CHANDIGARH: A delegation of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Thursday met Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking the return of rare manuscripts and documents taken from the Sikh Reference Library at the Golden Temple complex by the Army during Operation Blue Star. The delegation sought the return of the documents to the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) on the anniversary of the army operation inside the temple complex to flush out Khalistani militants.
The SAD delegation, led by party president former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, said army officials carted away a large number of manuscripts, documents and relics belonging to Sikh gurus after storming the temple complex in 1984.
Badal said the Sikh Sangat had been urging the return of these papers to the SGPC for a long time. He sought urgent steps to locate these items and arrange for them to be restored to the Sikh community. The SAD president told Shah that in the immediate aftermath of the operation, which was carried out on the order of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, several army personnel took an “emotional” call to leave their units and visited the Golden Temple out of faith and their religious sentiments.
He said these jawans were summarily dismissed from service without consideration of the circumstances that led to them quitting their units. He said the honour of this personnel should be restored and they should be provided with all service benefits on retirement, including pension. The delegation also featured MP Balwinder Singh Bhundur, Jathedar Tota Singh, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Manjinder Singh Sirsa.
SGPC task force gets into a fight with hardliners
There were chaotic scenes on the 35th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, as the task force of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) got into an altercation with Sikh ‘hardliners’ at the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.
Turbans were tossed and swords were flashed as unseemly scenes played out in full public view on a day of commemoration. As soon as the Akal Takht Jathedar (highest temporal seat of the Sikhs), Harpreet Singh, finished his address and a kirtan started playing, the hardliners grew restive and disruptions followed. Pro-Khalistan supporters, chanting slogans and sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the image of slain militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, tried to force their way into the area around the Akal Takht.
‘Restore honour of dismissed personnel’
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Badal also demanded that the army personnel who were dismissed for leaving their units post the operation be given all service benefits on retirement.