Manjit Singh Calcutta
The decision to raise a memorial for thousands of victims who lost their lives during the infamous military operation of Golden Temple ,on the auspicious day of fifth Guru Nanak’s martyrdom in June1984,has so disturbed Mr. Kuldeep Nayyar that he has sought an explanation of Akalis to the nation and termed it as ‘Playing with fire in Punjab’ in his write up June 18(The Tribune).He also seems to look aghast and bewildered that neither any Sikh organization nor any non political Sikh has raised voice against the raising of memorial and as a corollary the Sikh people owe an explanation to the country .
The learned writer formed a Punjabi Group in Delhi after the army attack and massacre of Sikhs in Nov’84, to soothe the extremely injured Sikh psyche and then pursuing the then Akali Dal chief Sant Harchand Singh Longowal to negotiate with the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Sant Longowal was tricked into signing a written agreement known as Rajiv–Longowal pact sans release of hundreds of jailed Sikh youth and settlement of the army men who left their barracks in protest against the army attack, though Sant Ji was assured to settle all these issues. Though Sant Longowal had to face the wrath of frustrated Sikh Youth and had to loose his life within a month thereafter, not even a single clause of the pact has been implemented by the Govt. of India all these years and did not gave any explanation for this grave betrayal of the pact nor any Indian public opinion questioned the government. The learned writer never sought an explanation from the Indian Government on this non implementation.
It would have been better if our learned friend would have peeped into the tragic events of the late 80’s which infuriated the Sikhs. It all began when a Sikh schemistic group, the so called nirankaris held their conference at the holy city of Amritsar in 1978 and launched a full fledged attack on Sikh religion and Sikh Gurus ,on the sacred Baisakhi day( which the Sikhs celebrate as founding of the Khalsa Panth), with a sinister motive of provoking the Sikhs .When Sikhs protested peacefully against the blasphemy, unprovoked fire was opened and 13 Sikhs were brazenly killed .Instead of reporting truly, the communal media reported the heinous crime, accused the Nihangs/Akalis for this grave tragedy. The accused nirankari chief and his close followers were ferried outside Punjab by the police and administration .The trial of the case was shifted to Karnal in Haryana, where all the accused were set free and none was held responsible for ghastly killings .This exposed that the Sikhs were again denied justice as it was to happen in the massacre of June 1984,but no body from the Indian elite ,who now ask the Sikhs and the Akalis to imbibe modern ,liberal and secular outlook , did not even express any sympathy with the Sikhs nor raised their voice for curtailing these anti Sikh acts. There was extreme reaction amongst the Sikhs and their attitude started getting hardened which resulted in physical assault of selected nirankaris who played foul in this tragic event. This incident planted the seed of militancy in Punjab.Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala till then was head of a Sikh semestery(Damdami Taksal).The massacre of Sikhs By Nirankaris and justice denied by the Karnal court brought him at the center stage of political and panthak affairs in lime light .
The second phase was when the Akalis/Sikhs launched peaceful Dharam Yudh Morchaa in 1982 for the redresial of their grievances in justice, fulfilling the legitimate demands of Punjab, state autonomy and some Sikh religious issues as contained in Anandpur Sahib resolution. Neither any provocative slogan nor any demand for Khalistan or secession of Punjab from the country was ever raised not even by Sant Bhindranwale , but the secret services concocted bundle of lies to blacken the face of Akalis and paving the way for the government to enact black laws and illegitimate elimination of the Sikh youth by their false propaganda of killing of Hindus and secession to cause failure of the peaceful morcha, helping the then government to gain politically by raising the slogan of danger to the country .As the judicial enquiry into the fake encounter and cremation of thousands of Sikhs as unclaimed and unrecognized bodies were killed by not any Sikh militant but by the agents of secret services posing as militants. I am sure if a true judicial probe is ordered, it would prove that innocent Hindus were not killed by the militants but by the secret agency agents . A true Sikh cannot be a killer of any innocent person and there is no concept of Jihad in Sikh religion .It was to pave the ground and reason detaire for the armed attack on Golden Temple and Akal Takhat .The event there after proved that the culprits taking shelter in any sacred religious shrine can be brought out without any discretion to the shrine. This also proves the sinister design of the government to deny justice to the Sikhs, demoralizing them, shattering and instilling fear so that the Sikh dare not to voice their grievances and just demands.It was gross misunderstanding the Sikh Psyche that the Sikhs have never been cowed down by any atrocity or ‘Sarkari Zulm’ which they kept on fighting, notwithstanding the extreme price they had to pay in staking their life till achieving their goal.
There is not a single example in history of any civilized, modern, liberal government to have attacked their own sacred religious places. The then Congress government and opposition BJP connived and joined hands in armed attack on Golden Temple, Akal Takhat and 37 other Gurdwaras in Punjab. Thus obliterating the difference between fast Bhagwa and Pale Bhagwa of the majority .No one in the so called secular India protested except the then member parliament Sh. Chander Shekhar, raised his voice against the army attack, in opposition to the ruling congress and BJP hailing the then Prime Minister for the bold step which was propagated as the savior of nation and on the contrary the lone voice of Sh.Chander Shekher was falsely propagated as the Bhindranwala of Balia which made him loose the election once in the life time. This proved that the Indian secularism is merely skin deep. The communal fire stoked by the secret agencies to help ruling party to win the election resulted in the killing of the then Prime Minister, not by an Akali or any political leader but by her own Sikh security guards who could not bear the attack , the insult and humiliation of the Panth. A country which never killed Maratha Brahmins when one of them killed Mahatma Gandhi but in case of Sikhs, thousands of Sikhs were killed, grievously injured and looted by the mobs, let loose by the political masters, thus removing the cloak of the communal majority’s faith in secularism.
Similarly the then Chief Minister of Punjab Beant Singh was not killed by any Sikh militant or any conspiracy hatched by Akalis but it was again his own security guards, who closely watched him ordering the killing and illegal elimination of thousand of Sikhs, retaliated by killing him . A memorial raised for Beant Singh, who was responsible for ordering the savage killings , no body protested from secular and liberal India but a war cry has been raised against the present Chief Minister Punjab for merely forwarding a mercy petition of Balwant Singh Rajoana. Even after more than two decades of the Sikh genocide in 1984 nobody has been punished but again nobody has raised a voice for giving the Sikhs justice.
To drag the name of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and army chief S. Bikram Singh is in poor taste .Dr. Singh is not a selected person his being Sikh but as a Sikh his merit was not ignored for extracting Indian economy as Finance Minister. Similarly Gen. BikramSingh was also save by the Supreme court not by the so called secular forces of India.
My learned friend was given a befitting honor for his role in the aftermath of Nov’84 Sikh genocide. I failed to understand his present mind-set that why he is so infuriated .I have never been a votary of militancy and at its height ,as a administer of SGPC ,did not allowed any alien to put stay at Golden Temple even at the risk of my life. Now the writer has suggested the home ministry to shuttle the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925 governing the SGPC a statuary body under the act.
I cannot explain here because of the paucity of space , the betrayal of Sikhs, openly flouting the promises and the breaking sacred bows and pledges of the political leaders since independence ,telling that the time has changed. It is true that as the Raj has been transferred by the British to the present rulers, all such promises were thrown in the dustbin .Not only the step motherly treatment was given to the Sikhs, the communal majority of Punjab denied Punjabi as their mother tongue and falsely declaring Hindi Devanagiri as their language .Even in the present time when the Punjabi has become the state language of Punjab, they still oppose the Gurmukhi script and ask for simultaneous Hindi and Shahmukhi etc etc to kill the Punjabi language. No language in India has more than one script but to kill Punjabi the pleading is for adopting couple of other scripts.
The protest against raising a memorial for the Sikhs who accepted martyrdom or lost their lives during the military action (infamously named Operation blue star), did not any objection when the then president of India (a Sikh) was forced to decorate the Indian soldiers for their so called heroic action and were given awards and promotions. May Sikhs ask why this different standard and reason for proving their nationalism and patriotism every now and then.
The country owes the Sikhs an explanation for discriminating standards and denying justice.
Manjit Singh Calcutta
Minister of Higher Education (Ex)