LAHORE: The Sikh community living in Pakistan has still not forgotten the bravery of one of their heroes, Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, during the Indian army’s attack on its most revered place, Golden Temple (Akal Takht) 30 years ago.
They held a protest rally and set up a camp at Charing Cross on The Mall to show solidarity with the international Sikh movement for a separate country – Khalistan.
The protesters came all the way from different cities of Punjab Province, including Nankana Sahab and Kartarpur, and also from some of Khyber Pukhtonkhwa localities.
Most of the participants were young followers of Sikhism. A good number of children, who are studying at Guru Nanak Singh Gee Public High School in Nankana Sahib, attired in commando uniform and armed with toy guns and Karpans (swords), also turned up to show their fighting skills for the dream of ‘Independent Khalistan’.
The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) organised the rally from Aiwan-e-Iqbal Square to Charing Cross. Carrying placards, the participants, including prominent Sikh leaders Sardar Sham Singh, Sardar Bishan Singh, Sardar Ramish Singh Arora (Member Punjab Assembly), Sardar Gopal Singh, Sardar Janam Singh, Sardar Sant Singh, Sardar Mahinder Singh, Sardar Manjeet Singh, Sardar Diya Singh, Sardar Maninder Sing and Sardar Sundar Singh, chanted slogans in favour of Khalistan.
At the camp, schoolchildren, including girls, performed tableau to eulogise their elders’ efforts, sacrifices and martyrdoms in army attack on Golden Temple (Operation Blue Star) in 1984.
A delegation led by MPA Arora later visited the Punjab Assembly Secretariat and presented a memorandum relating to the day to assembly authorities. In the end, the protesters dispersed peacefully.
The Operation Blue Star continued from June 3, 1984 to June 8, 1984 to remove Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala and his followers from Golden Temple and to capture his followers in the Indian state of Punjab.
The Indian army reportedly used chemical weapons, tanks, cannons, helicopters and other ammunitions on a large scale and according to independent sources, around 5,000 Sikhs were killed contrary to official claims of only 492 civilian casualties.
The then Indian prime minister – Indira Gandhi – was assassinated by two of his Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.
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