Damdami Taksal asserts itself in dedicating memorial to Bhindranwale
Sunday, April, 28 2013 - 16:43
By Jagtar Singh-
CHANDIGARH: Much to the chagrin of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Shiromani Akali Dal President and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Damdami Taksal has asserted itself in naming the memorial raised in the Golden Temple complex to its 14th chief Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
The memorial was inaugurated yesterday at a low profile ceremony in the presence of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Avtar Singh Makkar and Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh. Sources maintain that it was kept a low key ceremony on the instructions of Badal.
It may be maintained that Badal and the Shiromani Akali Dal chief has repeatedly maintained that it would not be named after any individual and no photographs would be displayed in this memorial. It would simply be a gurdwara.
It is a gurdwara but it is named after Bhindranwale. In a subtle move, his photograph has also been displayed embossed on a wall clock.
Sources maintain that the decision to name the memorial after Sant Bhindranwale was kept as a closely guarded secret by Damdami Taksal chief Harnam Singh Dhumma. The marble plaque naming the memorial was covered with flower garlands immediately after it was pout up. Both Makkar and Jathedar Gurbachan Singh were kept in the dark about it. It came to be known only after the plaque was unveiled after the dedication ceremony.
As the BJP, the alliance partner of the Akali Dal, expressed its reservation to the move to the construction of this memorial, the state government tried to make out that it would be peace memorial in the shape of a gurdwara.
It may be mentioned that the first decision to raise this memorial had taken by the ad hoc committee of the Akali Dal at its meeting on October 7, 1984. The party forgot about it till the issue was recalled towards the end of the term of the Akali Dal government that had come to power in 1997. The SGPC too ignored its own resolution on this issue. When it was finally decided to construct it, the construction was handed over to the Damdami Taksal.
All these years, the Dal Khalsa had been demanding the construction of this memorial.
For the last several years, Dhumma and the Sant Samaj he heads had been support Badal. A mutual trust had come to be developed between Badal and Dhumma. However, Dhumma seems to have finally decided to take the risk of naming the memorial after his predecessor. He had been under attack from a section of radicals for supporting Badal. Perhaps it was his clever strategy to side with Badal toi seek his consent for constructing this memorial. This could not have been possible without Badal’s clearance as the SGPC is controlled by him.
As the memorial has finally been built, a joint statement issued by Badal and Surjit Singh Barnala immediately after Operation Bluestar can be recalled before they went to jail. It reads, “After nearly two centuries of Abdali’s invasion, Sri Akal Takht stands blasted. The Golden Temple complex is drenched with the blood of the Sikh martyrs. Delhi once again has embarked upon a pogrom of systematic and well planned genocide of the Sikh people. The whole of Punjab is under the jackboots of the Indian army and no one can get on the roads or even drive a bicycle in the whole state. Punjab is a prison house. Sikh nation is in chains”. This memorial is in the memory of those very martyrs. This statement never appeared in the press due to censorship but is now part of history.