Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF)

Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF)

Formation :

Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) was formed towards the end of 1986 by Arur Singh as its ‘chief’. He formed KLF after being ejected from the Panthic Committee. He organised Mai Bhago Regiment under the banner of KLF as the armed wing of Presidium faction of All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF). KLF which active until 1994, after being significantly weakened in counter terrorism operation in India, By 1995 its cadre strength was estimated to be 23. In 2009 KLF was revived in Malaysia by Inter-Services-Intelligence (ISI). KLF leadership currently believes that they can revive the defeated Khalistan movement by conducting attacks which will polarise the society along communal lines. 


KLF was formed with an objective of establishing Khalistan by secession of Punjab from India, through armed violence.  

Location of activity:

KLF had an active presence in Punjab until 1990’s. The main areas of operations for KLF in Punjab were Tarn Taran, Majitha, Batala, Ludhiana, Patiala, Kapurthala, Ferozepur and Sangrur. They also operated in Mumbai, Nashik (Maharashtra), Allahabad, (UP) Kolkata (West Bengal) and Varanasi (UP). In 1992 the then KLF ‘chief’ Pritam Singh Sekhon shifted to Pakistan. The current leader, Harmeet Singh of KLF is said to be located in Gurudwara Bibi Nanki in Lahore since 2008. KLF is also said to be using social media to radicalise, recruit and plan attacks. 

Funding Sources and External Linkages:

KLF leader Harmeet Singh operated under the instructions of ISI. He also keeps in touch with pro-Khalistan elements in UK, Italy and Canada.  Funding for KLF operations are sourced from pro-KLF elements in based in Italy, UK, Canada and Scotland.  Moreover, looting and extortion also were a source of income for KLF. Between 1986-88 KLF and KCF- Sukhdev Singh Jhamke coordinated their activities. Later under Gurjant Singh Budhsinghwala KCF worked with the main body of KCF. In September 1988, there was an unsuccessful unity move among the KLF, KCF, Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and Khalistan Liberation Organisation (KLO). They also developed links with terrorist groups such as Khalistan Armed Police (KAP), United Sikh Army and Mai Bhago Regiment. In 1991, KLF along with Bhindranwale Tiger Force was involved in talks the Indian authorities in Ludhiana. However, the talks did not come to fruition. It has also been reported that KLF developed linkages with Dawood Ibrahim and with Islamist groups such as Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). 

Numeric Strength:

Modus Operandi:

The main targets of KLF were Sikhs who did not adhere to its versionof Sikhism, Hindus, Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and other security forces. KLF attacked in small teams of seven to eight people or attacked in larger groups numbering between 25-30 people.

KLF has been involved in attacks on civilians, security forces using automatic weapons and Improvised Explosive Device s (IEDs). They have primarily used IEDs and small arms to conduct mass casualty attacks, targeting vehicles and railway infrastructure. 

Leadership & Key Figures:

The founder Aroor Singh was killed in an encounter in 1986. Later in 1987, Avtar Singh Brahma became the ‘chief’ of the outfit. Later, in August 1988 he was killed in an encounter in Rajasthan after which Gurjant Singh Budh Singhwala. He was killed on July 29, 1992. After the elimination of Gurjant Singh the next chief was Pritam Singh Sekhon, who left for Pakistan in 1992 and died there in 2008. The current leader of KLF is Harmeet Singh alias Happy PHD. 


KLF is banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 by the Union Ministry Home Ministry, Government of India.

High Profile Incidents:

Sidhwan Bus Attack

Date: 01-Dec-1992

Casualties: 16 persons killed

Details: KLF militants shot dead 16 bus passengers at Sidhwan in Jalandhar

Baddowal Train Massacre

Date: 15-Jul-1991

Casualties: 50 persons killed and another 30 injured

Details: KLF terrorists attacked the train passengers in a train at Baddowal village in Ludhiana, Punjab.

Khuda Bus Attack

Date: 30-Nov-1986

Casualties: 22 persons killed

Details: KLF militants massacred 22 bus passengers near Khuda in Hoshiarpur District, Punjab.