As Monday marks the 32nd anniversary of Operation Bluestar, three-tier security has been put in place in Amritsar and security has also been tightened in other parts of Punjab as well.
Chief Minister of Punjab Prakash Singh Badal and the President of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee Avtar Singh Makkar have requested all the sections to observe the ceremony peacefully. They had to request because of the clashes between the Sikh hardliners and the moderators. An organization known as Dal Khalsa gave a call for Amritsar bandh on Monday to celebrate the anniversary. As a result of which, clashes broke out between them and the Dal Khalsa has made an appeal to all the Sikhs to observe the day on Monday.
According to Commissioner of Police, AS Chahal, “We have detained a few radical outfit leaders as a preventive measure ahead of the Blue Star operation anniversary. We have made sufficient deployment of security forces in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala.” In Ludhiana, hardliners Sikh leaders Daljit Singh, Manvibder Singh and Jaswant Singh have been detained. Besides them, radical leader Dhian Singh Mand has been taken into police custody by Ferozepur police. In Bhatinda, they have detained Gurdip Singh and Hardeep Mehraj.
Clashes have been taking place in the past two years between hardliners and the radicals. They have also raised pro-Khalistan slogans in the past few years during the anniversary celebrations.
Around 8,000 police personnel and six companies of paramilitary forces have been camping in Amritsar for over a week now. They have all been deployed at 200 check points. They have been keeping a close watch in different parts of Amritsar, mainly the Golden Temple complex. This year, more number of task force and cameras have been installed inside the shrine.
Harcharan Singh, SGPC Chief Secretary said, “We are allowing the media with the humble request that they should maintain the sanctity of the Golden Temple, since certain media people some time create interruption in SGPC programmes. We always require media coverage and support.”
On Saturday, prayers were held at the Akal Takht inside the Golden Temple Complex and it will continue till Monday. Pro-Khalistan slogans were raised by a small group of people soon after Akal Takht Jathedar (Chief) read out his address, and soon they were whisked away by the SGPC Task Force and police.
In June, 1984, several people were killed in Operation Bluestar. It was Army’s action on Amritsar’s Golden Temple complex to flush out armed extremists.