Never Forget 1984: Anti-Sikh Government Sponsored Genocide

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1984 Operation Blue Star: Invasion of Golden Temple

"Never Forget 1984" Float Banner Vasakhi 2015. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Sikhs can never forget 1984, the year that the Indian government sponsored mayhem destroyed sacred worship centers and resulted in the murder of thousands of innocent devotees.

Decades of anti-Sikh agenda displayed under the government leadership of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the resulting frustrations of oppressed Sikhs festering in Punjab following Independence and Partition came to a violent head in 1984.

1984 Operation Blue Star:

In late 1983 and early 1984, the Indian government, parliament, congress, and military conspired to plan an attack against Sikh leader Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwali  and his supporters residing at the Golden Temple and militant freedom fighters living in Punjab, codename, Operation Blue Star. The operative had two divisions:

  • Operation Metal Objective: - Armed invasion of the Golden Temple at Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, and elimination of Bhindranwale and his supporters.
  • Operation Shop Objective: - Military raid of all major gurdwaras in Punjab to roundup and eliminate suspected Sikh militant freedom fighters.

In May of 1984, Indira Gandhi gave the order to launch Operation Blue Star and shut down the city of Amritsar. Military Special Forces invaded the Golden Temple in June of 1984, laying waste to food and water supplies. Armed troupes with armored tanks destroyed historic architecture and sacred artifacts. Simultaneous military invasions occurred in dozens of gurdwaras. Up to 20,000 innocent Sikh men, women, and children in the Golden Temple and other areas of Punjab lost their lives in the resulting mayhem of the week long siege.

Don't Miss: Never Forget 1984: Operation Blue Star Golden Temple Invasion Timeline

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1984 Operation Woodrose

Poster Calling for End of Punjab Police Brutality
Poster Calling for End of Punjab Police Brutality. Photo © [Jasleen Kaur]

1984 Operation Woodrose:

In June through October of 1984, the Indian government declaration of the Disturbed Areas Act branded all turban wearing Sikh males as militant terrorists. Immediately following Operation Blue Star, the Indian Army under orders of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi launched Operation Woodrose giving Para-military units and Punjab police legal immunity with permission to arrest with out warrants and to kill at will:

  • Operation Woodrose Mission Initiative : - Take into custody for questioning, or clandestinely kill in fake encounters, all male Amritdhari initiates.

Operatives roamed outlying villages, conducting raids, picking up, detaining, interrogating, torturing, and murdering thousands of innocent Sikh males. The Terrorist Affected Areas Act 1984 permitted immediate arrest without warrant, presentation, trial, and sentencing of suspects. Government sponsored methodological special operative military invasions of villages resulted in the arrest of more than 100,000 Sikh youth and culminated in the permanent disappearance of 8,000 Sikh youth under suspicious circumstances. Another 10,000 to 12,000 Sikh males fled Punjab seeking amnesty in other countries. Sikh women not only lost their husbands, sons, and brothers, but suffered the dishonor of humiliation and molestation.

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November 1984 Sikh Genocide

Delhi Massacre Culprits (Kultar's Mime)
Delhi Massacre Culprits (Kultar's Mime). Photo © [S Khalsa]

1984 Delhi Massacre:

On October 31st of 1984, the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh body guards sparked a week long murderous frenzy of heinous and horrific crimes targeting innocent Sikh men women and children. Alleged government perpetrators promoted Sikh pogroms handing out kerosene, petrol and all manner of weaponry. Merciless culprits prompted rioting by providing free liquor to mobs. Eye witnesses alleged that Congress leaders incited acts of genocide with cash incentives of 100 rupees to civilian conspirators along with lists of Sikh homes and further promises of 1,000 rupee rewards. During the first three days and nights of November 1984, arson, brutal massacre, and gang rape targeting Sikh families, erupted in as many as 40 cities all around India. It is estimated:

  • As many as 20,000 Sikhs vacated Delhi displaced by violence and vandalism.
  • The number of Sikh casualties in Delhi to have been between 2,100 to 4,000.
  • The number of Sikh genocide victims in other Indian cities to have been about 8,000.

Don't Miss:
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(1984 Delhi Massacre Survivor's Shame and Suffering Dramatized)

Up Next:
Never Forget 1984: Operation Blue Star Golden Temple Invasion Timeline
Operation Black Thunder I: 1986 Timeline
Operation Black Thunder II 1988 Timeline Set Up, Siege, and Surrender

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Your Citation
Khalsa, Sukhmandir. "Never Forget 1984: Anti-Sikh Government Sponsored Genocide." ThoughtCo, Aug. 22, 2016, thoughtco.com/anti-sikh-government-sponsored-genocide-2992914. Khalsa, Sukhmandir. (2016, August 22). Never Forget 1984: Anti-Sikh Government Sponsored Genocide. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/anti-sikh-government-sponsored-genocide-2992914 Khalsa, Sukhmandir. "Never Forget 1984: Anti-Sikh Government Sponsored Genocide." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/anti-sikh-government-sponsored-genocide-2992914 (accessed November 25, 2017).