Rajinder S. Taggar

The events that took place in the sacred Golden Temple complex on June 6th, the 38 anniversary of Operation Bluestar raise many uneasy questions for the peace-loving Sikh majority and the state government to ponder.

A few hundred Khalistanis raising separatist slogans holding placards with the photographs of controversial militant leader late Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale coupled with a provocative speech delivered by the acting Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Harpreet Singh can not be ignored. Adding fuel to the fire on the occasion was the maverick Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann about whom we will talk briefly a little later in this article.


The separatist mob raised 'Khalistan Zindabad' slogans with placards announcing 'Punjab banega Khalistan' and there was nobody to confront them neither from the SGPC Task Force nor from the Punjab police. This could safely imply that the Task Force and the police were either too weak to control the Khalistanis or they were providing tacit support to the separatists. If writing pro-Khalistan graffiti on the walls of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly recently could lead to the arrest of two people then how no action was warranted against Khalistanis today?

Coming to no holds barred provocative speech of Giani Harpreet Singh, one could feel that the Jathedar was in cahoots with the Khalistanis. He said, "Jo Mann sahib khul ke keh dinde ne, asi dabbi awaz ch Kehinde han" (What Mr. Mann says openly, we say in a subdued voice.) And all know what Mann demands openly is Khalistan.

The Jathedar dwelled at length on how from the days of Nehru, the Sikhs were being subjugated to humiliation and economic depravity. According to him, attempts have been made to weaken the fabric of the Sikh religion. "During Operation Bluestar Akal Takht was destroyed by the Indian army besides attack on 37 other important Gurdawars," he recalled and added that hundreds of Sikhs - young, old, children, and women- were killed in the Golden Temple Complex. 

Ironically, the Jathedar forgot to mention the army-type fortification of the Golden Temple Complex by terrorists who would kill people anywhere in the name of Khalistan and take refuge in the holiest of Sikh shrines. Who allowed Bhindranwale to make Akal Takht his abode and the Golden Temple complex a den of terrorists? These are difficult questions for the Jathedar to answer but he can not be allowed to highlight half of the truth misleading the community. 

 And, he can not simply wash his hands by saying that a true Sikh never kills an innocent. If some people in the garb of Sikhs committed crimes, they must have been planted by the state's agencies to defame the community.

It was hilarious to listen to the Jathedar when he called upon Russia to come bowing its head down to seek forgiveness from the Akal Takht for the sin of helping Indira Gandhi, the then PM, in organising Operation Bluestar else it will be decimated. 

Akal Takht Jathedar in his wisdom once again called upon the Sikhs to learn the use of modern weapons. "Other communities are giving the training to their people clandestinely to use weapons, but we will train our community openly," he said from the podium of the Akal Takht. He did not name which community he was referring to. It could be anybody's guess if he was talking about the Hindus or the Muslims? He did not mince words while favouring the opening of shooting ranges where Sikhs could learn to use modern weapons.

Talking to newsmen Simranjit Singh Mann struck the nadir. He called upon Sikhs to hoist dreaded terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara who planned and killed former Chief Minister Beant Singh with the help of a human bomb as the Jathedar of Akal Takht. For him, Davinder Singh Bhullar convicted of a bomb blast in Delhi is the right man for heading the SGPC, which controls Gurdawars and undertakes the spread of Sikhism.


The Sikh community as a whole will need to give serious thought to the kind of advisories being issued by its clergy and unwise statements being made by politicians like Mann who have actually been reduced to the fringe. This kind of narrative as witnessed today will have to be met by the community politically and socially. The new Punjab government also needs to devise some methodology to curb activities that have the potential to disturb the hard-earned peace in the state lest we lapse into the
dark days of the 1980s.

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