In a first, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has decided to facilitate the participation of Sarbat Khalsa-appointed Jathedars and other radical Sikh outfits at an Akal Takht event in order to observe Operation Blue Star ceremony “peacefully” on June 6. For last three years, tension had prevailed on the occasion of Blue Star anniversary that is observed at the Akal Takht. Even clashes were witnessed between Sikh outfits and SGPC task force in 2014.
The presence of Sarbat Khalsa Jathedars at the Akal Takht at the event is significant as the three Jathedars — Dhian Singh Mand, Baljit Singh Daduwal and Amrik Singh Ajnala — appointed during Sarbat Khalsa 2015 are challenge to SGPC-appointed official Jathedars of three takhts in Punjab. This year, SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar has been approaching all the prominent Sikh bodies and groups to maintain peace.
Talking to The Indian Express, Badungar said, “I have met Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann, one of the main leader of Sarbat Khalsa group Gurdeep Singh Bathinda and Dal Khalsa spokesman Kanwar Pal Singh. All have assured me that they will cooperate with SGPC to observe the ceremony with peace.” He added, “I have no problem if Dhian Singh Mand, appointed Akal Takht Jathedar by Sarbat Khalsa, sits beside me at Akal Takht on the day of the Blue Star ceremony. SGPC will make arrangements so that all the prominent leaders can participate in the anniversary function with respect.”
Justifying the decision, he said: “Families of the martyrs, who gave their lives in Operation Blue Star, come to Akal Takht to observe the ceremony. They feel hurt due to tension we often witness on this occasion. So, I have requested all Sikh bodies to maintain the peace.” SGPC President was also open towards a demand by Dal Khalsa and Damdami Taksal to install portraits of “martyrs of June 1984” at the lower ground floor of the gurdwara built in memory of the martyrs within Darbar Sahib complex.
“There has been a request to establish such gallery for the common public. It is not a demand that cannot be met. I will keep this agenda in the next SGPC executive meeting and I am hopeful that it will be passed. There is already memorial constructed in the memory of Operation Blue Star martyrs. Pictures of martyrs are already in public domain. So there is no issue to install these pictures in a gallery and open it for the public,” said Badungar
After a meeting with Badungar on Tuesday, Dal Khalsa spokesman Kanwar Pal Dal Singh Khalsa said, “Our group was always of the view that internecine feud and clashes within the community at sacred places, especially Darbar Sahib, are detrimental to the maryada and Panthic interests. We have sought help from the SGPC in spreading the word to all local gurdwara committees in Punjab to hold prayer meets on June 6 and pass a resolution against Army assault on Darbar Sahib and 37 other gurdwaras, code named ‘Operation Blue Star’.”