Amritsar, June 5
A day ahead of the anniversary of Operation Bluestar, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann visited the Golden Temple and held a closed-door meeting with Akal Takht officiating Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh.
This meeting holds significance amidst the state government’s flip-flop on the Jathedar’s partial security withdrawal and the Centre’s offer of providing Z-security cover, which he has declined.
6K cops deployed
- Security has been tightened up in the holy city of Amritsar with around 6,000 police personnel pressed into service, especially on the roads leading to the Golden Temple
- Sikh activists conducted an ‘azadi march’ on Sunday from Lawrence Road to the Akal Takht amid heavy security. Dal Khalsa has given the call for a daylong 'shutdown' on Monday
The SGPC’s task force has been guarding the Jathedar. However, in the wake of commemoration of ‘Ghallughara’ scheduled at the Golden Temple complex tomorrow, a six-member security personnel of CRPF, besides the Punjab Police’s five cops, have been deputed temporarily with the Jathedar. Sources said these cops might return after June 6, yet the Z-category security, consisting of around 22 jawans, could be attached with the Jathedar later.
Nonetheless, CM today paid obeisance at the Golden Temple and listened to the ‘vaars’ being performed by ‘Dhadi’ jathas, sitting below the Akal Takht. He held a meeting with the Jathedar that lasted for over an hour. Cabinet Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, SGPC secretary Partap Singh and Information Officer Jaswinder Singh Jassi were also present over there. The Jathedar also acknowledged the CM’s visit and presented him with a small replica of the Golden Temple. The CM refrained from speaking to the media and was escorted straightaway to his vehicle that was parked just outside the Jathedar’s residence near the Akal Takht Secretariat.
Later, in a press release, he said he had a detailed discussion with the Jathedar over the social and religious issues being confronted by the state and pertaining to more involvement of youth for putting the state on a high-growth trajectory.
He said his visit has filled him with new vigour and enthusiasm to serve the people of state with missionary zeal. “I prayed that the ethos of communal harmony, peace and brotherhood are strengthened in the state with and Punjab leads the country in every sphere,” he said in a message. The Jathedar will deliver customary public address from the Akal Takht’s podium. ‘Parallel’ Jathedar Dhyan Singh Mand appointed during 2015 controversial Sarbat Khalsa congregation, too has been scheduled to deliver a public address.
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