Indian Army’s attack on Darbar Sahib: the Untold Story Part 1 of 3

Posted by Admin On Friday, 7 June 2013 3 comments
by Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer
Why did Indira Gandhi attack Darbar Sahib ?
The Background
Although Indira Gandhi had re-captured power from the Janta Party Alliance and had become P.M. again on the 14th of January 1980, but she knew that she had won those elections due to negative votes cast by voters against the Janta Party’s infighting; and, now, she had no new agenda for the next elections and about half of the term of Lok Sabha had passed, so she began thinking over several fronts; first she deliberated upon using the Tamil issue (in Sri Lanka) but it would not have yielded her much gains because it would have affected only Tamil or at the most Dravid votes, most of which were already with her, especially when the B.J.P. was her main opposition the South would support her because of its (South’s) clash with north on the issue of language and culture. Hence, to capture a high chunk of north Indian votes she (Indira Gandhi) needed to show something startling; hence she decided to use the Sikh card; and, for this purpose, she had to outstrip the B.J.P. and other fundamentalist and fanatic Hindu organisations to ensure the Hindus that ‘only the Congress can safeguard the interests of the Hindus’; this she could have achieved only by first establishing the Sikhs as ‘enemies of the Hindus as well as India’ and then by crushing them with all might.
With all this in her mind, Indira Gandhi decided to use the Indian Army, the R.A.W. (the Indian intelligence network), the I.B. (Intelligence Bureau) and all the media for an all out attack on the Sikhs.
Under this move Indira Gandhi decided to attack on the very heart of Sikhism i.e. Darbar Sahib Amritsar; she wanted to teach the Sikhs such a lesson that, what to talk of demanding their rights, they should never be able to raise their heads as honourable people; it included mass killings, desecration of their shrines, destruction of their archives, libraries and museums, their history and heritage; to create a permanent physical, social and psychological awe in their minds to make them realise that they had no pride, no civic, religious or human rights; and they were slaves and third rate beings (not humans).
Preparing Ground for invasion
To execute this agenda, Indira Gandhi decided to first create hatred in the mind of the Hindus in order to get their full-fledged support for herself and for her actions as well as disdain for the Sikhs; hence she had to present the Sikhs as criminals, killers of the Hindus, fanatics, fundamentalists and ferocious persons; and, on the other hand, to present the Hindus, especially of the Punjab as innocent people and peaceful citizens and victims of terrorism. To achieve this agenda she had to unite all the Hindu fanatics under one umbrella and one slogan: ‘hate the Sikhs, they are traitors, they are enemies of the Hindus, they are danger to the sovereignty of the country.’
Indira’s next move was to use all the media, Indian as well as foreign, by provoking or/and by bribing them, through national and international political manoeuvring and even through commercial publicity agencies; and it was a part of her strategy that the Sikhs should not be able to get international support or sympathy and they should rather be presented as ‘Sikh terrorists’ and not militants or Khalistanis or freedom fighters, or victims of state terrorism. She sent missions, she financed journalists and news agencies, she held dinner
parties to the media folk and sent precious gifts to writers, journalists and press correspondents; and, through her own official and national media she launched an all out war against the Sikhs.
The next move was to create differences and dissension, conflict and rebellion among the Sikh organisations so that they should point out their guns towards each other; this could have been doubly useful: firstly, a civil war among the Sikhs leading to destruction or at least major losses and a state of standstill in their struggle; and, secondly it would become an excuse to pounce upon them in many a way.
With this colossal plan, she entrusted job to the RAW and she began seeking help from the Russian K.G.B., the Israeli MOSSAD, the American C.I.A. and the British intelligence; none of them, perhaps, knew that she was in touch with the others and/or she was using all of them.
At home front Indira Gandhi did not fully trust the R.A.W and/or the I.B., hence she created a new agency under the code name Third Agency; she herself was the in charge of this ‘Agency’; her son Rajiv Gandhi and Arun Nehru were her main advisors;1 all the plan regarding the Punjab had been chalked out and executed by this Third Agency;2it had three main objectives: (1) to clinch the Hindu votes in the rest of the country by giving the Sikh community a punch on the nose; (2) to take the wind out of the Opposition’s sail by doing exactly what they had been saying the Government should do: ‘attack Darbar Sahib’; (3) to test the efficiency of a Third Intelligence Agency camouflaged by a blundering R.A.W. and inefficient I.B.3 According to Surya, three things prove the total involvement of the Government and its intelligence network in the Punjab operation: (1) all the senior intelligence officers serving in the Punjab, Rajasthan, J & K sector during the Akali agitation have either been promoted, recommended for a police medal or sent abroad; (2) most of the arms that were found in the Darbar Sahib, in 1984, had been smuggled into the country through Rajasthan under the actual supervision and/or connivance of a RAW officer; (3) S.K. Tripathi, in charge of RAW at Amritsar, from mid 1982 to the 3rd of May 1984, had sent a coded telegram to Delhi with details of an impending attack on more than 40 railway stations in the Punjab – and the Government chose nothing to do about it. Surya asserts that the ‘Third Agency’ was formed only to aid the Congress Party (Indira Gandhi) in its election campaign4 (to use the Sikh card).
“The Third Agency had its office at Bikaner House, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi; to camouflage it a Board bearing the nomenclature ‘Cabinet Secretariat (Security) was hung at the gate of its office. This ‘Agency’ was masterminded by R.N. Kao (Chief Security Advisor to Indira Gandhi); other important organisers included: N.F. Santook (former chief of the RAW), G.C. Saxena (later chief of RAW), and R. Shankaran Nair (Director P.M.’s Secretariat) etc.”5 H. S. Kriplani (a RAW man) who was expert in planning secret murders, was made in charge of the Punjab and was given charge of clandestine assassinations in the Punjab; he was also assigned the job of ‘gun smuggling operations’; Rabinder Ohri (Assistant Director RAW) operated from Rajasthan and coordinated with H.S. Kriplani (in smuggling of weapons); later, W.N.B. Rao (another Assistant Director RAW) took over from Ohri; after this R.N. Gupta (Assistant Director RAW) replaced Rao and supervised operations in Rajasthan; he remained on this ‘job’ till December 1983. Similarly, A.I. Vasuvada (another RAW officer) remained the in charge of Amritsar till summer of 1982; it was he who master-minded the action at Chowk Mehta on the 20th of September 1981 (it was carried through Awtar Singh Atwal, D.I.G. Punjab Police, which led to killing of several Sikhs); in 1982 he was replaced by S.K. Tripathi who planned murders of the Hindus as well as burning of 47 railway stations; after accomplishing his ‘job’ he returned to Delhi on the 3rd of May 1984.6 Another remarkable feature of these operations was that she frequently transferred the ‘Third Agency’ officers in the Punjab so that none should have complete picture of her plan; even
the Governors of the Punjab were transferred with short intervals; Jai Sukh Lal Hathi remained Governor till August 1981; his successor Amin-ud-Din was replaced in April 1982; he was succeeded by Chenna Reddy and then A.P. Sharma, the last to be replaced by her most confident man B.D. Pandey (in August 1983) who remained in office up to the 28th of June 1984. The chiefs of the Punjab Police too were replaced with the extra-ordinary speed: Birbal Nath was succeeded by C.K. Sahni who was replaced by Indira Gandhi’s favourite man Pritam Singh Bhinder who remained in office up to the attack on Darbar Sahib (later he was replaced by K.S. Dhillon).7
Now, Indira Gandhi began preparations for attack on Darbar Sahib; but before this invasion she began another era of violence. Her ‘Third Agency’ created atmosphere for multi-way violence: (1) Killings by the Police and the C.R.P.F., (2) Killings of the Sikhs in Haryana (under patronage of Bhajan Lal, the then chief minister of Haryana); (3) Terrorist actions by fanatic Hindus terrorist groups (4) Clandestine murders; and on the other side (1) provoke and promote demonstrations and disturbances in the name of the Akalis; (2) create situation to make Sikh leaders issue aggressive and provocative statements; (3) manoeuvre promotion of disdain and enmity among various Sikh groups, both political and militants; (4) clandestine killings of the militants to be attributed to the Akalis or rival militant groups: i.e. the state of ushering civil war among the Sikhs; hence chaos in the Sikh world.
The Indian Army assigned job of attack on Darbar Sahib
In the summer of 1983, Indira Gandhi asked Lt General S. K. Sinha, then vice-chief of the Indian Army to prepare a position paper for an assault on Darbar Sahib; but, when he strongly advised her against taking such a step;8 as a result he was transferred to Army Headquarters; later, he chose to seek pre-mature retirement. Now Arun Shridhar Vaidya was appointed the Chief of Army with Lt. General Krishna Swamy Sunderji (General Officer Commander in chief of the Western Command) as vice Chief. In September 1983, Indira Gandhi asked Vaidya and Sunderji to prepare a position paper for an attack on Darbar sahib and he agreed immediately; it (position paper) was ready by the end of December 1983; Indira Gandhi studied it for two weeks and, on the Indian Army Day, on the 15th of January 1984, she gave final instructions to General Sunderji to make preparations for attack.9
In the third week of January 1984, a commando force of 600 soldiers was selected from different units of the Indian Army; they were sent to make rehearsals for an assault on Darbar Sahib Complex, and, for this purpose a life size replica of the Darbar Sahib complex was built in the hills of Chakrata (near Dehradun), about 240 kilometres from Delhi. In January 1984, after accomplishment of the mission of practice of mock attack on Darbar Sahib Complex, Indira Gandhi was briefed about the completion of the preparations for attack; between February and May 1984 Indira Gandhi alerted the Army three times but each time she vetoed the invasion; ‘a case of nerves’ as per a senior aide.10
As mentioned in the previous chapter, the Third Agency had escalated violence in the Punjab in order to justify an attack on Darbar Sahib; in 1981 there occurred just 28 incidents of violence in the Punjab, in 1982 the number was just 33; in 1983 when the Third Agency began its action for final round the number of incidents of violence rose to 138 but after this when the Commandos had completed their mock battle in Chakrata hill, number of incidents of violence began rising, and, just in five month (from the 27th of January to the 2nd of June 1984) 364 incidents of violence took place; of these 22 occurred in the first two days of June although the army had already taken positions in the Punjab on the 31st of May; even out of the incidents 90% were of frivolous nature hence of no significance; after Indira Gandhi gave the first order (which was postponed) to attack Darbar Sahib, incidents of violence increased with high speed so that attack on Darbar Sahib may be fully justified. Thus the activities of
the Third Agency and political manoeuvring of Indira Gandhi outwitted not only hazy minded Akalis but also the Hindus and the other political Parties. Indira Gandhi never disclosed her hidden aims, all this time. Indira Gandhi Government kept on repeating that Armed Forces will not enter Golden Temple Complex.11
Though Indira Gandhi had made all preparations for attack on Darbar Sahib but as a drama she continued having dialogue with the Akalis; she had performed this ‘drama’ several times earlier too; during Tri-Party Talks ‘three times in six months an agreement was reached and three times she backed out’; she again backed out when Swaran Singh tried to mediate; she uses dilly-dallying tactics when the ‘Punjabi Group’12 came up with a ‘formula’ in April 1984; in fact ‘Mrs Gandhi had other intentions’;13 even Ravinder Singh Ravi, a professor of Punjabi University, tried to mediate; his efforts too met with almost similar treatment; none of them knew that Indira Gandhi was just playing drama of negotiations, she had already planned to attack Darbar Sahib and cash the Sikh Card to capture a big junk of Hindu votes.14
The last drama of show of negotiations with the Akalis was played from March to May 1984; the Akali leaders met the Government delegations on the 27th, 28th and 29th of March, on the 21st of April and on the 26th of May,15 the last meeting took place on the 27th of May 1984;16 in the final meeting an agreement was reached with the Akalis and they were told that the same will be ‘announced after getting approval from Madam’; in fact this was just a drama because on that day (the 27th of May) orders had already been issued to the Indian Army to proceed towards Amritsar (an advance party of the Indian Army had taken positions around Darbar Sahib on the 30th of May).
On one hand Indira Gandhi had dispatched orders on the other hand a message was sent to the Akalis that ‘Madam’ had not approved the agreement; at this the Akalis announced that if their demand were not accepted by the 2nd of June 1984, they will launch a Non-cooperation Movement from the 3rd of June; however, the Intelligence Bureau, the Government, almost everyone knew that the Akalis won’t launch any such Movement, they will just continue holding demonstrations and rallies and court arrests.
Before finally attacking Darbar Sahib, Indira Gandhi had prepared ground; a mutual distrust had already been created between the Sikhs and the Hindus; the Sikhs were been projected as anti Hindu, killers of Hindus, as well as separatist, Khalistanis, anti-nationalists, ‘agents of Pakistan’, traitors, extremists (attvaadi/ dahishatgarad), fundamentalist, fanatics etc. The Government media, the A.I.R., T.V. were presenting the militants as the ‘Sikh terrorists’; and this hate-propaganda was so aggressive that not only the B.J.P.17 but even the other non-communal Opposition Parties, including both Communist Parties, vied each other in condemning and denigrating Sikhs and demanding a military action against Bhindranwala particularly and Darbar Sahib generally; Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani, Chowdhry Charan Sinh,18 Shiv Sena, Hindu Suraksha Samiti, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Brigade, Vishav Hindu Prishad, Arya Samaj all spoke in the same language; they were so ignorant that they could not read the mind of the notorious and mischievous woman; it is surprising that Harkishan Surjeet (of the C.P.M.), too sailed in the same boat in spite of the fact that he himself had been a part and parcel of negotiating team and he knew that it was Indira Gandhi who was the real culprit as she did not want a political solution and she had ‘other intentions.’
Execution of attack on Darbar Sahib
Army takes over the reins of the Punjab
Indira Gandhi issued orders for attack on Darbar Sahib under the code name of ‘Operation Blue Star’; on the 27th of May 1984 the troops left for Amritsar by rail, road and even by air; five Corps of Army (the 1st, the 2nd, the 10th, the 11th, and the 15th) had reached the Punjab on the 30th of May and the Army was still on the move. On the 31st of May, a meeting of the operating generals was held at Chandimandir (near Chandigarh) at the headquarters of ‘Core 2’ unit of the Indian Army; it was attended by officers of the Army, Air Force and Navy which included Lt. General K. Sunderji, K.S. Brar, R.S. Dyal and others; Sunderji had been Commander of a regiment in the Indo-Pak War of 1965, R.S. Dyal had been a Major of a Parachute Regiment in the same War. This meeting discussed and planned to attack and occupy Darbar Sahib in just 24 hours; the whole ‘action’ was broadly divided into two parts: attack on Darbar Sahib (under code ‘Operation Blue Star’) and sealing of border between India and Pakistan (‘Operation Wood Rose’); operation of the sealing of the border was assigned to 11 Core Unit, Lt. General K. Gauri Shankar was the chief of this ‘Operation’.
The advanced unit of commandos had already taken positions around Darbar Sahib, right in the evening of the 30th of May. Although secret agents and the intelligence network of the Government had already given almost complete picture of the inside of the Darbar Sahib Complex but still, on the 1st of June, Major General K. S. Brar, Captain Jasbir Raina, Lt. Colonel K. S. Randhawa, Brigadier D. V. Rao and Colonel Fernandes (who had reached Amritsar early in the morning of the 1st of June) went into the Darbar Sahib in plain clothes and had a round of the whole of the Complex to assess fortification.
On the 1st of June 1984, the C.R.P.F. and the B.S.F. which had taken positions on all the tall buildings around Darbar Sahib since long,19 suddenly began firing at Darbar Sahib without giving any warning; it was, in fact, an attempt to provoke the militants to retaliate, which would have given a chance to the Indian Army to assess which weapons did they have, what was the standard of their strength, where were their posts from which they could have attacked the Army. On the other hand, General Subeg Singh, commander of all the operations of the miltants, understood the strategy of the Indian Army; hence he gave orders not to give any reaction. This firing continued for more than five hours (12.40 noon to 7 p.m.), killing 8 Sikh devotees including a woman and a child) and wounding more than 25;20 the central building of Darbar Sahib itself had been hit by bullets where there were at least 34 bullet marks.21When the firing was going on, Harchand Singh Longowal, President of Akali Dal, tried to contact Zail Singh, the President of India, but in spite of making several telephone calls, Zail Singh could not be reached; all the time Zail’s Secretary kept on saying that he was not available; in fact Zail was avoiding22 because he knew all about the plan of the attack on Darbar Sahib and the firing of the 1st of June was a part of that. Meanwhile, Longowal succeeded in contacting B.D. Pandey, the Governor of the Punjab, who confessed that he won’t be able to do anything because ‘the orders were coming straight from New Delhi’.23This action was repeated on the 2nd of June 1984 when 32 bullets hit the building of Akal Takht from its backside; here too, the army wanted to test the reactions of the Sikh militants in order to know their positions from where they would be firing in situation of an attack by the Army.
Preparations by the defenders of Darbar Sahib
The conspiracy to attack Darbar Sahib had been chalked out in the summer of 1983 and this planning had been leaked out to General Subeg Singh; he discussed the same with Baba Jarnail Singh; at first the latter resolved to leave Darbar Sahib and offer his arrest (as he had done in Chowk Mehta on the 20th of September 1981) in order to Save Darbar Sahib from military attack but then General Subeg Singh told him that the conspiracy to attack was not simply due to him and rather it was with an intention to ‘teach a lesson to the Sikhs’; at this Baba Jarnail Singh decided that the Indian Army should also ‘be taught a lesson as per Sikh traditions’ and the Indian Army should be given a fight like that of the 1st of December 1764 when 30 Sikhs fought against 30000 Durrani and Baloch soldiers at the same site. After this, General Subeg Singh had begun making preparations for combating the invading Indian forces. General Subeg Singh was an expert of guerrilla war; he had achieved great success in 1971 when the Indian Army fought a guerrilla war against the Pakistani Army in the battle of Bangla Desh; hence he knew how to stop advances of the enemy forces; thus he planned to give such a fight to the Indian Army that would be known as the greatest battle of resistance in the history of the world. But, Bhindranwala had just a few Sikh youth, most of them had never touched even a gun; but all of them were ready to sacrifice their lives for preserving the honour of Darbar Sahib and the Sikh Panth (and they proved what General Subeg Singh said; the battle of Darbar Sahib will be ‘the greatest battle of resistance in the history of the world’).
Truth is that General Subeg Singh was ‘real hero of the war of Bangla Desh’ though the credit went to General Arora because the latter was chief of the Army at that time; and, General Subeg Singh was the real hero of the battle of June 1984 too.
Indira Gandhi’s broadcast from the A.I.R.:
Though Indira Gandhi had ordered attack on Darbar Sahib but she was scared; right from the 27th of May 1984, when she had signed final orders, she had been nervous, her behaviour had turned queer, her voice choked all these days; during this period she had called a closed-door meeting of Congress activists from all over India, and, on the 2nd of June 1984, “when she walked up to the platform she appeared to be limping; her shoulders were hunched; she looked dishevelled; her face was drawn; she choked as she spoke; it looked like if someone in her family had died”.24
A few hours later, in the late hours of the evening of the 2nd of June, Indira Gandhi made an unscheduled broadcast from the A.I.R.; in her broadcast she blamed the Akalis for not having reached agreement (which was a lie as it was she who backed out at least three times); she stated that she had accepted all the demands of the Akalis i.e. sale of tobacco, liquor and meat had been banned in demarcated area in the walled city of Amritsar (this too was lie), consultations were being made for an All India Gurdwara Act (this was just a gossip), a Tribunal headed by a Supreme Court Judge was being constituted to decide distribution of water dispute (the Akalis had demanded that the case should be decided by the Supreme Court and not a Tribunal, but, she did not trust the Supreme Court), a Commission was being appointed to decide the issue of Chandigarh, Abohar, Fazilka and other Punjabi or Hindi speaking areas (this was a blatant lie), Sarkaria Commission has been appointed to submit its report on Centre-State relations (only this part was true; but Sarkaria Commission had been appointed on the 24th of March 1983 i.e. more than 14 months earlier). She said that the Government had accepted their demands but they were raising fresh demands all the time (this too was a lie), and, they have announced launching of a non cooperation Movement from the 3rd of June. In the end she played another drama by saying: ‘Even at this late hour, I appeal to the Akali leaders to call off their threatened agitation and accept the framework of peaceful settlement which we have offered. She ended her speech with the words “Don’t shed blood, shed hatred”;25 it was like devil giving sermons because when she was speaking from the A.I.R. the Indian Army had already taken positions around Darbar Sahib three days earlier to that and had also surrounded more than 70 Gurdwaras and had been firing at Darbar Sahib for the past two days; and it (Indian Army) was ready to play with ‘blood’ and dissipate and practice ‘hatred’. Commenting upon this Kuldip Nayyar observed: ‘How could she first order military operation and then suggest negotiations? And even if the Akalis were ready to talk, how could they contact her, all the telephones had been cut off.’26
Events Relating to Attack on Darbar Sahib
On the 2nd of June 1984, the Indian Army sealed all the international border, from Ganganagar in Rajasthan to Jammu; several army tanks, a large number of army trucks and Armed Personnel Carriers (A.P.C.) as well as other Army vehicles with a large quantity of weapons were seen everywhere in the Punjab and on the international border.
The same day, formalities of takeover by the Army were performed; the Army set up Command Headquarter in the Police Kotwali (about 300 metres from Darbar Sahib), the ‘Armed Group’ of the 350 Infantry Brigade, which was to guide ‘Operation’ (it was to act under the command of K.S. Brar), was stationed here, at the top floor of this building; and this office was direct on line with the Central Government’s Control Room at Delhi which was under the overall command of Indira and Rajiv Gandhi assisted by Arun Nehru, Arun Sinh, and K. P. Sinh Deo (Deputy Defence Minister).27 The same day, R. S. Dayal28 (Chief of Staff Western Command) took over as the Advisor Security29 to the Governor of the Punjab; and, with this all the telecommunication, postal services and rail and bus transport was taken over or suspended by the Army; the Punjab Police had now virtually no role as they were just to obey orders of the Army; by the evening the Army had been posted on all the key positions: the railway stations, bus stands and all the transport, telecommunication towers and their offices, bridges and roads, canals and rivers, administration and public services; now all the infra structure in the Punjab was under the command of the Indian Army; all the foreign citizens were ordered to leave the Punjab.
Gurdev Singh refuses to sign orders to attack
Before formally launching the attack the Army needed formal signatures from the D.C. of Amritsar; at that time Gurdev Singh was the D.C. and he refused to sign permission/orders to attack Darbar Sahib; as a result he was replaced by Ramesh Inder Singh (when Parkash Singh Badal became C.M. in 1997, he appointed as the Chief Secretary in his Government); Gurdev Singh was sent on leave (but even during this ‘holidays period’ he was to remain under strict surveillance of the Army); Ramesh Inder Singh immediately signed orders to attack.
As per planning the attack was to begin early in the morning of the 4th of June 1984; frontal attack on Akal Takht was to be made by specially trained commandos of the Parachute Regiment from 1st battalion, wearing black denims with bullet-proof vests; they were to be followed by the 10 Guards and the 12 Bihar Corps; they were to be assisted by 26 Madras and 9 Kumaon. The 12 Bihar Corps had already taken positions around Darbar Sahib, right in the morning of the 3rd of June. As per planning the whole ‘Operation’ was to be completed in thirty-six hours; hence, on the 3rd of June, at 9 p.m., a thirty-six hour curfew (later extended for another thirty-six hours) was imposed in the whole of the Punjab; and, in and around Darbar Sahib, electricity and water services were disconnected.
On the other hand, when the electricity was disconnected General Subeg Singh understood that the attack would begin within hours so he assigned duties to the defending Sikh volunteers whose number was between 100 and 125; they took positions in the basement of Akal Takht, in and around the Parikarma (periphery), at the Ghanta Ghar (clock tower) gate of Darbar Sahib; the Babar Khalsa group took positions at the top of Ramgarhia Bunga (two eighteen century towers on the corner of Darbar Sahib) and on the water tank (in side Guru Ram Dass Saran) and the tower of Baba Atal Gurdwara.

Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer
National Professor of Sikh History
Birmingham, England.
1 A. R. Darshi, The Gallant Defender (Amritsar 2005), p. 97 (of 2007 edition). 2 Surya monthly, September 1984. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid. 5 Darshi, A.R. The Gallant Defender (Amritsar 2005), p. 97 (of 2007 edition). 6 Ibid, pp. 98-99. 7 Ibid, p. 101. 8 ‘Operation Blue Star’ has been reckoned as one of the 10 Political Disgraces of India: 1. Internal Emergency (June 1975- January 77). 2. Operation Blue Star (June 1984). 3. Bofors Scandal (1987-96). 4. Demolition of Babri Mosque (December 1992). 5. JMM Bribery Case (July 1997). 6. Fodder Scam (January 1996). 7. Hijacking of an Indian Airliner to Kandhar (December 1999). 8. Arms Bribery Case involving Bangaru Laxman BJP chief etc (March 2001). 9. Gujrat Riots (February-March 2002). 10. Surviving No Confidence Motion (July 2008); for details see article, of the same name, by Gunjeet K. Sra in India Today, dated 29.12.2008. 9 Malhotra, Inder, Indira Gandhi: A Personal and Political Biography, (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1989) has also refereed to this. 10 Nayyar, Kuldip and Khushwant Singh, Tragedy of Punjab, p. 56. 11 A. R. Darshi, op. cit, p. 100. 12 The ‘Punjabi Group’ comprised of Kuldip Nayyar, Air Marshal Arjan Singh, Lt General Jagjit Singh Arora, I.K. Gujral, Pran Chopra, Gurcharan Singh etc. 13 Samiuddin Adiba, The Punjab Crisis: Challenge and Response (Delhi 1985), pp. 644-45. 14 Ibid, p. 682. 15 These meetings had been attended, from Akali side, by Badal, Tohra, Ravi Inder Singh, Balwant Singh, Surjeet Barnala, Balwant Ramuwalia etc. 16 Earlier too, on the 16th and the 17th of November 1982, then on the 17th and 24th of January 1983 too, meetings had been held between the Akalis and the Government delegations. 17 L.K. Advani, in his book, published in 2008, has openly confessed that that his Party, along with Chowdhry Charan Sinh’s Party, held two major demonstrations at Delhi, on the 3rd and the 4th of May 1984, to press attack on Darbar Sahib; again, he raised this issue in the Parliament too (Advani, My Counry My Life, p. 430). When this book was published, all the Sikhs condemned Advani, but Manjit Singh G.K. (president of the Delhi Akali Dal, Badal group) went to the residence of Advani on the 13th of April 2008, and presented him with a robe of honour (for instigating Indira Gandhi to attack Darbar Sahib). 18 He was a fanatic Hindu; it was he who had occupied the land of the Gurdwara Gian Godari built at Hardwar in the memory of the visit of Guru Nanak Sahib. In 1984 he joined Advani and demanded attack on Darbar Sahib; on the 3rd of May 1984, he led a demonstration against the Akalis. 19 According to Harminder Kaur and Mark Tully, the order for this fire had been given by K.S. Brar (Harminder Kaur, op. cit., p. 7, Tully, Mark, op. cit., p. 145), also see the ‘official account’ (which is full of lies) by K.S. Brar, Operation Blue Star. 20 Citizens for Democracy, Oppression in Punjab (Delhi 1984), p. 57. 21 Oppression in Punjab, p. 58, Tully, Mark, op. cit., p. 145. Later, these marks were shown by the international media including the Pakistani TV (In Khabarnama of the 3rd of June 1984.). Later these signs were removed by the S.G.P.C. when Gurcharan Singh Tohra was President and Manjit Singh Calcutta was the Secretary. 22 Harminder Kaur, op. cit., p. 8. 23 Ibid. 24 Tully, Mark, op. cit, p. 142. On the other hand, a fanatic Hindu journalist Prem Bhatia (editor The Tribune Chandigarh) playing as cheap sycophant, wrote that when he saw her in the first week of July 1984 ‘she looked five years younger’ (The Tribune, dated 8.7.1984); such was the mentality of sycophants of Indira Gandhi and the fanatic Hindus; the same Bhatia, in the issue dated 7.6.1984, described attack on Darbar Sahib as ‘a neat operation’ in spite of the fact that nothing was yet known as to what had happened there at Darbar Sahib or in 72 other Gurdwaras in the rest of the Punjab. 25 For Indira Gandhi’s full speech, see Appendix IV on pages 684-687 of The Punjab Crisis: Challenge and Response, a book edited by Adiba Samiuddin. 26 Nayyar, op. cit., P. 91 27 Darshi, op. cit, pp. 109-110. 28 It is alleged that he was a senior member of the Nirankari cult, which had killed 13 Sikhs in 1978. 29 According to A.R. Darshi, General Gauri Shankar was appointed as the Security Advisor to the Governor and R. S. Dyal was ‘immediate subordinate’ to Lt. General Sunderji (The Gallant Fighter, p. 109). 30 Such heavy artillery, which is used only in open field battles, was arrayed against the defenders of Darbar Sahib, on a Complex where thousands of pilgrims were staying for the night; no warning was given; no one was asked to surrender. 31 Later, on the 7th of June, the Army collected their dead bodies and their weapons from the tank. 32 Chellaney, Brahma, An Eye Account, an article in Abida Samiuddin’s book, The Punjab Crisis: Challenge and Response (Delhi, 1985), p. 181. 33 The Indian Army had already brought several tanks and at least 13 tanks were used in this ‘Operation’. 34 Later, Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha punished General Vaidya in his own city Pune, on the 10th of August 1986; both were, later, arrested and sentenced to death; they were hanged on the 9th of October 1992. 35 According to a hearsay account, a Sikh boy of 16 years of age, who had tied explosives to his body, jumped before the tank and destroyed it; and, due to this the tank got bogged down near the Baba Deep Singh Memorial; it was removed much later and that even with much difficulty. 36 The Indian Army brought at least 13 tanks for attack on Darbar Sahib, three of these were taken to the parikarma of Darbar Sahib and the rest were on standby between Darbar Sahib and the Town Hall; to quote Subhash Kirpekar: “I saw two tanks positioned a little distance away from the kotwali, another outside Jallianwala Bagh and three more outside Ghantaghar entrance to Golden Temple complex.” [Amritsar Diary by Subhash Kirpekar, in Abida Samiuddin’s The Punjab Crisis: Challenge and Response, p, 171]. 37 Oppression in Punjab, p. 61. 38 Chellaney, Brahma, op. cit., p. 181. 39 Amritsar Diary by Subhash Kirpekar, in Abida Samiuddin’s The Punjab Crisis: Challenge and Response, p. 168. 40 Sunday Times, dated 17.6.1984. 41 For the Sikhs it was not the first unequal battle; they had already fought battles at Chamkaur (7-8.12.1705), Muktsar (29.12.17065), Lohgarh (29-30.11.1710), Gurdas Nangal (April to December 1715), Akal Takht Amritsar (1.12.1764), Saragarhi etc where a few of them fought against hundreds and thousands of invaders. 42 Tully, op, cit, 175. 43 Chellaney, Brahma, op. cit., p. 182. 44 Ibid. 45 Darshi, A.R., op. cit., p. 112. 46 Later, these signs were removed by the S.G.P.C. when Tohra was the President and Manjit Singh Calcutta was the Secretary. 47 This volume of Guru Granth Sahib too had been hit by a bullet; this was a handwritten volume from 1830. 48 Surya, August 1984; Nayyar, op cit, p. 102. 49 Daily Observer, dated 9.6.1984. 50 It is not true that the buildings had been destroyed in crossfire; the militants had not fired a single shot on the buildings adjacent to Darbar Sahib or around it; the militants aimed only at the soldiers trying to proceed towards Akal Takht; hence the houses were destroyed only by the Army’s shelling. 51 Daily Guardian, dated 26.6.1984. 52 Daily Telegraph, dated 15.6.1984. 53 In September 1984 Rajiv Gandhi had admitted this figure as 700. (Nayyar, op. cit., P. 108); later, the Army too admitted that ‘troops had to pay high price and suffered heavy casualties’ (Harminder Kaur, op. cit., p 47). 54 White Paper, p. 169. 55 Nayyar, op. cit, p. 109. 56 Brar, K.S., Operation Blue Star (Delhi 1992). 57 Sarna, Jasbir Singh, History o f Sikh Students Federation, (unpublished). 58 This is confirmed by Brahma Challeney, of the Associated Press, who was the only foreign correspondent in Amritsar: “the Sikhs killed during the attack were shot at point-blank range, with their hands tied at the back with their turbans.” The Times, London, dated 14.6.1984. 59 Kumar, Ram Narayan and George Sieberer, The Sikh Struggle (Delhi 1991), p. 265. 60 Mary Anne Weaver, in The Sunday Times, dated 10.6.1984. 61 Darshi, A.R., op. cit., p. 116. 62 Chellany, op. cit., pp 184-85 63 After 66 hours of imposition (from 3.6.1984 at 9.p.m. to 6.6.84 at 3 p.m.) the curfew was relaxed for two hours on 6 June from 3 to 5 p.m; on 7 June it was announced that curfew will be relaxed from 3 to 5 p.m. but it was cancelled on suggestion of Ramesh Inder Singh, the new D.C.; on 9 June the curfew was relaxed from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; on 10 June it was relaxed from 12 noon to 5 p.m. (however, in the walled city it was from 3 to 5 p.m. only); on 11 June it was relaxed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the following days from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There was no bus service from 3 June to 10 June, on 11 June too there were a couple of busses and that even for taking passengers to Patti and Tarn Taran; on 12 June three busses carried passengers from Amritsar to Jalandhar. [Amritsar Diary by Subhash Kirpekar, in Abida Samiuddin’s The Punjab Crisis: Challenge and Response, pp, 171 and 173]. 64 Chellany, op. Cit, p. 182 65 Bhanwar, Harbir Singh, in his book Diary de Panne has given details of such acts; also see ‘Oppression in Punjab’ by C.F.D. 66 Though most of the Sikhs present in the Darbar Sahib Complex had been killed by the Army in cold blood, still some of the 350 of those who had been arrested from the headquarters of the S.G.P.C. were taken to the Army cantonment (some of them died there for want of water as they had been kept in a small confined place where they were not allowed even water; it being the hottest day many of them died); those who survived were, later, lodged in Jodhpur Jail (in Rajasthan); they were not tried by any court and were not released for many years; many of them had already become insane before they were released. 67 Thukral, Gobind, Atrocities on Sikh Children, a report published in India Today, dated 30.9.1984, Kumar, Ram Narayan, op. cit., p. 291. 68 Oppression in Punjab, pp. 76-77. 69 There were about 20000 books, about 500 handwritten volumes of Guru Granth Sahib and several relics. (The Tribune, dated 4.7.1984). 70 Oppression in the Punjab, pp. 66-67. 71 Ibid, p. 31 (statement of Kirpal Singh). 72Operation Bluestar: An Eyewitness Account by Subash Kirepaker, in The Punjab Story, edited by Kuldip Nayyar and Khushwant Singh, op. cit, p. 83. 73 All this was carried under the supervision of Ramesh Inder Singh, the newly appointed D.C. of Amritsar. 74 Chellany, op. cit., p. 182. 75 Ibid. 76 Monthly Probe India, August 1984. 77 Statement of Bhan Singh in Harbir Singh Bhanwar’s Diary de Panne. 78 Indian Express, dated 12.6.1984 79 While speaking on the Indian Government’s ‘White Paper on Punjab Situation’, on the 25th of July 1984, in the Lok Sabha, Vajpayee said: “First of all I want to congratulate those officers who freed Harmandir Sahib, sacred to all the Indians, from terrorists by sacrificing their lives and putting their precious lives in danger…The army had been given a delicate responsibility and the army should be felicitated for accomplishing their duty efficiently and bravely…” (Proceedings of the Lok Sabha, dated 25.7.1984). 80 Hindustan Times dated 10.6.1984. The B.J.P. leaders went to the extent of calling her ‘Durga’ a fictitious Hindu goddess which was shown defeating the demons in fiction works. 81 He called it ‘swift, yet restrained, operation in flushing out terrorists from Golden Temple Complex’ (Hindustan Times, dated 10.6.1984). 82 Indian Express, dated 8.6.1984. 83 Ibid. 84 Ibid. 85 Ibid. 86 Hindustan Times, dated 8.6.1984. 87 Later, Chander Sheikhar sent a fact finding team to the Punjab to know the truth. However, in 1991, when Chander Sheikhar became the Prime Minister of India, in collaboration with and under the blessing of Rajiv Gandhi, he exhibited an altogether different attitude; rather he behaved as a fanatic Hindu and even went to the extent of threatening another massacre of the Sikhs. Earlier he had been demanding an apology for this invasion but when he captured power he himself did not apologise as P.M. (even other Prime Ministers e.g. I. K. Gujral, V.P. Sinh, H.D. Devegauda, Vajpayee, and even puppet prime minister Manmohan Singh, never apologised for attack on Darbar Sahib and atrocities committed on the Sikhs, in spite of the fact that they had known the truth behind the attack; they simply called it ‘sad’, ‘unfortunate’ and ‘it should not happen again’ the Congress Party used Manmohan Singh to apologize for ‘Black November 1984’ pogrom of the Sikhs; and that even after 25 years). 88 Monthly Surya, July 1984. 89 Ibid. 90 The Sunday Times, dated 10.6.1984, Nayyar, Kuldip, op. cit., p. 56. 91 Indian Express, dated 15.6.1984. 92 Chellany, Brahma, op. cit., p. 182. 93 Tully, Mark, op. cit., pp. 194-95, Harminder Kaur, op. cit., p. 49. 94 Ibid. 95 Details personally narrated, on the 10th of June 2011, to this author by Lal Singh, one of the rebel soldiers. 96 Indian Express, dated 13.6.1986. 97 Punjab Times, London, dated 15 and 22.6.1984. 98 Indian Express, dated 9.6.1984. 99 Ibid, dated 12.6.1984. 100 Ibid, dated 17.6.1984. 101 Ibid, dated 23.6.1984. 102 At that time, the Indian Government had lied that only 493 Sikhs had been killed (in fact the number was about five thousand). 103 The Sunday Times, dated 15.6.1984. 104 It is remarkable to note that the Sikhs’ rage against the Indian government’s invasion of Darbar Sahib was not just a temporary reaction; in June 2009, even after 25 years of the attack (and again in June 2011), between 25 and 50 thousand Sikhs joined protest procession at London, to commemorate the anniversary of the attack; like protest are observed in every part of the world every year
To be continued….