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No Sikh Reference Books With Us: Antony

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The Ministry of Defence has closed the chapter of the rare books of Sikh Reference Library of the Golden Temple taken away by the Army after Operation Blue Star in 1984, saying that the Army had returned the entire material to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

In reply to a question of Tarlochan Singh, Rajya Sabha member from Haryana, AK Antony, Minister of Defence, has stated: “I have been informed that after the Operation, various books/items of Sikh Reference Library (Research) and Sikh Itihas Research Board were handed over to SGPC representative by the Army. Hence, the SGPC has no claim against anyone, the Army or the government”.

However, SGPC president Avtar Singh alleged that the Defence Minister is misleading Parliament because then Defence Minister George Fernandes himself had confessed that rare books of Sikh Reference Library were yet to be returned to the SGPC.

Over 1,500 rare manuscripts, including copies of the Adi Granth, Damdami Bir (dated Bikrami 1739) and various portraits and manuscripts were destroyed during the 1984 operation at the Golden Temple.

The issue had come into the limelight when retired CBI inspector Ranjit Singh Nanda disclosed that rare manuscripts, hukamnamas, books and invaluable material of Sikh Reference Library were taken in gunny bags and big trunks to an unknown place after the Operation.

While the Army authorities maintain that the library had caught fire during exchange of fire with militants, the SGPC says that the Army deliberately put the ‘empty library’ on fire after taking the rare material away.

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‘Army, CBI had returned rare books of Sikh library’

Varinder Walia

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 23

The two letters of Dr Anurag Singh, former Director, Research, sent to Avtar Singh, president, SGPC, revealing that the Army/CBI had returned rare books/ artifacts of Sikh Reference Library, taken out after Operation Bluestar in June 1984 in seven instalments, may put the SGPC in a piquant situation.

The SGPC has been taking up the matter with the Prime Ministers for 25 years to return rare manuscripts taken after Operation Bluestar. Over 1,500 rare manuscripts, including copies of Adi Granth, Damdami Bir (dated Bikrami 1739) and portraits and manuscripts were destroyed in the operation.

The two reports of Dr Anurag Singh, sent to the SGPC president on April 14 and May 5, have mentioned that the then secretary, SGPC, and other senior officials of the committee had given a receipt to the CBI that the SGPC had no claim against anyone,Army or the government, after getting the material of the library. He rued that though the CBI/Army had returned at least 29 out of 40 hukmnamas (edicts), some bearing the signatures of Sikh Gurus, they were untraceable in the record of the committee. The Army/CBI had also returned the accession register of the library, mentioning the record of rare books/hand written manuscripts and portraits of Sikh Museum.

Giving details, Dr Anurag Singh some rare portraits of Sikh Gurus/warriors returned by the CBI are believed to be dumped in the room of the SGPC’s Curator in Sikh Museum. He claimed in the absence of curator, nobody opened the lock to have a look at the returned material.

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