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Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 08, 2008
BJP leader LK Advani’s autobiography, My Country My Life, has raised another controversy. This time it is the BJP’s ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal, that has taken strong exception to some lines in his book. The prime ministerial aspirant’s suggestion that the BJP agitation against Sikh extremism influenced Indira Gandhi’s decision to order troops to storm the Golden Temple in 1984 has not gone down well with the SAD at all.

Operation Blue Star had deeply alienated the proud Sikh community, even causing desertions in some army units.

“It’s unwarranted, ill-timed and avoidable,” said senior SAD leader and former minister in the NDA government SS Dhindsa, whose party currently shares power with the BJP in Punjab.

Dhindsa said Sikhs across the world considered the eminently avoidable Operation Blue Star as a scar on their religious history. “We’ll never be able to forget the injustice done to the Sikh community in 1984. Advaniji should not have mentioned it in his book. We do not like it,” he said.

In the chapter titled, The Trauma and Triumph of Punjab, Advani wrote on page 430: “One of the major mass agitations in the history of the BJP was … against what we termed as the government’s virtual surrender before Bhindranwale and his private army, who had made the Golden Temple their operational headquarters”.

Advani went on to observe: “Indira Gandhi’s wavering policy… aggravated the problem in Punjab. With her credibility, both at home and abroad, at stake, the Prime Minister was ultimately forced to use the military to liberate the Golden Temple from its anti-national occupants.”