As the Centre made it clear on Tuesday that it would not interfere in the construction of a memorial in the Golden Temple for those who died in Operation Bluestar, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) bestowed special honours on the families of assassins Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha.
Jinda and Sukha had assassinated General Arun Vaidya — in-charge of the 1984 Operation Bluestar — in 1986. He was killed in Pune, where he was residing after retirement.
The two were hanged in 1992 and the SGPC has been observing their death anniversary since 1993.
On Tuesday, to mark their 19th death anniversary, the SGPC performed ‘bhog’ and Akhand Path at the Harmandar Sahib complex. Jinda’s brother Bhupinder Singh and Sukha’s relative Surjit Kaur were presented with “siropas”.
But despite the presence of SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh, the function was muted, unlike the ones held at the Golden Temple in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
Another function was held at village Gadli in Amritsar district – the home of Jinda, who was a member of the Khalistan commando force. There too, only a handful of villagers and relatives were present.
In Delhi, meanwhile, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the government would not interfere in SGPC’s construction at the Golden Temple in the light of the rights bestowed by the Constitution.
“It is a matter of rights given to organisations by the Constitution. It is their institution and we cannot interfere unless somebody takes objection in a court," he said.
Shinde, however, added that the country has suffered due to terrorism for years and therefore, “the people should introspect”.
The controversial memorial comes in the backdrop of intelligence reports about attempts to revive militancy in Punjab. Shinde said the government had information about "some activities" in Punjab and other countries.