10 Days of Terror

In 1982 Sant Bhindranwale launched the "Dharam Yudh Morcha". These were peaceful protests to support the implementation of The Anandpur Sahib Resolution. During these "Morchay" thousands of Sikhs courted arrest.
Kuldip Nayar (respected journalist) wrote, "When the agitation began nearly two years ago, it was led by reasonable men seeking a reasonable settlement of reasonable demands, and at least three times there were prospects of agreement at a negotiating table but each time Prime Minister Indira Gandhi sabotaged the 'agreement'."

After nearly two years of peaceful agitations, approximately 200 Sikhs were killed by the security forces and over a hundred thousands Sikhs had courted arrest. However, all negotiations with the Government had failed, the Akali Dal (Sikh Political Party in Punjab), called for the next stage of civil disobedience which was to withhold the grain distributed from Punjab to the rest of India. This was to be done on the 3rd of June 1984, in a means of pressuring the Government . Knowing that this would force settling with the Sikhs, the Indian Government instead of negotiating, opted for a military option (Operation Blue Star) which had been prepared for over a year earlier to crush and silence the Sikh agitation.

Tens of thousands of army troops were deployed and on the 1st June Sri Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) was surrounded. The Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force, under orders of the Army started firing upon the Complex, in which at least 8 People died. The Battle of Amritsar had begun, #10DaysofTerror had started.


In 1982 Sant Bhindranwale launched the "Dharam Yudh Morcha". These were peaceful protests to support the implementation of The Anandpur Sahib Resolution. During these "Morchay" thousands of Sikhs courted arrest. Kuldip Nayar (respected journalist) wrote, "When the agitation began nearly two years ago, it was led by reasonable men seeking a reasonable settlement of reasonable demands, and at least three times there were prospects of agreement at a negotiating table but each time Prime Minister Indira Gandhi sabotaged the 'agreement'." After nearly two years of peaceful agitations, approximately 200 Sikhs were killed by the security forces and over a hundred thousands Sikhs had courted arrest. However, all negotiations with the Government had failed, the Akali Dal (Sikh Political Party in Punjab), called for the next stage of civil disobedience which was to withhold the grain distributed from Punjab to the rest of India. This was to be done on the 3rd of June 1984, in a means of pressuring the Government . Knowing that this would force settling with the Sikhs, the Indian Government instead of negotiating, opted for a military option (Operation Blue Star) which had been prepared for over a year earlier to crush and silence the Sikh agitation. Tens of thousands of army troops were deployed and on the 1st June Sri Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) was surrounded. The Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force, under orders of the Army started firing upon the Complex, in which at least 8 People died. The Battle of Amritsar had begun, #10DaysofTerror had started.

Indira Gandhi makes an address for peace to the nation, in the full knowledge that on her orders tens of thousands of army troops are planning to launch a full scale war against a mass of unarmed civilian targets inside and around the Complex. 
As she makes the address, those Sikhs murdered on the 1st June (Bhai Mengha Singh pictured) by soldiers on her command, are cremated.

The telephone connections of the Golden Temple Complex are disconnected. The few armed Sikhs we see make up only a fraction of the population of Punjab. The Government also cuts off the entire Punjab State to the outside world, ensuring there are minimal witnesses to the carnage which is about to be unleashed upon it population.


Indira Gandhi makes an address for peace to the nation, in the full knowledge that on her orders tens of thousands of army troops are planning to launch a full scale war against a mass of unarmed civilian targets inside and around the Complex.  As she makes the address, those Sikhs murdered on the 1st June (Bhai Mengha Singh pictured) by soldiers on her command, are cremated. The telephone connections of the Golden Temple Complex are disconnected. The few armed Sikhs we see make up only a fraction of the population of Punjab. The Government also cuts off the entire Punjab State to the outside world, ensuring there are minimal witnesses to the carnage which is about to be unleashed upon it population.

Indira Gandhi makes an address for peace to the nation, in the full knowledge that on her orders tens of thousands of army troops are planning to launch a full scale war against a mass of unarmed civilian targets inside and around the Complex. 
As she makes the address, those Sikhs murdered on the 1st June (Bhai Mengha Singh pictured) by soldiers on her command, are cremated.

The telephone connections of the Golden Temple Complex are disconnected. The few armed Sikhs we see make up only a fraction of the population of Punjab. The Government also cuts off the entire Punjab State to the outside world, ensuring there are minimal witnesses to the carnage which is about to be unleashed upon it population.


"The 4th of June, 1984, was wrongly chosen by the Army for an attack on inmates of the Golden Temple because, the 3rd of June being gurpurab (a religious festival), a large number of pilgrims, nearly 10,000 in number, had come to stay in the Golden Temple.
Many of them appear to have been killed in the Army action."

Eyewitness Accounts:

Devinder Singh Duggal - In charge of the Sikh Reference Library located inside the Golden Temple complex. Duggal is an acknowledged authority on Sikh history. Duggal's recollections are vivid, almost photographic:

"At abut 4 a.m. in the early hours of the morning of June 4, the regular Army attack on the temple started with a 25-pounder which fell in the ramparts of the Deori to the left of Akal Takht Sahib with such a thunder that for a few moments I thought that the whole complex had collapsed... Thereafter, every second the ferocity of firing increased…"

Apart from heavy firing from Light and Medium Machine Guns (high calibre guns), the army troops also threw mortar shells and poisonous gas canisters inside the Akal Takhat and other buildings in the Complex.

Meanwhile, according to Duggal, "the helicopter hovered above and continued to fire from above. Some of these helicopters also guided the firing squads of the Army by making circle of light around the targets. Immediately after these circles, the cannon ball would land causing havoc. We saw a large number of boys blown to pieces."

Source; Citizens for Democracy; Report to the Nation: Oppression in Punjab (Bombay, 1985)
(This report was made by an investigation team lead by Justice V. M. Tarkunde who was a prominent Indian lawyer, civil rights activist, and a distinguished judge. A day after publication of the report it was banned and confiscated, the authors were arrested and charged with "sedition" (incitement of rebellion against a government)

http://www.pucl.org/admin/know_pucl.pdf


In contradiction of the Government White Paper issued on July 10th 1984 which claims that “the troops exercised great restrain and refrained from directing any fire at Harmandir Sahib” (paragraph 10), Citizens for Democracy records the evidence of Harcharan Singh Ragi, who witnessed his guardian and mentor – the old, completely blind, Head Ragi of Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), Amrik Singh being shot by an army bullet and dying inside the Harmandir Sahib at about 6.30 a.m.

One young college girl, who was one of the thousands of pilgrims who were trapped, gives her account of the Army entering the Complex in the following words: “They continued the firing till the evening of June 5th and then it was about 8.30 p.m. It was completely dark when they entered [Army into the Temple Complex] accompanied by very heavy firing. The blasting was so severe that I thought that I had reached some other world. We were 40-50 persons huddled together in the room, including women and children. The upper portion of the Akal Takhat had been fired at by the Army… Pieces of the Guru Granth Sahib were flying in the air… The place seemed to have been transformed into a haunted house…There were some among us who were frantic for some water, they came out in the open. In the morning I saw the dead bodies lying in the Parikarma. This was the worst kind of treachery.”

Giani Puran Singh, a priest at the Harmandir Sahib and also an eye-witness remembers: “At 10.00 p.m. the tanks started entering the complex and the barrage of shooting became more intense as heavy artillery began to be used. At this stage an armoured carrier entered and stood beside the Sarovar. The lights on this carrier, when switched on, bathed the whole complex in bright light. We were viewing all this perched in the main dome of Harmandar Sahib and thought that probably the fire brigade had come to get water for extinguishing fires raging throughout the city. But we were proved wrong when this vehicle came down to the Parikarma and started firing. From both sides the tanks started closing in; from the clock tower to the Brahm Buta the tanks fired upon and set fire to all rooms, while desperate people collected water from the Sarovar to extinguish the fires. Loud cries and wails of both women and children rented the air.”

In Devinder Singh Duggal’s words, “The night between the 5th and 6th was terrible. The tanks and armoured carriers had entered the Golden Temple Complex. The firing was such, that its ferocity cannot be described. All through the night we heard the heart rending cries of the dying persons.”

Source; Citizens for Democracy; Report to the Nation: Oppression in Punjab (Bombay, 1985) (This report was made by an investigation team lead by Justice V. M. Tarkunde who was a prominent Indian lawyer, civil rights activist, and a distinguished judge. A day after publication of the report it was banned and confiscated, the authors were arrested and charged with “sedition” (incitement of rebellion against a government); http://www.pucl.org/admin/know_pucl.pdf.

Eyewitness Subhash Kirpekar writes that in total there were approximately “a dozen tanks and a dozen APCs in all” (Armoured Personal Carriers); “Operation Bluestar, an Eyewitness Account” (published in The Punjab Story). Giani Puran Singh recounts how “a vigorous battle ensued between the Army and the 40-50 youth who had been holding the forces fought bravely through the night, until they either they were killed or their ammunition was exhausted”.


Continuing on from the night of the 5th June, moving into the early hours of the 6th June, the battle increased in ferocity. According to General K.S. Brar, on June 6, around 4-30 a.m., thirty soldiers managed to get into the Akal Takhat, the ‘Immortal Throne’ which represents the highest seat of Sikh spiritual and political sovereignty. The fighting in the early hours of the morning of the 6th was ferocious, and eyewitnesses including soldiers and General K.S. Brar, testify that although desperately outnumbered the Sikh Fighters fought bravely and “to the last man.”

The army ordered their tanks to fire upon the Akaal Takhat and due to the repeated explosions, the Akaal Takhat was reduced to rubble and the Sikh fighters inside died defending it.

“Photographs of the shattered shrine indicate quite clearly that the Vijayantas 105 mm main armaments pumped high-explosive squash-head shells into the Akal Takht. Those shells were designed for use against hard targets like armour and fortifications. When the shells hit their targets, their heads spread or squash on to the hard surface. Their fuses are arranged to allow a short delay between the impact and the shells igniting, so that a shock-wave passes through the target. Lieutenant-General Jagjit Singh Aurora, who studied the front of the Akal Takht before it was repaired, reckoned that as many as eighty of these lethal shells, could have been fired into the shrine.

The effect of this barrage on the Akal Takht was devastating. The whole of the front of the sacred shrine was destroyed, leaving hardly a pillar standing. Fires broke out in many of the different rooms blackening the marble walls and wrecking the delicate decorations dating from Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s time. They included marble inlay, plaster and mirror work, and filigree partitions. The gold-plated dome of the Akal Takht was also badly damaged by artillery fire.”

Excerpted from “Amritsar – Mrs. Gandhi’s Last Battle”, (Ninth Ed. 1991).

Brahma Chellaney reported: “At about 9 p.m. on 6th June, entire city of 700,000 was plunged into darkness by a power outage. Half an hour later, Amritsar was shaken by powerful shelling, mortar explosion and machine-gun fire. The big battle had begun. Half the city was up on rooftops watching the battle. Tracer bullets and flares lit up the sky. The explosions at the Golden Temple rattled doors and windows miles away. While the battle was raging, the state-run radio claimed that the city was ‘calm’. Between 10.30 p.m. and midnight, we heard slogans from city outskirts of villagers trying to march to the Golden Temple from three different directions. The slogans-’Long live the Sikh religion’ and ‘Bhindranwale is our leader’-were heard on each occasion and were followed by rapid army machine gun fire and screams.”

Samiuddin, Abida (ed.); The Punjab Crisis: Challenge and Response (Delhi, 1985), page 62.

The Sikh Fighters fought desperately; one of the officers said, “Boy what a fight they gave us. If I had three Divisions like that I would fuck the hell out of Zia (the President of Pakistan) any day.” Another, “I have seen a lot of action, but I can tell you I have never seen anything like this. [They were] pretty committed. They should have realised that they could not win against the army. If one weapon failed we brought another. When that failed we brought another”. A third put it more succinctly. “The bloody fellows would not let us in’”

Excerpted from “Amritsar – Mrs. Gandhi’s Last Battle”, (Ninth Ed. 1991).

The testimony of one of the pilgrims, explains why the fighters fought so desperately;

“Bhai Amrik Singh (leading Sikh fighter) sent her a message urging her to leave the Temple Complex at once with her group in order to escape being dishonoured [raped] or being shot dead as ‘terrorists’ by the Army personnel, and also to survive to tell the true story of what happened inside the Golden Temple to the world outside.”

She recalls the scenes that she saw when she stepped out of the room, where she and others were trying to survive the firing and bombing; “what did I see but piles of dead bodies, all stacked one over the other. At first I instinctively felt that I wouldn’t manage to go out. All I could see was a ceaseless mound of dead bodies. It seemed that all the persons who were staying in the Parikrama, not one of them had survived.”

Source; Citizens for Democracy; Report to the Nation: Oppression in Punjab (Bombay, 1985).

Unfortunately, the fears of the fighters came true, and when the resistance from the defenders had been overcome, the army killed with vengeance hundreds of pilgrims;

“Grenades and poisonous gas shells were thrown at the men, women and children, who had locked themselves in the rooms, bathrooms and toilets of Guru Nanak Niwas, Guru Ram Das serai and Taja Singh Samundri Hall. Those who tried to come out were pierced with bayonets and shot dead. Some soldiers caught hold of small babies and children by their feet, lifted them up in the air and then smashed them against the walls thus breaking their skulls.”

Harminder Kaur; Blue Star Over Amritsar (Delhi, 1990).

“The civilians who died, about 1500 of them, were piled in trolleys and carried away. A lot of them were thrown into the rivers. The battle was a tragic one. I couldn’t eat anything. Food made me sick. I used to just drink lots of rum and go to sleep.”

The account of a Naik (Corporal) of Kumaon Regiment who participated in Blue Star as quoted in Probe India, August, 1984.

“The army stormed Teja Singh Samundri hall and the rooms in the Parkarma and behaved liked savages, they raped women, looted, killed children, burnt people alive, set the rooms on fire and tied the hands of devotees behind their backs and shot them.”

Eyewitness account of Bibi Pritam Kaur, whose husband and 18 month baby was shot dead. Video interview (available online), interview transcript, reprinted in Punjab Times.

“It was a virtual massacre. A large number of women, children and pilgrims were gunned down.”
As reported by The Guardian on 13th June 1984.


Pilgrims Executed

By the morning of June 7, except for a very few surviving snipers, the men who had held the Army at bay for three days, were all dead. The majority of the complex was under army control. The aftermath of the battle was horrific and ghastly, an eyewitness details how the army had treated the pilgrims who had survived the bombardment:

“[The army] took off their turbans with which they tied their hands behind their backs. Then the Army men beat these Sikh boys with the butts of their rifles until they fell on the ground and were shot dead right in front of me.”

Teenage girl’s eyewitness account as quoted in Oppression in Punjab: Citizens For Democracy Report, 1985. Commissioned by Justice Y.M. Tarkunde.

Sikh Reference Library Torched:

The Sikh Fighters had fought to protect their most valued shrine from harm, and the pilgrims from dishonour and death. Sadly after the resistance was broken, the army had free reign, apart from the rape and murder of pilgrims the most distressing and inexcusable act was the torching of the Sikh Reference Library.

“Any army which wants to destroy a nation destroys its culture. That is why the Indian army burnt the [Sikh Reference] library.” 

Amritsar: Mrs. Gandhi’s Last Battle, Tully, Mark and Jacob, (New Delhi, 1985).

“The Government wanted to destroy Sikh history. Otherwise, how do you explain the fire in the Sikh Reference Library? The archives were set on fire two days after the army action. It was a historical collection of ancient books, Khardas [manuscripts], handwritten historical birs [Guru Granth Sahibs], some of them were even written by the Gurus, Janam Sakhis (biographical sketches of Gurus), Hukumnamas [commandments of Akal Takhat] which were of the greatest importance as the Sikhs regularly referred to them for their research.”
Giani Kirpal Singh, Jathedar Akat Takhat (at the time of Operation Bluestar and eyewitness) interview published in Surya, August, 1984.

Soldiers Celebrate by Drinking and Smoking in the Sikh’s Holiest Shrine:

“Although the Sri Harmandir Sahib was riddled with bullets, the Akaal Takhat destroyed with cannon fire, and thousands of pilgrims massacred, the army were celebrating, people were seen carrying buckets of beer to the main gates of the temple where they jubilantly served the soldiers.
The soldiers freely drank and smoked inside the complex. They certainly had plenty to drink, a notification of the Government of Punjab’s Department of Excise and Taxation allowed for the provision of 700,000 quart bottles of rum, 30,000 quart bottles of whiskey, 60,000 quart bottles of brandy and 160,000 bottles of beer all for ‘consumption by the Armed Forces Personnel deployed in Operation Blue Star’;”

Amritsar – Mrs. Gandhi’s Last Battle”, p203 (Ninth Ed. 1991).

Fighting For Faith and Nation:

“Bands of Sikh horsemen were to be seen riding at full gallop towards Amritsar, running the gauntlet of Mohammadan troops. The message would be sent round the distant villages, “who will ride tonight?” Death was a martyr’s crown on such occasions.” 

Description of Sikh rebels during the Mughal Rule riding towards the Golden Temple on hearing of it being attacked; Gordon J.H.; The Sikhs (London, 1904)

Among the tragic outcome of the Blue Star attack, was the reaction and revolt of Sikh troops. Although there was a media blackout in Punjab, rumours of the assault on the Darbar Sahib managed to leak out and over 5000[1] Sikh soldiers spontaneously deserted their regiments in a bid to get to Amritsar. These soldiers are affectionately called Dharmi Faujis, which loosely translated means Soldiers of Faith.

Every Sikh soldier swears an oath that he would not let any harm come to Sri Guru Granth Sahib first, before swearing an oath that he would not let any harm come to India. Had there not been a media blackout and false government propaganda, the scale of rebellion would have been even larger.

The Government initially did not publicly admit the revolt, and even later referred to the troops as having deserted rather mutinying (abandoning ones post as opposed to a mutiny or rebellion).

It is interesting to note that prior to the attack the Sikh Regimental Centre was purposefully shifted outside of Punjab to Uttar Pradesh (by comparison, the Bihar Regimental Centre is located in Bihar and the Rajputana Rifles are based near home at Delhi). This clearly shows the intentions of the Government and their view of Sikhs. Military analysts have commented that although the Sikhs that defended the Golden Temple complex kept the army at bay for over a week, had the Sikh Regiment been stationed in Punjab, the outcome of the battle could have been very different.

The Indian Government was well prepared and the Army had already been deployed to check the advances of the rebel Sikh troops who were travelling thousands of miles from 9 different States[2] towards their ancestral homeland. Although desperately outnumbered, the Sikh soldiers faced the Indian Army and fought gun battles in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat in which hundreds of Sikhs were killed by the military.

Those that survived or were captured, were dishonourably discharged from the army, stripped of all their privileges and pensions, and imprisoned for between 5-10 years.[3]

After leaving prison many had to work as manual labourers to support their families, whereas if they had still been in the army they would have enjoyed high ranking positions and state pensions. Nonetheless, they are proud men and do not regret their decisions.

The courage and dedication shown by the rebel Sikh troops is awe inspiring, facing impossible odds, they did not hesitate to stake everything in an attempt to protect their faith and nation. It is on record that in stark contrast to their Government, who was indiscriminately massacring Sikhs, the Sikh soldiers engaged only with the army, and no civilians were reported to have been harmed.

1. Associated Press, as reported in The Palm Beach Post – Jun 18, 1984; 5000 troops deserted in over 9 states.
2. The Ottawa Citizen (Jun 12, 1984) reported that even in the North Eastern State of Assam 345 Sikhs were arrested for marching towards Amritsar to “liberate their holiest shrine”.
3. New York Times news service as reported in Gainesville Sun – Jun 12, 1984


Jodhpur Detainees

After the Sikh resistance had been overcome, only a few snipers remained. Following the execution of pilgrims, immediately after the main battle, those that survived were rounded up, detained by the Army and charged as terrorists:

“379 of the alleged ‘most dangerous terrorists’ were forced to sign a common confessional statement and thereafter served a common charge sheet that they were all Bhindranwale’s closest associates and comrades-in-arms engaged in ‘waging war against the State’. They were, therefore, detained under the NSA and are now being tried at Jodhpur under the Terrorist-Affected Areas (Special Courts) Act of 1984. As we were curious regarding the extent of danger these hardcore ‘terrorists’ posed to the State ‘with the intention to establish a State independent from the Government of India to be known as Khalistan”, we visited the homes of some of the Jodhpur detainees and met their families or relatives.

The evidence collected established beyond doubt that none of the Jodhpur detainees we succeeded in profiling are ‘terrorists’ but rather all of them are completely innocent, ordinary persons, whose only crime was that they had all gone to or were coming from the Golden Temple as devotees or pilgrims visiting the Golden Temple for the Guru Purab on June 3, 1984 or farmers gone to the Temple to deliver village donations of grain to the S.G.P.C. or students gone to pay obeisance at their holiest religious shrine, the Harmandir Sahib.”
Source; Citizens for Democracy; Report to the Nation: Oppression in Punjab (Bombay, 1985).

These detainees were detained for up to 5 years, before in the face of worldwide condemnation and protest they were finally released.


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On the 10th June 1984 after 10 days of terror, the guns finally fell silent. The last Sikh fighters who had been holding out from the 1st June, were killed. Giani Puran Singh’s account gives an accurate description of this incident:

“There were 4 Singhs in the basement of the Bunga Jassa Singh Ramgarhia who were giving a tough fight to the forces. They had also pulled down 3 personnel of the army who had ventured too close. The authorities wanted these people to surrender but they wanted a mutually responsible person to mediate. I was then asked to mediate but first of all I asked the army officers of a guarantee that none would be shot only arrested and later law would take its own course. They were not ready for this and wished me to talk to the Brigadier who too was noncommittal. They then asked me to inquire if the three army personnel were alive. The reply received was that no live personnel were there in the basement. At this the Brigadier asked me to leave and that they would themselves deal with them. These men in the basement fought the whole day, the whole night and also the next day when Giani Zail Singh came to visit the ruins of Akaal Takht. Some thought that they had also aimed for Giani but it was not so. These people did not know that Giani was coming. If they knew before hand, they would have definitely put a bullet through the ‘tyrant’ but they were totally cut out from the outside world. A colonel of the commandos attempted to flush out these men in the basement with a gun and light arrangement but as soon as he entered the basement, a burst of LMG wounded him and it was later learnt that he had succumbed to the injuries in the hospital. Two cannons were reemployed to fire at the Bunga, gaping holes were formed on the Parikrama end but the men within were safe. I saw from the roof of Harmandir Sahib that two grenadiers had been put on the grenade shooter and a continuous barrage of grenades was being used but they still survived. Burnt red chilly bags, chilly powder and smoke granades were thrown in; one of them came out to be greeted with a hail of bullets while the others finally were silenced on the 10th.”

Thus, on the 10th June the battle of Amritsar was officially concluded as the guns finally fell silent. The military operation was unprecedented in Indian history, as the might of the Indian Army was unleashed, complete with full fire power and heavy artillery on its own people.

Government Propaganda

Following the battle, the government was embarrassed, General K.S Brar on the 2ndJune 1984 had stated that “we shall see to it that they are on their knees in just two hours”; The Sikh Unrest and The Indian State, R.N. Kumar.

Yet it took 10 days for the army to completely defeat the Sikh fighters. Other than pride, this was damaging for the Indian Government as the operation was supposed to happen under the cover of darkness, or rather a complete media blackout. This would have ensured that no one would have known what happened between the inner walls of the complex.

However, as the fighting lasted over a week, word began to spread, rumours spread throughout villages in Punjab and army bases across India, which resulted in a huge outpouring of grief and anger from Sikhs across the world.

Soon after the massacre the government disinformation campaign went into overdrive to create legitimacy for the action. The goal of this disinformation Campaign, according to Subramaniam Swami (Indian politician, academician and an economist) was to ‘make out that the Golden Temple was the haven of criminals, a store of armoury and a citadel of the nation’s dismemberment conspiracy; Creating a Martyr – Imprint (1984), Subramaniam Swami, p 7.

One of these myths that was propagated by the State media, was that the fighters were highly trained and possessed sophisticated weaponry, courtesy of Pakistan. In regards to this the Daily Telegraph, London (June 15, 1984) wrote, “The Government is now energetically insisting that the Sikh insurrection in the Panjab was a deep-seated conspiracy of a certain foreign power or when pressed, claims that some of the terrorists were trained in Pakistan. This is the first time that such a claim has been made, and it smacks of Mrs Gandhi’s playing the familiar old Pakistan card for all it is worth. After all, there is an election looming on the horizon and a touch of war fever may not do any harm. But in the long run this sort of propaganda will not solve the Panjab’s underlying problems.”

In regards to the weapons that the Sikh fighters actually had a retired brigadier, then a lieutenant colonel, recalls: “My unit was sent to the Darbar Sahib complex after the Operation was over to assist in post-operation duties. I reached Amritsar on June 10th. On the basis of my personal knowledge, I can say that the government White Paper’s list of arms recovered does not accurately reflect the arms in the possession of the militants. I would put the number of actual combatants on the other side at around 200″; Politics of genocide: Punjab, 1984-1998, Inderjit Singh Jaijee.

In an essay contributed to “The Punjab Story”, Lieutenant General J.S. Arora writes: “there is a need to correct the picture that has been painted by the media that sophisticated weapons were found inside the Temple..The impression that has been built up in the public mind of foreign governments deliberately arming the terrorists with a view to overthrowing the government is grossly overdone.”

The Government of India reacted in a cynical and dishonourable manner. They disseminated lies through State media, which forms the basis of opinion for many, regarding what happened in Operation Blue Star. One example to illustrate this scheme is two reports from different papers after the aftermath of the attack; the first is a newspaper report from London, while the other is an Indian paper;

Telegraph London (June 15, 1984) published the following report from David Graves:
“The Akal Takhat looks like it has been bombed. It looks like a building in Berlin after the War. Every building in the complex had been riddled with bullets and there was still a stench of death in the air.”

Meanwhile The Times of India (June 10, 1984) headlined on the front page a Press Trust of India report saying, “Terrorists made a desperate attempt to blow up the Akal Takhat, killed a number of men, women and children, and unsuccessfully tried to escape with huge amounts of cash, jewellery and other valuables after their leaders were killed in the action on June 5. The Akal Takhat was not damaged in the Army action.”

The Government of India also censored and persecuted any journalist or human rights organisation who tried to report the truth, and thus when Citizens for Democracy published a report detailing the “Oppression in Punjab” in 1985, it was banned and confiscated the next day, the authors were arrested and charged with “sedition” (incitement of rebellion against a government;

http://www.pucl.org/admin/know_pucl.pdf

Brahma Challeney of the Associated Press (AP) of USA was the only foreign correspondent who managed to stay in Amritsar during the attack, and was one of the first to publish reports that Sikh pilgrims were executed after the attack. For his troubles he was arrested and also charged with sedition.