Operation Blue Star: Memorial without martyr's name has no sanctity
HARISH DIDO - merinews - 04 June, 2013
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 the military operation.
A row has started over a plaque dedicating the newly constructed memorial for Operation Blue Star to Jairnail Singh Bhindranwale. The crisis has escalated with fundamentalist Sikh organizations led by Damdami Taskal leader Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa saying they will not tolerate removal of the plaque or any other symbol of Bhindranwale from the premises.
It was a very unfortunate action, which resulted in riots throughout the country, leading to death of thousands of people, and even after 28 years of incident, the ultimate sufferer are the families whose bread earners were killed. Neither the people who instigated the riots were punished 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 31 October 1984, Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister was killed by her own security guards. In her last public speech at Orissa, Mrs. 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 Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated, anti-Sikh riots broke out along the main road leading to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). 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 feared the 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 realized that the police and the army could not provide the answer to communal strife and political courage was 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 kept pouring in to avoid further aggravation of the situation, as people has already suffered a lot owing to 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 the inauguration of Martyrs’ Memorial on June 6 will add 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 indicating 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 led the Operation Blue Star.
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’ affect 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 against any attack on religious places to maintain peace, harmony and law and order in the country.