Operation Blue Star anniversary observed

Operation Blue Star anniversary observed

The anniversary is observed every year as “genocide day” by Sikh religious, social and radical political outfits as a mark of protest against the army operation inside the Golden Temple complex in June 1984 undertaken to flush out militants. The Operation had lasted for four days from June 3 to 6, 1984, which left 492 civilians, including militants and pilgrims, dead. As many as 83 soldiers also lost their lives.

The Operation was ordered by the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, for flushing out militants led by separatist ideologue Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who were holed up inside the shrine with stockpiles of arms and ammunition.

A function organised by the premier Sikh shrines management body, the SGPC, was held at Akal Takht in which various  Sikh organisations participated. A prayer was held to pay homage to those who were killed in the Operation. Family members of slain militant leaders like Bhindranwale and Gen Subeg Singh were honoured on the occasion.

Last week, the SGPC president had demanded that Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul  should tender an apology to the Sikhs for the Operation Blue Star.

As the Takht head concluded his religious speech, former MP and head of Akali Dal (Amritsar) Simranjit Singh Mann raised pro-Khalistan slogans. A few among the audience also followed him in raising the demand for a separate Sikh homeland. Mann said wounds inflicted on the Sikh psyche by the Operation could never be healed. The idea of Khalistan sought to be raised by radical organisations from time to time has found little support among  the mainstream Sikhs in Punjab. There were no representatives of mainstream Akali Dal headed by Chief Minister P S Badal among the congregation.

Damdami Taksal, a Sikh seminary which was once headed by Bhindranwale, observed the anniversary at its headquarters near Batala town.

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