Files of operation Blue Star be made public [DailyTimes] 04 Jun, 2020

Operation Blue Star was an Indian military operation which took place between 1 June and 8 June 1984, ordered by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, to remove Sikh religious leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his associate from the Golden Temple complex. It all started with the rise of the Khalistan movement in India. The movement is said to have started in early 1940s and 1950s. But, it reached its peak in between 1970s and 1980s. The movement gained momentum after Sikh extremist religious leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale joined the movement. In 1982, he started the groundwork for his demand and by mid-1983, he managed to gain support for Khalistan creation. In July 1982, he moved to Harmandir Sahib and took over the Akal Takht complex, where he began persuading that Sikhs should initiate a battle for Khalistan.It is an event that needs to be remembered, not for its success or failure, but for those thousands of people who died in the wake of gruesome violence. The Sikh diaspora have strong emotional association with their native land Punjab in India. A large section of the powerful and wealthy Sikh diaspora in Britain, Canada and the US started seeing the Indian state as an oppressor. The operation left a permanent mark on the memories of Sikhs abroad. It was also the time when the regional demand for separate homeland echoed in the sentiments of the diaspora. The peaceful demand had given way to the more violent Khalistan movement, which was in the beginning a search for a distinctive political identity- a quest for the protection of political rights of Sikhs in India. An ethno-regional movement distinguished from other regional movements was fought on the line of ethnic distinctiveness such as language and religion to seek an independent sovereign state curved out of India. Initially, it was a political and cultural search for a vague imagined homeland which later turned out to be violent assertive demand for separate independent nation/homeland for the community.The demand to make the files of operation Blue Star public makes sense. The people of the country have a right to know the circumstances under which the decision was taken and the kind of political oversight of Central government. The declassification will not only satisfy public appetite for full transparency but incisive scrutiny will put an end to the rumor mongering. It will certainly help to bridge the continuing breakdown of trust between political class and the Sikhs across the world. The sufferings of the Sikh community in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots don’t need review. Congress the then ruling party, has never owned and apologized for the massacre of innocent Sikhs by its party men. Adding insult to the injury none of the senior leaders has been convicted in more than three decades. Sikh community definitely deserves justice though at this belated stage.

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