Making it clear that there was no controversy over the Operation Blue Star memorial, Akal Takht Jathedar Gurbachan Singh has said that the plaque of militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale would neither be removed nor any change effected to it. The plaque dedicating the memorial built in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar to Bhindranwale had caused skirmishes soon after its inauguration on April 27.
The memorial had a clock with Bhindranwale’s photo etched on it and a plaque describing the history of Operation Blue Star.
The ruling SAD had objected to the plaque and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had maintained that the memorial would not be dedicated to one person, but to all those who died in the Operation. While the Damdami Taksal -- Bhindranwale had led this group till his death and Harnam Singh Dhumma is the present head -- had declared that it would not tolerate removal of the plaque, the BJP had registered its protest with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The SGPC soon referred the matter to the Akal Takht.
Acting upon this, the Akal Takht Jathedar informally gave his verdict while addressing a gathering to mark the 29th anniversary of Operation Blue Star on Thursday.
In an effort to avert the issue from snowballing, the Sikh clergy on May 15 had postponed the decision on removing references to Bhindranwale from the plaque. The clergy had also convened a meeting of the five head priests at the Akal Takht, but no decision was taken.
The SGPC had removed the clock a few days ago, but the references to Bhindranwale remained on the plaque at the memorial entrance.“It is a very serious issue. We need more time to deliberate on the issue as we would seek more views from all Sikh circles, including Sikh scholars and organisations, before taking any decision on the matter. Now we will take up this issue after June 6,” Gurbachan had said then.