Op Bluestar anniversary: Security forces on toes as tension among SGPC, radicals despite peace talks | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Op Bluestar anniversary: Security forces on toes as tension among SGPC, radicals despite peace talks

The “parallel” jathedars — heads of temporal seats — announced by the radical outfits are also expected to reach the Akal Takht on Tuesday morning to participate in the anniversary of the anti-terror military operation that claimed several lives and left the shrine damaged in 1984.

punjab Updated: Jun 06, 2017 09:48 IST
HT Correspondent
Paramilitary and police personnel on patrol near Hall Gate in Amritsar on the eve of Operation Bluestar’s anniversary on Monday, June 5.
Paramilitary and police personnel on patrol near Hall Gate in Amritsar on the eve of Operation Bluestar’s anniversary on Monday, June 5.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)

The city of Amritsar has been turned into a fortress with the deployment of 4,500 cops, including paramilitary troops, to ensure that the 33rd anniversary of Operation Bluestar passes off peacefully on Tuesday.

The “parallel” jathedars — heads of temporal seats — announced by the radical outfits are also expected to reach the Akal Takht on Tuesday morning to participate in the anniversary of the anti-terror military operation that claimed several lives and left the shrine damaged in 1984.

Police walk ahead as activists of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) holding banners and placards carry out a march amidst high security on the eve of the 33rd anniversary of Operation Bluestar in Amritsar on Monday. (PTI Photo)
Rapid Action Force personnel stand guard on the eve of Operation Bluestar anniversary in Amritsar on Monday. (PTI Photo)

SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar has already spoken to various outfits and even the parallel jathedars to ensure peace on the occasion; but there is apprehension that something may go wrong if any objection is raised over the address to the gathering by Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh.

As there have been clashes inside the shrine the past on June 6, every road leading to the Golden Temple has strong presence of paramilitary. Inside the shrine too, there will substantial presence of police besides the task force of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). The Special Weapons Tactics unit of the Punjab Police has also been called in and will be present throughout the day on Tuesday.

Since the Dal Khalsa has given a call for ‘Amritsar bandh’ on Tuesday, the police want to ensure no one is forced to down shutters.

Dal Khalsa activists taking out a protest march in memory of those killed by the military in Operation Bluestar on the eve of its 33rd anniversary in Amritsar on Monday. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

Police are also using technology to keep a close eye on the situation, and many CCTV cameras have been deployed. Police commissioner S Srivastava said, “I appeal to the people to beware of rumours and misleading videos on social media.”

Right to address

A bone of contention between radical outfits and the SGPC at the Bluestar anniversary is the ‘sandesh’ (message or address) by Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh.

The SGPC has maintained that no one, not even the parallel jathedars announced during a Sarbat Khalsa congregation by the radicals, other than Giani Gurbachan will be allowed to give out a ‘sandesh’.

Asked specifically if the “acting” Akal Takht jathedar appointed at the radical Sarbat Khalsa, Dhian Singh Mand, may address the gathering, Badungar said that won’t be allowed. Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Bittu has said that “trouble” can take place if Giani Gurbachan Singh addresses the gathering as he has “lost people’s faith”.

Badungar, who is “upset over the kind of statements that are coming” even after he sought peace with the parallel jathedars whom he met on Sunday, said, “I tried a lot. I sat with almost every organisation to ensure that the anniversary passes off peacefully. The anniversary is not a personal function or even of the SGPC alone; but it is for the entire Khalsa Panth that was left in pain by Operation Bluestar.”

SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar, flanked by other members, addressing the media in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar on Monday. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

“I appeal to everyone that they all can do politics for 364 and 20 hours of the year but must, please, spare these four hours and allow everything to be peaceful and within the ‘maryada’ (ethics),” he further said. The SGPC is already unhappy with the Amritsar bandh call given by Dal Khalsa; and even SAD (Amritsar) has not given support to it.

Badungar also said that the “over-hype of security and paramilitary troops are just creating panic among people; the government should have refrained from it”. He underlined, “If anything goes wrong, the government will be responsible for it.”

Khalistan slogans

On the eve of the Bluestar anniversary, Dal Khalsa took out a ‘Remembrance March’ from Ranjit Avenue to the Akal Takht. On the way, the activists raised slogans in favour of Khalistan. SAD (Amritsar) also took out a march amid tight security arrangements.