Work on gallery for portraits of Bhindranwale, aides at Golden Temple to begin on July 6 | punjab | top | Hindustan Times
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Work on gallery for portraits of Bhindranwale, aides at Golden Temple to begin on July 6

The portraits will include those of radical preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who once headed the Taksal, and Maj Gen Shabeg Singh, who had been dismissed by the army and joined the militant Khalistani movement.

punjab Updated: Jul 02, 2017 09:25 IST
HT Correspondent
On a demand by the Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal, the executive of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had decided to establish the gallery two weeks ago in the basement of the existing Bluestar memorial.
On a demand by the Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal, the executive of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had decided to establish the gallery two weeks ago in the basement of the existing Bluestar memorial.(HT Photo)

Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal will on July 6 start work on a portrait gallery in the complex of Golden Temple in memory of those killed by the army during Operation Bluestar at the most prominent Sikh shrine in Amritsar in 1984.

On a demand by the Taksal, the executive of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had decided to establish the gallery two weeks ago in the basement of the existing Bluestar memorial. The portraits will include those of radical preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who once headed the Taksal, and Maj Gen Shabeg Singh, who had been dismissed by the army and joined the militant Khalistani movement.

SGPC chief secretary Harcharan Singh said president Kirpal Singh Badungar will be among those present at the starting of the ‘sewa’ (voluntary service). The Taksal has not yet given a final list of persons whose portraits will to be installed, he added.

Taksal chief Harnam Singh Dhumma also issued a poster to appeal to the masses to attend the ceremony for the “Shaheedi Gallery”. The seminary has also made a booking to conduct ‘akhand path’ (chain prayers) at the memorial.

Additionally, on the Taksal’s demand again, a portrait of Bhindranwale’s successor and the Taksal’s 15th chief, Thakur Singh, was also installed at the Central Sikh Museum in the shrine complex.

Shifting stance?

For the memorial gurdwara, which is near the temporal seat Akal Takht, too, construction was executed under Dhumma’s supervision in 2013. At the time, the SGPC, which is ruled by the Shiromani Akali Dal that was in power in Punjab then, had expressed unease at a plaque and two slabs with Bhindranwale’s name installed at its entrance. Certain leaders of the SAD’s alliance partner BJP and the then opposition Congress had opposed it, terming it “anti-national”.

A few days later, on the instructions of the then SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar, a clock with Bhindranwale’s name had been removed from the memorial. This had led to confrontation between the SGPC and the Taksal.