Issue Brief on “Operation Blue Star and Contemporary Indian Sikhs”

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Introduction

The June 1984 was one of the grimmest times in India’s Pre-Modi history. During that time, Sikhs of India were subjected to all elements of an apartheid state, ranging from racial segregation to full scale military operations. From June 1-10 that year, the Indian Government committed one of the most heinous crimes a human mind could possibly think of, by assaulting the holiest place of the Sikh religion i.e., the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) at Amritsar, located in the Indian Punjab.[2] The sanctity of the Golden Temple for Sikhs is, what Mecca is for Muslims. Nonetheless, despite its holiness and the religious sentiments of the Sikh nation, the then Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi ordered the Indian Army to forcibly flush out Sikh spiritual and political leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale along with its socio-political and religious followers.[3] The carnage was codenamed as Operation Blue Star and Mrs. Gandhi meticulously chose a Sikh Major General Kuldip Singh Barar (later promoted to Lieutenant General) to do all the dirty work to further the widening divide within the Sikh nation. Also, the operation was conducted when the temple was overwhelmed by devotees due to Guru Arjan’s Martyrdom. June 2022, marked the 38th anniversary of Operation Blue Star and even after almost four decades, the wounds of the Sikh nation still bleed.

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