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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

DSGMC plans memorial at Gurdwara Rakabganj

Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, May 21, 2013
First Published: 19:59 IST(21/5/2013) | Last Updated: 20:43 IST(21/5/2013)

In an affront to the Congress government in the national capital, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) plans to build a memorial to 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims at Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib, adjacent to Parliament House.

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The 51-member general body of the DSGMC is scheduled to meet on Wednesday and is expected to give its approval to the memorial. On Thursday, the matter was discussed by the executive body of the DSGMC, which asked the general house to take the final decision.

Last year, the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government had allegedly scuttled the move of the Delhi unit of the Badals' Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to rename a park in Punjabi Bagh after the riot victims.

The SAD-ruled DSGMC had taken to the streets in Delhi recently in protest against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar's acquittal in a riots case.

"We would declare our decision on the memorial on Wednesday after the approval of the general house," said DSGMC president Manjit Singh GK.

"The Congress was responsible for the Sikh genocide. The Congress-led UPA government as well as the Delhi government are trying to stop us from building the memorial by denying us a suitable location. But we have decided to build the memorial on the premises of Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib," GK told HT.

The controversy over the Punjabi Bagh park was a major issue during the January 27 DSGMC elections. Efforts of the SAD (Badal), backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to get the park renamed as the '1984 Sikh memorial park' were thwarted when the scheduled function in this regard was 'postponed' at the last moment in November last year.

In September 2010, DSGMC general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa who at that time was councilor from Punjabi Bagh area got resolution approved in the house of local civic body, to name the Punjabi bagh park.

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) had planned to hold the function in Punjabi Bagh on November 4 to formally rename the park located opposite Gurdwara Tikana Sahib. However, on November 2, the function, which was to be attended by top SAD-BJP leaders, was declared postponed. It was alleged that the function was put off at the behest of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.

Contrasting stance
The BJP, the SAD's coalition partner in the Punjab government, is in favour of the riot victims' memorial, but it has reservations about the Operation Bluestar memorial raised by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The Bluestar memorial is in the eye of a storm over the inscription of militant preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale's name on a plaque. The alliance partners are not seeing eye to eye on this issue.

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