What is Operation Blue Star?

The operation resulted in the death of Bhindranwale and a high casualty figure among the army, civilians and militants. The assault on Golden Temple was heavily criticised by Sikhs worldwide and had led to several Sikhs resigning from administrative positions.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published:June 6, 2017 3:43 pm
Operation Blue star, Operation Blue Star anniversary, what is operation blue star, Indira Gandhi, 1984 riots, Anti-sikh riots, Indian Express Once Bhindranwale had fortified the Golden Temple and its surrounding areas, Indira Gandhi decided to consult the Indian army regarding the plan to drive him out. Express archive photo by Swadesh Talwar

First week of June, 1984 was a significant moment in India’s political history. Under the orders of the then prime minister, Indira Gandhi, the Indian military stormed into the premises of the Golden Temple in Amritsar to drive out the Sikh extremist religious leader, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his armed followers. Bhindranwale in the past two years, had made his political claims very clear. He wanted the Indian government to pass the Anandpur Resolution, and thereby agree to the formation of a separate state of Khalistan for Sikhs. Since 1982, the radical leader of Sikhism had managed to gain enough support for his cause and by mid-1983 had set up a base inside the Golden Temple complex, with ammunition and his followers. The Operation Blue Star was launched between June 1 and June 6, 1984 with the aim of getting rid of Bhindranwale and his demands.

Once Bhindranwale had fortified the Golden Temple and its surrounding areas, Indira Gandhi decided to consult the Indian army regarding the plan to drive him out. Given the religious sentiments attached to the Gurudwara and the casualty that could be expected, the then Army Vice-Chief, Lt. Gen. S.K.Sinha had advised against an assault. Soon after however, he was replaced by General Arun Shridhar Vaidya as Chief of the Indian Army, who went on to plan and lead Operation Blue Star.

The Indian Army launched the offensive on the night of June 2, and on June 3 a curfew was imposed on the state of Punjab, and all lines of communication and travel were stopped. The operation resulted in the death of Bhindranwale and a high casualty figure among the army, the civilians and the militants. The assault on Golden Temple was heavily criticised by Sikhs worldwide and had led to several Sikhs resigning from administrative positions. Few months post-Operation Blue Star, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards, followed by severe anti-Sikh riots in Delhi.

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    Iqbal S. Dhillon
    Jun 7, 2017 at 5:41 am
    What kind of yellow journalism is this? Can you research and at least be truthful in reportI got? Or everybody in India is for or have to tow the government line. Andapur Sahib Resolution never asked for separate state or Kahlistan for that matter. Majority the demands were for people of Punjab and not just the Sikhs except the demand radio transmission from Shri Darbar Sahib and the declaring the Amritsar a holy city thus banning the of liquor and cigarettes etc. Have some decency in your reporting or call it propa a paper and not a news paper.
    Reply
    1. R
      Rocky
      Jun 6, 2017 at 10:10 pm
      Whether it is Golden Temple or any other place of worship for any religion, it can't be allowed to become a shelter for armed gangs. Even stan had to act against them in Lal Masjid. Yes, quite a few innocents were caught in the ensuing conflagration. In the interest of a much wider good, the cost was worth it. Those who criticize the operation need to propose alternate solutions available at that time. Expat Sikhs are thoroughly misguided in funding continuing bloodshed in their own homeland.
      Reply
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        Arvind Singh
        Jun 7, 2017 at 1:49 am
        These are the same "armed gangs" who rescued your g mothers from the Mughal, Afghan, and stani marauders. That time they were your savior .. now you dare to call them "armed gangs". The Sikhs have always carried weapons at Akaal Takht and will continue to do so .. governments and the rulers of time may come and go.
        Reply
      2. V
        Vivek
        Jun 6, 2017 at 9:20 pm
        Indian express always tries to instigate. Even this
        Reply
        1. K
          Kamal Pasha
          Jun 6, 2017 at 8:18 pm
          Sikhs must start protest against Indian government like Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, am and many more for Khalistan as you are treated inferior by the Hindus.
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            Neeraj Bhart
            Jun 6, 2017 at 6:27 pm
            Use Brutal force who speak against your wishes, Never ended story.
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            1. R
              Rakesh Chaubey
              Jun 6, 2017 at 6:21 pm
              Grammatically incorrect. What WAS Operation Blue Star? Operation Blue Star was carried out to prevent the ISISization of the Sikh faith. A lot of Canadian Expatriate Sikhs had been egged on by stanis to push this initiative. It was an ugly but , in hindsight, necessary operation. The dignity, beauty and the message that is symbolized by Harmandir Sahib has been restored. There was a fallout which resulted in the assination of Indira hi and the riots (centered mostly around Delhi), but both the Sikh and Hindu communities have been able to heal the wounds and treat it as an unfortunate chapter in history where brothers were pitted against each other due to instigation by outsiders. Today the Sikh has the respect of the 'first son' among the Hindu community. Sat Sri Akal, jo bole so Nihal.
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              1. K
                Karambir Singh
                Jun 6, 2017 at 9:22 pm
                Sorry but the wounds of sikhs are still afresh here because indian govt has not apoplogised for op bluestar or 1984 tiots and neither has punished any riot culprit. Talking about radicalistaion,bhindrawale never demanded khalistan.he wantes anandpur act to implement for the welfare of punjabis(read abt tht on internet).He said that foundation of khalistan will be there if golden temple was attacted and which happnd N if indian army target was to catch him,why did army attacted 40 gurdwaras in punjab n killed devotees everywhere If terrorists entred taj in mumbai ,would u destroy w taj hotel...No just coz other people are also there and its heritage property So why didnt govrnment think about that in amritsar
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                1. S
                  Subspan Raman
                  Jun 6, 2017 at 10:01 pm
                  What about the hundreds of innocents these terrorists killed? For you information you cannot hide murderers in the inner sanctum and think that it is still pure. There will be no theocracy in India. The problem with terrorists is that though their numbers are very small, they terrorise those who oppose them into silence, projecting the image that they speak for all. What is your thoughts on the Air India bombing by Khalistani terrorists in Canada? What does your religion say on this? The sight of dead babies being retrieved from the sea was heart breaking. But I guess only humans can understand that.
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                  Arvind Singh
                  Jun 7, 2017 at 1:53 am
                  Chaubey sahib, while I agree with you statements about Sikhs in general but disagree with you on Operation Bluestar. This single event was designed yo create wedge between Hindus and Sikhs and succeeded in alienating the most patriotic community of India and labelled them all as "extremists" and "terrorists". Ultimately it failed in its design to divide Hindus and Sikhs and resulted in the deaths of its instigators. Note that hundreds of Gurdwaras were torched in Congrestani-led genocide but not a single Hindu temple was harmed in Punjab in response.
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                3. T
                  TIHAEwale
                  Jun 6, 2017 at 4:50 pm
                  this news item was not required at all
                  Reply
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