Bluestar anniversary

Will accept Khalistan if govt offers: Takht

SGPC chief in tune with Jathedar | Minor scuffle during event

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 6

Akal Takht officiating Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh today raked up the issue of a separate Sikh state and justified pro-Khalistan slogans raised after the culmination of the Operation Bluestar anniversary event at the Golden Temple complex today.

Amid tight security, the occasion was observed in a peaceful manner barring mild skirmishes between separatist Sikh groups and police personnel. After the programme, pro-Khalistan slogans were raised and saffron colour Khalistani flags waved outside the shrine.

As per the precedence, Giani Harpreet Singh read out his customary public address from the podium of Akal Takht. In his speech, he emphasised that the Sikh community should unite by the stand taken by those who laid down their lives for the sake of Takht’s sanctity.

After the programme, Giani Harpreet Singh reacted liberally when asked about the pro-Khalistan sloganeering. “There was no disruption during the programme. But after the event was over, if Sikh youths expressed their religious sentiments and raised such slogans, there was nothing wrong in that,” he said.

When asked about his views on the demand for Khalistan, he said, “If the government offers us Khalistan, what else do we need? We will accept it.”

SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal, who was present on the occasion, found himself in an embarrassing situation when asked if the SGPC would put up the demand before the Union government. “If offered (Khalistan), we will accept it. Not a single Sikh could refuse this offer,” he said.

Police personnel try to stop members of the SAD (Amritsar) from entering the Golden Temple. Tribune photos: Vishal kumar

Giani Harpreet Singh alleged that even after 36 years of Operation Bluestar, the Indian government had an “anti-Sikh approach”. He recommended that the Army action be scripted and compiled. He asked Longowal to constitute a panel of intellectuals and put on record the statements and interviews of those who bore the brunt of this attack. “This document should be published in many languages and widely distributed,” he said.

Earlier, Akal Takht, the SGPC and the Damdami Taksal honoured the kin of those who were killed during the Army operation.

Meanwhile, tight security arrangements were in place in the city in view of the Operation Bluestar anniversary. Even the media was not allowed entry inside the Golden Temple complex. For the first time, metal detectors were placed at the entrance to the shrine.

Social distancing norm was, however, violated during the occasion. SAD (A) activists and the controversial 2015 Sarbat Khalsa-appointed “parallel” Jathedar Dhian Singh Mand and his supporters entered the complex after a minor scuffle and heated arguments. Mand read out his “public address” in the varandah of the Akal Takht secretariat.

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