Mark Tully– BBC veteran (correspondent) and a flatter of Indira gandhi lies again when he states as follow;
Of course, we don’t know if Operation Blue Star was in any way a British plan. Sir Mark Tully, who reported the raid for the BBC in 1984 and later wrote a book about it, doubts that the SAS had anything to do with it. According to an Indian media report, he said “it was not planned as a commando movement, and the SAS are commandos, and very soon, Operation Bluestar turned into a full-scaled infantry operation with tanks, and that it would be the last sort of thing the SAS would be involved in”.
But the report published in Hindustan times dated 15-01-2013 reveals ….. RAW facilitated SAS officer’s India’s visit, kept it hush hush.
It further states ….Just a couple of days before Operation Bluestar began, the secret Special group (SG) – a special Forces unit under RAW arrived in Amritsar. It was the first hint the army hierarchy had that RAW would also play a role in the operation. RN Kao, who had founded the external intelligence in 1968, was very close to them Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and was her closest advisor on security matters. And even today, this secretive unit which operates out of Chakrata in Uttrakhand, reports directly to the Prime Minister’s office through the RAW chief.
Special forces and intelligence sources familiar with the background also suggested that, the officer was a Colonel in the SAS, with years of successful special operations under his belt. In 1988, the same officer paid a visit to the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) operations in Sri Lanka.
The SAS had frequently been employed by the British Foreign Office since the 1950’s to forward its economic and foreign policy Interests. With India offering to make major arms purchases from Britain, sending an experienced SAS officer to give advice on the Operation Bluestar would be a logical step.
The attack on the Golden Temple was in plans even before the armed Sikh militants fortified it.
Then GOC of the Indian Army, S.K. Sinha, who was sacked on the eve of the attack for being critical of it, had criticized the Government’s projection of the attack as “Last resort”; and stated that the attack was in plans 1 year and 6 months prior to the actual day of attack. S. K. Sinha and Mark Tully report that the army had been rehearsing the attack for this time in the replica of Golden Temple they had built at a secret location near Chakrata Cantonment in the Doon Valley.
He disclosed in his book, that the preparations to attack on this holiest shrine were being made for the last 18 months. A model of this shrine was temporarily built at Chakrata, a hill station 90 kms. far from Dehra Dun where the army was rehearsing to attack and a complete information was given of the inside of this complex of Golden temple to soldiers, made them familiar with topography of the complex when it attacks. In other meanings, the strategy to attack on holiest shrine was planned much before the Sant Jarnail Bhindranwala shifted to Sri Akal Takhat and made it’s Head Quarter. The Govt itself created such circumstances through false propaganda and provocations in Punjab to justify the army attack and to teach a lesson to Sikh nation whereas the need was to learn a lesson by Indira herself and the Indian govt.
Indira Gandhi had first asked Lt. Gen. S.K. Sinha, then Vice-Chief of Indian Army who was then slated to succeed as the Army chief, to prepare a position paper for assault on the Golden Temple. Lt. Gen. S K Sinha advised against any such move, given the sacrilegious outlook from Sikhs and non-Sikhs around the world – the shrine is unique in the world that it is not only open to people of all faiths, but revered by all as well.
He suggested the government adopt an alternative solution. A controversial decision was made to replace him immediately with Gen. Arun Vaidya as the Chief of the Indian Army.
Gen. Vaidya was assisted by Lt. Gen. K. Sunderjee as Vice-Chief. Operation Blue Star was eventually planned and controlled by them.
Former General VK Singh, chief of army staff revealed in his book ‘Couarge and Conviction’ that Indira took a political decision to attack and flush out the militants and army had to compromise.
(By: General VK Singh with kunal Verma Aleph book Company. Rs. 595, PP 363).
By the end of May 1984, the situation in Punjab was becoming extremely tense. In May 1984, Indira Gandhi called for a conference at her residence. It was attended by the chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Arun Sridhar Vaidya, the DGMO, General CM Somanna, and the Western Army Commander who had come down from Chandi Mandir, Lieutinent General Krishnaswamy Sunderji.
Indira Gandhi had discussed the situation within the Golden Temple, and asked the Western Army commander if the entire group of militants could be flushed out, General Sunderji had responded positively, reportedly saying that if there was a requirement to clear the golden Temple, he would have it cleared in no time. (But the mighty Indian army couldn’t cover a distance of merely 200 meters in 72 hrs, such was the stiff resistance it faced).
Sunderji belligerent stance put the COAS in an awkward situation. As the chief, with General Somanna by his side, began to explain the reasoning behind this advice, Indira Gandhi impatiently cut him short and asked him why he was anticipating problems when the army commander on the ground was confident of resolving the issue. (This shows how eager was Indira to attack on Golden temple)
General Sunderji always looked to be a man in a tremendous hurry and it was felt that he was too willing to do things without getting into the details of the matter.
This set the ball rolling for what was to be one of India’s darkest chapters – Operation Blue star. Indira Gandhi also unwittingly created a situation where army HQ now had to play a secondary role to Western Command in planning the operation.
The moment General Sunderji pulled the carpet from under the COAS’s feet, military logic had been compromised and each subsequent decision was guided by political rather than operational logic.
But if General VK Singh is believed on planning of attack in end of May 1984, then why Genral SK Sinha revealed in his book ‘Last resort’ as the army was giving training to it’s soldiers in Chakrata (doon valley) 18 months before the attack? But we believe the version of attack being political and the specific day of operation on martyrdom day of fifth guru of Sikh religion to give a cover to army personals in complex to reach safely and take possession of Sri Akal Takhat which failed. General Sunderji had assured that the army will take over the control within no time but it was stopped for 72 hrs to cover a distance of only 200 meters. The army was compelled to use heavy Arty and Armor to demolish the historical building of supreme and temporal seat of Sikh religion and to kill the last 14 Sikh militants.
General Malik didn’t clarify if the attack on Golden temple by Indian army was justified and on Sikh genocide in November why army couldn’t be deployed in Delhi and other parts of India where the Sikhs were killed brutally in large numbers. Why did the troops sent from Agra and Meerut couldn’t reach Delhi in three days whereas the same Indian army by same Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was sent to Sri Lanka in just six hours on demand of the President Jaywardhne? The Generals of Indian army were given only six hours for preparation and leave to Sri Lanka, they obliged in 1985.
It is sure that Indira was not interested to sort out the Punjab problem. Some efforts were made to normalize the relations of the state with center by Akalis. Whenever a meeting was held, the Akali Dal always gave its consent to all the proposals but the Indira govt. always ignored those proposals in later stage and blamed the Akalis for breakaway of commitments . And then Sikhs and Akali Dal were defamed by govt. controlled All india Radio and the TV Doordarshan. In the end Sikhs were sure of betrayals by Indira and her cabinet so they concluded that Indira was not having any interest to sort out the Punjab problem but in fact her govt. was blood thirsty of Sikhs.
Due to her this mean thoughts, she tried to justify the attack of army on Golden Temple and that she wanted to wipe out the Sikh militants (extremists) from this sacred place and thus army action was necessary. Whether the govt. would like to answer if the army attack on Golden temple was to wipe out extremists from this sacred place then why did it attack on more then 40 other important historical Gurudwaras all over the Punjab at the same time , this was given the code name ‘Operation Wood rose’? Why the Amritdhari Sikhs (The persons of Sikh religion wearing all the five mandatory signs of a Sikh) of all ages, male and females were killed in every corner of Punjab?
And now the revelation that British Govt. helped to plan the attack has shocked Sikhs all over the world because Sikhs saved Britain in both world wars and sacrificed their lives. Their valor and courage was well appreciated but just for business interests Britain backstabbed Sikhs—-it’s very shameful for British govt. The British govt. should apologize Sikhs without wasting any more time.
In time, Sir Jeremy Heywood may be able to clarify how much the Thatcher government was involved. But for now, the politics of this is quite straightforward: it’s very bad for David Cameron and the Tories. Only last year the Prime Minister visited Amritsar, in an apparent effort to reach out to Britain’s 800,000 Sikhs, who (as the FT reported) could be decisive in marginal seats in London and Leicester at the next general election. It seemed to be going well. The UK Sikh Federation said that a community that has traditionally favoured Labour was becoming more open to other parties.
Ajmer Singh Randhawa.