Chandigarh: Less than 24 hours after Akal Takht acting ‘jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh endorsed the demand for Khalistan, three legislators of Punjab’s ruling Congress reacted on Sunday, demanding a clarification from Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Badal and his wife and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur.
The acting jathedar had said on the 36th anniversary of Operation Blue Star in the holy city of Amritsar, some 250 kms from state capital Chandigarh, that the Sikh community “will accept Khalistan, if the government offers it.”
His statement was further endorsed by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Gobind Singh Longowal. ‘Khalistan’ refers to a separate state for the Sikhs.
“If the government gives us Khalistan, what more can we ask for? We shall accept it. Every Sikh wants Khalistan,” the Akal Takht jathedar told the media.
The Congress MLAs — Amrik Singh Dhillon, Surinder Dawar and Kuldeep Singh Vaid — said both the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and its alliance partner the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were indulging in divisive politics to grab power in the state.
“Both parties are playing divisive politics to create turmoil in the state, which has attained peace after losing so many innocent lives during the dark days of militancy,” they said.
The 36th anniversary of Operation Blue Star was marred by a minor scuffle and heated arguments between Sikh activists and police as they forced their entry into the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Saturday, police said.
The Sikh activists and leaders wanted to gather in large numbers at the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikh religion, in the Golden Temple complex that has not officially opened due to the coronavirus lockdown.
They were initially stopped by the police, but later after heated arguments they managed to reach the shrine complex where prayers were performed with a few devotees in attendance.
Operation Blue Star was carried out by the Indian Army at the Golden Temple complex between June 1 and 8, 1984.
Every year, prayers are held at the Akal Takht by radical Sikh organisation Dal Khalsa to mark the anniversary of the Army operation carried out to flush out heavily-armed terrorists from inside the complex.
As for threats to peace due to observance of Operation Blue Star anniversary, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had said nobody would be allowed to disrupt the peace of Punjab, which had lost 35,000 lives during the dark days of terrorism.
“No Punjabi wants this,” he had said, adding that it was only a handful of anti-India elements that continued to try and provoke people in the name of Khalistan every now and then.