Vandalised in Jan 2020, statues of folk dancers find a new home

Vandalised in Jan 2020, statues of folk dancers find a new home

Photo: Vishal Kumar

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 13

Over one-and-a-half years on, the statues of folk dancers that were dismantled from the multi-crore Heritage Street leading to the Golden Temple, have finally found a new home.

Now, the bhangra and giddha dioramas have been re-installed in the newly built District Administrative Complex (DAC), also known as the mini-secretariat. These statues, made up of costly black metal depicting Punjabi folklore and fitted on specially erected pedestals, match with the heritage contours of the new complex.

These statues were installed with much fanfare during the inauguration of the Heritage Street, a Rs160 crore project, in October 2016, by the SAD-BJP government. This was also known as ‘Selfie Spot’ and was very popular among visitors on their way to the Golden Temple.

On January 15, 2020, these statues were vandalised by the activists of some Sikh organisations during the wee hours in a fit of emotional outburst. They justified their action by claiming that these statues never correspond to the Sikh Rehat Maryada (Sikh tenets) and hence should never be on the path leading to the Golden Temple.

As the video went viral, the police swung into action. Under the stringent sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the police had slapped cases against seven Sikh youth for the alleged vandalism.

Following the incident, the Akal Takht, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Shiromani Ragi Sabha (including kirtanis of Golden Temple), Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Shiromani Dhadi Sabha and Sri Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committees, had come out in support of the accused arrested by police.


The case

  • On Jan 15, 2020, these statues were vandalised by the activists of some Sikh organisations in a fit of emotional outburst. They justified their action by claiming that these statues never correspond to the Sikh Rehat Maryada (Sikh tenets) and hence should never be on the path leading to the Golden Temple
  • As the video went viral, the police swung into action. They slapped cases against seven Sikh youth for the alleged vandalism
  • Following the incident, the Akal Takht, SGPC, Shiromani Ragi Sabha (including kirtanis of Golden Temple), Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Shiromani Dhadi Sabha and Sri Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committees, had come out in support of the accused.

When the CM had to intervene

Taking into account the sentiments of the Sikh community, which had taken exception to the statues of folk dancers at the Heritage Street in the vicinity of the Golden Temple, the CM had to intervene. He ordered the Cultural Affairs Department to shift and relocate the same to some other appropriate place in Amritsar. The cases against the youth, too, were reviewed and later withdrawn. Following this, the statues were sent to the historic Gobindgarh Fort and stored in the custody of the Punjab Tourism Department.

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