Tribune News Service
Amritsar, June 6
Amid tight security and pandemic fears, the anniversary of Operation Bluestar was observed at the Golden Temple peacefully on Saturday.
Barring minor skirmishes between activists of certain Sikh organisations with the police to gain entry into the complex, the event was largely peaceful.
The ‘parkash purb’ of sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, was also observed.
The recitation of kirtan and bhog of akhand path, dedicated to the occasion, was also performed. Due to pandemic fear, there was scant presence of devotees. Later, Akal Takht officiating Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh addressed the audience from the podium of the Akal Takht.
Considering the social distancing norms, the Akal Takht, SGPC and Damdami Taksal had decided to commemorate the anniversary with ‘maryada’ and in a low-key manner. Devotees were appealed to recite Gurbani and perform ardas at homes only.
Later, reacting to the pro-Khalistan slogans raised by some Sikh youths, Giani Harpreet Singh said if these were raised to disrupt the programme then it was not right.
“But, if Sikh youths raised the slogans after the event, I don’t disapprove of it, as it was a natural outcome of their religious sentiments as they remembered the martyrs who laid down their lives for the Panth. The attack on the Golden Temple can never be forgotten by the Sikhs and will always be commemorated,” he said.
He said the Operation Bluestar ought to be scripted and compiled in a full-fledged documentation having eyewitness accounts of the Army attack. He asked SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal, who was also present, to constitute a panel of intellectuals and put on record the statements and interviews of those who bore the brunt of the attack. “This document should be published in multiple languages and widely distributed,” he said.
Amritsar was virtually turned into a fortress for the event. Even the media were not allowed inside the complex.
Taking into account the history of the anniversary, Punjab Police, paramilitary forces and intelligence personnel were positioned at 65 sensitive places across the city, particularly in the congested walled city area leading to the shrine. The police had invoked Section 144 around the shrine and carrying of weapons was prohibited.
For the first time, metal detectors were placed at the entrances to the shrine. Health teams were deployed to screen the devotees. Around 5,000 police personnel from the neighbouring districts were also deployed.
Earlier, Emaan Singh Mann, member of SAD was seen arguing with the police saying they were being denied the right to pay obeisance at the shrine.
He claimed that the police had already detained their members from Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Jalandhar, Gurdaspur and Kapurthala to discourage them from coming to the shrine.
The ‘parallel’ officiating Jathedar of Akal Takht Dhyan Singh Mand with his supporters also reached the complex. They also gained entry after heated exchanges with the police. Mand also addressed the audience from the verandah of the Akal Takht secretariat.
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