Amritsar turns fortress ahead of Op Bluestar anniversary

  • Aseem Bassi, Hindustan Times, Amritsar
  • Updated: Jun 05, 2015 22:56 IST

The holy city has turned into a virtual fortress with over 3,000 cops guarding its every nook and cranny ahead of the 31st anniversary of Operation Bluestar on June 6.

There is a tight security cover along the roads leading to the Golden Temple and police are keeping a close watch on devotees entering the shrine. Cops in plain clothes have been deployed inside the shrine to check antecedents of people and look for suspicious elements. Flag marches were conducted throughout the day in the city as part of the security drill.

The police are taking no chances as a major clash was witnessed inside the shrine last year during the ceremony.

Amritsar police commissioner Jatinder Aulakh and deputy commissioner of police Parampal Singh held a meeting with Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) officials to discuss the security arrangements.

A red alert has been sounded in the holy city in the aftermath of a clash between police and a group of Sikhs in Jammu that claimed life of a protester. The group was protesting the removal of militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale's poster by police.

On Friday, bags of devotees were checked by police and members of the SGPC task force at the main entrance.

On Dal Khalsa's bandh call, the police commissioner said no one will be allowed to force people to close down their shops. No pretesting groups would be allowed to move towards the shrine, said the commissioner.

Lessons learnt

Police and SGPC officials on Friday saw the video footage of the 2014 clash at the Golden Temple. "The idea is to identify those involved in the clash. Also, the teams were given tips to tackle any ugly situation inside the shrine," said the police commissioner. "We will work in tandem with the SGPC task force," he said. Cops and SGPC task force members have been told to keep a check on types of swords being taken inside the shrine. "On Thursday, a person, who was carrying a specific-type of dagger and looked suspicious, was nabbed by the SGPC. We have shown the dagger to our men told them that such sharp-edged items are not allowed to be taken inside the shrine," Aulakh said.

150 SGPC men keep vigil

The SGPC that played a crucial role in handling the situation after the clash last year has been put on alert this time. The committee has deployed over 150 persons to maintain a tight vigil inside and outside the shrine.

The task force will form a security ring around Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh when he reaches to deliver 'Sandesh'.

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