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Entrance gate at Golden Temple remains as it is; bullet marks to be protected

“The structure is important to make sure that the events of 1984 are kept alive. Thus, we decided to preserve it in its original form”

punjab Updated: Jan 31, 2018 20:42 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Golden Temple,Amritsar,Operation Bluestar
A severely-damaged structure with bullet marks, on the roof of one of the entrances of the Golden Temple in Amritsar.(SAMEER SEHGAL/HT)

In the restoration and renovation drive it carried out at its headquarters, the Teja Singh Samundri Hall, last year, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) preserved bullet marks from the Operation Blue Star of 1984 as evidence to be presented in a ₹1,000-crore damages suit it has filed against the Centre.

However, the structure at the entrance to the Golden Temple from the Atta Mandi side of the city was allowed to remain as it is. “The structure is important to make sure that the events of 1984 are kept alive. Thus, we decided to preserve it in its original form. The bullet marks will be protected, but there will be no renovation,” said SGPC chief secretary Roop Singh. The entrance is close to the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs. The building of the Akal Takht was also damaged during the operation of the Indian army against Sikh militants.

An entrance of the Golden Temple, covered in bullet marks of Operation Bluestar in 1984. This is the lone untouched structure that was damaged during the operation at the Sikh shrine. (SAMEER SEHGAL/HT)

The structure at the entrance exhibits signs of destruction — small bullet marks and big holes. Once you climb the stairs of the entrance, the rooftop has a small dome-shaped structure, ‘Deori’, in local parlance. Devotees, however, are prohibited from going there.

“Small bullet marks will be protected with metallic cases like we have done in case of the Teja Singh Samundri Hall and some other buildings. The bigger holes and the other signs of destruction will be protected with glass, so that devotees can witness these,” Roop added.

Sikh radical leaders have been opposed to either renovation or restoration, terming it as tampering with evidence. Their demand has been to let all structures, damaged in the operation, remain in their original form.

First Published: Jan 31, 2018 20:34 IST