The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday rubbished PPCC president Partap Singh Bajwa's demand for a peace memorial in Punjab, describing it as nothing more than "a malicious and politically motivated attempt to ridicule the deep hurt caused to the Sikh sentiments by the brutal outrage at Harmandar Sahib in June 1984".
SAD secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, in a statement here, said, "It is ironical that a party widely identified with murderers, looters, rioters and killers, both in and outside Punjab during a decade-and-a-half-long violence, should ask for a peace memorial to commemorate its sins and crimes against humanity in general and the people of Punjab in particular. Bajwa should, in fact, ask the Centre to set up a 'repentance memorial' for introspection by the then rulers, all of whom belonged to the Congress."
He asked, "What are Bajwa's personal views and feelings about Operation Bluestar? Does he justify it even after independent and respected voices in the country, including senior commanders of the army who took part in it, have described it as 'wrong and unnecessary'?"
The Akali leader advised Bajwa to ask his party high command to travel en masse to the Golden Temple to offer apologies and prayers for the outrage committed there in the form of Operation Bluestar and also for its crimes against Sikhs, culminating in the massacre of innocents in Delhi and several other parts of the country.
Dhindsa recalled that the SGPC had already clarified that the memorial at Harmandar Sahib would serve as an abode for prayers for peace and communal harmony and for seeking the blessings of the almighty against the recurrence of such traumatic events in future. Bajwa and his party should desist from communalising the memorial, he said.
Lashing out at the Punjab Congress' stand against the visit of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to Punjab, the SAD secretary general said, "If the main reason behind Bajwa's objection to the visit lies in the Gujarat riots, does Bajwa have the moral right to even continue being a member of the Congress which is known to be guilty of a far worse massacre against his own community and those belonging to his state? What is Bajwa doing as the PPCC chief to ensure punishment to those guilty of the 1984 riots? Why these double standards?"