Opposed to a memorial on the 1984 Operation Bluestar within the Darbar Sahib complex, Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh said on Tuesday that the party was in favour of constructing a memorial to all those who lost their lives during the dark days of terrorism in Punjab.
Setting up the memorial to Operation Bluestar within the precincts of Darbar Sahib would defile its sanctity, Singh told reporters in Chandigarh, adding, "You can't raise a memorial to anybody parallel to the Darbar Sahib and Akal Takht Sahib."
Besides the memorial should be for peace and harmony and not for mistrust and disharmony, he added.
He appealed to all Punjabis in general and the Sikhs in particular to think seriously as to where the Akalis were heading. "It was the issue of the sanctity of the holiest place of the Sikhs and no memorials should be allowed to be raised parallel to it," the former chief minister said.
Condemning chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for facilitating the honouring of Balwant Singh Rajoana, the assassin of late chief minister Beant Singh, in Amritsar recently, Amrinder Singh said that Badal had behaved in a "cowardly manner and succumbed to the pressure of the radicals."
The Congress leader pointed out that Darbar Sahib had been attacked on a number of occasions earlier also but never were any memorials set up inside. He said that there were 'ghallughara' (massacre) memorials at different places in Punjab but none in the holiest place of the Sikhs.
Singh questioned Badal's assertion that the memorial in Harmandar Sahib would be a memorial to peace. "How can it be when you are leaving out thousands of others who laid down their lives for peace in Punjab," he remarked.
He said that the memorials cannot be selective and asked what about 1,784 police personnel including two DIGs, 7 SPs, 12 DSPs and others who were killed while fighting terrorism in the eighties. Besides, there were a number of Congress, Akali, BJP and communist leaders who were killed by the terrorists.