The fear of repeat of a standoff with radicals at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, akin to that in the in the 1980s when Sikh militant leader Jarnial Singh Bhindranwale had turned the shrine into a headquarters for the separatist Khalistan movement, made the Centre as well as the government of Punjab to ensure that fasting ex-militant Gurbaksh Singh remains in Haryana, officials said on Thursday.
At the least, the state and central agencies feared that the visit of Gurbaksh — fasting since November 14 near Ambala for release of some Sikh prisoners who have purportedly completed minimum terms — would have given an opportunity to radicals to gather at the Golden Temple, and the situation could have turned violent.
Sources said the Haryana government was initially keen that Gurbasksh shift his base to Punjab, but after directives from the Centre and a request from Punjab, they decided to retain him. As per a plan, the Haryana government first delayed his plan by saying that he would be allowed to leave only after getting a nod from doctors. Doctors then asked him to get admitted to hospital, but later the law and order situation was cited to make him return to his base at Gurdwara Lakhnaur Sahib. “Maintaining law and order is our main job,” said police commissioner OP Singh at a press meet later.