Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Avtar Singh Makkar (67) on Tuesday justified the memorial being erected for those killed in Operation Bluestar at the Golden Temple complex.
"There is no pressure from any hardliner or any other outfit. The memorial has the support of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal. When Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale has already been declared a martyr by the Akal Takht, there should be no issue on building a memorial," Makkar said during an exclusive interaction with Hindustan Times at its leaderspeak@HT programme.
Makkar sought to scotch the apprehension that the Operation Bluestar memorial would give a boost to radical ideology. "It has nothing to do with extremist ideology," he said, vouching for the SGPC's and SAD's moderate and nationalistic moorings.
On a question whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been able to take up issues pertaining to the Sikh community, the SGPC president stated that despite having a better understanding of Sikh issues, the PM was unable to do much for the community. "But I want to thank him for the Anand Marriage Act, which is a step towards establishing a separate identity for Sikhs," he remarked, seeking an amendment in Section 25 of the Constitution, which puts Sikhs under the definition of Hindus.