June 7, 1984: The Sikh Reference Library was destroyed in the fire, along with its unique collection of 20,000 rare and irreplaceable historic documents, including 2500 handwritten saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji…
On the 7th of June, 1984, the army entered the Akal Takht. The bodies of Bhindranwale, Shabeg Singh, and Amrik Singh were recovered in the building. The army practically took over the Harmandir Sahib complex. The Pilgrims were put to death.
Except for a few remaining snipers, the soldiers who had held the Army at bay for three days were all dead by the morning of June 7. The army had control of the vast majority of the facility. “[The troops] ripped off their turbans with which they tied their hands behind their backs,” one eyewitness describes how the army treated the pilgrims who had survived the shelling. The Army personnel then pummelling these Sikh youngsters with their rifle butts until they fell to the ground and were shot dead right in front of my eyes.”
Oppression in Punjab: Citizens For Democracy Report, 1985, quotes a teenage girl’s eyewitness report. Justice Y.M. Tarkunde commissioned it.
Reference Library of Sikhs Torched:
The Sikh fighters struggled to safeguard their most revered shrine and the pilgrims from humiliation and death. Unfortunately, after the resistance was crushed, the army was given full reign, and the most upsetting and unforgivable atrocity was the torching of the Sikh Reference Library.
“Any army that seeks to destroy a nation does so at the expense of that nation’s culture.” That is why the [Sikh Reference] library was set ablaze by the Indian troops.”
“The government wants to erase the Sikh history.” How else do you account for the fire at the Sikh Reference Library? Two days after the army action, the archives were set on fire. It was a historical collection of ancient books, Khardas [manuscripts], handwritten historical biras [Guru Granth Sahibs], some of which were even written by the Gurus, Janam Sakhis (biographical sketches of Gurus), and Hukumnamas [commandments of Akal Takhat], all of which were of the utmost importance because the Sikhs regularly referred to them for their research.
“Surya released an interview with Giani Kirpal Singh, Jathedar Akal Takht (during the time of Operation Bluestar and eyewitness) in August 1984.
In the Sikh’s Holiest Shrine, Soldiers Celebrate by Drinking and Smoking:
The Department of Excise and Taxation of the Punjab government issued a notification allowing 700,000-quart bottles of rum, 30,000-quart bottles of whiskey, 60,000-quart bottles of brandy, and 160,000 bottles of beer to be provided for ‘consumption by Armed Forces Personnel deployed in Operation Blue Star.’
The troops set fire to the Sikh Reference Library on purpose. This fire destroyed priceless records and materials with major historical significance. This was yet another tragic occurrence. According to the army, the library caught fire due to crossfire.
According to a White Paper released by the Indian government, the library caught fire because militants were launching handmade grenades after lighting a match. Please keep in mind that the exact date of this event is unknown. On either June 7 or 8, the troops lit the fire on purpose.
Sikh Reference Library
The Sikh Reference Library was destroyed in June 1984 when a nation-state attacked a religious symbol in Amritsar. One of the most devastating losses was the destruction of the Sikh community’s historical records. The Indian Army ransacked the library before torching it.
It housed tens of thousands of rare books, portraits, and manuscripts, many of which bore the signatures of Sikh Gurus. 2,500 handwritten birs (holy books) of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji from Guru Nanak Dev to Guru Gobind Singh were among the other damaged items.
An 11th-century Gita and 50 miniature paintings were among the 12,613 rare books and manuscripts lost. A gold jhallar (wall decoration) and a slew of gold keys donated to the Golden Temple by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, as well as 25000 Hukamnamas signed by Gurus, were destroyed.
According to the SGPC, a Chandra (a diamond-encrusted piece of cloth hung over Guru Granth Sahib) was given to Maharaja Ranjit Singh by the Nizam of Hyderabad in the early nineteenth century and was charred in the violence. It cost just Rs 200 crore to build.
And at what cost did the Indian government carry out all of this devastation? just to find the Indira Gandhi’s letter to the Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale
However, it was later proven in High Court that the Indian State looted the Sikh reference library, transporting 180 sacks to Delhi in 12 trucks. Prof. Kirpal Singh Badungar, president of the SGPC Amritsar, stated, “The Congress admitted that the looted scriptures were in the custody of intelligence agencies, but the BJP-led Indian government is denying the fact.”
Indian Armed Forces
The fascist Indian Armed Forces conducted the final attack on the Golden Temple complex under the command of Indira Gandhi (then Prime Minister) and Zail Singh (then President).
All martyrs who gave their lives in defense of the sanctity of Sri Akal Takhat and Sri Darbar Sahib are remembered today by the whole Sikh nation. The army paid Rs. 50 to pick up a dead body and load it onto waiting trucks since there were so many pilgrims killed that there weren’t enough people to do it.
Those removing the deceased were allowed to keep all valuables discovered on the body. Among the most well-known GurSikhs were Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Amrik Singh, and General Shahbeg Singh.
The army told Darbar Sahib’s high priest, Giani Puran Singh, that the bodies of Bhindranwale, Amrik Singh, and General Shahbeg Singh had been discovered in the Sri Akal Takhat courtyard. Ropes wrapped General Shahbeg Singh’s body.
It’s told that General Shahbeg Singh’s (1971 War Hero) dead body was assaulted, ripped off his scalp, and sent to Indira Gandhi as a reward, and his limbs were torn apart. Shahbeg Singh was also known as a great master of guerilla warfare. Shahbeg Singh’s body appeared to have been dragged.
The Indian army also occupied Sikh shrines, archives, libraries, and museums. The majority of them later caught fire. The Hindus of Amritsar, on the other side, lavished garlands, and sweets, and danced on the Indian Army.
June 8, 1984:‘On Saturday, medical staff in Amritsar stated soldiers threatened to shoot them if they supplied food or water to Sikh pilgrims wounded in the attack and sleeping in hospitals,’ according to a Christian scientific monitor.
On June 8th, 1984, the Sikh Fighting For Faith and Nation.
During Mughal rule, Sikh rebels rode towards the Golden Temple when they heard it was being besieged; Gordon J.H.; The Sikhs (London, 1904)
The reaction and insurrection of Sikh troops were one of the disastrous outcomes of the Blue Star strike. Despite a media blackout in Punjab, stories of the Darbar Sahib attack spread, and approximately 5000 Sikh troops suddenly abandoned their battalions in an attempt to reach Amritsar. Dharmi Faujis, which loosely translates to “Faith Troops,” is a nickname for these soldiers.
Before signing an oath that he will not let any harm come to India, every Sikh soldier swears an oath that he will not let any harm come to Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The extent of revolt might have been significantly larger if there had not been a media blackout and bogus government propaganda.
The government originally refused to acknowledge the uprising, referring to the troops as having deserted rather than mutinying (abandoning one’s station as opposed to a mutiny or rebellion).
It’s worth noting that, before the attack, the Sikh Regimental Centre was purposely relocated from Punjab to Uttar Pradesh (by comparison, the Bihar Regimental Centre is located in Bihar and the Rajputana Rifles are based near home in Delhi).
This demonstrates the government’s aims and attitude toward Sikhs. Military analysts have speculated that, while the Sikhs who guarded the Golden Temple complex held the army at bay for over a week, the war outcome could have been different if the Sikh Regiment had been stationed in Punjab.
The Indian government
The Indian government was fully prepared, and the army had already been dispatched to stop the rebel Sikh troops from crossing thousands of miles from nine different states to reach their ancestral country. Despite being outmanned, Sikh soldiers faced the Indian Army and fought gun fights in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, in which the military killed hundreds of Sikhs.
Those who survived or were captured were dishonorably discharged from the army, stripped of all benefits and pensions, and imprisoned for 5-10 years. 
Many had to work as manual laborers after leaving prison to support their families when they would have had high-ranking jobs and state pensions if they had stayed in the army. Regardless, they are proud guys who have no regrets about their choices.
The rebel Sikh forces’ bravery and determination are remarkable; in the face of unfathomable odds, they did not hesitate to risk everything to safeguard their faith and nation. The Sikh soldiers engaged solely with the army, and no civilians were known to have been hurt, in stark contrast to their government, which was massacring Sikhs indiscriminately.
5000 troops fled in over 9 states, according to the Associated Press, as published in The Palm Beach Post on June 18, 1984.
According to the Ottawa Citizen (June 12, 1984), 345 Sikhs were arrested in the North-Eastern state of Assam for marching towards Amritsar to “liberate their holiest place.”
As reported in the Gainesville Sun on June 12, 1984, the New York Times news agency
In protest at the Indian army’s attack on Amritsar’s Darbar Sahib, Sirdar Khushwant Singh returned his “Padam Sri.”
June 9, 1984: Jodhpur Detainees begins in New Delhi, Srinagar (Kashmir), and Punjab, the administration ordered the shooting of unarmed demonstrators ( NY times).
Only a few snipers remained after the Sikh resistance was defeated. Those who escaped the execution of pilgrims, which occurred shortly after the main fight, were picked up, held by the Army, and charged as terrorists:
‘ As a result, they were detained under the National Security Act and are presently being tried in Jodhpur under the Terrorist-Affected Areas (Special Courts) Act of 1984. We visited the houses of some of the Jodhpur inmates and met their friends or relatives because we were intrigued about the level of threat these extreme ‘terrorists’ represented to the state, ‘intending to establish a State independent from the Government of India to be called as Khalistan.”
The evidence we gathered proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that none of the Jodhpur detainees we were able to profile are ‘terrorists,’ but rather completely ordinary people 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 going to the Temple to deliver village donations of grain to the S.G.P.C., or students going to pay obeisance at their holiest religious shrine, the Harmandir Sahib.”
These captives were held for up to 5 years before being released in the face of international censure and protest.
June 10, 1984: The last Sikh fighters were assassinated today, and the Golden Temple Complex is now completely occupied and under army control, with Sikhs only being allowed to return after protests on October 1, 1984.
After ten days of fear, the gunfire eventually fell silent on June 10, 1984. The remaining Sikh fighters who had been resisting since June 1st was murdered. The incident is accurately described in Giani Puran Singh’s account:
They also apprehended three army troops who had gotten too near. The authorities wanted these people to surrender, but they needed someone who could arbitrate between them.
I was then requested to arbitrate, but first I sought assurance from the army officials that no one would be shot, merely arrested, and that the law would then take its course. They were not prepared for this and requested that I speak with the Brigadier, who was also uncommitted.
They then instructed me to check on the three army personnel to see if they were still alive. The response was that there was no live personnel in the basement. The Brigadier then told me to leave and that they would deal with them on their own. When Giani Zail Singh arrived to visit the ruins of Akal Takht, these warriors in the basement battled all day, all night, and all the next day.
Some believed they had also targeted Giani, but this was not the case. These people were completely unaware that Giani was on his way. They would have shot the ‘tyrant’ if they had known beforehand, but they were blocked off from the outside world.
A commando colonel attempted to flush out these troops in the basement with a pistol and light setup, but he was wounded by a burst of LMG as soon as he entered the basement, and it was later revealed that he died of his injuries in the hospital. Two cannons were re-used to fire at the Bunga, resulting in massive holes on the Parikrama end, but the soldiers within were safe.
I witnessed two grenadiers on the grenade shooter and a continual volley of grenades being used from the roof of Harmandir Sahib, yet they still managed to live. Red chilly bags, chilly powder, and smoke grenades were tossed in; one of them emerged to a hail of gunshots, while the rest were ultimately silenced on the 10th.”
As a result, the fight of Amritsar came to an end on June 10th, when the guns finally fell silent. The military campaign was unique in Indian history since the Indian Army’s full strength and heavy artillery were unleashed on its people.
Sikhs marched in the capitals of all major countries throughout the world, including London, Vancouver, and Ottawa in Canada, to condemn the atrocities done by the Indian government during Operation Bluestar. In protest of the Indian Army operation’s attack on Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, Sikh soldiers of the Sikh Regiment revolted.
In protest of the Indian Army’s attack on Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, 400 Sikh soldiers from the Sikh Regiment stationed in Ganga Nagar revolted. They arrive at the Punjab border, armed and heavy artillery in hand, and engage in a pitched fight with other regiments. Both sides suffered heavy losses, and the survivors were apprehended. RamGadh received similar information. The Sikh unit stations in the Amritsar camps declined to take part in the Bluestar operation.
Government Propaganda –
The government was humiliated as a result of the conflict, with General K.S. Brar declared on June 2, 1984, that “we shall see to it that they are on their knees in only two hours”; R.N. Kumar, The Sikh Unrest and The Indian State.
Despite this, it took the army ten days to vanquish the Sikh soldiers. Apart from the embarrassment, the Indian government suffered a setback because the operation was scheduled to take place in the dark, or rather, with a complete media blackout. This would have ensured that no one would have known what occurred within the complex’s inner walls.
However, as the combat continued for more than a week, word and rumors went across Punjab communities and army camps across India, eliciting a massive outpouring of sadness and indignation from Sikhs all over the world.
The government’s disinformation effort went into overdrive soon after the massacre to give the massacre legitimacy. According to Subramaniam Swami (an Indian politician, academician, and economist), the goal of this disinformation campaign was to “make out that the Golden Temple was a haven for criminals, a storehouse of the armory, and a citadel of the nation’s dismemberment conspiracy”; Creating a Martyr – Imprint (1984), Subramaniam Swami, p 7.
One of the myths spread by the state media was that the fighters were well-trained and had access to modern weapons courtesy of Pakistan.
“The Government is now vehemently asserting that the Sikh insurgency in the Panjab was a deep-seated conspiracy of a particular foreign power,” the Daily Telegraph of London reported on June 15, 1984. This is the first time such an allegation has been leveled, and it appears that Mrs. Gandhi is milking the old Pakistan card for all it’s worth.
After all, there’s an election coming up, and a little war fever wouldn’t hurt. However, propaganda like this will not solve the problem in the long run.
“My battalion was ordered to the Darbar Sahib complex after the Operation was over to help in post-operation chores,” a former brigadier, then a lieutenant colonel, recounts of the Sikh warriors’ weapons. On June 10th, I arrived in Amritsar. Based on my information, the government’s White Paper’s list of seized armaments does not adequately reflect the weapons in terrorists’ possession. I’d estimate the number of actual combatants on the opposing side to be approximately 200′′; Inderjit Singh Jaijee, Politics of Genocide: Punjab, 1984-1998.
The Punjab Story
Lieutenant General J.S. Arora argues in an editorial for “The Punjab Story” that “there is a need to correct the perception that has been presented by the media that sophisticated weaponry was found within the Temple.
The Indian government reacted cynically and dishonestly. They spread misinformation about what transpired in Operation Blue Star through state media, which many people rely on for information. Two reports from different media following the attack demonstrate this pattern; the first is a newspaper article from London, while the other is from India; the Telegraph London (June 15, 1984) published the report by David Graves: “The Sri Akal Takht Sahib Ji looks like it has been bombarded. It resembles a postwar building in Berlin. Every structure in the complex had been strewn with bullets, and the stink of death lingered in the air.”
Oppression in Punjab
When Citizens for Democracy released a report documenting “Oppression in Punjab” in 1985, it was banned and confiscated the next day, and the writers were jailed and accused of “sedition”.
The only foreign correspondent who managed to stay in Amritsar throughout the attack was Brahma Challeney of the Associated Press (AP), who was one of the first to report that Sikh pilgrims were executed following the attack. He was arrested and charged with sedition for his pains.
The most reliable estimates of overall deaths during Operation Bluestar range between 5,000 and 7,000. While the official figure of reported deaths, the true number, which is thought to be many thousands more, has never been confirmed or revealed.
It was a catastrophe that could have been prevented if Indira Gandhi had the foresight to achieve a political compromise with the moderate Akali leadership — and that is huge if. The majority of the Akali Dal’s demands, such as federal decentralization, river water rights, territorial readjustment, and the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab as the province’s capital, could have been worked out. In the 1985 Rajiv-Longowal Accord, Rajiv Gandhi agreed to each of these demands, as well as many others. He didn’t do anything.
Indira Gandhi’s political determination to win elections by playing the “Hindu card” led her down a dangerous path of confrontation, first with the Akalis and then with the entire Sikh population. Mrs. Gandhi died as a result of this blunder, and the Punjabi and Indian communities were damaged and polarized as a result.
The genocidal violence against the Sikh minority in Delhi and many other Hindu majority towns in North India erupted in November 1984, when Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh security guards. General Arunkumar Shridhar Vaidya, the Chief of the Army Staff at the time of Operation Blue Star, was assassinated on 10 August 1986 in Pune by two Sikhs, Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha. Both were penalized to death and hanged on October 7th, 1992.
Sikh nationalists in Punjab were eventually vanquished, at least militarily, in the 1990s, but Hindu nationalism was so aggressively fostered that Hindu nationalists were able to capture the Indian state within a few decades.
The soldiers and generals involved in the Operation were presented with gallantry awards, honors, decoration strips, and promotions by the Indian president Zail Singh, a Sikh, in a ceremony conducted on 10 July 1985. The act was criticized by authors and activists such as Harjinder Singh Dilger, who accused the troops of human rights violations during the operation.
Also Read – The military operation that turned into a war
Image Reference – https://ensaaf.org/photo-essays/operation-blue-star/