Firing in the Golden Temple complex by the guards of Longowal is unfortunate but not unexpected. After the sellout agreement in which Punjab’s vital interests were sacrificed at the altar of power politics, it was only natural for the Sikh masses, who had extended unstinted support to the Morcha and in the process paid the heaviest possible price, to express their resentment and disapproval. Longowal could not be unaware of the strong reaction that his betrayal would produce. But instead of handling the sensitive situation with the foresight of a mature statesman, he demonstrated the psychology of an arrogant street “Dada” in allowing the government provided guards to open fire inside the Golden Temple complex. The violation of holy Temple’s sanctity by Longowal’s guards is not, in any way, different from the outrageous June 84 attack of the Indian army.

Comparisons are always odious, still it would be pertinent to recall that despite much graver provocations and villainous conspiracies against Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale by “Longowal Limited,” not one of his followers ever resorted to the use of weapons or violence against fellow Sikhs inside the Temple complex. Bhindranwale preferred to vacate Nanak Niwas when his men were attacked by Longowal’s followers rather than retaliating with his far superior force. He shifted to the Akal Takht and wisely defeated Longowal’s plan of calling police to implicate Bhindranwale in the resulting criminal case.

Again even at the height of his unpopularity and amidst raging madness of 1947 communal riots, Mahatma Gandhi never allowed guards around him despite numerous threats to his life. He would face the violent protesters with his characteristic calm. Longowal on the other hand, is trying to silence the protesting Sikh majority through the “barrel of borrowed guns.”

Longowal has fallen from his exalted status of the Morcha Dictator and become a willing puppet of the government. After just one meeting with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, he has turned more loyal to him than all the Zail Singhs, Buta Singhs and Darbara Singhs put together.

Longowal has, as per the agreement, accepted the digging of SutlejYamuna Link canal. He did not pause to consider before signing the cursed agreement that Akali Dal had launched “Nehar Roko” morcha at Kapoori against the digging of SYL canal as this canal would not only take Punjab’s precious water to Haryana but also consume thousands of Punjab’s most fertile acres in providing the carrier course. What justification had he in starting the morcha, if he were to give up Punjab’s rights so readily and happily?

He seems to be exulting in his new won government patronage. It is a pity that he goes about terrorizing his own people with the help of government troops. It would really be a terrible tragedy for the already persecuted Sikh young men if “Longowal Limited” were to wield power in Punjab.

Article extracted from this publication >>  August 9, 1985