Perneet Singh, Tribune News Service
Amritsar, May 3. Twenty-eight years after the Army stormed into the Golden Temple complex to evict Sikh hardliners led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the SGPC executive at a meeting in Anandpur Sahib today approved Operation Bluestar Memorial.
The memorial will come up near Gurdwara Thara Sahib in the Golden Temple complex. The SGPC House had given the green signal to the memorial a decade back and the matter had been hanging fire since then. It was decided to hand over the ‘kar sewa’ of the memorial to Damdami Taksal chief Baba Harnam Singh. Buildings which suffered damage and a ‘bir’ with a bullet mark will also be preserved to commemorate Operation Bluestar.
Former Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode said ‘kar sewa’ for the memorial would start on May 20. Avtar Singh Makkar, SGPC chief, had set the ball rolling on June 6 last by announcing a five member-committee to prepare a blueprint for the memorial. The panel, comprising Damdami Taksal chief Baba Harnam Singh, SGPC senior vice-president Raghujit Singh Virk, Punjabi University VC Dr Jaspal Singh, SGPC executive member Rajinder Singh Mehta and former Pro VC of GNDU Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, submitted its report to the SGPC today.
Sikh scholar Bhai Ashok Singh Bagrian said the memorial should be built in front of Teja Singh Samundari Hall from where the Army had entered into the complex. Dal Khalsa leader Kanwar Pal Singh said Panthic outfits had suggested that Maharaja Sher Singh Deori, that still bore bullet marks, was the ideal place for the memorial.
The SGPC House had passed a resolution to raise the memorial at its meeting on February 20, 2002. A special executive meeting held at Anandpur Sahib on May 27, 2005, under the then SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, unanimously resolved to build the memorial. Interestingly, the proposal was virtually shelved in 2008.
Operation Bluestar was ordered by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 3-6, 1984, to remove Sikh hardliners from the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar. The Central Sikh Museum has on display a list of 743 persons killed during Operation Bluestar.