Protest over award to Army regiment

Radical Sikh organisations in poll-bound Punjab protested in Patiala and Amritsar demanding that the President should not honour 6 Lancers for its role in Operation Bluestar in June 1984.

The General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Black Elephant Division on Thursday had denied that 6 Lancers played any role in Operation Bluestar which involved storming of the sacred Golden Temple. However, an Army release that was circulated has listed the participation of 6 Lancers in Operation Bluestar as one the regiments heroic acts.

Leaders of radical Sikh organisations in Punjab say it would be unfair for the President to commemorate the regiment in light of its role in Operation Bluestar given the Sikh sensitivities attached to the issue.

Interestingly, Punjab Chief Minister will not be joining President Patil for the event. The CM office has cited prior engagement as the reason. The Army has formally extended the invitation to the Punajb CM. Punjab BJP leader Tikshan Sud will instead be present.
Denials apart, the CM skipping the president’s event is not been seen as a mere coincident. Political observers view it as a tactical move to avoid controversy ahead of assembly elections early next year.

President of the Dal Khalsa H S Dhami said his organisation strongly objects to the decision of the Centre to award one of the highest Army honours to 6 Lancers. “The move is tantamount to pouring salt on the already simmering wounds of the Sikh people,” he said.

Dhami said the move of the government to award honour to the regiment whose men alleged desecrated the Darbar Sahib clearly shows that the political establishment has refused to learn from its past blunders.
 

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