A view of the Sikh Reference Library at Golden Temple, where Operation Bluestar was carried out in 1984..(Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)
A view of the Sikh Reference Library at Golden Temple, where Operation Bluestar was carried out in 1984..(Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)

Operation Bluestar: What happened 37 years ago

Operation Bluestar was aimed at neutralising militant Sikh preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and his band of armed supporters ensconced in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JUN 06, 2021 05:40 AM IST

It's been 37 years since the Indian Army conducted an operation to flush out militants from the Golden Temple in Amritsar, in June, 1984. Operation Bluestar had a huge impact on Indian politics in the '80s.

The military action was ordered by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The operation that was carried out between June 1 and June 8, 1984, claimed several lives and left the shrine damaged.

The operation was aimed at neutralising Sikh preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and his band of armed supporters ensconced in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.

Bhindranwale was a dominant leader who almost ran a parallel state from within the temple complex at the height of Sikh militancy.

The Sikh community was enraged by what it felt was desecration of the revered shrine, and later that year India's then-prime minister Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her own Sikh bodyguards.

The assassination triggered anti-Sikh riots in which some 3,000 people were killed, many of them on the streets of New Delhi.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) filed a 1,000 crore damages suit in 1985 related to Operation Bluestar. The case has been pending, and now on court's order, the apex Sikh religious body is set to begin negotiations with the Union government for out-of-court settlement.

The suit was filed by the SGPC, under its then president Gurcharan Singh Tohra, in the Delhi high court.

Bhagwant Singh Sialka, an advocate and general secretary of the SGPC, said that the Prime Minister will be approached first because he is the competent authority being the executive head of the state. “It was decided that a letter will be written on the issue to Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon after the anniversary of military action,” said Sialka.

SGPC honorary chief secretary Harjinder Singh Dhami said the apex Sikh body has already paid 10 crore as court fees in the case. “So, we want the case to be settled, and will start the proceedings in this regard after June 6."

Many other buildings bear the bullet marks due to the military operation carried out int he area. They have been preserved as evidence in this case.

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