32nd anniversary of Operation Bluestar could pose serious challenge to establishment

Operation Bluestar

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, May 27 : With multi-layered tension building up in Punjab, the Parkash Singh badal government in the state is worried about 32nd anniversary function to observe Operation Bluestar at Akal Takht on June 6. It is the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee that organises this function every year but the Sikh religio-political stream is already on the boil at one level while hitherto some unknown Hindu organisations too are adding to tension by posing to be aggressive.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today held informal interaction with the SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar and its executive committee members  with main focus being  on June 6 and the increasing tension between Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale and Damdami Taksal chief Harnam Singh Dhumma. For the last some years, it is the radical groups that have been dominating the scene at Akal Takht. The participation of youth last year was unprecedented.

What is adding to the worry of the religio-political establishment is the erosion of the authority and legitimacy of Makkar and Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh. Giani Gurbachan singh has been reduced to just titular chief of this supreme temporal seat of the community that symbolizes Sikh sovereignty, especially after November 10 Sarbat Khalsa organized at Chabba village near Amritsar where the Takht chiefs appointed by the SGPC were ‘replaced’. Giani Gurbachan Singh has been avoiding most of the functions at Akal Takht. He is supposed to be present at the June 6 function.

Sources maintain that Makkar was  candid in admitting that neither he nor Giani Gurbachan Singh might be in control of the situation at Akal Takht on June 6 in view of the loss of their authority for which they can’t blame anybody. He has finally realized the gravity of situation, a fact that neither Sukhbir nor Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is willing to compromise with. In that eventuality, they too lose their grip over the Sikh institutions. Sukhbir gave instructions as to how the situation could be handled by the SGPC. Security people would be there in strength in civvies in the Golden Temple complex on June 6.

The Sarbat Khalsa had appointed Dhyan Singh Mand as the Akal Takht Jathedar and he is likely to make every effort to join the function until and unless the state police go in for large scale preventive arrests which are likely.

Sukhbir is learnt to have instructed Makkar to deploy the taskforce men in strength at Akal Takht leaving no space for others to converge there. The prayer could be performed by Head Granthi Giani Jagtar Singh and Giani Gurbachan Singh could avoid going there.

Dal Khalsa has decided to take out procession in Amritsar on June 3  and given the call for Amritsar bandh on June 6.

The state government has decided to  maintain heavy security from Jalandhar to Amritsar from June 1 to 6 to maintain law and order in view of the already escalating tension. The effort of the government would be to check parallel jathedars from making it to Akal Takht on June 6. Police force from other districts is being mobilized for deployment in Jalandhar, Amritsar and Tarn Taran areas. Jalandhar is considered to be communally sensitive going by the recent history.

The united Akali Dal leaders including Mohkam Singh and Gurdip Singh have been in and out of the jail several times since they organized the Sarbat Khalsa.

Punjab is already in the election mode  with polls likely to be held in February next and in that context too, the situation requires very deft handling in view of the anti-incumbency wave the Akali Dal-BJP alliance is confronted with.

Sukhbir is learnt to have strongly reacted to  Makkar expressing his helplessness. Yet another issue on which he virtually snubbed the SGPC chief is the increasing tension in the religious stream with S Dhadrianwale and  Dhumma confronting each other and the situation taking violent turn. Sukhbir pulled up Makkar for not taking any steps to defuse the situation through mediation. Makkar has met neither Dhumma nor Dhadrianwale ever since the tension was sparked between the two. He was told to get into action immediately and give results in his capacity as the SGPC chief.

The Sikh religio-political establishment is faced with a major challenge on June 6 although it is SGPC function.


Jagtar Singh


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