Discussion on Operation Bluestar

Course Description

The Indian army attacked the Darbar Sahib in an assault that was code named “Operation Blue Star” from June 3-5, 1984 to coincide with the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan, who had constructed the Darbar Sahib. Cynthia Kepply Mahmood, describing the scale of the attack, writes:

"When it [the Indian army] attacked the Golden Temple complex at Amritsar in 1984, containing the holiest shrine of the Sikhs, the ostensible aim was to rid the sacred buildings of the militants who had taken up shelter inside.  But the level force used in the attack was utterly incommensurate with this limited and eminently attainable aim.  Seventy thousand troops, in conjunction with the use of tanks and chemical gas, killed not only the few dozen militants who didn’t manage to escape the battleground but also hundreds (possibly thousands) of innocent pilgrims, the day of the attack being a Sikh holy day.  The Akal Takht, the seat of temporal authority for the Sikhs, was reduced to rubble and the Sikh Reference Library, an irreplaceable collection of books, manuscripts, and artifacts bearing on all aspects of Sikh history, burned to ground.  Thirty-seven other shrines were attacked across Punjab on the same day.  The only possible reason for this appalling level of state force against its own citizens must be that the attempt was not merely to “flush out,” as they say, a handful of militants, but to destroy the fulcrum of a possible mass resistance against the state."  (Mahmood, Cynthia Keppley, “Dynamics of Terror in Punjab and Kashmir,” Jeffrey A. Sluka, ed., Death Squad: The Anthropology of State Terror, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000, p. 77.)

Video Lectures

Lt. Gen. S.K. Sinha on Operation Blue Star (Part 1 of 2)

by S.K. Sinha
on Apr 20, 2012
Rating:
4
Votes: 4
Views: 1,896
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Lt. Gen. S.K. Sinha on Operation Blue Star (Part 2 of 2)

by S.K. Sinha
on Apr 20, 2012
Rating:
4.5
Votes: 4.5
Views: 2,476
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