Centre to share with Punjab govt concerns over Operation Blue Star memorial
Vishwa Mohan, TNN - Oct 4, 2012, 01.12PM IST
NEW DELHI: The Centre has decided to send a team of officers to Punjab to discuss the pros and cons of building a memorial inside the Golden Temple in the name of those who died in Operation Blue Star.
The Centre's move comes a day after Lt General (retired) K S Brar, who escaped an assassination attempt by suspected Khalistani militants in London this week, questioned the building of the memorial.
Lt Gen Brar had led the Operation Blue Star to flush out terrorists from the Golden Temple in June 1984 and has been on the hit-list of Khalistani militants.
A section within intelligence and security establishment views the ongoing construction of such a memorial as an attempt by some hardliners to scratch the old wounds which may only bring bitter memory of the militancy era to the new generation.
"We are seized of the matter. We will send a team of officers to Amritsar and Chandigarh to discuss the issue in the light of the concerns expressed by many people over the construction of such a memorial", said a top home ministry official.
The construction of the 18-feet memorial, which is coming up near Akal Takht — the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs — inside the Golden Temple, is expected to be completed before June 6, 2013 -- the next anniversary of the Operation Blue Star.
Expressing his concerns over the building of the memorial, Brar had on Wednesday said, "The Centre has to step in and stop it. Otherwise, we are going back to the early 1980s".
Talking to reporters in Mumbai after returning from London Brar also questioned the Centre's silence over such a serious matter.
"The Centre says it cannot intervene because this is a state subject. What state subject? If it affects national security and unity, then state subject is not a state subject. The Centre has to step in and stop it," he said.
Criticizing the decision of the Punjab government to allow construction of the memorial, Brar said that those being referred to as "martyrs" were actually "murderers, criminals and terrorists".
He was quoted by newspapers as saying, "They are not martyrs and you are honouring them, their families. The top politicians of the Akali Dal and the chief minister are attending these functions. They are not stopping it (the construction)".
He rued that no monuments were being built for police and Army personnel who lost their lives while protecting national integrity and sovereignty.