No Sikh reference books with us: Antony

SRLThe 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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