Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to acquit the 390 Sikhs soldiers who had deserted the Army in the aftermath of the Operation Blue Star of all charges as a goodwill gesture on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, and treat them as ex-servicemen by restoring all benefits to them.
These soldiers are called dharmi faujis (soldiers who batted for religion) for their act of deserting the army and keeping their religion and faith above everything. Majority of them were employed by the SGPC, predominantly in SGPC task force where they are currently working.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the SAD president said, “309 Sikh soldiers had left their barracks in June, 1984 at various places in the country in a state of shock after the attack on Sri Darbar Sahib and Sri Akal Takth Sahib by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.”
“The action, during the course of which tanks and artillery were used, was perceived as an attack on their souls by the Sikh community worldwide. The soldiers were later court-martialled for this act,” he said. Stating that “the crime committed by the ruling Congress government was even graver and unpardonable”, the SAD president urged the Prime Minister to “treat all the 309 court-martialled soldiers as ex-servicemen and restore all benefits due to them.”
SAD president also said in the letter that “the Congress party was also responsible for unleashing a barbaric pogrom against the Sikh minority community on this day in 1984 by massacring more than 10,000 Sikhs in broad daylight in Delhi and other parts of the country”. He said “the guilty were still at large and the victim families were still waiting for justice”. He said “the Sikhs would never forgive the Congress for these crimes which were aimed at crushing the very essence of the Sikh community”.