Where Unity Is Strength

40th Anniversary of Operation Bluestar 

June 5th, 2024 | Posted by admin in 1984 | 1984 Sikh Genocide | Current Issues | Human Rights

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, the codename for an Indian army operation between the 1st and 10th of June 1984 to remove ‘militants’ from the Sri Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple in Amritsar. The attack on Sikhism’s holiest shrine coincided with the martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan, and many innocent pilgrims were killed by the Indian army – with some estimates suggesting thousands were murdered during the operation. 

The attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib later resulted in the assassination of the then Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards Beant Singh and Satwant Singh. This led to government orchestrated pogroms against Sikhs in Delhi and across India. These were incited with calls for ‘khoon ka badla khoon’ (avenge blood with blood) on the government controlled Doordarshan media outlet. Armed mobs of criminals were shipped in (led by Congress party politicians) and gifted with electoral registers and kerosene, not dissimilar to the targeting of Jews during Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany in 1938. Men were murdered in front of their families, women gang raped, and children set on fire with tyres around their necks. In Germany, Hitler scapegoated and targeted Jews, and in India in 1984, Gandhi the Sikhs. Despite the efforts of senior advocate and politician Harvinder Singh Phoolka and others, many of the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity walk free, others have died before being brought to justice. 

Reflecting on the anniversary of the anti-Sikh genocide in India – the Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations, Lord Singh of Wimbledon said: ‘The killing of innocents in gas chambers is evil, but is it any more evil than dousing men, women and children with kerosene and burning them alive?’ 

He went on, ‘1984 demonstrates the fragility of democracy, and the reality that majority bigotry knows no boundaries. On this 40th anniversary, we pass our condolences and sympathies with those who lost their loved ones and are continuing to fight for justice for the pogroms four decades on.’

Earlier this week, the deputy leader of the Labour party, Angela Rayner tweeted:

‘Today we mark the 40th anniversary of the raid on the Golden Temple. Labour stands with the Sikh community in calling for an inquiry into the historic role Britain played. A Labour government will work to determine the best way to find out the truth.’


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