For his comments in support of ‘Operation Blue Star' in his book
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani continued to face angry protests on the third day of his Jan Chetna Yatra in Punjab, when activists from different Akali factions and radical organisations raised slogans as he visited the holiest Sikh shrine, Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple) complex in Amritsar on Tuesday.
The heavy deployment of civilian clothes-clad security personnel within the “parkarma” (path for circumambulation) notwithstanding, protesters vented their anger against Mr. Advani, who was accompanied by his wife Kamala and daughter Pratibha, for his controversial comments in support of “Operation Blue Star” in his book,My Country My Life.
Activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) led by their president Simranjit Singh Mann raised slogans against Mr. Advani and in favour of Khalistan at various places in parkarma, near the Akal Takht and outside the shrine complex.
Similarly, a group of workers led by the president of the Punjab unit of the Akali Dal (Delhi), Jaswinder Singh Baliawal, managed to sneak in and raise slogans against Mr. Advani, as the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) officials presented him a ‘siropa' (robes of religious honour) at a brief ceremony outside the Harmandar Sahib's information office near the clock tower entry of the shrine.
Talking toThe Hindu, Mr. Baliawal said that his party was of the opinion that the ruling Akali Dal, of which Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was the patron, and the SGPC should not have welcomed Mr. Advani, who had pledged his support to the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, in carrying out “Operation Blue Star” that had wounded the Sikh community's psyche. He said that by honouring Mr. Advani at the holiest shrine of the community, Mr. Badal had exposed his consent for the Army action of 1984.
According to reporters present on the occasion, Mr. Advani just folded his hands and refused to offer any comments to questions related to his support to the “Operation Blue Star.” On the other hand, the SGPC officials were tight-tipped on the issue of raising of slogans within the precincts of the shrine, despite heavy deployment of its security task force.
After paying obeisance at the Durgiana Mandir and homage to the martyrs at the Jallianwala Bagh, Mr. Advani proceeded to Batala en route Pathankot. At various rallies, especially in Batala town, Mr. Advani received enthusiastic response from the people. In his address, he targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, United Progressive Alliance chairperson, Sonia Gandhi and the Congress leadership for the series of scandals, unprecedented inflation and lowering the prestige of the nation in the international comity.
Mr. Advani reiterated the resolve of the BJP and its alliance partners to force the government, during the forthcoming winter session of Parliament, to reveal the names of the corrupt leaders, who had stashed black money in Swiss banks.