesters.
In a separate video, Toofan Singh openly expressed support for Amritpal Singh, asserting that Singh returned to India from Dubai, where he had a business, for the betterment of Sikhs. This video surfaced after Amritpal Singh evaded central agencies and the Punjab Police but was subsequently apprehended and is currently incarcerated in a jail in Assam.
The video released by Toofan Singh against Bageshwar Dham Sarkar was founded on a false interpretation of the latter’s statements.