Amritsar: More than 80,000 Sikhs managed to reach the Golden Temple, almost equal number was stopped by paramilitary forces from entering the city, to commemorate the worst ever massacre of innocent Sikhs and destruction of the holy Akal Takht last year by the rampaging forces of Hindu imperialism. Sikhs had started assembling there from June 4 to participate in the continuous recitation of the sacred ‘bani.

 Addressing the cheering congregation, Baba Joginder Singh, convener United Shiromani Akal

Dal, exhorted Sikhs to always keep weapons and also learn to use them. He described Mrs. Indira Gandhi as the most baneful influence on the unity of India and called her ‘destroyer of modern India.’ The gathering shouted that she was a traitor and raised slogans exalting Beant Singh and Satwant Singh as great martyrs and heroes.

The proceedings of the daylong program were marked by discipline and peace and no untoward incident took place. Baba Joginder Singh said, “This will be a historic meeting and a big protest against government repression.”

He further said that “‘a person without a weapon is like a sheep led to a slaughter house. We must keep weapons. It is our constitutional right and religious duty. Our Gurus have ordained that we worship weapons.”

There were extremely tight security arrangements outside the Golden Temple. Tens of thousands of paramilitary and army soldiers were deployed in the city. There was an air of suspense, uncertainty and palpable fear in the city. The participation of so huge a number reflected Sikh courage and determination as participation could lead to death. In an atmosphere where killing of innocent Sikhs is continuing unabated and security forces open machine gun and mortar fire at the slightest pretext, it required rare courage and commitment to go to the Golden Temple for observing commemoration week and raising slogans for an independent state. Even the Temple’s main Hall was decorated with banners proclaiming, “Long live Sikh Rule,” “Power flows out of the barrel of a gun,” “No one offers Power on a platter you have to capture it.”

Article extracted from this publication >>  June 14, 1985