‘Haje Mukeya Ni’, the expression Sidhu Moosewala used in his songs, came out after his death. The singer, who was shot dead on May 29, 2022, has left behind many unreleased songs. And one of those is SYL, which is slated for a June 23 release. But prior to the release of that song, it had been leaked on many YouTube channels. The song is written and sung by Sidhu Moosewala on the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, Punjab’s rights over river waters and Sikh prisoners languishing in prisons.
If you’ve listened to the viral lyrics and watched the leaked version, you must have noticed that one character was mentioned in the song. Named Balwinder Singh Jattana, he was regarded as a ‘Sikh Liberation Hero’ by the Sikh community. He plays a vital role in protesting the SYL Canal. Balwinder Jattana was a militant of the pro-Khalistan outfit Babbar Khalsa, who, along with his three accomplices, allegedly killed some officials discussing the construction of the canal in an office in Chandigarh in 1990.
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SYL stands for Satluj-Yamuna-Link Canal, a 214 km long canal currently under construction that was intended to share the waters of Punjab with the state of Haryana. The Satluj-Yamuna-Link Canal was first suggested in 1982. Water from Punjab would be transported to neighboring states such as Haryana through this pipeline.
They are being praised in the state for “stopping the construction of the canal” and “saving the river waters of Punjab”. On July 23, 1990, the SYL Canal Construction Meeting took place in Sector 26, Chandigarh. At that time, Balwinder Singh Jattana, along with Balbir Singh Fauji, Jagtar Singh Panjola and Harmeet Singh Bhaowal, reached the SYL project headquarters in Chandigarh Sector 26.
Balwinder Jattana, the chief engineer of SYL channel the construction was successful. It was reported that Balwinder, along with his acquaintances, entered the building and killed MS Sikri and Avtar Aulakh, the chief engineer of the SYL project. And then, after their murder, SYL’s project was called off.
The incident was quickly blamed on Bhai Balwinder Singh, and the police immediately began “seeking revenge”. The police and his team visited Bhai Jattana’s home that evening, August 30, 1991, along with the local police. Four members of Bhai Jatana’s family were there at the time: Grandmother Dwarkee Kaur, 80, Aunt Jasmair Kaur, 40; cousin Manpreet Kaur, 13, and cousin Simranjeet Singh (5 years). All four occupants had fallen asleep when police arrived. The police opened fire on everyone without warning and killed them while they were sleeping. Not being spared, a 5-year-old was also shot and killed.
The police learned of Balwinder Singh Jattana’s whereabouts on September 4, 1991. A Rs. A monetary reward of 16 lakh has been placed on Balwinder Singh’s head. Balwinder Singh Jattana and Charanjeet Singh Channa were traveling towards Sadhugarh village in the afternoon of the same day when they noticed a police checkpoint. They fled to the adjacent fields, where they were shot dead by the police. The Sikh community believes that Balwinder Jattana was a major factor in the suspension of the SYL Canal Project at the time.