SGPC takes up ‘missing manuscripts’ issue with army chief
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SGPC takes up ‘missing manuscripts’ issue with army chief

Gen Rawat briefed about Op Bluestar-hit Sikh reference library during his visit to Golden Temple; says will look into the matter.

punjab Updated: Jul 09, 2018 17:32 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
SGPC,manuscripts,Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee
Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat along with his wife Madhulika Rawat paying obeisance at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Sunday.(Sameer Sehgal/HT)

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Sunday drew the attention of army chief General Bipin Rawat to taking away of rare manuscripts and literature from the Sikh reference library allegedly by the army during the Operation Bluestar in 1984.

The army chief was in Amritsar to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. Accompanied by his wife Madhulika Rawat, the army chief was shown the library from outside by the SGPC officials while taking a round of the shrine complex. Soon after he entered the complex, SGPC chief secretary Roop Singh and information officer Jaswinder Singh Jassi informed him of the tradition, history and code of the shrine.

This was Gen Rawat’s first visit to Amritsar after taking over as army chief.

After partaking langar sitting on the ground like other devotees, Gen Rawat did a parikarma (circumambulation) of the sarovar (holy tank). When they were passing from outside the library, the chief secretary requested the army chief to stop for a while to inform him of what happened there during Operation Bluestar in June 1984.

The army took away the rare handwritten manuscripts of Sikh scriptures and precious literature from the library situated along ‘parikarma’ of the sarovar on the Atta Mandi side. The Sikh organisations, including the SGPC have been demanding that these should be returned.

“Making him aware of destruction of the library, I urged the general to clarify whether the literature the army seized is still in their possession or not. If the army has it, they should return the texts at the earliest or they will decay with the passage of time”, said Roop Singh.

“I also raised the issue of library with him urging him to return the seized material,” said SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal, who reached at the Golden Temple to welcome the army chief.

“The issue of library has been brought to my notice. I was not aware of it and will look into the matter,” Rawat said after paying obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum. He, however, refused to comment on Operation Bluestar.

The SGPC chief also raised issue of Gurdwara Pathar Sahib in Leh in Jammu and Kashmir, which is under the army’s control. He demanded that the shrine be handed over to the gurdwara body.

Rawat was given with a siropa (robe of honour) and a replica of the Golden Temple besides a set of Sikh literature. The army chief wrote about his experience of the visit in the visitor’s book as.

Gen reviews security situation

Earlier, Gen Rawat reviewed the security situation and operational preparedness of security forces on the frontiers of the Western Theatre in Punjab. He was received by Lt Gen Surinder Singh, commander of Western Command, and Lt Gen Dushyant Singh, corps commander of Vajra Corps.

Rawat also visited the Panther Division headquarters where he was briefed on the operational preparedness of the Vajra Corps. He interacted with all formation commanders.

‘Hope for peace between 2 nations’

Rawat along with Major Gen DK Nautiyal visited the Partition Museum at the Town Hall. They spent time going through the galleries and listening to oral histories.

In the ‘gallery of hope’, Rawat wrote “Partition has left deep scars in the life of people on both sides. We Indians still live in hope that peace will prevail between our nations.”

In the museum’s visitor’s book, Rawat wrote, “The museum reminds us of the horrors of Partition. People who suffered during the Partition have come a long way, reconciled to the situation and worked hard to bring their lives together.”

First Published: Jul 08, 2018 22:10 IST