Sikh Library To Get New Home
AMRITSAR – The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (or SGPC) has decided to spruce up the Sikh Reference Library that was destroyed during Operation Bluestar in the Golden Temple complex.
Now, it has been decided to shift it to a vacant school building near Bhai Gurdas Hall.
A repository of over 1,500 rare manuscripts including copies of the Adi Granth, Damdami Bir (dated Bikrami 1739), a number of handwritten manuscripts of the Guru Granth Sahib, and Hukmnamas, some bearing signatures of revered Sikh Gurus, and a few rare documents pertaining to India’s struggle for Independence, was badly damaged along with Akal Takht and other structures in the Army operation to flush out Sikh separatists from the shrine.
In 1984, it was alleged that the library’s contents were confiscated by the CBI and the Indian Army. Even after about three decades, what exactly happened is unclear.
While the Army maintains that the library had caught fire during the exchange of fire, the SGPC says the Army deliberately put the ‘empty library’ on fire after taking the rare material to the Youth Hostel in Amritsar, a makeshift camp office of the CBI.
The SGPC had many a time approached the Defence Ministry to recover the allegedly looted material but in vain.
“Though we have not been able to procure rare manuscripts reportedly in the possession of the Army, we still have a mammoth collection of around 60,000 books, magazines, newspapers on Sikh religion and history, besides 600 handwritten ‘saroops’ (Guru Granth Sahib) and some rare manuscripts which could be enshrined in the library,” SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar said.