SGPC to build memorial to 1982 plane hijacker

  • Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times, Fatehgarh Sahib
  • Updated: Dec 17, 2014 21:15 IST

After building a memorial to victims of Operation Bluestar at the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has now decided to build a library as a memorial to Gurbax Singh, who had hijacked an Air India plane in 1982.

Gurbax had been jailed for two-and-a-half years for the hijacking. He died in 2013.

Ironically, the SGPC had sacked Gurbax, better known as ‘Hijacker’, from his job as a gurdwara caretaker in the early 1990s.

The decision to set up the memorial at Pakka Kalan village in Bathinda district was taken by the SGPC at its executive committee meeting on Wednesday at Fatehgarh Sahib.

‘Bomb’ on board

In the early 1980s, fearing hijacking, the Indian government had banned carrying of the kirpan (ceremonial sword) on planes. Then SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra had flayed the government’s decision, saying that a plane could be hijacked even with a toy.

To drive Tohra’s point home, Gurbax had hijacked an Air India plane on August 4, 1982, claiming that he had a ‘bomb’, which was actually a ball made of pieces of cloth. Initially, he decided to take the plane to Lahore, but as the Pakistan authorities did not allow landing, the flight had returned to Amritsar.

Gurbax had said that he would list his demands in the presence of then Shiromani Akali Dal president Harchand Singh Longowal and then Damdami Taksal chief Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, but he later surrendered in front of then SAD general secretary Parkash Singh Majitha.

“We will build a library in memory of Gurbax Singh to remember his contribution to the Sikh Panth,” said SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar.

The committee has also decided to give Rs 1 lakh each to families of eight people who were recently awarded seven-year jail by a Haryana court for clashing with Dera Sacha Sauda supporters.

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