Even as the nation paid homage to former prime minister Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chose to honour a brother of one of her assassins at the Golden Temple here.
The SGPC on Friday presented Waryam Singh, brother of assassin Satwant Singh, with a Siropa and a sword. On October 31, 1984, prime minister’s bodyguards Satwant Singh and Beant Singh had shot her in Delhi.
The presentation party included SGPC member Bhai Manjit Singh, Bhai Mokhan Singh of the Damdami Taksal, All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) president Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad, and panthic leader Baldev Singh Sirsa. Many SGPC officials, including included Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) manager Partap Singh, were present.
Neither Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh nor any senior leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), ruling party in the state, attended the event. Over the years, the SAD has distanced self from these ceremonies.
An Akhand Path, continuous recitation of Gurbani in memory of the Sikhs killed in the 1984 riots after Indira’s assissination, commenced at Gurdwara Shaheed Jhand Bunga Sahib at the Golden Temple complex on the appeal of SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar. The ‘bhog’ (conclusion) ceremony will be on Sunday (November 2).
Cong condemns act
The Congress condemned the SGPC’s honouring the brother of one of the assassins of late prime minister Indira Gandhi. “It ill behoves the SGPC to bestow such an honour (on an assassin’s kin) and that, too, at the Golden Temple complex. Anti-national elements will exploit it to whip up communal feelings,” District Congress Committee (rural) president Gurjeet Singh Aujla.
He held a small function at the DCC office, where he along with party colleagues paid floral tributes to Indira Gandhi and observed a two-minute silence.