Amritsar, June 6
Akal Takht officiating Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh on Tuesday gave a call to all Sikh outfits to join hands to work towards strengthening the religion, especially in rural belts, while “expecting the least from the government”.
The Jathedar said this from the Akal Takht podium on the occasion of the 39th anniversary of Operation Bluestar that was commemorated in the Golden Temple complex.
Contrary to expectations, barring mild pro-Khalistan sloganeering by radical Sikh organisations, the event went on peacefully. Heavy police force in ‘mufti’ and the SGPC task force was deployed inside the shrine complex to deal with any untoward activity.
The Jathedar said that the scars of the 1984 attack made the Sikhs ‘mazboot’ (strong), not ‘majboor’ (helpless), as was being narrated in a derogatory manner on the social media. “Sikhs can never forget the wounds of 1984. Much is being publicised on social media in defamatory terms. I want to clarify that it boosts our strength,” he said.
Hinting indirectly towards the trend of conversion to Christianity, especially in rural belts, the Jathedar said that the need of the hour was to maintain unity among the Sikh community. “I appeal to all Sikh missionaries, Sant Samaj, Damdami Taksal and other organisations to shun their differences, come on one platform and preach Sikhism jointly, especially in remote rural areas where the Sikhs felt dejected. We have to take the ‘patits’ back to the Sikh fold,” he said.
Substantial number of devotees early in the morning thronged the Akal Takht—the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion—to attend the 'bhog' ceremony of religious prayers that began on June 4. The prayers were to mark the anniversary of Operation Bluestar that was carried out in June 1984 by the Army to flush out heavily armed terrorists from inside the Golden Temple complex.
The Akal Takht Jathedar and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) officials honoured the families of those who were killed during the operation. Several people also wore T-shirts with slogans of ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ printed on them. The group included activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) led by MP Simranjit Singh Mann, Dal Khalsa and the Sikh Youth Federation.
During the event, the activists of Sikh Youth Federation (Bhindranwale) carried banners and placards of pro-Khalistan and opposed the NSA and UAPA while also asking the government to resolve the issues.
On the other hand, emotions among the devotees visibly ran high to have 'darshan' (glimpse) of the particular bullet-riddled Sri Guru Granth Sahib 'saroop' that was damaged during the Army attack at the Golden Temple. The saroop was specially enshrined for today at Shaheed Baba Gurbax Singh Gurdwara, located at the rear of Akal Takht, to mark the occasion. Along with it, the shell of the bullet that was believed to have hit the 'saroop' adorned in the sanctum sanctorum then was also put on display.
The bullet had damaged its cover and 90 ‘angs’ (pages) before getting lodged in the ‘saroop’. The conservation of the handwritten ‘saroop’ was undertaken by experts, who retained some damage marks on it. A specially designed paper was arranged from overseas, to be pasted on the damaged portion of the ‘angs’. This paper blended with the original page in such a manner that it will be hard to locate the impairment. The damaged portion of ‘angs’ were kept in a small see-through glass box that was also being displayed. The original bullet mark on the cover of the holy script has been kept as it is. The holy relic was part of evidence of the Operation Bluestar damage claims.
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