View Full Version : Operation Blue Star

10-25-2004, 01:35 AM
Operation Blue Star
The Operation Blue Star (also known as the Golden Temple Massacre) (May 31, 1984) was the Indian government raid of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, a holy temple of the Sikh religion.

The temple was controlled by a group of Sikhs lead by Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. The Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered the temple to be cleared after attempts at negotiation failed. The occupiers refused to depart peacefully and a firefight ensued - with 83 soldiers and 493 occupiers killed, and many more injured. Many Sikhs believe that the number of Bhindranwale's men has been greatly exaggerated by the government. Estimates by survivors of the attack put the number of Bhindranwale's men at around 100 men.

The Punjab Police force was forbidden to go inside the Golden temple even if in pursuit of separatists. This gave Bhindranwale and his followers a sanctuary from police. Amid fears of declaration of independence by Bhindranwale and support from Pakistan, Indira Gandhi decided to send troops inside the temple. Bhindranwale declared he would die as a martyr and any military action within the temple would unite the Sikhs of India. The operation was poorly executed and the army bought in tanks in the temple to flush the militant Sikh separatists. The success in emptying the temple was marred by the damage to the temple building (especially the Akal Takht) and killing of civilian worshipers caught in the fire. Operation Blue Star led to India's bitter relations with Sikhs all over the world.

It was considered by some Sikhs as a great insult because of the use of force at their holy place. The later assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards was said to be in response. The events that followed were more horrific. Anti-Sikh riots broke out North India killing as many as 3,000 Sikhs, militancy in Punjab lasted for more than a decade in which many more Hindus and Sikhs were killed, blowing up of Air India Flight 182 was carried out by Sikh nationalists based in Canada.

10-25-2004, 02:29 AM
An excellent resource and tactical description of Operation Bluestar, complete with pics and diagrams of the op, can be found at

06-09-2005, 03:56 PM
Some quotes from investigative and media reports pertaining to the June 1984 attack on the Golden Temple are attached below:

"The whole of Punjab and especially the Golden Temple Complex, was turned into a murderous mouse trap from where people could neither escape nor could they seek succor of any kind.The way the dead bodies were disposed off adds to the suspicions regarding the number and nature of the casualties...The bodies of the victims of military operation in Punjab were unceremoniously destroyed without any attempt to identify them and hand them over to their relatives.So even the courtesy and honor customarily shown to the dead soldiers of the enemy was not shown to our dead countrymen, since those killing them were our own soldiers. Because the government had decided to exterminate these victims physically they ceased to exist as persons deserving any honor of human dignity. We lack even the civility of the British imperialists, who after the Jalianwala blood bath instituted the Hunter Commission to make a thorough enquiry into the events. The government, after the operation, on the other hand, did every thing in its power to cover up the excesses of the army action.The most disturbing thing about the entire operation was that a whole mass of men, women, and children were ordered to be killed merely on the suspicion that some terrorists were operating from the Golden Temple and other gurdwaras. There had been no judicial verdict of guilt against definite individuals who had been taking shelter in the Golden Temple." (CKC Reddy, et al, Army Action in Punjab: Prelude & Aftermath, New Delhi: Samata Era Publication, 1984, pp. 46-48)

"An undeclared, unilateral ruthless war _ against hundred of innocent defenceless men and women in far-away tiny villages of Punjab from where their voices do not reach the rest of India.In the name of curbing terrorism, unabashed state terrorism has been unleashed on the Sikhs branding them as criminals, arbitrary arrests and McCarthy style witch-hunt, sadistic torture...shooting down of young men in false encounters are common occurrences; even village women are not spared, they are being harassed and beaten up, dishonored and taken away to Police Stations or to unknown destinations.The eye witnesses witnessed the use of gas by the Army, the pile of dead bodies on the `Parikarma,' the arrival of tanks which some of them thought were the ambulances, the hovering of helicopter at night, throwing their search light on targets which were bombed, the wanton destruction of the Akal Takht (the Eternal Throne), the Research Library and the Museum.Today, it is the State itself which openly indulges not only in murder and assault but also in inhuman torture, molestation of women...and false encounters leading to gruesome death.Our visit was almost like lifting the corner of a veil to discover a face - an amazing face full of conflicting emotions, suffering yet defiant, anguished yet challenging, tortured yet proud." (Judge V M Tarkunde, et al, Oppression in Punjab: Report to the Nation, New Delhi: Citizens for Democracy, 1985, pp. 8-10, 18-19)

"The pattern in each village appears to be the same. The Army moves in during the early evening, cordons a village, and announces over loudspeakers that everyone must come out. All males between the ages of 15 and 35 are trussed and blindfolded, then taken away.Thousands have disappeared in the Punjab since the Army Operation began. The government has provided no lists of names; families don't know if sons and husbands are arrested, underground or dead." (Mary Anne Weaver, The Christian Science Monitor, October 15, 1984)

"On the strength of constitutional features, India claims to be the largest functional democracy in the world where wide-spread human rights abuses, systematic persecution of estranged communities and suppression of political dissent cannot occur. However, the experiences of the Sikhs in Punjab show that as a demonised community targeted for abuse by the authorities, they had no protection from the leaders of the supposedly independent institutions, including the judiciary, either in shielding their fundamental rights against imminent violations or in obtaining acknowledgement and legal restitution of wrongs. Freedom of discourse remained an empty promise which even the higher judiciary joined the chorus to turn the page and obliterate the victims' memory on the grounds that a public discussion and scrutiny focusing on past abuses and the role of institutions would undermine the interests of peace and social order." (Ram Narayan Kumar, et al, Reduced to Ashes (Volume One), Asia Forum for Human Rights, Kathmandu, Nepal, May 2003, pp. 75)

From: http://www.sikhstudies.org/Periodicals.asp?TtlCod=1646