Amritsar: In a message to mark the 39th anniversary of the Indian Army’s ‘Operation Bluestar’ in Amritsar, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh on Tuesday said scars of the 1984 attack make the Sikhs ‘mazboot’ (strong).
Amid heavy security build up, the anniversary was observed with the gathering of a large number of radicals and sympathisers, who started gathering ahead before dawn in the Golden Temple here.
However, it largely passed off peacefully.
The radicals raised pro-Khalistan and anti-government slogans and were later whisked away by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) Task Force and Punjab Police deployed in plain clothes.
Except for the slogans by the hardliners, there were no signs of trouble at the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion located inside the shrine complex.
SGPC Task Force members and police personnel kept a close watch on the hardliners who tried to hijack the ceremony.
Akal Takht officiating Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh gave a call to all Sikh sects to join hands to work for strengthening the ‘Sikh shakti’, especially in rural areas, indicating the rise of Christianity in villages close to the Pakistan border.
In a message delivered from the Akal Takht podium to commemorate the day, Giani Harpreet Singh said the scars of 1984 attack makes the Sikhs ‘amazboot’ (strong), not ‘majboor’ (helpless).
“Sikhs could never forget the wounds of 1984. Much was being publicised on social media in a defamatory term giving stance of 1984. I want to clarify that it boosts our strength,” he said, while appealing to the Sikh missionaries to shun their differences and come on one platform and preach Sikhism jointly, especially in the remote rural areas where the Sikhs felt dejected.
“We have to take the ‘patits’ (Sikhs with shorn or cut hair) back to the Sikh fold,” the Jathedar was categorically clear in saying.
For this, he hinted to the SGPC for inculcating the values of Sikhism in youngsters so that they stop cutting their hair short.
Operation Bluestar was a military action ordered by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to flush out militants led by Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale holed up in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.
It was carried out between June 1 and 8, 1984, and claimed several lives and left the shrine and complex damaged.
Sikh radical group Dal Khalsa organised a rally in the city to commemorate the day and in support of Khalistan.
Tight security across Punjab has been observed with the radical outfit calling for Amritsar shut down.
Akal Takht had already directed the SGPC to ensure that the sanctity of the Golden Temple is not be disturbed during the Operation Bluestar anniversary.
Paramilitary forces and Punjab Police personnel were keeping a close watch in different parts of Amritsar, especially around the Golden Temple complex. Prayers were held that started on Sunday and concluded on Tuesday at the Akal Takht inside the Golden Temple complex.
To commemorate the day, the holy saroop (scripture) of the Guru Granth Sahib “injured” in the 1984 attack was adorned for the devotees by the SGPC in Gurdwara Shaheed Baba Gurbaksh Singh to pay obeisance.
The SGPC President said the Sikh community can never forget the pain of the June 1984 holocaust.
“This day is very grave and emotional for the Sikh community, and the Sikhs should pay tributes to the martyrs as per its sentiments,a said SGPC chief Harjinder Singh Dhami in a message.