‘He hid himself in his Bazpur farmhouse’

Senior Congress leader Amarinder Singh on Friday accused Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of having hid himself in his farmhouse when Operation Blue Star unfolded in the Golden Temple in June 1984.

Capt. Singh, a special emissary of the then Union government, recalled in a statement that on May 26, 1984, Mr, Badal and two other Akali leaders met three Union ministers in Delhi. While the other two left for Punjab, Mr. Badal went into hiding. Later, it emerged that he had hid himself in his farmhouse at Bazpur, now in Uttarakhand.

The titular Maharaja of Patiala, who himself resigned from the Congress to protest the military operation to dislodge militants from the Golden Temple, said that on June 1, 1984, the police and the CRPF cordoned off the shrine. However, Mr. Badal did not return to Punjab though he had taken an oath at the Akal Takht to confront the Army if it entered the temple. He even refused to answer the phone calls from BBC journalists Mark Tully and Satish Jacob.

As for the anti-Sikh riots of November 1984, Capt. Singh questioned Mr Badal’s silence on the involvement of BJP and RSS leaders and workers. Fourteen FIRs were registered against 49 BJP and RSS leaders for their alleged involvement in the violence after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Commenting on the Akalis’ demands, after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s remark on the involvement of some leaders of his party in the riots, Capt. Singh said: “I can give you the names as I was in Delhi from November 1 to 3 after the riots broke out on the night of October 31, 1984. I visited all refugees who had taken shelter in various gurdwaras. The names I heard were H.K.L. Bhagat, Dharam Dass Shastri, Arjun Dass, Lalit Maken and Sajjan Kumar.”