Two Indian flags were set ablaze and then stamped on during a "remembrance March and freedom rally" in Khalistani rally, London on Sunday to mark the anniversary of Operation Blue Star. The Indian high commission said it was "extremely concerned and distressed" by what happened and vowed it would take action against those who desecrated the Tricolour.
Slogans of “Khalistan Zindabad” were also raised by the khalistani supporters.
A spokesman for Metropolitan Police said he wasn't "specifically aware of any flag being burnt" and that nobody had been arrested. The officer pointed out that setting flags alight was, in any case, not a criminal offence in Britain.
Large banners celebrated Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the central figure of the armed Khalistan movement that had led to the June 1984 Army operation at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. "It is important the next generation knows about this," said a Sikh woman selling sweaters.
Jay Singh, Khalistan supporter told TOI, "Burning a flag is a minor thing compared to the people who have died at the farmers’ protests...We all have family and land back in India and they don’t have equal rights. Everyone here has family who has been picked up or gone missing in Punjab. We just want equal rights. Burning the flag is people’s emotions coming out against the establishment."
It is to be noted that on 37th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, the Indian military action carried out to remove Khalistani separatist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was hiding inside the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, his pictures have been spotted inside the temple complex.
Akal Takht head and SGPC justifies Pro-Khalistan slogans
The sloganeering of “Khalistan Zindabad is also defended by Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Chief.
The five-day event which began with putting the bullet-hit Bir of Guru Granth Sahib on display ended with chants like ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ by a section of Sikh hardliners.
“This is a deep wound on Sikhs, which gives pain throughout the year. On its anniversary, we reduce this pain by uttering ‘Khalistan Zindabad’. It can never be forgotten. It will be part of our memory forever,” said Jathedar on the anniversary of Operation Bluestar.
However, this wasn’t the first time that a demand for Khalistan was raised from the event. While addressing the occasion last year, the Jathedar had stated that every Sikh wished for a Khalistan and if the government offers them a separate nation, “they will accept it happily”
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Bibi Jagir Kaur said, “This is an expression of the Sikh youth’s ‘josh’ (vehemence). As Singh Sahib (Jathedar) stated the youngsters demonstrated their sentiments and healed their pain on the occasion.”
The Jathedar also honoured Ishar Singh, son of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
Former cricketer Harbhajan Singh glorifies Bhindranwale
Harbhajan Singh hailed Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as a ‘Shaheed’ and wrote ‘Shaheeda nu Pranam’ in his Instagram story.
The instagram says, “Live with pride, die for the religion.” He paid tribute to the terrorists on the 37th anniversary of Operation Blue Star. It features Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale at the center wearing a blue turban.