Commemoration of the Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji and 33rd Anniversary of Indian attack on Golden Temple
June 11, 2017 from 1:00-4:00 pm at Civic Center, San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA—The parade in San Francisco from 1:00-4:00 pm on June 11, 2017 by the Bay Area Sikh community commemorates the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Guru of the Sikh faith and the 33rd anniversary of the Indian government’s attack on the Sikh’s holiest shrine, the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
The event is one of significant importance for the Sikh community with strong historical implications. This event shines a light on the recurring theme of human rights violations of minorities in India.
More than 10,000 Sikhs from the Bay Area, Sacramento and Central Valley are expected to attend the event. The parade highlights the fact that even after 33 years the religious and economic demands of the Sikh minority remain unaddressed and thousands of Sikhs are still sitting in jails to this day without being charged for any crime or wrong doing.
Minorities in India continue to be persecuted and the victims of Sikh genocide that occurred in Delhi and other cities after the death of Indira Gandhi are still waiting for justice.
On June 16, 1606, the then ruler of India, Mughal Emperor Jahangir, ordered that Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru to be tortured and sentenced to death after the Guru had refused to stop preaching his message of God as started by Guru Nanak. That there is one God and all creation is equal and must be treated as such. With Dignity, Justice.
The Guru was made to sit on a burning hot plate and hot sand was poured over his body. After enduring five days of unrelenting torture, Guru Arjan Dev was taken for a bath in the river. As thousands watched, he entered the river, never to be seen again.
In his lifetime, Guru Arjan accomplished two towering achievements: He successfully completed the stupendous task of compiling the Adi Granth, which is treated as the universal scripture of humanity. It not only includes the hymns of the six Sikh Gurus but also the hymns of more than twenty Hindu and Muslim saints. The Adi Granth was formally installed at the Golden Temple Amritsar during the annual gathering of the Sikhs. The Guru was responsible for initiating and the construction of Darbar Sahib, or the Golden Temple.
Accordingly, on the June 16 every year since 1606, the Sikhs commemorate the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Guru and the first Sikh martyr.
Sikh genocide code named Operation Blue Star has been listed in India’s Top 10 Political Disgraces by the country’s leading news journal, India Today. According to Joyce J. M. Pettigrew,( Please refrence the book here) “The army went into Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) not to eliminate a political figure or a political movement but to suppress the culture of a people, to attack their heart, to strike a blow to their spirit and self-confidence.”
Newspaper article of the time stated that, the operation involved six army infantry battalions and a detachment of commandos. The operation was carried out by the Indian army troops equipped with tanks, armored vehicles and helicopter gunships.
The massacre occurred from June 3-6, 1984 when the Indian army attacked the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar. In addition to Darbar Sahib, the main sanctum, the army simultaneously attacked 43 other Gurdwaras across the Punjab.
The operation aroused immense controversy, and the government’s justification for the rationale, timing and style of the attack continue to be debated today. No enquiry was ever ordered and no one was held accountable. The political ramifications of Operation Blue Star become readily apparent when one realizes that the action was planned by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi far in advanced for the occurrence.