Texts from Sikh Reference Library still missing

August 20, 2005 | Comments Off on Texts from Sikh Reference Library still missing

More than twenty years after Operation Bluestar and the looting of the Sikh Reference Library by the Indian Army, historic manuscripts taken by the army still have not been returned.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has often raised this issue in the past twenty years, passing a resolution every year and writing to the Central Government to return them. Despite promises by the then Defense Minister George Fernandes, the army has not returned the historic books and manuscripts.

The Sikh Reference Library was established in 1946 by the SGPC. After Operation Bluestar–the Indian Army attack on the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) complex in June 1984, which housed the library, the government claimed that the materials inside the library had been destroyed by a fire the night of June 5 that was ignited by cross-fire. However, ENSAAF’s Twenty Years of Impunity: The November 1984 Pogroms of Sikhs in India reports that:

Duggal, the librarian, insists that the library was intact when he last saw it on June 6, after the Army had gained control of the complex.  When he returned on June 14, the Army had burned the library down. (page 16)

Twenty years later, however, in April 2004, the Union government filed an affidavit in a court case acknowledging that it possessed many articles, including rare handwritten scriptures and documents, and wished to return them.  In April 2004, the High Court then disposed of the petition, ordering the government to return the materials, which has not yet occurred. (page 18) (footnotes not included)

In 2004, the Central Government ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to initiate a probe into the missing texts.


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