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SOURCE: Tribune News Service

Akal Takht officiating Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh emphasised on maintaining unity among the Sikh community and tagged the event as “Chaurasi (84) Da Ghallughara” (holocaust) , during the 37th Operation Bluestar anniversary observed in the Golden Temple complex on Sunday.

Delivering his customary ‘sandesh’ (message) from the podium of Akal Takht, he said that words like ‘Operation Bluestar’ or ‘Saka Neelataara’ must be avoided to refer to the event as it hurt the sentiments. Amid chanting of mild pro-Khalistan slogans and placards of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the event went peacefully.  The parallel Jathedar of Akal Takht Dhyan Singh Mand, along with 2015 Sarbat Khalsa main organiser Jarnail Singh Sakhira also read out ‘sandesh’.

SAD (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann, and the prime accused of the Red Fort violence out on bail Deep Sidhu with their supporters were present on the occasion.  

Referring to blood-stained pages of Sikh history, Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh said that like the earlier massacres of Sikhs in 1746 and 1762 by the Mughal empire were termed as ‘chhota ghallughara’ and ‘vadda ghallughara’ in which 7,000 and 35,000 Sikhs were killed, respectively, the 1984 Army attack was nothing short of it.

Comparing the Indian Army’s attack on Golden Temple and Akal Takht with the war between the two nations, he said, “Like, the earlier two ‘ghallugharas’, the third one occurred in 1984 when the Indian Army attacked the Golden Temple, the way China and Pakistan attacked India in 1962 and 1965. Upon attack, the Indian authorities did worse than what the winning forces did with the defeated nation’s citizens,” he said.

He said that many emails were received demanding to term the event as “Amritsar Sikh genocide”, but the attack was not executed only on the Golden Temple complex but on 37 other Sikh shrines across the country.

“It was not constrained to Amritsar only. In 1984, the genocide had started on the streets of Delhi, Kanpur, Tata Nagar and other areas between November 1-4. Hence, it should be termed as ’84 da ghallughara,” he said.

Justifying the “Khalistan” slogans, he said that the event could never be forgotten and remained like an irretrievable wound and its pain is relieved with such slogans.

He said that the Sikh organisations, be it SGPC, DSGMC, CKD, Takht Hazur Sahib board, Patna Sahib board and other Sikh organisations, should all unite keeping aside their differences of opinion.

“It was fortunate that the Sikh community reacted promptly if any wrong was done to its significance. No voice was raised when masjid was demolished to pave way for raising mandir or Article 370 was abolished, yet when recently a Sikh was thrashed in UP, the Sikhs not only from India but from UK, US and Canada raised voice against it. This was an example of our live soul and our strength which has to be maintained,” he said.

Later on, in the presence of Takht Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh, and head priest of Akal Takht Giani Gurmukh Singh and SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur, the Jathedar honoured Ishar Singh, son of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale along with Bhai Manjit Singh and Satwant Kaur, the brother and daughter of Shaheed Bhai Amrik Singh, former federation head, with ‘siropa’ at the Akal Takht.