The chief source of the startling information is a man who was a British toady — in fact, a most trusted secret agent of the British government. This man called Dalip Singh Allahabadi had worked as a gardener at Anand Bhawan, Allahabad, and had later acquired the dubious distinction of slapping Jawaharlal Nehru when the latter was leading a demonstration against the Simon Commission.
Kulwant Singh Kooner, the co-author of the present book, is the adopted godson of Allahabadi; he lives in Sinfin, Derby (UK). Allahabadi died in 1986 and the two never met again. Meanwhile, the godson had worked out a book based on the notes taken by him but, those being the days of the Emergency, his real father would not let him publish it; in fact, the father pretended that a publisher friend of his was interested in seeing it and he got the manuscript from Kulwant and destroyed it.
Only after the death of his father, in 1992, Kulwant started the process of working again on such material as his memory afforded; he wanted a movie to be based on Allahabadi’s version of the story, but no one took him seriously. And then he met the co-author, G S Sindhra, a homoeopathic doctor, who put in a lot of additional information into Allahabadi’s narrative through research in the British Library, London.
According to Allahabadi — as recalled by Kulwant and presented by Sindhra — the ‘execution’ of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev marked the execution of a conspiracy code-named “Operation Trojan Horse”, which, in effect, facilitated the pacification of the British officers in general and the prospective in-laws of the late J P Saunders in particular. Accordingly, Bhagat Singh and his associates did go through the formality of ‘hanging’ but only to the extent of breaking their necks; semi-conscious, they were taken to the Lahore Cantonment where the ‘Death Squad’, comprising Saunder’s family, shot them to quench their thirst for revenge.
Since doing all this during day time could have invited a violent reaction from the people, the ‘execution’ was performed at night; for the same reason, the bullet-ridden bodies were neither sent for postmortem nor handed over to the relatives. Instead, most surreptitiously, these were taken in a lorry to a pre-fixed isolated place on a kutcha-road (6 miles away from Lahore, on the right bank of the Beas where it meets the Sutlej) and burnt to ashes. And, to put the people on the wrong track, some flesh and bones were half burnt and buried on the western bank of the Sutlej, near Hussainiwala. Two Indian agents were sent to Lahore to pose as volunteers and tell the Congress people that they had seen at Ganda Singh Wala a big burning pyre from a distance.
Believing the story, some people (including Bhagat’s sister Bibi Amar Kaur) reached the ‘hot’ spot, dug up the flesh and half-burnt bones (plus one big broken but uncharred bone which they surmised must have been the arm of Bhagat Singh, the tallest of the three) that lay buried there, and took these back to Lahore where the half-burnt stuff was ‘properly’ cremated on the bank of the Ravi in the midst of sloganeering crowds, all in tears.