Amritsar bandh without coercion on Bluestar anniversary is positive dimension

Chandigarh, June 6: June 3-6 in 1984 was the darkest period in the history of free India when the army moved in tanks and artillery guns, not against any foreign attack but to confront the ‘very own people’ in an action that was avoidable. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was cautioned against this confrontational approach by her senior most colleague Pranab Mukherjee. The dynamics of Operation Bluestar took her own life. Every attack on this holist of the holy shrine has been avenged in history. This shrine has been destroyed and rebuilt  in no time by the Sikhs.

Amritsar has been observing bandh on June 6 for the last five years without any tension and coercion. It is Dal Khalsa that has been giving this call every year. The activists of this radical organisation started persuading shopkeepers with folded hands. No shopkeeper is forced to down shutters. The response this year was unexpected as even the street vendors were off the roads. This is a very positive development for the social fabric of this communally sensitive state.

It is  a long journey when a section of the Amritsar residents had distributed sweets after the army action while another section had responded similarly when Indira Gandhi was gunned down by her two security guards to avenge this attack.

It is this socio-political dynamics that should be taken forward. Amritsar is not just any other urban settlement but it is Guru Ki Nagari.

The trouble makers too are there and this year again these people tried to create disturbance during the function that is organised every year by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee at Akal Takht.  This operation is commemorated by organising prayer and speeches are avoided. The top Akali leaders normally maintain distance from this function that is otherwise dominated by various shades of radicals.

It is  generally the  people associated with Akali Dal (Mann) who are known to disrupt this function and this year too was no exception although their number was not more than four or five but it was enough for the TV cameras to make news. The function otherwise ended smoothly. Slogan shouting on such occasions is routine.

A section of the audience was provoked when Akal Takht Jathredar Giani Gurbachan Singh started his speech. The discredited Akal Takht chief should have avoided this platform. He had lost his credibility when he exonerated  Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim from blasphemy charges under the diktats of Akali leadership.

The point he made was highly relevant as he demanded that the entire record of Operation Bluestar should be de-classified.

However, it is the issue that should have been oppressed by the Akali Dal leadership as the party is part of the Narendra Modi government.

What to talk of getting these sensitive papers declassified, this leadership has miserably failed to get books and rare  manuscripts  back that were taken away by the army from the Sikh reference library in the Golden Temple complex.

The SGPC at one time had initiated the project to gather the names of those who died during the army action.  It was never taken to the logical conclusion. This would need field work.

This is the basic information for which the SGPC need not depend upon the government.

There is yet another dimension. A sizeable section of the youth participated in the procession taken out yesterday evening in Amritsar  by Dal Khalsa. The number has been increasing over time.

Jagtar Singh


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