As debate raged over raising of a memorial for those killed during Operation Blue Star in 1984, the SGPC, in a controversial move, honoured family members of the two assassins of General A S Vaidya
in the Golden Temple complex.
The kin of Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha, who were executed on October nine, 1992, were honoured by the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee at the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, yesterday.
The SGPC, controlled by the ruling SAD, also hailed the Gen's killers as Sikh martyrs sparking a row even as debate raged over constructing a Blue Star memorial in the holy city.
The SGPC organised an Akhand Path at the Akal Takht to mark the 20th execution anniversary of the two assassins.
The function to honour the relatives of Sukha and Jinda was presided over by SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh.
Gen Vaidya was the Chief of Army Staff when Operation Blue Star was launched by the Army to flush out militants, led by Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale, from the Golden Temple.
A number of militants, soldiers and pilgrims were killed during the Operation.
Sukha and Jinda had assassinated General Vaidya in 1986 in Pune where he had settled down after his retirement.
They were hanged in 1992 and since '93 the SGPC has been been organising their death anniversary every year on October nine and honouring their family members.
The SGPC presented shiropas (robes of honour) to Sukha’s mother Surjit Kaur and Jinda’s brother Bhupinder Singh on the occasion yesterday.
In the backdrop of the recent attack on Lt Gen (retd) K S Brar, a Blue Star veteran, in London and the widespread condemnation of it, the function this year was kept a low-key affair.
Even the media was not invited to attend the function and the news about honouring the assassins filtered the next day.
Reacting to the move, the BJP, which is sharing power with the SAD in Punjab, said the party's stand on the issue of terror was amply clear.
"We are very clear that anti-national forces cannot be encouraged," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal, a SAD MP from Bathinda, said "the state is in safe hands and there is no signs of revival of terrorism."
Union ministser Ambika Soni, a Congress MP from Punjab, said it is the duty of an elected not to something which is controversial."