June 5, 2021 9:38:02 am
The talks for an out-of-court settlement to a 35-year-old case in which Rs 1,000 crore damages have been sought from the central government for carrying out Operation Blue Star have made little headway in the last two years.
In an executive committee meeting held on June 2, the SGPC has now decided to approach the Prime Minister to attempt a settlement to the case.
The case that began in an Amritsar civil court 35 years ago is now being heard by the Delhi High Court. In 2013, the SGPC had deposited Rs 10 crore as court fee, required in compensation claims as court duty, to pursue the case. Later in 2019, correspondence between the two sides was initiated as per orders of the Delhi High Court after a hearing.
In an order passed on December 4, 2019, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw had said, “The learned Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain states that considerable progress has been made in the settlement talks, since after 30th August 2019. The senior counsel for the plaintiff, though on enquiry, states that no settlement talks have taken place… The senior counsel for the plaintiff suggested that if Home Minister meets representatives of plaintiff, the issue will be resolved immediately. The learned Additional Solicitor General states that he will convey the same to Home Minister….The Home minister is requested to meet the representatives of the plaintiff at earliest so that matter is settled, if can be settled.”
SGPC chief secretary Harjinder Singh Dhami said: “We had discussed this matter in executive meeting on June 2. Due to some reasons, we couldn’t arrange meeting with (Home Minister) Amit Shah. But now, SGPC has decided to make a quick move for settlement talks. We will soon approach Prime Minister for a meeting in this matter. I will look into the file after June 6 and will decide next move.”
Despite the correspondence between two sides, not a single meeting was held between Centre and SGPC in last two years.
Operation Blue Star was ordered by then Congress government headed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to flush out militants holed up inside the Golden Temple. The operation had caused huge damage to the buildings of the Akal Takht, the Golden Temple, the SGPC headquarters.
After the operation that left huge psychological scars on the community, the SGPC didn’t repair its headquarters for 32 years only to save the evidence of damage caused by Operation Blue Star for the compensation case pending in court.
It was in 2017 that SGPC headquarters were repaired that too after video recording of the bullet marks and other damage caused by Army action.
The Akal Takht building was reconstructed by community. The SGPC still blames Union government for not returning all the books and records of Sikh References Library after Operation Blue Star. It claims that gold and precious articles stored in the main entrance to Golden Temple were destroyed after a blast ripped the first floor of entrance gate to Golden Temple.
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