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Congress, BJP decry SGPC glorification of Indira killers

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Congress, BJP decry SGPC glorification of Indira killers


NEW DELHI: Both Congress and BJP on Monday criticized the "glorification" of Indira Gandhi's assassins by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) as "martyrs to the cause of the Sikh nation," while a lone Punjab government official, the adviser to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, tried damage control.

"Eulogising the assassins of a prime minister is disturbing, dangerous and divisive," Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said. She termed the SGPC statement as "totally violative of the Constitution, bordering on treason." Her BJP counterpart Rajiv Pratap Rudi said the SGPC move was "completely unacceptable."

Denouncing the Sikh religious body's statement, Rudi said, "We have learnt that SGPC has commemorated the assassins of Indira Gandhi. We condemn this — it's completely unacceptable to us."

Natarajan said that coming from a statutory body like SGPC, the statement was shocking. She pointed out that the SGPC action not just condoned Indira's killers but also "called upon the people to take to violence and terror."

In Chandigarh, Daljeet Singh Cheema, adviser to Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, struck a cautious posture, saying, "What the SGPC has said is a religious affair of the body and the state government doesn't interfere with its functioning." At the same time, Cheema took care to add that his statement must not be construed as approval of Indira's killers.

The strong Congress reaction was understandable as the SGPC act gave the party an opportunity to revive its nationalist plank and recall the sacrifice of one of its tallest leaders to the anti-terror cause much before jihadi terrorism cast its shadow on the subcontinent.

At a time when the party is under attack from its opponents for being "soft on terror," the controversy helped it evoke Indira's death "defending the nationalist cause."

But even as the Akali Dal-led Punjab government responded charily, various Sikh organisations sought announcement of rehabilitation and financial succour to the families of Indira's assassins.

These bodies have also demanded raising a memorial to ‘Operation Bluestar', following which the former PM was shot dead by her bodyguards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh.

Speaking to TOI, chief of hardline Damdami Taksal, Harnam Singh Khalsa, said, "These people are not killers but martyrs of the Sikh nation - those who gave a fitting reply to the powers that dared attack Sikhism's sanctum sanctorum. They will always be revered by the Sikhs."

Khalsa asked the Centre to earmark funds for all those who had suffered during the decade-long "agitation" in Punjab. Echoing his views, another office-bearer of Dal Khalsa said, "Satwant, Beant and Kehar had taken revenge for the desecration of Golden Temple and Sikhs have been honouring their martyrdom." He said the girl who was engaged to Satwant Singh, married his photograph after he was hanged.

Meanwhile, the general house of SGPC, Sikh's single largest representative body, has resolved to raise a memorial to 'Operation Bluestar'.



"India Gandhi's assassins declared martyrs at Akal Takht"

Jagmohan Singh - Hoshiarpur - Daily Pioneer

January 7, 2008

Satwant Singh and Kehar, the assassins of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi were declared martyrs at Akal Takht (highest Sikh Temporal Seat here on Sunday.

On Sunday morning a special religious function was organised at Akal Takht which was attended and headed by the Jatehdar Akal Takht, Gyani Joginder Singh Vedanti.

Vedanti during the function declared Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh as martyrs of Sikh Panth as they had assassinated Indira Gandhi.

Vedanti also justified the assassination of Indira Gandhi by Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh during the religious function here on Sunday.

Satwant Singh and Kehar were hanged to death on January 6 for killing the former Prime Minister Indra Gandhi at New Delhi.

Both had killed the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for sending the Indian Army to the Golden Temple to carry out operation Blue Star in 1984.

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