Operation Blue Star was a military operation that was launched by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for removing Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his followers who had taken cover in the Amritsar Harmandir Sahib complex.
On the 3rd of June 1984, 36 hours’ curfew was imposed on the state of Punjab & all the methods of communication & public transport were suspended. The armed forces breached inside the Harmandir Sahib complex & took complete control by the morning of 7th June.
A lot of casualties of civilians, Army, and the militants were reported. The Sikh leader Bhindranwale and Shabeg Singh were killed in this particular operation.
Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in Harmandir Sahib
On 13th April 1978, the traditional celebrations of the birth of Khalsa were being organized in Amritsar with permission from the Akali state government.
The practices followed on this particular day was expounded by Bhindranwale.
He also declared that he would not allow this particular convention and would go there and cut the people into pieces.
A procession that consisted of around a hundred Sikhs and led by Bhindranwale and Fauja Singh left the golden temple and headed towards the Nirankari Convention.
They tried to kill the chief of Nirankari Shri Gurbachan Singh. But the bodyguard of Gurbachan Singh shot Fauja Singh while Bhindranwale escaped from the scene.
This gave rise to a lot of violence between the two clans.
On the 24th of April 1980, Gurbachan Singh was murdered and the blame was put on Bhindranwale.
On 9th September 1981, Lala Jagat Narayan who was the founding editor of the newspaper Punjab Kesari was also murdered and the charge was again put on Bhindranwale.
He surrendered in front of the police but his followers attacked many Hindus and also derailed many trains for his release.
On the 28th of October 1981, the home minister released him because of the lack of evidence.
It was always believed that Bhindranwale was supported by the ISI of Pakistan and also got the arms and ammunition supply from them. He was supported by the ISI for spreading the militancy in the Indian Punjab state.
Timeline of Operation Blue Star
The timeline of Operation Blue Star started somewhere around in the year 1977 and concluded on 7th June 1984.
Given below are the year wise happenings in the timeline of Operation Blue Star:
In the year 1977, the Akali Dal party gained the majority and the political power in the state of Punjab.
Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India was backed by the Congress Party and fostered Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and made a lot of effort for breaking the power of the Akali Dal.
A lot of violence erupted between the political and religious segments present in Punjab which resulted in the arrest of Bhindranwale for the allegations regarding the murder of congressmen Jagat Narayan.
In the year 1982, Bhindranwale rejected the offer from Congress party in July and reconciled with the Akali Dal party & started doing campaigns for an autonomous Punjab.
Minority groups of militants attracted some of the Bhindranwale followers and pressurized for an independent state of Khalistan.
In August Bhindranwale allied with the Akali government leader Sant Harchand Singh Longowal. He did this for conducting a common campaign and launched the Dharam Yudh Morcha anti-government agitation.
In the year 1983, Bhindranwale established the headquarter of his party in Darbar Harmandir Sahib, which is the Golden Temple of Amritsar and also considered to be the foremost spiritual and secular shrine of Sikhism.
The militants started stockpiling weapons at this particular place.
4. June 1984
In June 1984, the attempts of negotiation prompted Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for issuing the order & commanding the military force for invading into the Golden Temple and Akal Takht with the Troops and heavy weapons.
All this happened at the time when the Golden Temple and the Akal Takht was overflowing with innocent devotees and many other people. All this led to the execution and murder of Bhindranwale and his militants.
It also led to the destruction of the Holy scriptures and the Defacing of the Gurudwara along with the destruction of the Akal Takht.
The media of Punjab was put on a complete blackout and the official death count of them civilians including children, women, and men were vastly downplayed and underreported.
Casualties of Blue Star Operation
After the Blue Star Operation, the exact number of casualties including the small children, women, and men and also the various militants and the army people were highly under-reported by the media and newspapers.
It was reported by the Indian Army that around 493 people had died, which included civilians and the militants.
It was also reported from the end of Indian Army that around 83 military officers were killed and around 236 were wounded. Out of 83 who were killed, comprised of 79 soldiers and 4 officers.
But it was always in the news that the unofficial casualty figures were very high.
Bhindranwale and a large number of his followers and militants were killed in the Blue Star Operation and the highest civilian casualties were also recorded as many pilgrims were trapped inside the temple in the form of human Shields.
The pilgrims were captured by the militants and were not allowed to escape from the temple premises because these pilgrims prevented the actions by the army inside the premises.
Long term Effects of Blue Star Operation
As a result of the Blue Star Operation, various long-term results were seen.
Some of the very prominent results of this particular operation include:
- The defeat of the Khalistan movement was backed by the ISI.
- The reduction in the militants and militancy present in the Indian state portion of Punjab.
- A large number of weapons were stockpiled in the Golden Temple during the Operation Blue Star, various steps and security protocols were insured for preventing such kind of incidents in the future and also ensuring that the Golden temple remains free from violence.
In the year 1986, the Sikh militants again occupied & used temple compound which led to another operation similar to Operation Blue Star, operation black thunder on the 1st of May 1986.
The Indian Paramilitary forces entered inside the temple compound and arrested more than 200 militants who occupied the Harmandir Sahib for more than 3 months.
As a result of both the operations, the Indian government ordered that the area surrounding the temple has to be vacated by the residents for preventing the militant activities in and around the temple in the future.
The rise in militant incidents
There was a sharp rise in the militant incidents taking place in Punjab around May in 1984.
The editor of media house Hind Samachar group, Ramesh Chandra was murdered by the Bhindranwale militants and apart from him 7 other news editors and agents were killed in a planned attack on the freedom of media house.
All this was done for making the media house cripple from financial terms. The Punjab police ultimately had to protect the various media houses.
Bhindranwale had the habit of using vituperative language in his speeches against the Hindus. He encouraged every Sikh to kill 32 Hindus individually.
He encouraged the young followers for purchasing motorcycles and weapons for attacking the enemies of their community and also making them strong and independent.
Because of this, terror spread throughout the state of Punjab and the number of violent incidents kept on increasing every month.
In almost 22 months, the Bhindranwale group killed almost 165 Hindus and Nirankaris. All this lead to the planning of eliminating him and his militant followers for making Punjab free from terrorism.
The Bhindranwale group occupied the complex in the Harmandir Sahib area and used thousands of innocent pilgrims in the form of human shield for prohibiting the army to breach in and take offensive measures.
As a result of all this, operation Blue star was planned on the 2nd of June 1984 for flushing out Bhindranwale and his militants from the Golden Temple.
The operation lasted for 5 to 6 days and ended with the encounter of Bhindranwale.
Preparation of the Operation
The preparation of Operation Blue Star started a few months back before it was executed. All this happened because of the terror & Chaos spread by Bhindranwale and his followers in the Indian region of the state of Punjab.
The government, which was led by Indira Gandhi decided to execute Bhindranwale and his militant followers for stopping the fights and the Chaos created by them.
Operation Blue Star was launched for removing Bhindranwale and his followers who had taken cover in the Harmandir Sahib Complex in Amritsar.
These people were using human Shields for saving themselves and also prohibiting the Indian Army from entering into the complex and open firing on them.
The operation blue star hade has been divided into two other categories.
The first one was the operation metal which included the taking out of the militants including their leader Bhindranwale from the Golden Temple and if required using offensive measures against them.
The Brar’s 9 infantry division was specially deputed for this purpose.
II subcategory of operation Blue star was Operation shop, which included reading of the extremist hideouts which were present throughout the State of Punjab and also terminating the militants who were remaining in the countryside.
Thus, finally on the 2nd of June 1984 the Operation Blue Star commenced and ended on the 7th of June with the execution of Bhindranwale and Shabeg Singh.
Operation Blue Star was a military operation ordered by the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi for flushing out Jarnail Bhindranwale and his militant followers from the Harmindar Sahab complex present in the Golden Temple of Amritsar.
The operation was started on 2nd June 1984 and ended 6 days later on 7th June. Bhindranwale and many of his followers were killed in the operation along with many other innocent pilgrims and army officers.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
When was the Operation Blue Star launched?
The Operation Blue Star was initiated on 2nd June 1984 and ended on the 7th of June 1984 with the encounter of Bhindranwale and Shahbeg Singh and many other militants in the Golden Temple of Amritsar.
Who was the mastermind behind the Operation Blue Star of 1984?
Indira Gandhi, who was the then Prime Minister of India was the one who ordered the operation Blue Star and gave the authority to the army for entering into the Harmindar Sahab Complex present in Amritsar and killing all the militants and protesters.
How many casualties were reported after the Operation Blue Star ended?
The exact number of people who died because of operation Blue Star was under-reported by the government authorities and the newspapers for controlling the spreading of riots throughout India. It was stated in some sources that more than 1500 people died due to the Operation Blue Star.