Harbhajan Singh paid tribute to Khalistani terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and others killed inside the Golden Temple during Operation Blue Star
In a controversial move, cricketer Harbhajan Singh paid tribute to Khalistani terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and others killed inside the Golden Temple during Operation Blue Star. The late PM Indira Gandhi had ordered Operation Blue Star whereby the Indian Army entered the Golden Temple in 1984 to flush out the terrorists led by Bhindranwale who wanted a carve out a sovereign state for the Sikh community. While Harbhajan Singh did not explicitly name Bhindranwale, his photo is featured prominently in the former’s Instagram story on June 6.
Posted on the 37th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, the post begins with the caption ‘Salute to the martyrs’. The text in the image written in Punjabi reads, “Heartfelt tribute to those martyred in Operation inside Shri Harmandir Sahib on June 1- June 6, 1984”. So far, Bhajji is yet to retract the post or tender an apology.
Operation Blue Star
It happened 37 years ago but it feels as if it was yesterday – the heart, body and mind still feel the tremors of the emotional earthquake it caused. The force of those tremors intensifies every year when June 6 approaches. Operation Bluestar (saka neela tara), a fancy-sounding name given to a dreadful military action at the Sikhs’ holiest shrine, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, was launched on June 2, 1984, with a ‘national broadcast to the nation’ by then prime minister Indira Gandhi. It was claimed to have been completed successfully on June 6 with the ending of the last resistance by Sikh combatants to the army’s entry at the Temple. State media (TV and radio) and other non-state media outlets praised the operation for saving India’s ‘unity and integrity’ from ‘anti-national’ Sikh secessionism.
The most reliable estimates of the total number of deaths during Operation Bluestar range from 5,000 to 7,000. It was a tragedy that could have been avoided if – and it is a big if – Indira Gandhi had had the vision to reach a political settlement with the moderate Akali leadership. Most Akali Dal demands – regarding federal decentralisation, river water rights, territorial readjustment and the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab as its capital – could have been negotiated. Rajiv Gandhi did agree to each of these demands, and many more besides, in the 1985 Rajiv-Longowal Accord. He implemented none.
In the Sikhs’ collective memory of 1984, the deaths by army action in June and those by genocidal mob violence in November constitute two ends of the same arc of killings. The two cannot be separated and, therefore, remain indelibly linked to the memory of Operation Bluestar, which is seen as the trigger both for the killings and for later disappearances, killings in custody and deaths by ‘encounters’ during the military operations against the armed Sikh opposition movement after the events of 1984.
Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale
Bhindranwale’s epic struggle in the 80s was aimed at the fulfilment of a list of demands based on the Anandpur Sahib Resolution. He launched Dharam Yudh Morcha in August 1982, asking the Sikhs to return to the roots of Sikhism, fighting against consumption of liquor, drugs and laxness in religious practices, such as the cutting of hair by Sikh youth. Dharam Yudh Morcha also had some major economic objectives, including acquiring a larger share of irrigation water for Punjab and the return of Chandigarh to Punjab.
Unfortunately, the Indian government retaliated by Operation Blue Star in June 1984. The army entered Akal Takht with heavy artillery support to eliminate Bhindranwale and his valiant soldiers including former Sikh Major General Shabeg Singh. As part of Operation Blue Star, Bhindranwale was killed on June 6, causing permanent fissures between Sikh and Hindu communities.
Twitter Flake Against Harbhajan Singh’s Video
As soon as Harbhajan Singh posted the video, users on the micro-blogging site started attacking the former cricketer for glorifying a terrorist. Here is what the users had to say: