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1984 riots memorial sparks row: NDMC says illegal,DSGMC defiant

The Shiromani Akali Dal-controlled Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee has been served notice by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) over its move to build a memorial to the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Amritsar |
June 8, 2013 1:29:26 am

The Shiromani Akali Dal-controlled Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee has been served notice by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) over its move to build a memorial to the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. But the DSGMC said it would go ahead with the foundation-stone ceremony for the memorial at Gurdwara Rakabganj on June 12.

The show-cause notice,pasted at the proposed memorial site on Friday,was dated June 6,the day Newsline reported that top leaders of the BJP and SAD (Badal),including Rajnath Singh,Sushma Swaraj,Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal,have been invited to the ceremony.

The SAD (Badal),which unseated the Congress-backed Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) in elections to the DSGMC in January this year,had promised construction of the memorial. The proposal gathered steam after Sikhs protested the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 riots case and Jagdish Tytler moved the High Court against a trial court order for reopening investigations against him in another riots case.

The NDMC stepped in after the DSGMC announced a date for laying the foundation stone of the ‘November 84 Sikh Qatleaam Yaadgaar’. The NDMC has asked the DSGMC “why order for stoppage of an unauthorised construction… be not made”.

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The notice underlined that non-compliance of “order of stoppage of unauthorised construction or work is punishable with simple imprisonment up to six months and fine which may extend to Rs 5,000 or both”.

But DSGMC general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa said they would go ahead with the June 12 ceremony for the memorial. He said a structure for the foundation stone was erected at the site three days ago.

“We plan to demolish a 20,000 sq ft structure to make way for the memorial… We were going to adhere to height restrictions. The memorial will be nearly 22 feet high. And we would have begun construction only after getting the required approvals. Issuing a show-cause notice merely over a 2×4 ft foundation stone structure is nothing but a policy of confrontation of the Delhi government. We do not want confrontation,but we will go ahead with the foundation stone ceremony on June 12,” Sirsa said.

SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar slammed the move to serve a show-cause notice. “First they commit atrocities and when we try to raise our voice against it,they do not let us,” he said.

The SAD targeted the Congress-led Delhi government over the notice. SAD secretary and spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said: “With this thoughtless decision of not allowing the memorial to be built,the Congress has once again rubbed salt on the wounds of the Sikhs who have been struggling day and night for justice for 29 years.”

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