Sikhs demand declassification of Operation Bluestar documents

03 June 2014

Three decades after the Indian Army stormed into the Golden Temple in Amritsar to flush out militants holed up in the holy Sikh shrine, various Sikh organisations and intellectuals, including radicals, have sought a declassification of secret documents related to the Army action, code named Operation Bluestar, as they feel it necessary to sooth the wounds created by the unexpected action.

Senior professor in Guru Nanak Dev University, Kuldeep Singh, said there were certain things which travel from one generation to another and 1984 could not be forgotten as it was something that happened to Sikhs in independent India.

He said it was unfortunate that in India information on Operation Bluestar was being given by a third country (meaning the UK).

Kanwarpal Singh, spokesperson of Dal Khalsa, a Sikh radical organisation, said that 30 years had passed but the wounds were still simmering as they were deep inside. He said the Operation Bluestar had collectively hurt the Sikh psyche and justice had not been delivered as yet.

He demanded that the newly elected BJP government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi return all the Sikh artifacts, which were taken away from Sikh Reference Library during Operation Bluestar.

He also sought intervention of UN and international community for justice.

This year (3-8 June) marks the 30th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, which caused a chain of events - forever altering India's political course and leaving a permanent scar in the psyche of the Sikh community.

Operation Bluestar was ordered by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the height of the Sikh militant struggle for a separate state (Khalistan) to flush out armed militants led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale from the Golden Temple.

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

The assassination triggered anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and other places in which some 3,000 people were killed, many of them on the streets of New Delhi.
By the mid-1990s, demands for Khalistan were fading away, although the anniversary of the raid is still observed every year with protests, especially in Punjab.

Thirty years later, support for such a homeland is all but dead, with Sikhs, particularly younger ones, more interested in jobs than a separate nation, according to experts.

The scars left by Operation Bluestar, however, remain deep in the minds of Sikhs.

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