Reacting to the excerpts from the book ‘Beyond the Lines’ by veteran journalist Kuldeep Nayar, former Rajya Sabha MP Tarlochan Singh, who was a close confidant of Giani Zail Singh, on Monday clarified that the Giani was never behind the formation of Dal Khalsa, a Sikh outfit that came into existence in August 1978.
Tarlochan said Zail Singh’s presence in the same hotel when Dal Khalsa was founded “was a coincidence; Giani had rebutted the allegations when he was alive”.
The former minorities commission chairman said the Congress party in late 1970s and early 1980s used Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale to divide Akalis and they were successful.
The book also says that Sanjay Gandhi, who was all-powerful then, used Bhindranwale against Akalis.
“Bhindranwale emerged after 16 Sikhs were killed in a clash with the Nirankaris in Amritsar in 1978, and he caused chaos in the state. He helped the Congress in the 1980 assembly elections and Darbara Singh became the chief minister. Earlier in 1979, the Congress helped Bhindranwale in the SGPC elections,” Tarlochan said.
“Bhindranwale was bitter when Akalis emerged victorious in the SGPC polls despite the Congress help,” said Tarlochan.
“But Akalis, who headed the SGPC, made a mistake by allowing Bhindranwale enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple, and he started collecting arms, much to the discomfort of the Congress,” said Tarlochan.