A group of supporters of extremist Sikh outfits and Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) [SAD-A] today raised pro-Khalistan slogans at the Golden Temple on the 38th anniversary of Operation Blue Star. It may be recalled that in July 1982, Harchand Singh Longowal, the then-president of the SAD, had invited the Indira Gandhi-floated extremist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale of the Damdami Taksal and his followers to hide inside the Golden Temple to evade arrest.
Operation Blue Star was a military operation carried out between 1 and 10 June 1984 to flush out Bhindranwale-led Sikh terrorists from the Golden Temple. In the aftermath of the military operation, Indira Gandhi was killed by her own sentries, both Sikhs, on 31 October 1984. That, in turn, led to a pogrom in Delhi, Bokaro Steel City and other places where more than 3,000 Sikhs were massacred by mobs that were instigated by leaders and workers of the Congress (Indira) [now known as the Indian National Congress].
The marbled premises of the Golden Temple near Akal Takht, the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs, echoed with pro-Khalistan slogans today once again, with the extremist-sympathising AAP government in place in Punjab. Many young Sikhs held banners and placards with ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ written on them. They wore t-shirts with the picture of slain separatist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale printed on them.
Activists of the SAD (A) raised pro-Khalistan slogans too. They were led by former MP Simranjit Singh Mann, who was also present at the spot. He raised the issue of Punjabi singer and INC leader Sidhu Moosewala’s murder and demanded justice for the family.
Elaborate security arrangements were put in place this time in Amritsar to ensure that the event passed off smoothly.
Jathedar of Akal Takht Gyani Harpreet Singh, in his message to the Sikh community on the occasion of Operation Blue Star, said Sikh preachers and scholars needed to visit the border areas to promote Sikhism and apprise the youth about the rich Sikh tenets and history. He talked also about the need to fight the scourge of the drug menace which has afflicted many youths.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex religious body of the Sikhs, displayed the bullet-ridden holy ‘Saroop’ (volume) of the Guru Granth Sahib. The ‘Saroop’, which was installed in the Akal Takht, the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, at the time, was hit by a bullet during a follow-up military action two years after Operation Blue Star.