REMEMBERING 1984: The Myths And Misconceptions About Operation Bluestar And Massacre Of Innocent Sikhs

By Gurkaran SINGH Dhillon

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

It’s the month of June, and this year is the 33rd anniversary of Operation Bluestar, when the Indian Government, under Indira Gandhi, unjustifiably invaded Siri Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple, and killed innocent people, damaged Siri Harmandir Sahib, burned the Sikh Reference Library, and stole priceless Sikh artifacts. It’s that time of year again when we mourn our losses, reflect on the past, address the present, and plan for the future.

This post is aimed at clearing up the Myths & Misconceptions about 1984. It’s important to clear up misinformation because the Indian Propaganda machine is very large, and has brainwashed a lot of people, especially Sikhs. This isn’t black and white, but is rather very complicated. No one side is perfect, and both have blood on their hands (one far more than the other), however it’s an un-doubtable fact that the Indian Government under Indira Gandhi was overall responsible for what happened, and anyone who doubts this is either trolling, bias, or intellectually deficient.

We must remain eternally vigilant, as the enemies of the Panth are everywhere, especially on the Internet. During this month’s 1984 posts, as always, if you encounter any trolls please report them immediately. When getting into debates, please be respectful and attack the argument, not the individual, and please for the love of Waheguru, do not say anything stupid or endorse violence.

These trolls want to trigger us on purpose, and create a controversy. They will literally say retarded stuff just to get a reaction out of us, and then when we do, they will use it to their advantage to show how immature we are and probably put the screenshots on some right wing Indian news site. The Mods are on standby and will take action against any and all who breach the Reddit Rehat Maryada. You have been warned.

I would also like to acknowledge that this post is not all of my own work, and a lot of parts are taken from other sources that will be referenced down below. With that being said, here are the Myths & Misconceptions about 1984:

“The Attack was a Last Resort”

The army had been preparing for the attack at least 18 months prior to June 1984 when Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale had not even moved within the Darbar Sahib complex.

“Retired Lt-General S.K Sinha, who was directly involved and a high-ranking army leader at the time, reported in the Spokesman newspaper: “The army action was not a last resort as Prime Minister Indira Gandhi would have us believe. It had been in her mind for more than 18 months. The army had begun rehearsals of a commando attack near Chakrata Cantonment in the Doon Valley, where a complete replica of the Golden Temple complex had been built.”

General S. K. Sinha further states in the same interview that towards the end of 1981, he received a call from someone in Delhi informing him of the government’s decision to attack Darbar Sahib.[15] This makes it clear that the decision to attack Darbar Sahib had been made at least two and a half years prior to execution and its preparations had begun more than 18 months prior.

General S. K. Sinha openly admits that he had advised Indira Gandhi against the operation[16]. For this, he had to pay the heavy price of forced retirement, upon which he was superseded by Indira Gandhi’s personally appointed General A.S. Vaidya who was then instructed with planning and leading Operation Blue Star.

According to a British correspondent of the ‘Sunday Times’, London the attack had been planned for months in advance with the advice from British agencies.

A British correspondent of the ‘Sunday Times’, London, noted: “Last week’s assault on the Golden Temple took place after months of preparation of the Indian army, which included advice from British experts in counter-insurgency. Sources in Delhi say that two officers of the Indian secret service, Gary Saxena and R.N. Kay, of the Research and Analysis Wing made several trips to London to seek expertise. The Indian Government then selected 600 men from different units and sent them to rehearse the assault on a life size replica of the Golden Temple, built at a secret training camp in the Chakrata Hills, about 150 miles north of Delhi. The assault troops were alerted to invade the Temple no fewer than five times during the past three months, but each time Mrs. Gandhi vetoed the invasion.[17]

How can the violent military strike be defensible on the grounds that militants were present in the temple when all the facts, including statements from high-ranking Indian Army officials, show that an attack was being planned since 1981? At this moment in time, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale or other so-called militants were not even inside the complex. In view of military preparations, no honest and true Sikh would sit around unprepared to let an enemy attack his holy place. When someone knows that his house will be attacked, he makes adequate preparations to defend it. No devout Sikh would ever tolerate or allow a military action against the very heart of Sikhi. It is an attack on the dignity, honor and prestige of the Sikhs.

According to many eyewitnesses no announcement was ever made by the army and the army also did not take any effective measure to safeguards innocent pilgrims.[23] Bhan Singh, Secretary of the SGPC who was trapped inside and was one of the survivors said:

Had the army given a warning, at least those pilgrims who had come for the Gurpurb could go out and then those persons who were simply here to participate in the Dharam Youdh Morcha could go out. But no warning was given to the people. The firing was started from all around the complex with vengeance, as if they were attacking an alien, enemy country.[24]

This makes it abundantly clear that the Indian army without giving any warning began the assault with scores of heavy artillery shells being blasted into the holy shrine. This raises serious concerns over the army’s actions in contrast to how other governments have dealt with similar situations. The Indian Government was hell-bent on the attack and preferred a conflict rather than diplomacy. Hence, the attack was by no means a last resort.

The last and most important question remains unanswered by the government proponents is to why the government chose the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, one of the most venerated holy days, as the day of the attack when thousands of Sikh pilgrims visit the holy place from Punjab as well as abroad. According to Brar, the army was ordered to move in as soon as possible otherwise it would have been too late and even harder to bring the situation under control.[25] Brar tries to give the impression that the attack was an impromptu rather than the meticulously planned and deliberated operation it was; schemed and drilled months and years in advance.

Brar’s lies and irrationality cannot explain why the government could not wait for few more days seeing as the army had already occupied the complex surroundings months earlier. His lies stand exposed in the writings of Kuldip Nayar, an Indian journalist and a member of Punjab group in 1984, who reveals that Kuldip Brar told him having received orders from the Indian government to undertake the operation 2 weeks before it actually took place.[26]

Indira Gandhi tries to give the similar impression during her television speech delivered on June 2, 1984 by saying “Don’t shed blood, shed hatred”.[27] But neither she nor any of her accomplices ever presented any evidence to prove that Jarnail Singh or Sikhs for that matter were shedding blood. It is ridiculous to make pretenses of peace and then launch a premeditated large scale army action the very next day. It is not plausible to think that the Indian government prepared for an assault of such magnitude by deploying hundreds of thousands of army men equipped with heavy artillery and tanks without even any rehearsal all within 24 hours.

The government could have conveniently chosen any other day to minimize the casualties. Instead, the army let thousands of Sikhs assemble at the holy place and then imposed curfew leaving them trapped inside to be killed in the crossfire. Dr. A. R. Darshi[28] affirms our viewpoint by stating:

The day of attack, 3rd June 1984, which was being observed as martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, was intentionally chosen by Indira Gandhi and her Hindu government mainly for two reasons. Firstly, she wanted to show indignity to the religious heritage of the Sikhs and challenge their faith. Secondly, she wanted to entrap and massacre as many Sikhs as possible because they had assembled there in large numbers.[29]

All of these points prove that the attack was planned ahead and its day and time were deliberately chosen to try and give a crushing blow to the Sikh spirit.”

“Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale Hated Hindus”

Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale did not hate Hindus. This is a misconception that is caused by taking one of his speeches out of context, and ignoring all the other relations he had with Hindus.

If he truly hated Hindus, then why did he go out of his way to help them? Why did he have an interview with a Hindu sant? Why did he take in a Hindu Girl as his own daughter? The accusation that Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale “Hated” Hindus makes no sense, and is from a cherry picked example of an out of context speech, that ignores all the other relations he had with the Hindu community.

In one of his speeches, Bhindranwale said that he demanded the release of all the innocent Sikhs who were arrested on false charges, or else he threatened to kill 5000 Hindus. Bhindranwale said this because he wanted to make a point about how the Indian Government prioritized the lives of Hindus over Sikhs, covered them more in the media, and so on. He acknowledged some people were upset that a “Sant” used this language, to which he said he never asked anyone to call him a Sant. Bhindranwale did not actually kill any Hindus, and the statement he made was a pretty obvious bluff used to demonstrate a point, and it actually worked.

“Jarnail Singh did not hate Hindus. He addressed this point in his famous speech “I do not hate Hindus” in which he narrates many examples of him helping the Hindus. We only give the summary points of the speech defending his stance.

He rescued a daughter of a Hindu named Hukam Chand from Jalalabad.

He gave 500 rupees to Kailash Chandar to get him back on his feet after his shop was caught on fire and destroyed.

In Kapurthala, a copy of Ramayana (Hindu holy book) was burnt. He spent 5000 rupees on litigation to get the culprits punished.

In April 1983, two Hindus died during “Stop the Traffic” campaign. He gave 5000 rupees to each of the families.

Complete details of the above four examples can be found in his speeches. This proves that he had no enmity for the Hindus otherwise he would not have offered any help to them. These statements are from 20 September, 1983. Many of his other passages refuting this myth can be found in his speeches.

Gurkaran SINGH Dhillon is a young Sikh activist and writer based in Vancouver. He is the son of well known Indo-Canadian photographer Sukhwant Singh Dhillon of Singh Video.

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