Lahore, June 7 : Keen not to mar the ongoing peace initiatives between the Governments of India and Pakistan, most Sikhs in Pakistan did their bit on June 6 (Friday) by giving a miss to the 24th anniversary of "Operation Blue Star".
According to the Daily Times, only nine Sikhs attended services at the Gurdwara Dera Sahib here on Friday to commemorate those killed by the Indian Army inside the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar on June 6, 1984.
"A 12,000-strong Sikh community lives across the country, but only nine participated in the services," the paper quoted a former member of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC), who requested not to be named.
"Sikhs show a lack of interest in any function which may spoil efforts of bilateral relation between India and Pakistan," he said, adding that Sikhs had been encouraged to participate in the services.
The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) had made arrangements to provide free accommodation and food to Sikhs who were expected to visit Gurdwara Dera Sahib in large numbers.
Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered "Operation Blue Star", which lasted from June 3 to June 6, 1984, to remove Sikh militants from Golden Temple in Amritsar. It was launched in response to a deteriorating law and order problem in the Punjab.
Militarily successful, the operation is considered to be a political disaster and an unprecedented act in modern Indian history. The military assault on the Golden Temple caused a huge uproar among Sikhs all over the world.
In India, many Sikhs resigned from armed and civil administrative offices and returned their government awards. Revenge for the desecration of the Sikh shrine was pledged by many in the community, and eventually resulted in the assassination of Gandhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards inside her residence in New Delhi. Her assassination was followed by wanton pogrom attacks on Sikhs across the length and breadth of the country by other communities. Many thousands were killed, burnt alive, raped and maimed.
Since then, at least eleven judicial commissions have been appointed to provide justice to those affected by the riots.
That the event attracted little attention 24 years on, was emphasised further by the fact that the PSGPC did not issue or release a condemnation letter against the Indian Army's attack on the Golden Temple. PSGPC caretaker president Sardar Bishon Singh was also conspicuous by his absence.
Singh told the Daily Times on telephone that he was out of the city, and refused to comment on the mourning day issue.
According to sources, the ETPB had written a letter to the head Granthi of Nankana Sahib to come to the Gurdwara Dera Sahib on June 6 and recite the Guru Granth Sahib.