SAD stays away from function to honour killers’ families

Various pro-hardline, radical and religious organisations of the Sikh community, on Thursday demanded that the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) construct a memorial, in the Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple) complex, to the assassins of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. She was shot dead by her security guards this day (October 31) 29 years ago.

The demand was raised by leaders of the Panch Pardhani faction of the Akali Dal, Dal Khalsa and Damdami Taksal, at a function organised in the temple complex, to honour the families of the assassins.

A memorandum in this regard was submitted to Akal Takhat Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, who presided over the function.

In a resolution, the SGPC was urged to build the memorial to Beant Singh, Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh “to fulfil the desire of the Panth.”

The memorandum was signed by the “honoured” relatives of the assassins, apart from leaders of the organisations who attended the function.

The Jathedar, along with the other leaders, presented a silver plaque to Sarbjit Singh, son of Beant Singh. Waryam Singh and Satwant Singh, brother and son of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh respectively, were also honoured.

Martyrdom hailed

Addressing the gathering, the Jathedar lauded the “sacrifice” of the three, who according to him had achieved “martyrdom” in the true traditions of the Khalsa Panth.

Mrs. Gandhi was shot by her personal bodyguards at the Prime Minister’s official residence in New Delhi, ostensibly to avenge ‘Operation Bluestar’ in the Golden Temple in June 1984.

While Beant Singh was also shot by other security guards, Satwant Singh was hanged along with Kehar Singh, who was found guilty of conspiracy in the case.

In 2008, the Akal Takhat, which is the supreme temporal seat of Sikhs and the SGPC, which manages the religious affairs of the community, declared the three “martyrs of the Sikh nation.”

As was the practice on previous occasions, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal stayed away from the function.

The party, headed by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, also controls the SGPC and, through it, the Akal Takhat.

Not the time to play with fire: Congress

Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa has expressed serious concern at and reservations about the demand for a memorial to the assassins.

He said it was no time to play with fire, when the State was still trying to emerge from the trauma of its “dark days” of terrorism.