Sant Bhindranwale memorial symbolises Sikh militancy that Badals say was Congress design!

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, September 10: When Akali Dal patron and five time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal repeatedly hammered yesterday at Abohar rally that militancy was the Congress design, they conveniently overlooked Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale martyrs memorial in the Golden Temple complex that epitomizes Sikh struggle rooted in 1978 religio-political dynamics.

This is the third memorial in the complex after that of Baba Deep Singh and Baba Gurbax Singh that was raised in 2013.

Sant Bhindranwale is the icon of that struggle.

The Golden Temple complex is controlled by the Badal family through Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Going by what party leader and MP from Anandpur Sahib Prem Singh Chandumajra said in the recent core committee meeting, even a clerk can’t be transferred in the SGPC without Sukhbir’s nod.

The next logical question, therefore, that the Badals should answer is their stand on this memorial in the context of the militant struggle being the Congress design.

Not that there is anything new in this discourse of the Congress abetting Sikh militancy as it started with journalists like Kuldip Nayyar and Khushwant Singh. The creation of militant organisation Dal Khalsa in 1978 used to be credited to Giani Zail Singh and that was the beginning of that discourse. Sant Bhindranwale himself came under attack at one stage from then Akali leaders like Sucha Singh Chhotepur and Talib Singh Sandhu on this issue. Chhotepur was SGPC member at that time.

Badal himself had attended the ceremony and honoured him with a siropa in his capacity as the chief minister when Sant Bhindranwale took over as chief of Damdami Taksal on August 25, 1977.

The resolution to raise this memorial was adopted by the Akali Dal ad hoc committee way back on October 7, 1984.

The army had been ordered to attack the Golden Temple in June 1984 to crush this very struggle.

It is pertinent to recall a statement issued by Badal and Surjit Singh Barnala on June 11, 1984 in Chandigarh before they were taken into custody:

“It is the voice of the anguish of the Sikh people who today stand mortally wounded, for the repository of their faith to uphold the principles of justice, equality and dignity of man and love of God stands destroyed by the might of the Indian Army. After nearly two centuries of Abdali’s invasion, Sri Akal Takht stands blasted. The Golden Temple complex is drenched with the blood of Sikh martyrs. Delhi once again has embarked upon a pogrom of systematic and well-planned genocide of the Sikh people. The whole of Punjab is under the jackboots of the Indian Army and no one can get on the roads or even drive a bicycle in the whole state. Punjab is a prison house. Sikh nation is in chains”.

Were those martyrs created by the Congress? The term ‘martyr’ was used for them by Badal himself at that time.

Both the articulations separated by 34 years can’t be right.

It is for Badal to say whether he was right- that of 1984 or the Abohar rally one.

The genesis of militancy is rooted in the massacre of 13 Sikhs in the Sikh-Nirankari clash on the Baisakhi of April 13, 1978 at Amritsar when chief minister was Badal.

Congress had just gone out of power and both Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi were fighting for their very survival at every level when Sant Bhindranwale took over as the Taksal chief.

Was confronting the Akalis by designing Sikh militancy the first priority of the Congress after going out of power?

These are some of the basic issues that need to be answered in the context of political line taken up by Badal at Abohar rally.

The martyrs memorial was raised by the SGPC only after getting green signal from Badal.

Now the Damdami Taksal too must explain its stand on this articulation by Badals as this institution was known to be nursery of militancy. The SGPC had entrusted Taksal with the construction of this memorial.

The Taksal now supports Badals.

Jagtar Singh


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