The 29th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, observed every year as Ghallughara Diwas (genocide day), passed off peacefully amid tight security in the Harmandar Sahib complex here on Thursday.
Speaking on the occasion, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh reiterated his call to the Sikh Panth for unitedly undoing ‘injustices’ meted out to the community by the central government and the judicial system.
“Far from giving justice, the administrative and judicial systems have alienated Sikhs in their own country. Sikhs have not got justice for the June 1984 army operation and the November 1984 riots,” said the jathedar, addressing a gathering from the Akal Takht at the conclusion of the ‘bhog’ ceremony in memory of Bluestar victims. The operation had been executed 29 years ago to flush out armed militants under then Damdami Taksal head Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale from the Golden Temple complex.
Giani Gurbachan Singh said Sikhs could never forget Operation Bluestar as it had hurt the Sikh psyche. “It was an unfortunate event, leading to the destruction of the Akal Takht. It has become part of history,” he said, adding that it was carried out by a leader (referring to then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi) to satisfy her ‘political ego’ and suppress Sikhs.
Referring to the acquittal of Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler in 1984 riots cases, the jathedar said the development was disturbing for the Sikhs. The community was dealt another blow with the Supreme Court refusing to stay the execution of death-row convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar (a Khalistani militant), he added.
“Only if we assembly on one platform and fight for our rights will we be able to put pressure on the union government,” he said.
The jathedar also asked the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to publish booklets about Sikhs and Sikhism in every regional language of the country.
“There is a need to make people across India aware of the sacrifices made by Sikhs during the freedom struggle and in defence of the nation,” the jathedar added.
SAD leaders keep away
Barring SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar, no senior leader of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) attended the ceremony. Even lower-rung leaders were not present.
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, the SAD patron, used to attended Ghallughara Diwas in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but since then he has stayed away. He had not even attended the inaugural ceremony of the Operation Bluestar memorial on April 28 despite being present in the city that day.
Mann’s pro-Khalistan slogans
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president and former MP Simranjit Singh Mann Mann used a public address system to chant pro-Khalistan slogans after the ‘bhog’ ceremony. The response was poor, with even the Dal Khalsa, a radical group, choosing to remain silent.
Earlier, on his arrival, Mann’s supporters tried to throng the Akal Takht building but were stopped by the SGPC task force members, who insisted that only Mann would be allowed inside. A scuffle ensued, in which turbans of a couple of SGPC employees were toppled.
Mann and his supporters also paid obeisance at the Operation Bluestar memorial. Inside the memorial, Mann was heard saying, “We do not require anyone’s permission for dedicating our memorial to Bhindranwale. The BJP and others should keep away from our affairs.”
For reasons best known to him, Mann chose the occasion to chant, “Sikh-Cheeni bhai bhai (Sikh, Chinese are brothers)."