SANT JARNAIL SINGH BHINDRANWALE'S LIFE, MISSION ANDMARTYRDOM*****
In June 1984, the Indian Government sent nearly a quarter million troops to Punjab, sealedthe state from the rest of the world, and launched an attack, code-named 'Operation Bluestar', onthe Darbar Sahib complex in Amritsar and over forty other
in Punjab. Sant JarnailSingh Bhindranwale, head of the
, and many students and teachers belongingto the
, perished in the conflict. Several thousand men, women and children, mostlyinnocent pilgrims, also lost their lives in that attack. This invasion was followed by 'OperationWoodrose' in which the army, supported by paramilitary and police forces, swept through Punjabvillages to eliminate 'anti-social elements'. These 'anti-social' elements were identified as
. Instructions given to the troops at that time stated
: 'Some of our innocentcountrymen were administered oath in the name of religion to support extremists and activelyparticipate in the act of terrorism. These people wear a miniature
round their neck and arecalled
... Any knowledge of the
who are dangerous people and pledgedto commit murders, arson and acts of terrorism should immediately be brought to the notice of theauthorities. These people may appear harmless from outside but they are basically committed toterrorism. In the interest of all of us their identity and whereabouts must always be disclosed.'These instructions constituted unmistakably clear orders for genocide of all Sikhs formallyinitiated into their faith. Another ten to twenty thousand are said to have been murdered, oftenwith torture, during this phase. Typical of this period is a report by Mary Ann Weaver
: 'Thepattern in each village appears to be the same. The Army moves in during the early evening,cordons a village, and announces over loudspeakers that everyone must come out. All malesbetween the ages of 15 and 35 are trussed and blindfolded, then taken away. Thousands havedisappeared in the Punjab since the Army operation began. The Government has provided no listsof names; families don't know if sons and husbands are arrested, underground, or dead.'Assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, allegedly by two of her security personnel whowere Sikh, triggered another orgy of violence against the Sikhs. The Government estimated thenumber of persons killed in Delhi during the first three days of November 1984 at nearly 2,700. Alist of 3,870 names was published by a newspaper
. The total for the country is estimated
Throughout, italics are used for Punjabi words.
, literally, the 'door 'of the Guru, is the facility where Siri GuruGranth Sahib, the Scripture regarded as the eternal Guru is installed and where the Sikhs gather for worship.
is a school for Sikh religious instruction.
is a person who has been formally initiated into the Sikh faith through having taken
Khande da Pahul
. Theceremony is often referred to as taking
Baat Cheet, A publication of the Department of Defense. Government of India, Serial Number 153, July 1984; reproduced inSurya Monthly, October 1984, page 6.
A sword, one of the five distinguishing marks of a Sikh. The others are uncut hair, a comb in the hair, a steel bangle, and adistinctive style pair of shorts.
Mary Ann Weaver, India's Sikhs are bitter as Army tries to weed out 'militants'., Christian Science Monitor, October 15,1984.
Indiuan Express, November 1, 1989.
Inderjit S. Jaijee, Politics of Genocide, Baba Publishers, Chandigarh, India, 1996, page 33.