Amritsar: Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh on Tuesday opposed the setting up of a memorial to those killed in the Operation Blue star inside the Golden Temple complex here.

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"Punjab cannot afford such things like a Blue star memorial. The last three decades have only seen the state's economic decline," Amarinder Singh told media here, 250 from Chandigarh, on Tuesday.

He said it was "completely wrong" to set up the Operation Blue star memorial and the attempt to glorify Balwant Singh Rajoana, a Babbar Khalsa International terrorist who has been convicted and condemned to the gallows by the court for the assassination of then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh on Aug 31, 1995, was also wrong.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which manages all gurdwaras (Sikh temples) across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, had last month announced that a memorial would be set up inside the Golden Temple complex here to commemorate the 1984 Operation Blue star by the army.

The foundation stone for the Operation Blue star memorial was laid by the Sikh clergy recently.

Amarinder said: "Setting up such memorials does not send the right signals." Amarinder Singh had resigned from the Congress party in 1984 and later formed an Akali Dal after the Congress government at the centre gave the go ahead for Operation Blue star by the army to flush out heavily armed terrorists, led by radical Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, from the Golden Temple complex. The operation had led to heavy casualties on both sides.

Amarinder Singh was opposed to the Operation Blue star action. The 28th anniversary of the Operation Blue star (June 6) falls on Wednesday. He said that it was wrong to glorify Rajoana as he was involved in the murder of a chief minister. Amarinder Singh was among the Punjab leaders who had recently opposed the death penalty for Rajoana.


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