The Sikh Reference Library at the Golden Temple complex. (ht photo)
The Sikh Reference Library at the Golden Temple complex. (ht photo)

Operation Bluestar: 37 years on, no clarity on articles missing from Sikh Reference Library

Facing allegations of being negligent in taking care of rare repository at the library, SGPC fails to come up with proper record
By Surjit Singh, Amritsar
PUBLISHED ON JUN 05, 2021 01:39 AM IST

Thirty-seven years since the Sikh Reference Library got destroyed in Operation Bluestar at the Golden Temple, confusion and ambiguities still prevail over the missing rare repository of manuscripts and other artifacts that were taken away by the army.

Not only the Centre, the SGPC too has failed to come up with accurate details of the items that went missing and the ones returned by the Union government latter.

And now, Punjab and Haryana high Court is hearing a petition filed last year by one Satinder Singh against the SGPC after former library director Anurag Singh questioned the integrity of the SGPC in preserving the rare repository. He claimed that the army had returned the items three months after the operation and the SGPC officials received them on September 29, 1984, but many items are missing from the library now. He also alleged that some of the rare ‘birs’ were sold.

As the allegations sent the SGPC into a quandary, it set up a four-member committee of senior members to investigate the matter. When asked, the SGPC president Jagir Kaur did not reveal anything about the probe.

An SGPC staffer said, “We are identifying lies in the allegations levelled by the petitioner. We are recording statements of the former SGPC staffers who have worked in the library.” He said the gurdwara body will challenge the allegations.

SGPC member Kiranjot Kaur, who is a member of the probe panel, said, “We are studying the allegations levelled by the petitioner. We could not prepare a final report on this since there is a lot of confusion about the repository in the library. When we ask the retired employees of the library, they give different information.”

“Actually, SGPC staff never knew of the importance of this library and it has never been their priority,” she said.

“They (petitioner) have made an allegation that original ‘hukamnamas’ are missing from the library and only their photos are there. This is a lie because when we checked the record, we found that the library only had the photos. And the source of the photographs has been mentioned in the record properly. We are yet to carry out the investigation on other allegations,” she said, adding, “We are taking time because we need to bring out the truth.”

Satinder said, “The SGPC has been constituting sub-committees since 2003. This is the third sub-committee. Where are the findings of the first two committees? Nobody knows.”

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