Amritsar: Prayers were offered at the Golden Temple complex on Monday morning as the 32nd anniversary of Indian Army’s ‘Operation Bluestar’ passed off peacefully. Except for a few pro-Khalistan and anti-government slogans by a small group of Sikh hardliners, the event passed off peacefully in front of the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion located inside the temple complex. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) task force members and police personnel in plainclothes kept a close watch on the hardliners trying to hijack the ceremony.
The task force members did not allow the hardliners to take control of the function. Akal Takht Jathedar (chief) Gurbachan Singh read out his address to the Sikh community. SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said scores of people attended the ceremony. Security agencies were on alert in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, ahead of the Bluestar anniversary. Paramilitary forces and Punjab Police personnel kept a close watch in different parts of the city, especially around the Golden Temple complex. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had appealed to all sections to exercise restraint and observe the anniversary peacefully.
The appeal came due to apprehension of clashes between Sikh hardliners and moderates. In the last three-four years, pro-Khalistan slogans have been raised by hardliners during the anniversary function. Clashes also took place in the last two years. The Punjab Police detained several radical Sikh leaders ahead of the anniversary as a preventive measure. Sikh organisation Dal Khalsa has called for an “Amritsar Bandh” on Monday. Several people, including security personnel, were killed in ‘Operation Bluestar’, the Army’s action on Amritsar’s Golden Temple complex in June 1984 to flush out armed extremists led by separatist Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. –IANS
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