Chandigarh: The 39th anniversary of the Operation Blue Star passed off peacefully in Punjab amid heavy security arrangements across the state and a complete ``bandh’’ observed in Amritsar on Tuesday.
Pro-Khalistan slogans raised during congregation
Pro-Khalistan slogans were raised during the congregation at Golden Temple for which a large number of supporters and sympathisers of radical outfits had begun to throng since early morning. Among others, they included the members of radical group Dal Khalsa and the activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) led by Sangrur MP, Simaranjit Singh Mann. He was also present on the occasion. Several of the activists were seen carrying placards bearing photos of slain militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale.
The congregation was addressed by Akal Takht Jathedar (chief) Giani Harpreet Singh who expressed his concern over the attempts of maligning Sikhism and called for unity in the community.
It may be recalled that the said Operation was ordered by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and carried out by Indian Army in 1984 to flush out pro-Khalistan leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and other militants hiding inside the Golden Temple. The Operation which was carried out between June 1 and June 8, 1984, had claimed several lives and left the Golden Temple damaged, though the anniversary is observed on June 6.
Police, Security agencies on high alert
Meanwhile, the state police and security agencies had been on high alert since the past few days with the members of the radical Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa who had given a call for Amritsar "bandh" for Tuesday. It was a total "bandh" observed in the city.
The radical outfit had also taken out a procession to mark the anniversary on Monday. The outfit members carried Khalistani flags and photographs of damaged Akal Takht and Sikh fighters. They also held prayers (ardaas) in the Golden Temple complex.
The Dal leaders said that the procession was taken out to pay homage to Sikh heroes who fought till last breath for the cause and convey to Centre that they had not forgotten the perpetrators of the Operation Blue Star, either.
Meanwhile, the police said that adequate security arrangements had been made in and around Amritsar as well as some other cities of the state. In Amritsar, over 3,000 police personnel and several companies of para-military forces had been deployed besides setting up of a number of police points in the city.
The police had also held a series of meetings with various Sikh organisations including the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee for maintaining peace in the state during the Operation Blue Star anniversary.
Meanwhile, the national investigation agency (NIA) conducted raids at more than 10 places – nine in Punjab and one in Haryana – in connection with cases linked with banned terror group Khalistan Tiger Force. It was learnt that the said KTF was hatching a conspiracy to raise funds to smuggle arms, ammunition and explosives from across the border.