SGPC unveils suicide bomber’s portrait at Golden Temple museum

Published on Jun 14, 2022 09:34 PM IST

In the portrait’s caption, Dilawar Singh has been described as the one “who attained martyrdom while putting an end to the state atrocities”

SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami unveiling the portrait of former Punjab CM Beant Singh’s assassin Dilawar Singh at the Central Sikh Museum on the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar on Tuesday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)
SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami unveiling the portrait of former Punjab CM Beant Singh’s assassin Dilawar Singh at the Central Sikh Museum on the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar on Tuesday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)
By, Amritsar

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Harjinder Singh Dhami on Tuesday unveiled the portrait of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh’s assassin Dilawar Singh at the Central Sikh Museum on the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.

In the portrait’s caption, Dilawar Singh — a cop who joined the militant outfit Babbar Khalsa International and became a suicide bomber to assassinate the CM on August 31, 1995 — has been described as the one “who attained martyrdom while putting an end to the state atrocities”. The blast at the secretariat complex in Chandigarh had also claimed 16 other lives.

Anti-Terrorist Front president Viresh Shandilya has said that they will protest outside the Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh and move the Punjab and Haryana high court against the SGPC’s move.

Meanwhile, the portrait of Giani Bhagwan Singh, who was the Akal Takht’s head granthi during the Operation Bluestar in June 1984, was also installed during the function that was attended by radical Sikh leaders. Addressing the gathering, Golden Temple’s additional head granthi Giani Jagtar Singh said that the Sikh community always shows gratitude to those who make sacrifices for it or play an important role in preaching the faith by displaying their portraits at the museum.

The SGPC president, who presented “siropas” (robes of honour) to the family members of Dilawar Singh and Bhagwan Singh, said: “Dilawar Singh had put an end to the atrocities and gross human rights violations committed against the Sikhs. The decision of sacrificing self is not possible without the Guru’s blessings and whenever atrocities were committed on the community, Sikhs have always made history by making sacrifices.”

On the possible backlash, Dhami said: “It is an internal matter of the Sikh Panth (community). Bhai Dilawar Singh is a Qaumi Shaheed (national martyr) as per the Akal Takht edict (issued in 2012). That’s why his portrait has been installed in the museum.”

Displaying Dilawar’s portrait at the museum was a long-pending demand of radical Sikh groups. The SGPC, which is the apex gurdwara body, had passed a resolution to install it in 2017, but it took another five years to execute the decision. Leaders of radical outfits, such as Dal Khalsa, thanked the SGPC for implementing the resolution.

Portraits of many Sikh militants are already on display at the museum besides that of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s bodyguards-turned-assassins Satwant Singh and Beant Singh. They include militant leaders Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Amrik Singh and General Shabeg Singh, who were killed in the Operation Bluestar, and Sukhdev Singh Sukha and Harjinder Singh Jinda, who assassinated General AS Vaidya to avenge the military action at the Golden Temple. Portraits of Sikh war heroes and freedom fighters, including Bhagat Singh, are also on display at the museum.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Surjit Singh is a correspondent. He covers politics and agriculture, besides religious affairs and Indo-Pak border in Amritsar and Tarn Taran.

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