OPINION: Blue Star Operation: a very unfortunate action

Author(s): Harish Monga DidoThe Author. Every community has a right to remember its martyrs but without mentioning of name of any martyrs, the memorials have no sanctity. The local government officials, politically connected individuals...

OPINION: Blue Star Operation: a very unfortunate action

The Author.

Every community has a right to remember its martyrs but without mentioning of name of any martyrs, the memorials have no sanctity. The local government officials, politically connected individuals and the police or army, are responsible for direct or indirect attacks on religious places or not doing enough to address disputes.

But it was very unfortunate that on 5th June, 1984, the India Army began its attack on the complex at Amritsar which housed the two most sacred shrines of the Sikh community; the Golden Temple and the Akal Takht.  But the Army Generals, who had pledged to minimum force and on no account to violate the shrines, were not prepared for the fierce and adept resistance they encountered.

Operation Blue Star was launched in June 1984 to flush out hiding militants in the Golden Temple led by their leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was also killed in military operation.

But a row has cropped up, over a plaque dedicating the newly constructed memorial for Operation Bluestar to Jairnail Singh Bhindrawala has escalated with radical Sikh organisations led by Damdami Taskal leader Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa that they will not tolerate removal of the plaque or any other symbol of Bhindrawala from the premises.

It was a very unfortunate action, which results in riots throughout the Indian killing thousands and even after 28 years of incident, the ultimate sufferer are the families whose bread earners were killed.  Neither there is any punishment to those who instigated the riots nor have any efforts been made to rehabilitate the affected families. The victims are still waiting for justice but their cases continue to linger in courts because of lack of evidence.

On 31st October 1984, Indira Gandhi was the first India Prime Minister to be assassinated, by her own security guard Satwant Singh but the third to die in office, who had dominated Indian politics for nearly twenty years.  In her last public speech at Orissa, Gandhi appeared to foresee her own death.  She said, “I do not worry whether I live or not.  As long as there is any breath in me, I will go on serving you.  When I die, every single drop of my blood will give strength to India and sustain united India.”

The evening Gandhi died, anti-Sikh riots broke out along the main road leading the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The next India seemed to be going up in flames.  Almost the only state which was not affected by the communal frenzy was the Sikh’s home land, Punjab.  There Hindus waited anxiously for the Sikhs to take their revenge but extensive deployment of the army and the responsible behaviour of many Sikh leaders prevented the backlash.

However, Rajiv Gandhi, who too was later on assassinated, who had realised that the police and the army could not provide the answer to communal strife and political courage needed to solve the immediate problem of Punjab.  He made a good start by resolving his difference with the Akalis so quickly and efficiently, but it was only a small beginning.  

Different statements from different quarters with different tones are pouring in which in normal should be avoided to further aggravate the situation as the people have already suffered a lot on this very unfortunate incident of Operation Blue Star.

The social activist Anna Hazare has described Operation Blue Star as a 'very unfortunate' incident, which could have been avoided had the government of the time 'shown responsibility in governance'.

On the other hand, ABVP Supremo Anant Sri Vibhushit Jagatguru Panchanand Giri Maharaj has said in case there is inauguration of Martyrs Memorial on June 6, then it will be adding a fuel to the fire and to oppose this, they will celebrate Terrorism Cleaned Day.

While the Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde made purely a political statement with political interests that the Congress party is raising a hue and cry over a purely religious issue of peace monument only to divert the people's attention from the mind-boggling scams that have hit the UPA.

Not only this, the Punjab Congress had opposed the setting up of the memorial with its chief Amarinder Singh demanding stopping of construction alleging it would stoke violence similar to the London attack on Lt Gen (retd) K S Brar who had led Operation Blue Star.

Whereas, the BJP, an ally of ruling Akali Dal in Punjab, too has opposed the setting up of the memorial.

Former Army Chief Gen V K Singh has commented that Operation Blue Star, carried out in 1984 to flush out militants from the Golden Temple, was a "hasty political decision" and claimed the army was unwilling to carry it out. Singh, who was a major at the time of the operation, further commented that the decision to send the Army in the Golden Temple was a hasty one, since the Army never liked to lift gun against its own people. The then Army chief had vehemently said 'no' to initiate Army action against people belonging to the nation, but he had to carry out the order of his political bosses.  Such ‘wrong decisions’ effect not only the army but even people of the nation. Singh said, "At that time, in 1984, I don't know how political bosses put the situation before the Army and people of the nation, whereupon pressure was mounted on Army to attack the Golden Temple. To give orders to army to attack Golden Temple was highly unfortunate.

Avoiding all these statements and forgetting about the revengeful attitude, all political parties and individuals should come forward on a single platform to press for a notification for any attack on religious places to maintain peace, harmony and law and order in the country.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of City Air News.)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013