Where are the 1984 Sikh Manuscripts and Articles? Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal 1925 Basant Avenue, Ludhiana Twenty five years have passed since the Sikh Manuscripts were taken away from Sikh Reference Library, Harmandir Sahib, but their where about still remains a matter of discussion. The Defence Minister of India Shri A.K. Anthony denied in Parliament and again on 20 May 2009 (The Tribune dated 21 May 2009), that the Army possessed any manuscripts or article taken away from Harmandar Sahib during Operation Blue Star in 1984. Countering the claim, SGPC President Sardar Avtar Singh Makkar condemned the statement as a lie and demanded the resignation of the Defence Minister. The questions which emerge out of this controversy are:. 1. Did Army collect and take away the documents and articles? 2. Did it return these documents and articles to SGPC? 3. If SGPC did not receive these documents and articles, then where are these now? 4. If SGPC received these documents and articles; why these are not with them? 5. If documents and articles are not with them; Where are these then? As these questions are very important for Sikhs, Army as well as the CBI, it is as important to know the facts. Immediately after the Operation Blue Star, the rumours were spread that the manuscripts, books and articles in Sikh Reference Library were all destroyed in fire in the evening of 6 June 1984 and the ashes were handed over to S. Joginder Singh Duggal in-charge Sikh Reference Library on 9 June 1984 as a token. However later some Sikhs posted in Delhi leaked the information that ‘Gurbani de gutke Dilli vich ruled rahe.’ A CID inspector had informed that he had brought handwritten gutka from the boxes kept on ground in Delhi. Pilferage of these materials had already started at Delhi. Such like information was received by Dr. Tarlochan Singh and Prof Labh Singh of Sikh Missionary College. S Kirpal Singh Jathedar Akal Takhat brought this matter to the notice of S. Boota Singh, the then Cabinet Minister who then confirmed that 125 bags of reference books, manuscripts and articles of Sikh Reference Library had been taken by Army. Later a news item appeared in Daily Ajit, Punjabi, Jalandher dated 11 June 2000 regarding the missing manuscripts, reference books and other material. Ranjit Singh Nanda, a CBI inspector during OP Blue Star days and involved in collecting and scrutinizing the Sikh Reference Material gave the following statement to Daily Ajit: ‘After about two weeks of the Operation Blue Star in June 1984, the Army took in trucks, Sikh Reference Books and archival material to Youth Hostel: the CBI HQs during the OP. Blue Star, in 190 big bags. Every bag had a black ink number written systematically on it. After one month, a CBI team consisting of five members prepared a list of 160-65 bags after scrutinizing and the list was prepared by three typists made available to CBI teams. Remaining 30-35 bags were yet to be scrutinized. In view of Sikh Sammelan called by the Five Singh Sahiban, the entire material was shifted to an unknown destination. Religious books were placed in 12 trunks; and other books and materials were taken in bags as such. Some of the Manuscripts (Handwritten) pothis and Hukamnamas which he had collected out of these were later returned to SGPC after his retirement. While scrutinizing, a handwritten manuscript of Sri Guru Granth Sahib also fell on ground along with other books from a bag. This manuscript had bullet marks on it. As such treatment of these venerable documents was objected to, the other bags were emptied on tables. Every manuscript was studied and analyzed and was again filled in bags after making lists. Non destruction of classified mail to Sant Bhindranwalla and other leaders was a matter of surprise. These bags contained not only the Sikh Reference Books but also material collected from all offices of SGPC. These included numerous Handwritten manuscripts of SGGS and Hukamnamas (Ed. 512 SGGS Ms and 44 Hukamnamas according to a later account), Handwritten Ms; letters written by and to Sant Bhindranwalla and Jagjit Singh Chauhan and other leaders, about 250 to 300 passports, Registers and Dak of SGPC, and books related to Sikh History and Culture. It also included Gold Memento presented to S. Gurcharan Singh Tohra on 400 year celebrations. Making best of the situation Nanda collected an SGGS beed, an edited SGGS, 4-5 other books, and Hukamnamas of Guru Gobind Singh period. The gold memento presented to S. Gurcharan Singh Tohra was also brought. All these items were handed over by him to the then Secretary SGPC, S.Manjit Singh Calcutta the fact not known to many for quite some time. Record in register of Sikh Reference Library reveals that the Hukamnamas were returned in 1991 and the entry is from serial 6222-6266. 44 Hukamnamas had gone but only 28 were returned which the inspector himself had returned. These Hukamnamas included a Hukamnamas of Mata Sundri of 1st Vaisakh1777 (1720 AD). The 18 files containing lists of contents of Hukamnama, Nishans and SGGS beeds was stated to be available now in Sikh Reference Library while 17 other files have not been returned by CBI. Ranjit Singh Nanda was the CBI inspector detailed with inquiry committee inquiring the death of DIG AS Atwal in 1983 and during OP Blue Star his field of work was Sri Harmandir Sahib. His office was in Youth Hostel. He denied that the Sikh Reference Library was burnt on 6 June 84 in Op Blue Star as this material was received by them on 18-19 June 84. The remaining material was taken by Army to Delhi. He told that a letter written by Smt. Gandhi, the then PM to Sant Bhindranwalla was being searched by the CBI. The five member committee which scrutinized these documents included DSP Shabdal Singh of Punjab Police. DSP Shabdal Singh of Model Town Jalandher, confirmed the above facts through his statement which appeared in Ajit, 12 June 2000 with certain modifications. S. Sabdal Singh was posted at PAP Bahadurgarh but was called on duty before the CBI on 5 June 1984, during the attack on Harmandar Sahib as was preplanned. After two weeks of taking charge, he went to Rajasansi airport in a day between 18-20 June1984 in the morning, on a call of duty. At that time, Director CBI Bawa Harkishan Singh, was also present. Military planes were unloading bags containing religious books, handwritten Guru Granth Sahib and other articles in 190 bags. The Army authorities told them that these items were taken from Darbar Sahib to Delhi and are now being returned to CBI for further investigations. These items were then shifted to Youth Hostel (CBI HQs in OP Blue Star in Amritsar) from airport. (Not directly from Darbar Sahib as was stated by Sardar Nanda.) These were scrutinized by the team including Nanda, DIG Rajinder Kumar and himself among others. After scrutinizing the CBI returned 28 Hukamnamas out of the total 44 Hukumnamas (earlier entered at Sr. Nos 6222 to 6266) in 1991 through S. Ranjit Singh Nanda to S. manjit Singh Calcutta, the then Secretary SGPC and these have been entered at Serial No 7034 to 7062 of 1991 in the new register of the library. Among the Hukumnama not yet received,there was one Hukumnama of Mata Sundri of Vaisakh Samvat 1777 (1720 AD). From the 35 files only 18 files were received while 17 were taken by CBI and not returned yet. Later, on the change of Govt. the demand for return of manuscripts and other articles became vociferous. In reply to a letter dated 27th March 2000, Sh. George Fernedez, the then Defence Minister confirmed to SGPC that all these manuscripts, Hukumnamas and other documents and materials have been handed over to CBI. CBI however, denied this till this was brought out in the open by S. Nanda and Shabdal Singh. It was only at the receipt of a letter from George Fernedez that the then SGPC Secretary S. Gurbachan Singh Bachan approached the then Chief Minister of Punjab S. Badal for return of these documents. In 1984 S. Davinder Singh Duggal was in-charge of Sikh Reference Library who later wrote that the blocks made of silver for these Hukamnamas are also lost. Mr. Nanda however denied having seen any silver blocks.’ A duly marked book ‘Arms and the Man by GB Shaw’, (M-3197) S. Bag 84 (7) found in old books on sale in Delhi, however has different story to tell. It has the name Parween Nanda written on it which needs to be investigated for further facts. As the balance documents were not being received back a CWP no. 11301/2003 was filed in Punjab & Haryana High Court by S. Satnam Singh s/o Mela Singh. In reply VK Gupta Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, GOI and BS Kanwar SP CBI/SICII New Delhi filed replies. In his reply Mr. VK Gupta stated: 1. Army authorities in an investigation of case No. RC 2/84-SIU.III/SIC.II/CBI/New Delhi had handed over 4000 manuscripts to CBI. These documents were recovered by them from Golden Temple complex, Amritsar during the operation Blue Star. All the treasures and artifacts as also all other historical and non-historical items recovered from Golden Temple were either handed over to SGPC and its functionaries or the Govt. treasures or to the CBI as mentioned above. 2. Items handed over to SGPC and its functionaries i) A board of officers was convened on 13 June, 1984 by Headquarters 11 Corps in the Golden Temple. The board carried out a stock taking of items found in Shri Akal Takhat in the presence of State Government Representatives, Deputy Commissioner’s Representatives as also in the presence of Secretary and Assistant Secretary of SGPC. ii) The board found 25 historical items and 43 non historical items. These items were put in boxes and sealed. The boxes were then locked in the room adjoining Shri Akal Takhat. Both the board and the representatives of SGPC then sealed the room with their respective seals. iii) The board had also found certain other items in Kotha Sahib and Bambi Wala. The major items found were left untouched as per instructions of Head Granthi Giani Pritam Singh- However, some minor items were shifted to a room adjacent to Shri Akal Takhat where other historical/non-historical items were locked and sealed for security purposes. iv) Subsequently, another board was ordered to handover the 52 historical items on 13 September, 1984 to Shri Mohan Singh, Curator, Museum, Punjab Govt. These were handed over by the board in the presence of SGPC representatives as also representatives from Punjab Govt./ Deputy Commissioners Office. v) A board was ordered to ascertain disposal of the non historical items. As per information available these were disposed off by Shri Bhagwan Singh (Mukh Granthi), who was then performing duties of Sewadar Shri Akal Takhat. Most of these items being broken or damaged were either shifted to a store at the time of repairs of Shri Akal Takhat or disposed off since it was not found appropriate to keep these non-historical items in Shri Akal Takhat as per the traditional practice. B. Items Handed over to the Govt. Treasures in 1984 Valuables as mentioned below recovered from Golden Temple Complex were handed over to Mr. Kailash Chand Sharma Officiating Treasury Officer, Amritsar on 13 June, 1984 i) Gold and Gold ornaments ii) Silver and Silver ornaments iii) Precious stones, semi precious stones and Pearls iv) Govt. currency notes worth Rs. 30,93,936.00 v) Coins, currency and FDR’s C Items Handed over to CBI in 1984 i) 5th July, 1984:-A total of four big bags and 72 small bags with passports and office files/documents were taken over by CBI vide Seizure Memo Case No. RC 2/84/III/SIC/CBI/SPE/N. Delhi dated 05.07.1984 ii) 6th July, 1984:- A total of 36 big bags with passports, booklets and files/ documents were taken over by CBI vide Seizure Memo Case No. RC 2/84 SIC/CBI/SPE/N Delhi dated 06.07.1984 iii) 7th July, 1984:-A total of 16 big bags with files, pass books, identity cards, cheque books, booklets/diaries, registers etc. were taken over by CBI vide Seizure Memo Case No. RC/2/84/SIC/CBI/SPE/N. Delhi dated 07.07.1984 D Items handed over to CBI on 6th March, 1985:12 bags containing files, office stationery and diaries/booklets were handed over to Shri O.S. Randhawa, SI/CBI/SCI/ New Delhi on 06.03.1985 E Handing over of Paintings/Photos and Manuscripts on 05.07.1985: A board of officers was convened to handover 98 paintings, 14 photos and four manuscripts which were recovered from Central Sikh Museum, Golden Temple, Amritsar. These were handed over to Shri Mohan Singh, Department of Cultural Affairs, Chandigarh on 05.07.1985. 4) That the contents of Para No. 5 is admitted to the extent that the Defense Minister had intimated SGPC authorities that documents recovered from Golden Temple Complex, Amritsar by Army authorities were handed over to CBI. Rest of para is denied as about 4000 articles were recovered and not as mentioned therein. Reply filed by CBI SP 1. Army authorities in an investigation of case No. RC 2/84-SIU.III/SIC.II/CBI/New Delhi had handed over 4000 manuscripts to CBI which were purported to have been recovered from the Golden Temple complex during Operation Blue Star, vide receipt memos dated 26.6.1984, 04.07.1983, 06.07.1984 and letter Nos. 1654/Q/G dated 08.07.1984 and No. 1108/13/BS/GS/I and II dated 06.03.1985. These documents were shifted from CBI camp office at Youth Hostel Amritsar. The CBI of its own had not removed any article lying in the Sikh Reference Library. 2. After obtaining order of the Hon’ble High Court on 13.10.1989, 20.06.1990 and 28.12.1990 respectively, whatever was claimed by SGPC was handed over to them. The CBI has already handed over all the claimed documents/articles etc. to the concerned SGPC representatives under proper receipt. 3. Certain documents which were found seditious during investigation were destroyed after the order of the Hon’ble Court. A copy of the list of such documents is enclosed herewith as annexure A. 4. Similarly some documents were filed along with the Challan in the concerned court and may be available in the court file. A list of such documents is enclosed here with as Annexure B. 5. Two documents i.e., one diary and a file were handed over to the IO of another case/exhibited in the Court of Special Judge, Bhagalpur. 6. Presently the CBI has only 5 documents as per details given below: (i) A magazine ‘Sant Sipahi’ ( May 1984) (ii) File containing various letters etc. (49 sheets) (iii) Diary of Sh. Balwinder Singh Khojkipur for the 1983. (iv) One copy of annual report of All India Sikh Student Federation dtd. 20.9.83. (v) Arms license No 926/ AVG/ ASR of Sh. Chanan Singh If we see the details given by Ministry of Home GOI and CBI regarding documents at Sikh Reference Library, we find that: Stock taking of items taken from Golden Temple was carried out on 13 June 1984 by HQs 11 Corpse located at Jalandher. (Mr. VK Gupta’s reply). Board found 25 historical items and 43 non historical items. These items were put in boxes and sealed. Subsequently, another board was ordered to handover the 52 historical items on 13 September, 1984 to Shri Mohan Singh, Curator, Museum, Punjab Govt. These were handed over by the board in the presence of SGPC representatives as also representatives from Punjab Govt./ Deputy Commissioners Office. (Mr. VK Gupta’s reply) Army handed over 4000 manuscripts to CBI which they had recovered from Golden Temple Complex. ( Mr. VK Gupta’s reply) Items recovered from Golden Temple were either handed over to SGPC and its functionaries or the Govt. treasures or to the CBI. (Mr. VK Gupta’s reply). Items handed over to CBI included (a) A total of four big bags and 72 small bags with passports and office files/documents handed over on 5th July, 1984 (b) A total of 36 big bags with passports, booklets and files/ documents were taken over by CBI on 6th July, 1984 (c) A total of 16 big bags with files, pass books, identity cards, cheque books, booklets/diaries, registers etc. were taken over by CBI on 7th July, 1984. (d) 12 bags containing files, office stationery and diaries/booklets were handed over to Shri O.S. Randhawa on 6th March, 1985 (e) (Total 56 big bags and 84 small bags) (Mr. VK Gupta’s reply) Army took away those bags to New Delhi. After scrutinizing at their end they handed over 56 big + 72 small bags to CBI at Amritsar between 5th to 7th July 1984 and 12 bags on 6th March 1985. These bags contained material taken away not only the Sikh reference Library but also the entire complex including SGPC complex. (As per DSP Shabdal Singh’s statement and also of Nanda’s statements, they had received 190 bags on 18-20 June 1984. There appears a discrepancy in these two statements.) This shows that the material was investigated and analyzed at Delhi as well as at Youth Hostel, Amritsar. (Mr. VK Gupta’s reply and DSP Shabdal Singh’s statement and also of Nanda’s statements). Sh Binod Kumar Roy (Chef Justice ) and Justice Surya Kant, the Hon’ble Judges of Punjab and Haryana High Court in their decision stated: ‘The question as to whether such articles were in fact there or not cannot be enquired appropriately in this writ proceedings. We give liberty to the petitioners to approach an appropriate forum where such an issue could be appropriately adjudicated…..’ and ‘ ….we further clarify that if Government of India has no real objection to the release of any other property claimed by petitioner no.2 to be returned to it, then it will pass an objective order expeditiously.’ Analysis of the above statements: Sikh Reference Library was not burnt during OP Blue Star. The HQ 11 Corps carried out stock taking on 13 June 1984 including that of the Library. The Documents were taken by Army to Delhi after due stock taking. Army handed over 190 bags which included 4000 books and manuscripts to CBI at Airport Amritsar on June 19-20, 1984 . Out of these a few manuscripts and Hukamnamas were handed over by S Nanda to S. Manjit Singh Calcutta.. After obtaining order of the Hon’ble High Court on 13.10.1989, 20.06.1990 and 28.12.1990 respectively, whatever was claimed by SGPC was handed over to SGPC under proper receipt. The copies of receipts filed by CBI do not account for the 4000 manuscripts and the rare books. As per the lists available the documents received are given at Annexure G (I-XVII)- 43 items which include 14 books in additions to old copies of newspapers like The Tribune, Ajit, Khalsa Samachar, Gurdwara Gazette, Gutkas, file covers and registers.. The attachments at p.3-5 have a list of 81 books, 20 Guru Granth Sahib in addition to 76 register, 23 Gutkas. p. 6-17, include bindings of Hindustsan Times,The tribune, Times of India, statesman, Patriot and Indian Express, Partap,Veer Partap, Hind Samachar, Ajeet, Veer Bharat, Akali Patrika, Navan Zaman, Illustrateed Weekly, Kaumi Dard, Milap Civil & Military Gazette etc. It also contains 185 old Beers of Sri guru Granth Sahib, and Sikh Reference Library Index Book entries from 10001 to 12581. This accounts for 95 rare books, 205 (Old Beers of Sri guru Granth Sahib) manuscripts and 1 hukamnama. Other returned included magazines and newspapers, gutkas and registers only. The register shows that 12581 books were on the Library register. As per Sikh Reference Library records 125 bags containing Sikh Reference Library books were taken by Army, out of which only 29 bags were returned i.e., 14, 17, 18, 21, 25 to 28, 31, 33, 34, 37, 38, 42, 51, 57, 73, 77, 81, 86, 87, 91, 102 to 104, 106, 108, 114. The bags which were not returned included 01 to 13, 15, 16, 19, 20, 22 to 24, 29, 30, 32, 35, 36, 39 to 41, 43 to 50, 52 to 56, 58 to 72, 74 to 76, 78 to 80, 82 to 85, 88 to 90, 93 to 101, 105, 107, 109 to 113, 115 to 125. (4 books being exception). The CBI has to give the details of the remaining manuscripts and rare books. Director CBI Bawa Harkishan Singh, DIG Rajinder Kumar, DSP Shabdal Singh and Inspector Ranjit Singh Nanda; all of CBI were the persons responsible hence must provide the answer. As per the verdict by Punjab & Haryana High Court for the items claimed and not returned earlier an order must be passed by the Government of India to pass an order expeditiously, the Government of India must pass an order immediately for the CBI to release the remaining documents for Sikh Reference Library. Hq 11 Corps must provide the list of items made during stock taking on 13 June 1984. Army HQs also must provide the list of items rare books and manuscripts it handed over to CBI. The assistance of Ex SGPC Officials S. Kulwant Singh, S Joginder Singh, S. Abinashi Singh, S Manjit Singh Calcutta, S. Anurag Singh, S Joginder Singh Duggal, S. Jaura Singha etc. S S. Satnam Singh s/o Mela Singh, must also be taken Let us first see what was in Sikh Reference Library. Sikh Reference Library consisted of 12581 rare books in addition to Handwritten Manuscripts, Hukamnamas, letters, Pattas and Sanads, old paintings and photographs and other articles like Sikh uniforms, weapons etc, out of which only 95 rare books and 205 beers have been returned. The list of books contained in Sikh Reference Library as available from the various records are as follows: Ganda Singh Secretary compiled and got printed on 19-10-1950, 4 lists of books: 1-Soochee Patar Punjabi, (Gurmukhi) Pustkan, Bhag Pahila, jo Sikh Reference Library Amritsar wich Maujud han) Sikh History Society, Amritsar Maghar 482, GN- Containing 1144 rare books including 10, Assamese 2 Bengali and 3 Sindhi Gurmukhi historical books and 158 Handwritten manuscripts. Hukumnamas & Letters- Hukamnamas 14+2 Albums of Hukamnamas- with ….Huamnamas+Letters 13+Guru Gobind Singh’s letter Photocopy 2-Sikh Reference Library Shiromani Gurdwara Pabandhak Committee, Amritsar Soochee Patar Punjabi, (Gurmukhi) Pustkan Bhag Duja containing 1265 books 152 Mnuscripts Handwritten and 68 photographs 3-Catalogue of Books Part I: List contains 670 books of English and one book in French and Maps-190 maps. 4-Catalogue of English Books Part II: List contains 364 books in English+ One book in French + and 3 maps 5. 1548 English books, one French and Gazeteer sanads (printed list no 2 page 3 of 1950) and 6. 400 English and one French books (printed list no 3 page 2 of 1950). 7. Beedan de Saroopan di list- Amritsar Sikh Reference Library vich surkhiat han, 1763 Bikrmi (1706 AD) ton pahile dian te baad dian-65 8. Saroop of Sachkhand Hazoor Sahib which have Tenth Guru’s signatures. It has all 4 sabds of so pururkh but baani of ninth guru is not included. Saroop of beed of bidhi chand of Sur Singh Nagar which is upto bilawal raag. It contains all all 4 sabds of so pururkh but baani of ninth guru is not included. Total- Rare Books 1144+1265+671+365+1548+400=5393 + Manuscripts=158+152 +65=375, Maps 193 + rare photographs=68 As per additional information, in 1968, there were 382 handwritten manuscripts pertaining to 950 subjects. In 1984 the reference library contained about 512 rare handwritten manuscripts of Sri Guru Granth Sahib including the one signed by the Sixth Guru, the one written by Bhai Gurdas and signed along with Mool Mantar by Guru Tegh Bahadur and copies of Kartarpuri Beed, and many foils of Khari Beed Samwat wise. Also included were 2 Dasam Granths, Sikhan di Bhagat Mal of 18th century. It had 44 Hukamanams of the Gurus and Mata Sahiban. Ws per the register returned 12581 rare books were on charge of the library. The Army only 29 bags were returned and remaining 131 bags are to yet be returned. As balance Manuscripts including Beeds of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Hukamnamas and rare books yet to be returned, Government of India must issue orders to CBI to return the remaining documents as per the verdict of the Hon’ble High Court.