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SGPC to form help cell for Operation Bluestar Jodhpur detainees

The special cell will also extend legal aid to the detainees if need arises

punjab Updated: Jun 25, 2018 09:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
SGPC,Bluestar,Jodhpur
SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal (R) and Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh (L) launching the ‘kar sewa’ at the Golden Temple Langar hall in Amritsar on Sunday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT )

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Sunday resolved to form a special help cell to ensure relief to those arrested during Operation Bluestar from the Golden Temple complex in 1984 and kept in Jodhpur (Rajasthan) jail for five years.

“The SGPC is committed to help Jodhpur detainees. The special cell will also extend legal aid to the detainees if need arises,” said SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal.

SGPC legal adviser Pritpal Singh, former additional secretary Gurdarshan Singh, former official Hardeep Singh Ghungrali and the trust section in-charge will be members of the proposed cell. “A sub-committee has also been constituted to pursue the case of compensation to the detainees. Executive member Bhagwant Singh Sialka, member Gurcharan Singh Grewal and additional secretary Jagjit Singh Jaggi are members of the committee,” said Longowal.

He said the apex gurdwara body would not only make efforts to provide relief to 40 Sikhs who moved court for compensation but to all 365 arrested during the military operation at the Golden Temple in 1984. He said a joint delegation of the SGPC and the Shiromani Akali Dal called on Union home minister Rajnath Singh and urged him to withdraw a plea filed in the Punjab and Haryana high court against awarding compensation to the detainees. “I hope the Union minister will entertain our appeal and revoke the plea. If need arises, we would meet him again,” said Longowal.

Those arrested from the Golden Temple complex during Operation Bluestar in 1984 were later released in three lots between March 1989 and July 1991. Of them, 224 appealed for compensation alleging wrongful detention and torture. But the Central Bureau of Investigation contested the case and won it in the lower court in 2011.

Some died and others did not pursue the case further. But 40 detainees went in appeal against the order to the Amritsar sessions court and were awarded ₹4 lakh each as compensation with 6% interest (from date of filing of the appeal to payment of compensation) in April last year.

The court had held the Union and state governments as jointly liable for payment of the compensation. Though the Punjab government had given an undertaking to the court to pay half the amount, the Union government moved an appeal in the high court against the order.

On Saturday, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh assured a delegation of the Jodhpur detainees to take up their case with the Union government for withdrawal of an appeal in the high court against compensation.

Kar sewa begins at Langar hall

The SGPC chief along with Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh started the ‘kar sewa’ (voluntarily service) to give heritage look to the Golden Temple langar hall. Old-designed bricks will be used on the outer wall of the langar hall.

First Published: Jun 24, 2018 22:26 IST