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Operation Bluestar: 37 yrs on, damages case still pending

Operation Bluestar: 37 yrs on, damages case still pending

SGPC to reappeal as out-of-court talks with Centre failed

The damages suit filed against the Centre for carrying out Operation Bluestar in the Golden Temple complex has failed to reach any logical conclusion even more than 37 years after the incident.

Holding the Centre liable for damage to the shrine, the SGPC is demanding Rs 1,000 crore compensation from the Delhi High Court since 1985. While a court fee of whopping Rs 10 crore was deposited in June 2013 by the SGPC, the case is still on. In 2019, the court had proposed both the parties to initiate settlement amicably outside its purview.

SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami resented that there was little outcome of the out-of-court negotiation with the Centre.

Even as no amount of money can bring succour to the loss borne by the community in the June 1984 attack, but the compensation penalty on the Centre will be its admittance that the attack on the shrine was unjustified.

“Now, we have decided to reappeal in the court for justice,” Dhami added.

He further said the Centre did not respond seriously to the court’s suggestion leading to an inordinate delay in the case settlement. “Just a couple of meetings were scheduled with the Centre’s representatives during the tenure of Gobind Singh Longowal. But there was a shortfall of any consensus as the Centre’s officials were never in a position to take a decision. All our correspondence to the Centre demanding to reach an agreement fell on deaf ears later on. We have decided to go back to the court,” he added.

As a backup plan, the SGPC has kept ready the ‘live evidence’ of the damages. As many as 147 bullet marks on the façade and sidewalls of the historic Teja Singh Samundri Hall in the Golden Temple complex have been preserved. Besides, a decrepit ‘Darshni Deodi’ (entrance to the shrine complex known as Khajana Deodi), leading to Atta Mandi near the Akal Takht, has also been kept ‘as it is’.

Lately, the bullet-ridden ‘saroop’ of Guru Granth Sahib that was enshrined in the sanctum sanctorum then, along with the particular bullet shell has also

been kept as the Operation Bluestar scar. It’s 90 ‘angs’ (pages) were conserved with special technique, but the cover still possesses the original bullet mark.

“These evidences will substantiate our claim in support of the relief petition. We also have done still photography, and digital videography of the original damage done to the buildings and the bullet marks prominently in our records,” Dhami said.
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