Punjab: A ‘martyrdom’ of the past to be marked amid hopes of better future

A poster with images of slain Sikh militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and the assassins of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi — Satwant Singh, Beant Singh and Kehar Singh — in Dera Baba Nanak. (Express photo by Man Aman Singh Chhina)

JUST A few yards from the India-Pakistan border on the outskirts of the town, close to the observation point from where the gurdwara in Kartarpur in Pakistan can be seen, a poster with photographs of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and the assassins of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi — Satwant Singh, Beant Singh and Kehar Singh —is hard to miss.

Pasted on the walls of the BSF shopping complex the poster announces the observation of the 30th anniversary of the ‘Shaheedi Diwas’ (martyrdom day) of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh on June 6, the day both were executed by hanging in Tihar Jail, New Delhi.

The poster is ubiquitous in Dera Baba Nanak since the native village of Satwant Singh, Agwan, is close by. A ‘bhog’ ceremony is held every year in his and his late wife’s memory along with that of the other two Indira assassins. But this year is special with the 30th anniversary and the Kartarpur corridor coming up in the area.

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has cautioned many times in recent days that the Kartarpur corridor could be used by pro-Khalistan elements and Pakistan’s ISI to create trouble in Punjab. But here, deep in the rural heartland of the state, which was once the…

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