As the nation paid homage to late prime minister Indira Gandhi on her 28th death anniversary, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) instead paid homage Beant Singh, an assassin of Mrs Gandhi at the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar on Wednesday.
The SGPC performed the 'bhog' ceremony of the 'akhand path' in memory of Beant Singh in a room adjacent of the Akal Takht inside the shrine complex.
The ceremony is an annual feature since 1985, when the SGPC observed the first death anniversary of Beant Singh, who has been declared a 'quami shaheed' (martyr of the Sikh community) by the Akal Takht.
It was on October 31, 1984, Beant Singh , an Inspector in the Delhi Police and assigned the duty to protect the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, along with another bodyguard, Satwant Singh had assassinated the then PM at her residence.
Beant Singh was immediately shot dead by his police colleagues who were present at the residence of the PM.
Mrs Gandhi security had been beefed up as Sikh extremists had vowed to avenge the attack on the Golden Temple (Operation Bluestar).
Satwant Singh was immediately taken into custody while another conspirator Kehar Singh was arrested later.
The two were hanged to death on January 6th, 1989 and were thereafter declared as 'martyrs of the Sikh panth'. Their death anniversary too is observed in the shrine by the SGPC.
The 'ardas' at the 'bhog' ceremony was performed by Golden Temple priest, Giani Rawel Singh. Golden Temple manager Harbans Singh Malhi alongwith Waryam Singh Agwan, brother of Satwant Singh were among those who were present.
SGPC Assistant Managers, Baldev Singh and Bhupinder Singh Bhinda were also present.
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh and the SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar did not attend the ceremony.
On the occasion Waryam Singh was honored with a 'siropa' by Rajdeep Singh, another priest of the Harmandir Sahib. No speeches were made and those present dispersed quietly after the ceremony which lasted for an hour.
No representative of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the party that controls the SGPC, was present. Since the last decade or so senior Akali leaders have been keeping away from such ceremonies.
On October nine, the SGPC had observed the death anniversary of Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha, the two assassins of Gen AK Vaidya, who were hanged on October 9, 1992.