32 years after the infamous 1984 Operation Blue Star, people are still not aware of all the facts of the operation. The Indian military Operation Blue Star was ordered by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi that started on June 3 till June 8, 1984. The motive of was to eliminate ‘extremist’ Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a leader of Sikh group and to take control of the Harmandir Sahib(Golden Temple) in Amritsar where he had taken refuge there since 1980.
Here are some facts about the Operation that you must know:
- Operation Blue Star was ordered by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi which ultimately led to the cause of her own death.
- Military Operation started on 3rd June and continued till 8th June, 1984.
- The main motive of Operation Blue Star was to eliminate Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and regain control over the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar.
- Operation Blue Star had two components: Operation Shop, which kept the curfew orders in check & capture any suspects, the second one was- Operation Metal which was confined to the Harmandir Sahib complex.
- The Indian Army was led by Lt. Gen. Kuldip Singh Brar operating under Gen. Sundarji while the Sikhs were led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and former Maj. Gen. Shabeg Singh.
- S.K.Sinha, General Officer in Commanding- Indian Army, was sacked just before the Operation Blue Star as he warned the government of the possible consequences of Operation Blue Star.
- During Operation Blue Star, a 36-hour curfew imposed on Punjab with public communication and travel services being suspended.
- The Operation Blue Star was brutally carried out by Indian Army troops with tanks, heavy artillery, helicopters, armored vehicles, chemical weapons and much more.
- The Official Operation Blue Star casualty figures by Kuldip Singh Brar were : 83 deaths and 220 injuries in the Indian Army. According to the other estimates by the Indian Government, the total number of civilians killed were 492. Many reports suggested that the casualties were over 5,000.
- It is alleged that CBI seized historical artifacts in the Sikh Reference Library, which was burned later.
- The Operation Blue Star was criticized for its no holds barred approach. During the Operation Blue Star, the media in Punjab faced a blackout and journalists were denied entry.
- Time Magazine in November 1983 described Amritsar as “These days it more closely resembles a city of death”.