Amritsar — Government of India is not leaving anything to chance in view of the resolve of the Sikhs to observe commemoration week from June 411 in memory of last year’s attack on the Golden Temple in which the holy Akal Takht, the highest temporal and spiritual seat of Sikh religion, was destroyed and more than 6,000 innocent Sikhs lost their lives.
Army and paramilitary forces have been extensively deployed all over Punjab and sensitive areas are virtually under martial law. Section 144 has been imposed in the whole of Delhi forbidding assembly of more than four persons. All trains and even flights are subjected to intensive checks and rechecks. Army units are constantly patrolling and security at all vital installations has been intensified.
Thousands of Sikhs have been arrested as a precautionary measure. Five Sikh young men were arrested here and police claim to have recovered large ammunition from them. Mass arrests of Sikh youth are continuing as intelligence reports apprehend large scale violence during the “GHALUGHARA” week.
From June 17, the Sikh’s militant Akali party will observe a “martyrs” week to pay homage to Sikhs who were killed in the army attack on the religion’s holiest shrine, the Golden Temple, last June 5-6.
Sikhism was founded in the 16th century as a mystical, monotheistic alternative. to. Hinduism and Islam, but developed a militaristic tradition as Sikhs fought back against the oppression of the Moslem Mogul rulers of 17th century India.
Mrs. Gandhi was killed by two of her Sikh bodyguards on Oct. 31 last year. Hindus rioted against Sikhs for nearly a week after the assassination, leaving about 3,000 people dead.
In Chandigarh, the head of Punjab police, K. S. Dhillon, Friday urged the people not to panic and pledged the government would quash any attempt to stir up religious violence.
In the northernmost state of Kashmir, security forces were ordered to “shoot on sight” any armed people who tried to secretly cross into India from Pakistan.
The Indian government has repeatedly charged Pakistan with providing arms, training and refuge to Sikhs. The Islamabad government has denied the accusations.
In Amritsar, the Sikh holy city, 240 miles north of New Delhi, and Chandigarh, authorities ordered all theaters to close by 9 P.m. and round the clock patrolling of railway tracks and other vital installations.
Article extracted from this publication >> May 31, 1985