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Khalistan Slogans Mark Ghallughara Divas
The Tribune, Amritsar, Jun. 7, 2004
Photo: The Akal Takht, an important component of the Darbar Sahib complex (also known as the Golden Temple complex), was reduced to rubble at the conclusion of Operation Blue Star.
Mr. Parkash Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal [S.A.D.], today participated in Ghallughara Divas (Genocide Day) for the first time after Operation Blue Star. The jathedar [head priest] of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, honoured family members of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Bhai Amrik Singh and other slain militants by presenting siropas (robes of honour).
Slogans like 'Khalistan zindabad,' 'Bhindranwale zindabad' were raised by activists of the Sikh Students Federation and the S.A.D. (Amritsar) in the presence of the jathedar of Akal Takht, Mr. Badal and senior leaders of various Panthic organisations. The jathedar, in his speech, equated the army operation on the Golden Temple and [the] Akal Takht with attacks by [the] Mughals. He regretted that the operation had not yet been condemned on the floor of parliament. He said instead of giving punishment to those involved in the anti-Sikh riots, the Congress had inducted Mr. Jagdish Tytler and Mr. Sajjan Kumar into the union cabinet, hurting Sikh sentiments. He emphasised the need for releasing Sikh youths from various jails in the country. Jathedar Vedanti urged Sikh organisations to help in proper rehabilitation of the Sikh army personnel who had deserted their barracks in protest against the operation.
During his term as chief minister, Mr. Badal used to discourage the holding of Ghallughara Divas at Akal Takht. The S.G.P.C., which virtually is being run by pro-Badal S.G.P.C. members, had never made any efforts to observe the Divas at Akal Takht in the past. However, the S.G.P.C. elections seem to have forced Mr. Badal to participate in the function, organised at the behest of the jathedar of Akal Takht to woo Sikh voters.
The S.A.D. (A.) chief, Mr. Simranjit Singh Mann, urged the Sikh Sangat to defeat the 'traitors of the Sikh Panth' in the S.G.P.C. elections. He held the S.A.D. (Badal) responsible for the S.Y.L. Canal controversy.