Sukhdev Thapar (15th May 1907 - March 23, 1931) was an Indian revolutionary. He was organiser of revolutionary party in Punjab. That is why the consipiracy case constituted by British Colonial Government was waging war against King George and it was crown verses Sukhdev. It was for this reason that he was sentenced to death by a special tribunal the proceedings of which were boycotted by the accused persons because of biased and colonial attitude of the judges.
He is best known as an accomplice of Bhagat Singh and Shivaram Rajguru in the killing of a British police officer in 1928 in order to take revenge for the death of veteran leader Lala Lajpat Rai due to excessive police beating. All three were hanged in Lahore Central Jail on March 23, 1931 in the evening at 7.33 pm against all norms of hanging. The dead bodies were secretly taken away by breaking the back walls of the jail and were seceretly burnt on the banks of River Satluj near Firozepur about 50 miles away from Lahore. The bodies were cut into pieces to make the burial quick.
Sukhdev was an active member of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, being one of the most senior leaders. He is known to have started study circles at National College (Lahore) in order to delve into India's past as well as to scrutinize the finer aspects of the world revolutionary literature and Russian Revolution. He along with Bhagat Singh, Comrade Ram Chandra and Bhagwati Charan Vohra started Naujawan Bharat Sabha at Lahore. The main aims of this organisation were to activate youth for freedom struggle, inculcate a rational scientific attitude, fight communalism and end the practice of untouchability. Sukhdev also participated in the 1929 Prison hunger strike to protest against the inhuman treatment of inmates.
His letter to Mahatma Gandhi written just prior to his hanging, protesting against the latter's disapproval of revolutionary tactics, throws light on the disparities between the two major schools of thought among Indian freedom fighers.
However, Hansraj Vohra - the man who gave the clinching testimony that resulted in the hanging of the trio, claimed that Sukhdev had himself turned an approver.
Nevertheless, this relatively baseless contention does not detract from the tremendous courage, patriotism and self-sacrifice that Sukhdev Thapar embodifies, as is evident in the recent naming of a school after him, in his native Ludhiana (city in Punjab).
For more information on the events leading up to the killing, read about Lala Lajpat Rai's death.