June 6, 2000, AMRITSAR, India (AP) - Four human rights activists were among 20 peopledetained by police outside Sikhism's holiest shrine Tuesday when theytried to enter with pictures of separatist leaders and placards bearinganti-government slogans.

Police said they were afraid the group would try to stir up violenceduring a prayer service being held inside the Golden Temple earlyTuesday in memory of those killed during the military's storming of theshrine in 1984.

Battle tanks broke into the temple's marbled complex on June 6, 1984,and soldiers were involved in bloody gunbattles with armed Sikhseparatists holed up in the complex. The insurgency that began in 1980was largely quashed by the early 1990s.

Inside the temple complex, plainclothes policemen mingled with devoteesand relatives of the people killed in Operation Blue Star, as the armyaction was called. Outside, police frisked the devotees as they enteredthe temple's huge gates.

Armed police guarded the paths leading up to the temple located in thenorthern Indian city of Amritsar.

The prayer meeting, held to coincide with the 16th anniversary of thestorming of the temple, passed peacefully.

Giani Joginder Singh Vidhanti, the head priest of the Golden Temple,conducted the prayer service and honored the dead separatists asmartyrs.

"The martyrs of 1984 have made the community proud and have continuedthe Sikh tradition of sacrifices," he said.

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