Operation Bluestar: Rare pictures from Express archiveshttps://indianexpress.com/photos/photo-archives/operation-blue-star-rare-pictures-from-express-archives/

Operation Bluestar: Rare pictures from Express archives

The Operation Blue Star was planned by the Indira Gandhi government in collaboration with the Indian Army. Lasting ten days, it was carried out using tanks, helicopters and artillery.

Operation Blue Star, Operation Blue Star anniversary, Golden Temple, Indira Gandhi, Indira Gandhi assassination, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, 1984 riots, Khalistan, Khalistan movement

The roots of Operation Blue Star can be traced back to the Khalistan movement which demanded a separate state for Sikhs in North West India. The movement blew into a militancy by the late 1970s and early 80s. Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a popular propagator of Sikhism, along with supporters of the Khalistan movement occupied the Akali Takht complex inside the Golden Temple campus. The main purpose of Operation Blue Star was to wipe out Bhindranwale and supporters of the Khalistan movement. (Source: Express Archives)

Operation Blue Star, Operation Blue Star anniversary, Golden Temple, Indira Gandhi, Indira Gandhi assassination, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, 1984 riots, Khalistan, Khalistan movement

The operation was planned by the Indira Gandhi government in collaboration with the Indian Army. Lasting ten days, it was carried out using tanks, helicopters and artillery. The operation was preceded by three months of preparation by commandos for "Operation Sundown", which was the original plan to remove Bhindranwale from his abode near the Golden Temple. However, Operation Sundown was dissolved by Indira Gandhi on the basis of the estimated casualties it would lead to. (Source: Express Archives)

Operation Blue Star, Operation Blue Star anniversary, Golden Temple, Indira Gandhi, Indira Gandhi assassination, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, 1984 riots, Khalistan, Khalistan movement

By May 1984, law and order in Punjab had undergone huge disruption. The murder of DIG A S Atwal in April 1983 inside the Golden temple complex came as a huge setback to the Punjab Police. In May 1984, Bhindranwale refused to reach an agreement with the Indira Gandhi government. Soon after, Indira Gandhi gave a green light to Operation Blue Star on the recommendation of Army Chief General Arun Kumar Vaidya. She was apparently under the assumption that there would be no civilian casualties involved. (Source: Express Archives)

Operation Blue Star, Operation Blue Star anniversary, Golden Temple, Indira Gandhi, Indira Gandhi assassination, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, 1984 riots, Khalistan, Khalistan movement

The operation started on June 1, 1984 and lasted till June 10, 1984. On the first day, Guru Ram Das Langar building inside the Golden Temple was in focus. This was followed by bombing inside the Golden Temple complex and further operations on buildings in the fringes of the complex. In the end, the Akali Takht complex which is considered to be the highest seat of authority by the Sikhs, was nearly destroyed. (Source: Express Archives)

Operation Blue Star, Operation Blue Star anniversary, Golden Temple, Indira Gandhi, Indira Gandhi assassination, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, 1984 riots, Khalistan, Khalistan movement

Four months after Operation Blue Star, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by one of her Sikh bodyguards. This triggered the bloody massacre of Sikhs, in what is known as the "1984 anti-Sikh riots". In August 1986, General Vaidya was assassinated as well. Recently, new reports have emerged which point to a possible UK government connection in the execution of Operation Blue Star. (Source: Express Archives)