Amritsar: The 32nd anniversary of Indian Army’s “Operation Bluestar” passed off peacefully on Monday even though a section of Sikh hardliners raised pro-Khalistan slogans at the end of a religious ceremony to mark the occasion inside the Golden Temple complex here.
A small group of people who raised pro-Khalistan and anti-government slogans were whisked away by the SGPC Task Force and police from the area in front of the Akal Takht. A few people were heckled and pushed around for about five minutes.
Except for a few pro-Khalistan, anti-government and anti-Badal slogans by Sikh hardliners, there was no trouble in front of the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion located inside the shrine complex.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) Task Force members and police personnel in plainclothes kept a close watch on the hardliners, mostly owing allegiance to the Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar and other radical groups, who tried to hijack the ceremony, but were foiled in their attempt.
The slogans were raised soon after Akal Takht Jathedar (chief) Gurbachan Singh read out his address to the Sikh community.
Prayers were offered at the Golden Temple complex, which is home to the holiest of Sikh shrines Harmandar Sahib, on Monday morning to mark the Bluestar anniversary.
SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said scores of people attended the event. Security agencies were on alert in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, ahead of the anniversary.
Radical Sikh organization Dal Khalsa however claimed that it got a good response to its ‘Amritsar Bandh’ (shutdown) call. Organization spokesman Kanwar Pal Singh said that shops remained closed in various markets in the city.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had appealed to everyone 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 functions. 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.
Several people, including security personnel, were killed in ‘Operation Bluestar’, the army’s action on the Golden Temple complex in June 1984 to flush out armed extremists led by Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.