Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh apologizes for glorifying Jarnail Singh
Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh has issued a public apology for paying tribute to Khalistani terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. On Sunday, the veteran spinner shared an image on Instagram which glorified Bhindranwale, who was killed inside the Golden Temple during Operation Blue Star in 1984, as a martyr. The veteran spinner has apologized for the same through a post on Twitter. Here are further details.
Will never support anything that is anti-India: Harbhajan
"I am a Sikh who will fight for India and not against India. This is my unconditional apology for hurting the sentiments of my Nation. Infact, any anti-national group against my people I do not support and never will," Harbhajan wrote. "I have given my blood and sweat for this country for 20 years and will never ever support anything that is anti India."
What was Harbhajan's post about?
Posted on the 37th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, the image shared by Harbhajan begins with the caption 'Salute to the martyrs'. The text in it reads, "Heartfelt tribute to those martyred in Operation inside Shri Harmandir Sahib on June 1- June 6, 1984". The post led to outrage across social platforms as people slammed Harbhajan for his tribute to the Khalistani terrorist.
Shared the post in haste: Harbhajan
Although Harbhajan did not specify the name of Bhindranwale in his post, the latter's picture featured prominently on his Instagram story. Notably, Harbhajan clarified that the "WhatsApp forward" was posted in "haste", and he does not subscribe to the views reflected in the post.
What led to Operation Blue Star?
The Golden Temple complex (Shri Harmandir Sahib) was taken over by Sikh militants in the run up to Operation Blue Star. The militants were largely led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, an extremist. Bhindranwale was the face of the 1980s Sikh militancy that sought greater autonomy of Punjab and was linked to the Khalistan movement. The militants were responsible for several attacks across Punjab.
Indira Gandhi ordered the army to flush out the militants
It is believed that then-Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had facilitated Bhindranwale's rise who she initially viewed as a political ally against the Akali Dal. She didn't take action against him when he turned against him, even when he took refuge in the Golden Temple. When negotiations to draw Bhindranwale out of the shrine failed, Gandhi ordered the army to flush out the militants.