On the eve of the 31st anniversary of Operation Bluestar, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh on Friday appealed to the Sikh community to maintain peace and harmony during the solemn religious ceremony at the faith's highest temporal seat to remember those killed in the army's 1984 raid to flush out armed militants from the Golden Temple.
"It is solemn occasion, when we remember our martyrs who gave up their lives defending the Golden Temple," the jathedar said, addressing Sikhs through the media at his office here. Radical elements had attacked the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) task force inside the Akal Takht at last year's ceremony. The jathedar made it clear that he didn't want a repeat.
After injuries to 12 people in the attack last time, police had arrested 25. The jathedar has also specified that he'd be the only one addressing the community on the occasion, as was the practice. The clash last year had happened when the SGPC had disallowed Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann to address the gathering after the jathedar had finished his speech.
The SGPC, responsible for organising the function, has barred portable public-address systems from the shrine, but Mann is in the habit of carrying one in every time to air his views on Khalistan. The function will start after the 'bhog' (conclusion) of the 'akhand path' (continuous recitation of Gurbani), after which the jathedar will honour families of some Sikhs killed in the 1984 operation.
Flays Jammu violence
The jathedar condemned Thursday's incident of police firing on Sikh protesters in Jammu, which had left a man dead and five-to-six others injured.
He said no one had the right to counsel Sikhs on whom to follow or worship, and the community wouldn't tolerate any interference in its religious affairs. Referring to the tearing of a poster of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Damdami Taksal head who was killed fighting the army in Operation Bluestar, he said it was aimed at provoking Sikhs and then defaming them if they retaliated.
"We are a peace-loving community that respects all religions, and we hope the others would show us the same respect to our faith," he said, demanding an inquiry into the Jammu violence.