Operation Blue Star anniversary observed on Tuesday at Akal Takht Sahib at the Golden Temple in Amritsar was by and large peaceful, save some disturbances from radical Sikh outfits whose members were also allowed to attend the event for the first time in many years. In a departure from the recent past, SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar had reached out to all Sikh bodies this year in a bid for unity in the community.
However, the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex religious body of Sikhs, failed in getting enough support for uninterrupted ceremonial message read out by Akal Takht Jathedar Gaini Gurbachan Singh at the conclusion of the event.
Unlike the previous few years, the SGPC’s task force remained passive and didn’t indulge in any trouble with activists from radical Sikh bodies who attended the event. This was the first time since their appointment in 2015 that Sarbat Khalsa Jathedars Dhian Singh Mand, Baljit Singh Daduwal and Amrik Singh Ajnala were present on the occasion. Mand also delivered a message for the community, parallel to the official message delivered by Giani Gurbachan Singh.
There was heavy security in the city ahead of the anniversary event. The shutdown call given by radical Sikh body Dal Khalsa remained peaceful and successful despite the appeal made by Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) to keep the shops open.
Representatives from almost all the radical Sikh organisations were present at the event this year. As soon as Gaini Gurbachan Singh started reading out the message for community, the crowd stood up and started raising slogans against him.
Interestingly, Damdami Taksal head Harnam Singh Dhumma, who enjoys good relations with SAD (Badal), silently left the venue as soon as Gurbachan Singh started delivering speech. Dal Khalsa leaders and activists also walked away.
Activists of SAD (Amritsar) and supporters of Sarbat Khalsa jathedar started raising slogans against Gurbachan Singh. Some of them also raised pro-Khalistan slogans. Gaini Gurbachan Singh the asked community to end the differences. Sarbat Khalsa Jathedars also gave call for unity of community. They, however, told the community to free SGPC and other Sikh institutions from “possession” of anti-community people. The leadership of SAD, which had registered a strong presence at the event last year, remained absent from the event this year.