Operation Blue Star memorial move sparks row; Centre not to interfere

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 10, 2012 15:11 hrs

As debate raged over raising of a memorial for those killed during Operation Blue Star in 1984, the SGPC, in a controversial move, honoured family members of the two assassins of General A S Vaidya in the Golden Temple complex.

The kin of Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha, who were executed on October nine, 1992, were honoured by the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee at the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, on Tuesday.

The SGPC, controlled by the ruling SAD, also hailed the Gen's killers as Sikh martyrs sparking a row even as debate raged over constructing a Blue Star memorial in the holy city.

The SGPC organised an Akhand Path at the Akal Takht to mark the 20th execution anniversary of the two assassins.

The function to honour the relatives of Sukha and Jinda was presided over by SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh.

Gen Vaidya was the Chief of Army Staff when Operation Blue Star was launched by the Army to flush out militants, led by Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale, from the Golden Temple.

A number of militants, soldiers and pilgrims were killed during the Operation.

Sukha and Jinda had assassinated General Vaidya in 1986 in Pune where he had settled down after his retirement.

They were hanged in 1992 and since '93 the SGPC has been been organising their death anniversary every year on October nine and honouring their family members.

The SGPC presented shiropas (robes of honour) to Sukhas mother Surjit Kaur and JindaҒs brother Bhupinder Singh on the occasion on Tuesday.

Centre not to interfere

The Centre on Wednesday said it would not like to interfere in the construction of the Operation Blue Star memorial in the Golden Temple by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), respecting the constitutional rights of such organisations.

Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the Centre was fully aware about the construction of the memorial by the SGPC.

"There are certain things which certain organisations do. They enjoy certain rights and we do not want to impinge on them," he said at a press conference here.

He was replying to a question on the central government's stand on the memorial.

Shinde said India has suffered a lot due to terrorism, and therefore, "one has to introspect".

"They (organisations such as SGPC) should understand that the country has suffered for many years," he said.

Asked whether the Centre had no objection to the construction of the Bluestar memorial, the home minister said, "It is not a question of objection or no objection. It is a matter of rights given to organisations by the Constitution."

"I have never said that it was right to construct the memorial. But it should be left to them. It is their institution and we cannot interfere unless somebody raises an objection in a court…" he said.

Asked about reports suggesting that there were attempts to revive militancy in Punjab, the home minister said the union government had information about activities by Sikh militants in Punjab and certain foreign countries.

Commenting on the attack on Operation Bluestar commander Lt Gen Kuldip Singh Brar (retd) in London, Shinde said the former army officer had gone there on a private visit.

"He is under the military's cover and our information is that the police were not informed (about his London visit)," he said.

Asked whether Brar's security had been enhanced after the assassination attempt, Shinde said, "It is the obligatory duty of the police and the government to do a review from time to time, month by month and give protection."

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