The 24th death anniversary of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, the assassins of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was observed in the Golden Temple complex here on Sunday.
On the occasion, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh 'honoured' Tirlok Singh, father of Satwant Singh, by presenting a 'siropa' to him. None of the relatives of Kehar Singh attended the ceremony.
Both were hanged at Delhi's Tihar Jail in 1989. Satwant Singh, deployed in the security of the former PM, had opened fire from his service weapon along with another security guard, Beant Singh, who was killed by the other security personnel soon after the two had fired on the PM. Kehar Singh was convicted and hanged for his role in the conspiracy. Beant Singh's death anniversary is observed in the shrine every year in October.
Both were thereafter declared as 'martyrs' of the Sikh 'quam' after they were hanged. Their death anniversary is observed every year at the Golden Temple by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
The ceremony was a low-key affair with the 'akhand' of the 'bhog' being performed. The Takht Jathedar performed the 'ardas' in which he recalled that the Sikhs had never spared any person who had tried to commit sacrilege of the Golden Temple and Indira Gandhi had sent the security forces into the shrine (Operation Bluestar) and hurt the feelings of the Sikh community.
The ceremony was attended by a few devotees and some SGPC employees, including the manager of the shrine, HS Malhi. However, SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar was conspicuous by his absence. No senior leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) attended the ceremony.
Prominent among those present were SAD (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann and Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh. No speeches were delivered on the occasion.