Even as Punjab Police on Saturday detained several radical leaders across the state ahead of the 32nd anniversary of Operation Bluestar as a preventive measure, the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) banned the media from covering the event at the Golden Temple on June 6.
In a written communiqué to the district and police administration, the SGPC said no one from the media, including print and electronic, would be allowed to cover the event. SGPC chief secretary Harcharan Singh said as a large number of devotees converge on the shrine on the Operation Bluestar anniversary, interference by reporters, photographers and TV channel crew would not be allowed as it “hurts Sikh sentiments”.
Meanwhile, the police detained three Sikh hardliners —Dal Khalsa leader Daljit Singh Bittu, Sikh activist Manvinder Singh Giaspura and Jaswant Singh Cheema, a local leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) — in Ludhiana.
Raids at the houses of various hardliners were carried out in the wee hours of Saturday. However, some members of SAD (Amritsar) and Dal Khalsa managed to escape, the police said.
“It is a preventive action before the Operation Bluestar anniversary to maintain law and order,” said a police official.
Religious leader Hardeep Mehraj and United Akali Dal leader Gurdeep Singh were arrested in Bathinda.
The Patiala police also rounded up a few activists of the SAD (Amritsar). Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Avtar Singh Makkar said the police had rounded up Jaskaran Singh Kahan Singh Wala at Bathinda.
Police have stepped up vigil in Amritsar and areas around the Golden Temple.
In June, 1984, more than 1,000 people were killed in Operation Bluestar, the raid on Sikh’s holiest shrine Golden Temple to flush out extremists led by Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale. He and his associates were killed in the operation.
Meanwhile, Amrik Singh, who was appointed Keshgarh Sahib jathedar by radicals at the Sarbat Khalsa (congregation of Sikhs) last year, urged Sikhs to reach Amritsar on June 6 to participate in an ‘ardass’ (prayer meeting) organised by various Sikh organisations to pay homage to those killed in Operation Bluestar.
Addressing a gathering at Gurdwara Singh Sahib at Dharmkot in Moga district, he criticised chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for allegedly undermining and misusing Sikh institutions.
The police also cracked down on radicals in Moga district conducting raids at the houses of activists of Akali Dal (Amritsar) and Dal Khalsa.
Several activists were rounded up as a preventive measure, the police said.