The topic of “Operation Bluestar” is a very controversial issue because of where the Operation took place and all the events that occured. Operation Bluestar, was the code name given by the Indian government. It was an operation to evict Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his followers from the Golden Temple. The Golden Temple is one of the most sacred places of worship for the Sikh community. It is also one of the oldest Sikh temples around. The Golden Temple is known has the Harmandir Sahib, and is located in the city of Amritsar. Many questions arise to why something like this would happen in the first place.
Bhindranwale was a Sikh fundamentalist. He was a leader of the Damdami Taksaal. The Damdami Taksaal is a Sikh religious intuition and it was founded by the tenth Sikh Guru. Bhindranwale directed the campaign of terrorism in Punjab. He was associated with the movement of an independent Sikh state. The state would have been known has “Khalistan”, but there was very little support of it in Punjab by Sikhs. Bhindranwale had been a problem for a couple of years before Operation Bluestar. He and his followers had been murdering and intimidating moderate Sikhs and Hindus. They increased the pressure on Indira Gandhi to do something about it. By this point Bhindranwale and his close followers transformed the Akal Takht, his headquarters within the Golden Temple. He had changed it to an armory and a sanctuary for terrorists, and from here he conducted his campaign. This is when Operation Bluestar comes into play. Indra Gandhi has initiated the attack on May 31, 1984 on the Golden Temple. The Golden Temple is located in the city of Amritsar and it is a sacred place of worship for the Sikh religion. Gandhi waited six months before finally ordering the army to get Bhindranwale and his followers out. Many say that Ghandi waited six month in order to build a positive public opinion about it, because it would have sparked a lot more negativity than it already did. Five days before the army entered the Golden Temple, 48 people were killed. The only way now that Gandhi could get Bhindranwale out was to use force, so she sent in the army in to the Golden Temple. The army was not prepared, because there were a lot more extremists than expected, they were also armed far better than intelligence reported. The extremists had responded to the army’s first initial call for surrender with machine guns. The operation turned into a bloody 3-day siege. 576 people were killed, 83 of them being soldiers from official count, but unofficial counts suggest that estimate to be as high as 1,000. The Operation left many scars, approximately 1,000 army members were involved and a casualty rate of one-third of four officers. Bhindranwale was found dead in the basement of the Akal Takht, along with the leader of the Sikh Student Federation, and a sacked major general of Indian Army who had reportedly trained Sikh terrorists. Gandhi had also sent the Indian army into Punjab on June 2nd, 1984, to surround thirty-eight Sikh temples that had believed to been harboring Sikh militants under the command of Bhindranwale. Throughout the sate of Punjab, Akali leaders were placed under arrest.
The generals in charge of Operation Bluestar consisted of 4 Sikhs and 2 of another cast. Their involvement did little to reduce the sense of humiliation and the anger among nearly all the Sikhs. The Golden Temple also suffered damage, the Temple is also known as the Harmandir Sahib. Both the terrorists and the army had destroyed it. The terrorists used it for gun placements and army had attacked it. The Akhal Takht suffered the most serious damage and the precious Golden Temple Library was set on fire. Almost all Sikhs were outraged by all the destruction that was caused to the Temple.
The main question that everyone has is why did Bhindranwale choose to hide in the Golden Temple...