AMRITSAR, Punjab, India: There is a wide spread panic among residents and shopkeepers living around the Golden Temple Complex with the lists of Landlords and tenants being drawn up and the value of the property being assessed, giving rise to the speculation that the government is reconsidering its earlier abandoned proposal to build circular road around the holy shrine in order to check the alleged inflow of arms, and freedom fighters into the Temple as well as to keep the damage of property to the minimum in the eventuality of another operation to clear the Temple.

‘The surveyors are none other than Punjab police and C.RP.F. Personnel who have been conducting the survey since Tuesday. In some cases the residents have alleged that the Punjab policemen had even advised some of them to start evacuating the houses as soon as possible and putting them in to a state of anxiety and dilemma. In fact, at least 50 shopkeepers in the Chowk Darbar and Muniaranwala market around the Temple reportedly have started shifting their goods. Sources in the intelligence department have meanwhile confirmed that the survey was being carried out with the intention of reconsidering the circular road proposal, earlier mooted following the Blue star Operation in 1984 with the idea of keeping a 42200 yards distance between the Temple and the external structures. Both C.R.P.F. and Punjab Policemen have officially declined to give the reasons for their survey to the residents but some Punjab policemen have admitted in private a circular road around the Temple was on the anvil. On the other hand none of the senior police or district officials were available for comments as they were preoccupied with Governor S.S. Ray’s daylong visit to the city,

Article extracted from this publication >> April 8, 1988