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Deccan Herald » National » Detailed Story
Bhindranwale is dead: Sikh body
From Rajesh Deol DH News Service Chandigarh:
Damdami Taksal finally put the lid on rumours that the militant leader was alive.
 
Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal which has assiduously endeavoured to keep alive the legacy of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale — the dreaded militant ideologue who inspired a wave of militancy in Punjab in the 1980s — has finally declared him a martyr.

Though Bhindranwale was killed in the 1984 Army operation in the Golden Temple, where he and his loyalist band of heavily-armed cohorts had taken shelter, the Damdami Taksal which Bhindranwale headed maintained the myth that he was alive and would return one day.

However, the Taksal itself ended on Wednesday the controversy which it stretched for nearly 21 years by electing its “acting chief” Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma as its 15th full-fledged head. He has been an acting chief so far in consonance with the Taksal’s belief that Bhindranwale, its 14th head, would return one day to assume charge.

Bhindranwale’s widow Pritam Kaur and younger son Inderjit Singh were among those who participated in the ceremony to formally install Dhumma.

The body of Bhindranwale who led the militants’ resistance against the Army action in the Golden Temple in an operation code-named Operation Bluestar had been identified by his brother Harcharan Singh Rode on June 6, 1984. However, some people perpetuated the myth that he was alive, which was extended by the Taksal. In fact, the Taksal used to hold a congregation every year to pray for his long life.

Two years ago, the Akal Takht jathedar, supreme temporal seat for the Sikhs, had declared Bhindranwale as a “martyr” in the presence of the latter’s elder son Ishar Singh. However, the Taksal authorities had refused to accept his death.

Bhindranwale’s mission

Bhindranwale had left a bloody legacy of Sikh militancy in Punjab aimed at creation of a separate Sikh state. He was widely believed to be the fountainhead and major inspiration behind the movement which claimed more than 25,000 lives in Punjab before its dissipation in the early 1990s. His fiery speeches inciting the youth to take to the gun for the “wrongs suffered by the Sikhs” and raising of a dedicated army of arm-wielding desperadoes made him a dreaded militant leader. His taking shelter in the Golden Temple, along with his armed supporters led to the controversial Operation Bluestar ordered by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
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