‘Martyr gallery’ at Bluestar memorial to have portraits of slain pilgrims too | punjab | Hindustan Times
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‘Martyr gallery’ at Bluestar memorial to have portraits of slain pilgrims too

The gallery, which has been in the news for plans to put up a portrait of militant preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, is being curated by Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal that he once headed.

punjab Updated: Jul 04, 2017 13:42 IST
Surjit Singh
Apart from the portraits, the gallery will also have bullet-pierced clothes and other reminders of the army operation.
Apart from the portraits, the gallery will also have bullet-pierced clothes and other reminders of the army operation.

Besides portraits of Sikh militants, those of pilgrims who were killed during the army’s Operation Bluestar, and other relics, will be exhibited in the Martyr’s Gallery being built in the basement of the memorial in Golden Temple’s complex in Amritsar.

The gallery, which has been in the news for plans to put up a portrait of militant preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, is being curated by Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal that he once headed. After permission from the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) that manages affair of Sikh shrines, the Taksal will begin work on July 6.

Sources in the seminary said its chief Harnam Singh Dhumma has also sought help of radical outfit Dal Khalsa, whose directory of militants published some years ago will form the basis of the list of portraits.

Making the list

The directory contained description of 220 militants, including Bhindranwale, the then All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) president Amrik Singh, and Maj Gen Shabeg Singh. While most were associated with Damdami Taksal, others were members of the AISSF, Akhand Kirtani Jatha, and Kar Sewa (Baba Shisha Singh). Dhumma said the Taksal will approach other sources too.

As far the common pilgrims killed during the operation, the Taksal may get a list from the SGPC. This list clubs names of those killed, arrested or injured, so it will have to be verified as to who died, said sources.

Apart from the portraits, the gallery will also have bullet-pierced clothes and other reminders of the army operation. There are also plans to screen the history of the episode in English, Punjabi and Hindi on a screen proposed to be installed there.

Blueprint meeting

The proposal will be discussed by the Taksal on July 6 with SGPC authorities in the presence of experts being called especially. It will be followed by making of a final blueprint within three months.

The current SGPC regime will also allow Damdami Taksal to hold regular bhog (memorial prayer) ceremony for the militants. SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar, when contacted, said, “All the arrangements for the gallery are being made by Baba Harnam Singh (Dhumma).”  

In the previous SGPC setup — controlled as now by the Shiromani Akali Dal , which lost power in the Punjab assembly polls early this year after two terms — president Avtar Singh Makkar did not allow the Taksal to hold the bhog ceremonies at the Bluestar memorial, which is a gurdwara.