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Govt forced Sikhs to pick up arms in ’84: Takht jathedar

June 08, 2020 05:56 AM

COURTESY HT JUNE 8

Govt forced Sikhs to pick up arms in ’84: Takht jathedar

› Sikhs had to wage a struggle for the formation of a Punjabi­speaking state to safeguard their mother tongue. Many were killed while agitating in Delhi in support of their demand GIANI HARPREET SINGH, Akal Takht acting jathedar
Surjit Singh

surjit.singh@htlive.com

AMRITSAR : A day after courting a controversy over his remarks in favour of Khalistan as a separate Sikh state, Akal Takht acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh on Sunday said it was the Indian government that forced members of the community to pick arms in 1984.

In a message relayed on a web channel, which was recently banned in India for its alleged anti-national content, the jathedar while referring to the Operation Bluestar said that “picking arms was the last resort for the Sikhs for getting their demands heard by the government”.

“We should ascertain as to why the Sikhs picked arms. When India got independence in 1947, the country’s leaders made some promises to the Sikhs such as giving them due respect and rights besides safeguarding their principles and traditions. But then, the Sikhs were tagged as a “criminal community” instead of delivering these promises,” the head priest said.

He said, “As if this was not enough, police personnel were made to enter the Golden Temple in 1955 with shoes. This was the first incident of sacrilege in the shrine in free India, which hurt the Sikhs. The government supplied Punjab’s river water to other states in violation of the norms. This paved the way for destruction of Sikhs in Punjab and angered them.”

“Sikhs had to wage a struggle for the formation of a Punjabi-speaking state to safeguard their mother tongue. Many were killed while agitating in Delhi in support of their demand. When members of the community opted for an armed struggle, the government used forces to repress them. These atrocities continued well beyond 1984,” he added.

The jathedar was not available for comments over his giving a message on via banned web channel

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