June 1984, Light of Truth – 11.

Read next article at https://asrandhawa.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/june-1984-light-of-truth-12/

Warning to religious people:

Beware of politicians! My fellow Sikhs: learn from Sant Bhindranwale’s experience. Do not teach people to be good, do not become too popular, and do not protest when they torture and kill your associates. If you have tried all means for redress and no one comes to help; and oppression, torture, and killings in custody continue, blame the victims for provoking the perpetrators. In any case, do not invoke Sri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib’s Zafarnama and defend yourselves and your homes. It can be viewed as a deadly crime in the “world’s largest democracy”.

1. Press Conference on 15 September 1983, reported in Surjit Jalandhry’s book “Bhindranwale Sant” page 66. Sant Bhindranwale said:

“Three murderous attempts were made on my life during the past few days, but by God’s grace, I escaped unhurt every time. The first attempt on my life was made in the Parkarma. The assailant was waiting for me in the stairs leading to the Temple. My disciples grew suspicious and caught hold of him before he could take out his pistol. He was brought to Guru Nanak Niwas where he confessed that he had a hand in the conspiracy to murder me. He was let off after administering a warning. During the next attempt, the assailant followed me up to Room No. 47 in Guru Nanak Niwas but his pistol fell down on the way. The third attempt to kill me was made in Gurdwara Manji Sahib.”

2. Chand Joshi, Bhindranwale: Myth and Reality, Vikas Publishing House, New
Delhi, page 118.

“It is obvious that some persons/organizations had mixed a certain amount of poison in his food. But given the traditional Indian ‘efficiency’ it was just not enough to kill him On 23 September, Bhindranwale’s condition was reported to be critical with his urine containing 40 percent blood”.

3. Chand Joshi, Bhindranwale: Myth and Reality, Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi, page 21. Joshi describes a 1 June 1984 attempt by the military to kill the Sant: “At a silent order four shots were aimed in a vain effort to assassinate this fountainhead of terror”

The operation was truly a terror inflicted upon a minority living in a “democratic” state. The government did not keep track when it slaughtered its own people in that fearsome army operation. Indian government still claims that the Operation Woodrose never happened but the cold hard facts presented in Cynthia Mahmood’s book “fighting for faith and nation” negates those claims completely. The Hindustan Times correspondent Chand Joshi alleged that the army units “acted in total anger” and shot down all the suspects rounded up from the temple complex. Mark Tully and Satish Jacob, in Amritsar; “Mrs. Gandhi’s Last Battle”, criticized the Army for burning down the Sikh Reference Library, stating that it did this to destroy the culture of the Sikhs.

In The Sikhs of Punjab, Joyce Pettigrew alleges that the army conducted the operation to “suppress the culture, and political will, of a people”. Similar accusations of high handedness by the Indian Army and allegations of human rights violations by security forces in Operation Blue Star and subsequent military operations in Punjab have been levelled by Justice V. M. Tarkunde.

Attack on Golden Temple and its follow-up Operation Woodrose, concealed from public eye with great treachery, were two of the most inhumane acts committed by the Indian government. It is not surprising that this legacy of ill-will and bloodshed produced a sense of alienation among the Sikhs. In search of political gain, countless Sikhs were murdered and no one was held accountable.

Khushwant Singh (internationally renowned writer), Dr Ganda Singh (eminent historian) and Sadhu Singh Hamderd (editor of Ajit) returned their Padma Bhushan awards in protest. Four months and three weeks after the operations, Indra Gandhi paid the ultimate price for the planning and execution of Operation Blue star and Wood rose. She was shot by her two Sikh body guards. This reaction of the Sikhs should not have come as a surprise, but it did. Four years later these incidents Mrs. Gandhi assassins, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, paid the penalty for their vengeance being hanged to death in Tihar jail. Regrettably, 33 years have passed yet the people behind 1984 massacre and killers of thousands of Sikhs remain unpunished. In fact, the soldiers and generals involved in the operations were presented with gallantry awards, honors, decoration strips and promotions by the then government.

What a shame that in much hyped “secular” India there is one law for Hindu majority and another for Muslims, Christens and Sikhs, who are in minority. Indian government must not forget that India can never achieve the pursuit of national glory unless her minorities feel safe and secure while living there. It is high time that she may act as a true secular state and accord the status as that of Hindus, to all minorities. India must realize that bad beginnings can never have good endings.

A letter is often seen on internet which was written to personal Secretary of Indira Gandhi, Shri RK Dhawan on 25th April 1984, in which he mentioned all his previous correspondence, their meets and requested for a quick army action against Sant Jarnail Singh ji.

Kindly see the photocopy of that letter;

Letter by Badal to Indira

Contents of the letter;

April 25, 1984.
To, Mr. R. K. Dhawan
1, Safdarjang Road,
New Delhi.

Respected Mr. Dhawan sahib,

As you know that Mr. Gurcharan Singh’s (Tohra) life is in great danger, so I am writing you this letter. Sant Jarnail Singh is not going to give up and now I strongly feel that we have to do what we planned earlier and Sardar Parkash singh Badal has already explained to you in details. Most of Bhindranwala (sic) men will run away when they see the army and most probably he will too.
Major Genral Jaswant Singh Bhullar and Professor (sic) Manjit Singh Sidhu have agreed to go to America. Full arrangements have been made. Sardar Didar Singh Bains of America and Dr. Jagjit Singh Chauhan will work with him. They have been told to stop Sikhs living abroad before they get organize (sic) and start supporting Sant Jarnail Singh. Please let your people know to support these men with all assistance in every form.
We will soon provide you the names of those Sikhs who live abroad and supporting (sic) Sant Jarnail Singh. I am sure that our plan will work and this ordeal will be over in no time.

Yours very sincerely,
Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.


   In a major revelation that brings forth the details of Indira Gandhi’s letter to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the then head of Damdami Taksal –

while on one side the former prime minister was preparing to drag out the Sikh militants from within Sri Darbar Sahib, she was carrying out talks with premier Sikh leaders of the time, on the other.

               The groundwork for Operation Bluestar had begun by 1982, however, the implementation only commenced on 3 June 1984, as per the details.

The recently out investigation report of the British government also alleges that Indira Gandhi had asked for help from British PM Margaret Thatcher for planning Operation Bluestar in 1983.

It was only after that the British premier deployed two advisors from her army in Amritsar.

Congress hasn’t accepted till date that the Operation Bluestar was pre-planned and claims to be executed at random.

What did Tohra say?

In a letter written to Indira Gandhi, senior Sikh leader Tohra had said that if Indira accepts demands raised by him, proximity will only further between Nehru family and Khalsa Panth. The letter, which comprised of 9 demands, was written in May 1983.

The letters were written between February to May 1983

In 1983 Indira keep responding letters of Sant Jarnail Singh to keep him busy and falsely assured to sort out demands of Dharam Yudh Morcha, on the other hand Indian army was being trained at Chakarata since end of 1982 to invade Darbar sahib and than within next one year, when no assurance given to Akalis was fulfilled, she decides to attack Darbar sahib after reaching a compromise with Akalis and whole reposibility of failure of talks was thrown upon Sant jarnail Singh ji and he was labelled as terrorist.

 Indira Gandhi had written various letters to Sikh leaders between February to May 1983.

The first letter in the series was shot to Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale at his Damdami Taksal, Mehta Chowk, at Amritsar address. One of the letters was also written for incumbent head of Shiromani Akali Dal, Sant Harchand Singh Longowal. Gandhi had asked him to help resolve the burning issues in the letter.

The editor of a Punjabi daily, Bharpoor Singh Balbir, was mediating the entire affair.

A letter written to the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee head Gurcharan Singh Tohra was also found.

 Indira’s letter to Longowal:

Indira has written about sending the demand of Sikh Personal law to Law Ministry in the letter to Longowal. She also wrote that Sarkariya Commission has been established to look into the matters of the centre and the state and added that  a commission will work on the suggestions and proposals provided by the Sikh leaders. The former prime minister also asked the Sikh leaders to remain united with the rest of nation in wake of impending fears of wars, hovering over the nation. She also lauded the efforts of Sikhs for their contribution towards security of the country.

Letter to Sant ji by Indira

                     Indira’s letter on 21 February 1983

“I received your letter from Bharpoor Singh Balbir on 19-02-1983. I completely agree with your views, as everyone should follow his/her religious obligations with sincerity. Sardar Bharpoor Singh has appraised me about your religious works in detail. As you already know, I am concerned about my nation’s unity and security capabilities. For the very reason, we all should find a peaceful solution to conflicts. The argument that has taken birth between Sikhs and Nirankaris can affect a large section of our society. I request you to play a part in resolving the issue at the earliest.

Lots of wishes and regards from my side.

Indira Gandhi”.

MP Rajinder Kaur, daughter of Akali stalwart Master Tara Singh and chief of Istri Akali Dali, had also reiterated her allegations in the January 1985 issue of her monthly journal ‘Sant Sipahi’ after her suspension, which was reported by TOI on January 21, 1985.

The compromise of Indira with Akalis;

“Several prominent Akali leaders were holding secret meetings in Delhi with ruling party leaders for secret deals,” Kaur was quoted as saying by TOI. The 1985 news report about her suspension and controversy reads: “She alleged that some Akali leaders met central leaders barely four days before the Army action against terrorists in June.”

In an article, ‘Rajiv Gandhi ‘te Sikh’ (Rajiv Gandhi and Sikhs) Kaur, who was editor of ‘Sant Sipahi’, wrote: “It is surprising that on May 26, three Akali leaders, including Parkash Singh Badal and Gurcharan Singh Tohra, met Indira Gandhi. On May 27, the Prime Minister decided to send the Army inside Darbar Sahib. On May 28, Sant Jarnail Singh (Bhindrawale) got the wind of this decision, and decided that if condition was so bad he would come out and offer arrest, but on June 1 information was planted on him that Army would besiege Darbar Sahib but would not attack it.”

She wrote when Tohra went to meet Bhindrawale on June 3 and hinted he should move out to prevent damage to Darbar Sahib, the Sikh militant leader told him the Army would only surround the Golden Temple complex and not attack. The editor-cum-Akali leader further wrote in the article that Bhindranwale was deliberately given wrong “inside” information.

Sant Jarnail singh was a simple man and he couldn’t understand the moves of conman Badal. He had only mission of his life to propagate Sikh religion among youths and connect them to mainstream of Sikh religion. Being a Sikh and Panjabi, he gave his consent to DHARAM YUDH MORCHA started by Sant Longowal for more rights to Panjab by implementing of “Anandpur sahib resolution” which guaranteed the states for more rights and to get rid of the fear of article 356 which was being misused by Indira to gain control by removing state govt. and imposing President’s rule forever. He had nothing to do with politics but he firmly opposed the anti-Sikh policies of center which irritated Indira and Sant ji became a thorn in her (Indira’s) eyes in a short span of time.

Gurbachan Singh, chief of Nirankari sect disrespected the eternal Guru of Sikh religion …Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji an his religious gathering (Samaagam) at Amritsar on holiest day of Baisakhi in 1978. When the information of this disrespect was given to Sant Jarnail Singh ji Bhindran, he dispatched a group of 13 Amritdhari Sikhs to go to samaagam (seminar) and request the chief of Nirankari mission to give due honor to Guru Granth sahib ji so that the tension may be over but as these unarmed 13 Sikhs arrived at samagaam, they were brutally attacked by the volunteers/task force of Nirankari mission with the consent of their chief and martyred on the spot.

“Contrary to popular belief that he took the offensive, senior police sources in the Punjab admit that the provocation came from a Nirankari official who started harassing Bhindranwale and his men. There were two or three Nirankaris in key positions in the Punjab in those days and they were powerful enough to be able to create a lot of trouble.”

There was an immediate reaction and uproar in Amritsar on brutal murders of these 13 Sikhs by Nirankaris but Sikh organizations and the Sikh community kept maintained the communal harmony and a FIR was lodged in Police station but the Police was incapable to take any action against Nirankari Chief. The Chief Secretary of Punjab Pannu was himself an admirer of this Nirankari mission, he and Lala Jagat Narayan, owner of Hindu Press, Jalandhar helped Nirankari chief to escape from Punjab safely and reach Delhi.

There was anger in whole Sikh community against Nirankaris throughout the world. A meeting was immediately called at Sri Akal Takhat sahib by chief clergies and a resolution was passed to give a call to Sikhs of social boycott of Nirankaris and to breakaway all social relations with Nirankaris.

See how the partiality was done …..….13 innocent Sikhs are killed brutally in Punjab but the hearing of the case was shifted out of Punjab…? Why? Have you ever witnessed any such atrocity and discrimination? Permission of the hearing of this case in Punjab was not given by center, it was arranged far from Punjab at Karnal in Haryana. All the accused including chief of Nirankari mission Gurbachan Singh were acquitted. The mass murderers were thus freed.

See at:- http://sikhsandnirankaris.blogspot.in/ 

Sant Bhindranwale started keeping a pistol after the 1978 Nirankari affair. He would argue that the Nirankaris had weapons and had killed so many innocent protestors. Still. they had been let off and allowed to keep their weapons. In the future, Sikhs too should keep weapons to protect themselves and to seek justice. There are allegations that Santji traveled with a retinue of armed people. His plea was that if Gurbachan Singh, the Nirankari leader, can have an armed escort, why can’t he. The weapons displayed by his men were all properly licensed and Indian law permits any license-holder to carry his/her weapon in public. He was not violating any laws in doing this. In any case, Sikhs have beentold to be “Shastardhari” by Siri Guru Gobind Singh ji Sahib. Would we call Guru Sahib a “terrorist”? Perhaps the Mughal government of the time and the hill Rajas did.

This was the justice full of partiality given to Sikhs by govt of India (Indira govt).


Eight secret Akali-Centre meetings before Bluestar

Chandigarh hosted three parleys, Delhi five, claims former Deputy Commissioner Raghbir Singh 


 8 leetrs by Akalis to Indira 

“I received a call from Chief Commissioner Krishna Banerji asking me to see him immediately. As soon as I entered his room, he signalled all those already present there to leave immediately. He told me to make preparations for a top-secret meeting between some top politicians from the Centre and Akali leaders lodged in the Burail jail. I was asked not to involve anyone in the mission, and keep the police out of the loop.”

“I discussed various possibilities with Sub-Divisional Magistrate TC Gupta. He managed to procure keys of a private house in Sector 2, Chandigarh, for use as the venue of the talks on March 27, 1984.” Three rounds of talks had already taken place between the Akalis and the Union Government in Delhi and the fourth one was to be held in Chandigarh, recalls the then city Deputy Commissioner Raghbir Singh.

Since it was a top-secret mission, it was decided to use a car without a flag and replace the original number plates with fake ones. “I myself drove the car to the Burail jail. As I was also the IG (Prisons) for Chandigarh, being the District Magistrate, I knew the Jail Superintendent RD Sharma was a smart cookie. I sent him to Ludhiana on a purchase assignment. I opened the gate and huddled the Akalis into the car and ferried them to the venue of the meeting,” he recalls. The meeting was held between senior Akali leaders and the Home Minister PV Narasimha Rao-led Central team. Most Akali leaders were mortally scared of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who had become very powerful, thus depriving Akalis of their political clout.

The Akalis wanted Bhindranwale neutralised, but till then they had no inclination about the plans of the Centre (about Operation Bluestar). After holding talks at a private residence in Sector 2, Chandigarh, on March 27 and 29, 1984, another meeting took place at the Chandigarh Airport on April 21, 1984. However, no solution could be worked out.

Subsequently, the venue of the meetings shifted to Delhi and the eighth and the final meeting took place in a guest house in Delhi on May 26, 1984, just days before Operation Bluestar.

For the talks that took place months before the Army action on the Golden Temple, Parkash Singh Badal, who was detained in Delhi at that time, accompanied PV Narasimha Rao, Parnab Mukherjee, CR Krishnaswamy, MMK Wali, PC Alexander (Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi), Union Home Secretary Prem Kumar and Union Minister Shiv Shankar in a special plane to Chandigarh.

At Chandigarh, Akali leaders, Surjit Singh Barnala, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Ravinder Singh Cheema, then lodged in the Burail Jail, were clandestinely brought out and taken to Sector 2.

Raghbir Singh said he received all orders from then Chandigarh’s Chief Commissioner Krishna Banerji. He believes the meetings were aimed at finding a solution to the Punjab tangle. “The homework done during those meetings later took the shape of the Rajiv-Longowal Accord,” he says.

Giving specifics to suggest that the Army action was not discussed with Akalis, he says during an overnight stay in Sector 5 here, Indira Gandhi told senior leaders, “You all want a solution, but none of you tells me what can be done to neutralize Bhindranwale.”

According to Raghbir Singh, Abinash Singh, the then secretary of Harchand Singh Longowal (who was later gunned down, as was Longowal) was the emissary between the Akalis and the Centre.

The talks that were;

* The then Chandigarh Deputy Commissioner, Raghbir Singh, claimed three rounds of talks had already taken place between the Akalis and the Centre in Delhi before the venue was shifted to Chandigarh

* Two meetings were held at a private residence in Sector 2, Chandigarh, on March 27 and 29, 1984, while the third took place at the airport on April 21, 1984

* The Akalis wanted Bhindranwale neutralised, but till then they had no inclination about the plans of the Centre about Operation Bluestar

  • Subsequently, the venue of the meetings shifted to Delhi


In his book Tragedy of Punjab, co-written with Khushwant Singh, the partisan Hindu-Punjabi journalist Kuldip Nayar describes how this came about;

Indira Gandhi’s son, Sanjay, “knowing how extra-constitutional matters worked,” suggested a “sant” be put up to challenge the Akali Dal government. Two Sikh preachers were shortlisted for the task, and the final selection left to Sanjay. One did not look “the courageous type.” The other was Bhindranwale. Sanjay’s friend, the MP Kamal Nath, told Nayar, “Bhindranwale, strong in tone and tenor, seemed to fit the bill. We would give him  money off and on, but we never thought he would turn into a terrorist.”

[In November 1984, this very Kamal Nath, a Congress Party stalwart, led murdering mobs in New Delhi, killing innocent Sikhs in broad daylight. He has to this day never been brought to justice, Instead, he was rewarded with a cabinet post.] 

By January 1980, when Indira Gandhi was voted back into power, Bhindranwale had grown in stature and influence. During the election, he canvassed for some of the Congress candidates in Punjab, and once even shared a dais with Gandhi

On 4th November, 1978, the Nirankaris took out a procession in Delhi in connection with their annual conference. The Sikhs retaliated with a counter protest march that culminated in violence. The President of the Delhi Akali Dal, Avtar Singh Kohli, was hit on the head by a police tear gas shell and was killed. Besides him, Bhai Darshan Singh and a 13-year old Sikh boy Maninder Singh were also killed. Nine Sikhs were also injured. On 5th and 6th November, 1978, disturbances broke out in some parts of Delhi and a curfew had to be imposed.

Jan Sangh (BJP) workers provided a protection force to enable the Nirankaris to continue their functions in spite of disturbances in the city. Many Arya Samajist leaders, including Lala Jagat Narain, gave speeches supporting the Nirankaris.


Sant Bhindranwale started keeping a pistol after the 1978 Nirankari affair. He would argue that the Nirankaris had weapons and had killed so many innocent protestors. Still. they had been let off and allowed to keep their weapons. In the future, Sikhs too should keep weapons to protect themselves and to seek justice. There are allegations that Santji travelled with a retinue of armed people. His plea was that if Gurbachan Singh, the Nirankari leader, can have an armed escort, why can’t he.

The weapons displayed by his men were all properly licensed and Indian law permits any license-holder to carry his/her weapon in public. He was not violating any laws in doing this. In any case, Sikhs have been told to be “Shastardhari” by Siri Guru Gobind Singh ji Sahib. Would we call Guru Sahib a “terrorist”? Perhaps the Mughal government of the time and the hill Rajas did.


Ajmer Singh Randhawa.
(Post shall continue till 6th June 2014).


2 Responses to “June 1984, Light of Truth – 11.”

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