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Security tightened in Amritsar ahead of ‘Operation Bluestar’ anniversary

Paramilitary forces and police check a vehicle on the outskirts of Amritsar on May 21, ahead of 38th anniversary of the Operation Blue Star.

Paramilitary forces and police check a vehicle on the outskirts of Amritsar on May 21, ahead of 38th anniversary of the Operation Blue Star. | Photo Credit: AFP

Ahead of radical Sikh outfits giving a call for Amritsar’s ‘shutdown’, launching a campaign to garner support for it, and the holding of a march in the city to mark the 38th anniversary of ‘Operation Bluestar’, security across the city has been beefed up.

Amid the recent spate of incidents surrounding the ‘Khalistan’ connection in Punjab and its neighbouring States, and the clash in Patiala, the police are leaving nothing to chance. Flag marches are being conducted in the city, apart from intense checking at several places to maintain law and order. To keep an eye on possible troublemakers, CCTV cameras have been installed on all major routes.

On April 29, a clash broke out in Patiala between different groups of people over the holding of a march against the backdrop of the call by the banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) to mark the foundation day of ‘Khalistan’.

“We are a bit extra cautious this year in the wake of the recent Patiala incident. This [the Operation Bluestar anniversary] is an annual event and we are always prepared. But this year, we are making necessary preparations a little early to ensure the maintenance of law and order. Flag marches are being held in the city. Adequate police and paramilitary forces are being deployed to deal with any kind of situation ahead of the Bluestar anniversary,” Arun Pal Singh, Commissioner of Police (Amritsar), told The Hindu.

Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) V. K. Bhawra recently chaired a meeting to review the law and order situation in Amritsar, and asked officers to remain extra alert at events to be held in connection with the ‘Operation Bluestar’ anniversary.

The Dal Khalsa, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and few other hardliner outfits have, via social media platforms and by pasting posters and distributing leaflets across the city, been urging traders, banks and educational bodies to keep their establishments closed on June 6, the day of ‘Operation Bluestar’ anniversary.

“On June 5, we plan to hold a ‘freedom march’ in the city. On June 6, we have given a call for a shutdown in Amritsar. We will distribute over 20,000 leaflets to people in the city urging their cooperation. The shutdown call is for business establishments, traders, banks, petrol pumps and educational institutions. There would be no stoppage of transportation,” Kanwar Pal Singh, spokesperson of Dal Khalsa, said on May 24.

Concerned over repeated attempts to disturb Punjab’s hard-earned peace, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann sought additional forces, following which the Central government allotted 10 additional companies of paramilitary forces for Punjab.

On June 6, 1984, the Indian Army stormed the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) complex in Amritsar — Sikhism’s holiest shrine, to flush out extremists led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

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Printable version | May 25, 2022 10:49:25 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/security-tightened-in-amritsar-ahead-of-operation-bluestar-anniversary/article65456802.ece