By NVONews.Com Correspondent
Amritsar: After strong criticism from various quarters on the issue of construction of the memorial for the Sikh militants who died fighting the Indian army in Golden Temple during Operation Blue Star top ruling Akali Dal leaders and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC)president, A S Makkar as well as other bigwigs stayed away from the function organized on Sunday in Golden Temple (Amritsar) to honour the two assassins of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh were hanged on Jan 6, 1989 for killing Mrs Gandhi on Oct 31, 1984. Along with Beant Singh, who was shot dead by other security personnel, Satwant and kehar were in the inner security ring of Indira Gandhi.
However, the Jathedar of the Akal Takht, Giani Gurbachan Singh honoured the two at the 24th anniversary of their hanging. He bestowed siropa (robes of religious honour) on the relatives of the two. After the customary ardas (prayer) that marked the completion of the akhand path (uninterrupted recitation) of the scriptures at Gurdwara Jhanda Bunga close to the Akal Takht, the Jathedar honoured Satwant’s father Tirlok Singh. Relatives of Kehar Singh did not turn up.
It was not that the SGPC totally abstained but it was represented by a low profile manager, H S Malhi. Hardline leader Simranjit Singh Mann (former IPS), who heads the Akali Dal (Amritsar) and radical outfit Dal Khalsa’s spokesman Kanwarpal Singh attended the ceremony. Unlike the previous occasions, the SGPC did not publicise the event either.
The Akal Takht and the SGPC had already granted Satwant, Beant and Kehar the status of Quami Shaheed (martyrs of the community). Their portraits have also been displayed at the Sikh Museum inside the Golden Temple complex. Their relatives have been honoured at Akal Takht at every anniversary of their execution, for the last 24 years.
At Agwan village in Gurdaspur district the native place of Satwant Singh another function was organized. A Gurdwara has been constructed in his memory.
Giani Gurbachan Singh, former Jathedar Jasbir Singh Rode and Baba Harnam Singh Dhuma who heads Damdami Taksal participated in the prayer service there.
The ruling Akali Dal came under strong criticism when the assassins of Gen A S Vaidya, who was the Army chief at the time of Operation Blue Star, was honoured sometimes back. Not only that a murderous attack was made on Major Gen (Retired) K S Brar in England last October. It revived the fear of Sikh militancy. He was one of those who led the attack on Golden Temple during the Operation Blue Star.