DW BUREAU / AMRITSAR
To mark the 35th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, markets around the Golden Temple remained closed for several hours and pro-Khalistan slogans were raised by Sikh hardliners in the complex here on Thursday.
Later in the afternoon, the shops around the temple and in the main markets started reopening.
The partial bandh was observed in the city on a call given by radical Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa on the anniversary of the military operation carried out in 1984 to flush out heavily-armed terrorists holed up in the temple complex.
The Akal Takht also organised prayers in memory of those killed in the military operation and some people raised slogans at the end. Some people in the gathering were also seen brandishing swords and wearing t-shirts and carrying banners with pictures of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, head of Sikh religious sect Damdami Taksal who was killed in the military operation.
Former MP and president of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Simranjit Singh Mann along with a “parallel Jathedar” of the Akal Takht Dhian Singh Mand was also present at the Akal Takht.
Mann and some youths in the gathering also raised “pro-Khalistan” slogans when Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh stood up to address the Sikh community from the platform of the Akal Takht.
Radical outfit Damdami Taksal’s chief Harnam Singh Dhuma along with Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh and SGPC top officials honoured the families who lost their kin during the operation.
Speaking at the gathering, Giani Harpreet Singh said, “The Sikh community across the world will remember the unhealed wounds of Operation Bluestar…” The Jathedar asked the central government to “return the historic and ancient books which were taken away from the Sikh Reference Library” of the Golden Temple during Operation Bluestar. “The Government of India must also make public all documents related to Operation Bluestar,” he said. Some hardliners tried to force their way to the Akal Takht Jathedar when he was speaking, but they were stopped by SGPC’s task force. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee’s (SGPC) is the apex body that manages Sikh shrines in India. Policemen in civil clothes were deployed along with the SGPC task force to thwart any attempt to disturb law and order.
There was heavy barricading around the Akal Takht in the premises of the Golden Temple to prevent any untoward incident. More than 3,000 security were deployed to maintain law and order.