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Former Vice Chief of Army Staff recalls "Bluestar"


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Former Vice Chief of Army Staff recalls "Bluestar" (attack on Harimandir Sahib in 1984)

While fighting against the army during June 5 - 7 1984, Sikhs inside the Golden Temple Complex at Amritsar were "exercising their legitimate right of self-defense." This is the unequivocal statement made by Lieutenant General S.K. Sinha (Retd.), former Vice Chief of the Army Staff and presently Governor of Assam.

"The Army action was not the last resort as Prime Minister Indira Gandhi would have us believe, decided upon toward May-end (1984). It has been in her mind for more than 18 months".

Said the General, highly respected and regarded for this sagacity and professional skills, that "when he was GOC-in-C of Western Command, he got a call around 10 p.m. fro 'some in Delhi' that a decision has been taken at the highest level that the army should undertake the arrest of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale. Nothing was heard after the General told the caller in matters like this he would like to hear from either the Chief of Army Staff or the Defense Minister."

This was towards 1981-end when Darbara Singh was Chief minister or nearly 30 months before the Army actually struck at Amritsar.

"Again, when Sant Bhindrawale went into Mehta Chowk," adds General Sinha, "there was a request to the Army to supply Armoured Personal Carries (APC) to the police to facilitate his arrest.

This was long before the Akalis launched their morcha in August 1982 Shortly after the morcha, the Army began rehearsals of a commando raid near Chakrata cantonment in the maintains over the Doon Valley where a replica of the Golden Temple complex had been built.

"Another operation involving the Aviation Research Centre with Special F.F commandos, was given in the Sarsawa area and Yamuna river bed in helicopters converted into gunships. This plan, earmarked for implementation in August 198 and then in April 1984, was given up as it had leaked out to the Sikh 'militants'.

In view of these military preparations, if Sant Bhindrawale and his men decided to defend the Golden Temple with all their might and means, no one can, and should, blame them.

"You are duty-bound to do your all when you know someone is going to raid your house. In this case, the house of the holiest Sikh shrine in the world.

"Mrs. Gandhi contends that arms were being collected by Sant Bhindrawale for the last on year. But this was much after she herself had drawn up plans for Army action against the Golden Temple and other gurdwaras.

"In December, 1983 two trenches were dug by the Sant's men in front of Teja Singh Samundari Hall within the holy complex but he was persuaded to fill them up.

"This proves that till then no responsible Akali leaders was prepared for an armed showdown with the Government."

Fortification of the complex, according to SGPC Secretary Bhan Singh, started from February 17, 1984. And that also after CRPF and BSF units had resorted to unprovoked firing and had begun converting the buildings on the periphery of the temple into bunkers and fortresses. This action by Sikhs was a response to the provocation provided by Government's para military forces.

Again, toward May-end 1984, CRPF and BSF units deliberately fired some 10,000 bullets every day on the temple areas for more than a week in order to find out from the return firing, as was officially admitted later, where the terrorist fortifications were located and what kind of equipment they had. This was given a deliberate design to escalate the conflict.

"No Sikh worth his salt could allow easy entry into the Golden Temple area to any armed force. It is his sacred duty to smash the enemy's teeth and sacrifice his life while fighting."

"This is what Sant Bhindrawale and his men did. In the best tradition of Sikh warriors, they fought to the last bullet and their last breath."

"for the same reason, hundreds of men, women and children, who has come to he Golden Temple as pilgrims, laid down their lives when were caught in the crossfire of the army invading the holy area."

"before this open clash if arm, there were only hardly five per cent Sikhs who supported Sant Bhindrawale's actions or utterances. But then the Government made him a hero in all Sikh eyes. Now everyone, including hid previous detractors, hail him as a martyr of the same genre as Baba Deep Singh who had fought against Ahmad Shah Abdali's marauders."

Lieut. General(Retd.) S.K. Sinha

Former Vice Chief of Army Staff, Indian Army

This account of the runup to Indian Army's attack on Harimandir Sahib appeared in the second issue of Nishan in 2001 and was first published in the Spokesman Weekly, New Delhi, July 16, 1984.

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wjkk,wjkf

british documents reguarding similar activites have had a time lock on them for 50 years, this has been expired now so i should be able to go to the Public Records Office to go through the original artifacts - this is only if the time lock hasn't been extended to 75 years (the purpose of the time lock is to let the hostility / negativity pass between all persons involved.) i'll find out & get back to u.

bhul chuk maaf

wjkk,wjkf

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