‘No proof of announcement for civilians before Op Bluestar’: 33 yrs on, court orders relief for 40 Sikhs | punjab | Hindustan Times
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‘No proof of announcement for civilians before Op Bluestar’: 33 yrs on, court orders relief for 40 Sikhs

The court has directed the Centre and state government to award compensation of ₹4 lakh each to the 40 Sikhs who were kept in illegal custody and later shifted to Jodhpur, Rajasthan, for four to five years even after discharge order by a local court.

punjab Updated: May 12, 2017 00:42 IST
Surjit Singh
Operation Bluestar

On June 6, 1984, over 1,000 lives were claimed during Operation Bluestar, the raid on Sikh’s holiest shrine Golden Temple to cow down extremists led by Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale. This November 22, 1984, photo shows kar sewa (voluntary service) at the Golden Temple. (KK Chawla/HT File Photo)

In a first, a local court questioned the role of army during Operation Bluestar in a recent judgement.The court observed, “There is no evidence that army made any announcements asking ordinary civilians to leave Golden Temple complex before launching the operation in 1984.” 

The court had ordered the Punjab government to compensate 40 Sikhs who were arrested from inside the Golden Temple complex by the army and Punjab Police ‘illegally’. The victims won the legal battle after 33 years. 

The court has directed the Centre and state government to award compensation of ₹4 lakh each to the 40 Sikhs who were kept in illegal custody and later shifted to Jodhpur, Rajasthan, for four to five years even after discharge order by a local court. 

Suspected Sikh militants surrender before the army in Amritsar. (India Today Group/Getty Images)
Army men take positions from a building adjoining the Golden Temple during the operation ordered by Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister, to remove Sikh separatists who were amassing weapons in the Temple in 1984. (India Today Group/Getty Images)

The judgment by district judge Gurbir Singh raised many other questions during the hearing.  “There is no written record of any public announcement by the civil authorities requesting the people to come out the complex. No log of vehicle used for making such announcements is there,”reads the judgment.  Although, the judgment endorses the operation stating, “The main aim of the armed forces was to target militants.” “The event underlines the human rights violations by troops during the operation,” observed the court. 

Soldiers take positions outside the premises of the Golden Temple in Amritsar during the operation in 1984. (India Today Group/Getty Images)

The court stated “The plaintiff is entitled to interest on the compensation amount at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of filling the suit till today. The plaintiff is further entitled to future interest at same rate from the date of decision till actual realization of the decretal amount.”  In June 1984, around 365 persons were arrested from the Golden Temple complex. The arrested were either SGPC employees or people who had come to pay obeisance. Welcoming the Court’s order to compensate 40 Sikhs the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has stated that it is victory of truth. Badungar announced to honour advocate Bhagwant Singh Sialka legal counsel in the case.

SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar said, “Army attack on Sri Darbar Sahib and Akal Takht Sahib was inhuman and detaining innocent Sikhs was unfair. It is sorry to say that victims of state atrocities had to struggle for so long to get justice.”