Swords brandished, pro-Khalistan slogans were raised at Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar on the 38th anniversary of Operation Blue Star on Monday.
Notably, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had a closed-door meeting with Gyani Harpreet Singh, Jathedar, and Akal Takht. It is unclear what CM Mann and Singh talked about.
During morning ardas (prayers), Alak Takht Jathedar paid homage to those who had lost lives during the military operation. He also condemned the then-Congress government for allowing the Indian Army to enter the Golden Temple. After ardas, several Sikh men gathered outside the Golden Temple with posters of Bhindranwale and brandished swords. They raised pro-Khalistan slogans and hailed Bhindranwale in the presence of Punjab Police, intelligence personnel, and paramilitary forces.
In the light of Operation Blue Star’s anniversary, the Amritsar administration had imposed Section 133 around the Golden Temple. Carrying any weapon was prohibited as per the orders. However, there was no on-ground effect of the order and over a hundred men had gathered with swords and posters after the morning ardas.
Reports suggest Takht Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh drew parallels between the then-Congress government and the Mughals after the ardas. Moments later pro-Khalistan and pro-Bhindranwale slogans were raised. Singh accused first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru of drafting an anti-Sikh policy that was later implemented in June 84.
A pro-Khalistan rally was held on Amristar on Sunday. Members of several radical Sikh organizations including Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and Dal Khalsa held a so-called ‘freedom march’ in the city. Sikhs of all ages participated in the rally carrying Khalistan flags and placards. They raised slogans in support of ‘independence’ and demanded a separate state for Sikhs ‘Khalistan’.
Photographs of damaged Akal Takht and those who were killed in the operation were displayed in the march. Heavy police presence was seen across the city. Dal Khalsa president Harpal Singh Cheema said, “We want to tell the Government of India that we have neither forgotten nor forgiven the perpetrators of the attack. The mission of the martyrs was to liberate Punjab from Indian domination. We are determined to pursue the mission to its logical conclusion using the right to self-determination.”
Operation Blue Star
Between the 1st and 10th of June 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi launched an operation to flush out terrorists from the Golden Temple. Operation Blue Star was the code name for the Indian military action carried out to remove Khalistan terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his armed followers from the Harminder Sahib complex in Amritsar. On June 6, the Indian Army stormed the Golden Temple. The next day, Army announced the completion of the operation but it took another three days to clear the Gurudwara premises.