How Indian Government created psychological and political atmosphere in Punjab in 1980s

It had by now become clear that Indira Gandhi, clandestinely aided by the Third Agency had created and fomented the Punjab problem and turned it into seemingly unresolvable crisis. A state of insecurity and instability was deliberately created through the operations of the super Intelligence Agency. Through the same Agency a feeling of mutual distrust between the Hindus and the Sikhs was generated which led to disturbances of communal harmony not only in Punjab but in the whole country.

The Sikhs were projected as communal, extremists, terrorists, separatists and anti national. To disseminate this vicious propaganda against the Sikhs, the Press, All India Radio and TV were pressed into service. This canard was carried to every nook and corner of the country. The cry of the Sikhs was drowned in the vast sea of this vicious propaganda. Political atmosphere was surcharged to such an extent that the Hindu Opposition Parties vied with one another to denigrate the Sikhs and advocated for taking military action against Sant Bhindranwale and his followers.

Atal Bihari Bajpai, President of BJP, Charan Singh, President of the Lok Dal, leaders of both the Communist Parties, which style themselves as secular but basically they too are communal, and others were strong votaries of taking military action against the militant Sikhs. So much so Harchand Singh Longowal, Balwant Singh Ex-Minister, Surjit Singh Barnala, and some other Akali leaders covertly supported the military action simply to please the Centre and then gain political power. So all Hindu Parties and the Akali traitors among the Sikhs cried with one Voice “attack the Golden Temple Complex and teach a lesson to the militant Sikhs.

Now the psychological and political atmosphere was ripe for Indira Gandhi to invade the Golden Temple Complex. She went on the AIR and the TV late in the evening of June 2, 1984 to address the nation. She pretended that she had tried to resolve the Punjab crisis but the Akalis were using dilatory tactics. Her address to the country and the world was a camouflage in order to cover up her ill-conceived motives. Her motives were clear because on June 1, 1984 she had already deployed at least seven Divisions of Armed Forces in Punjab who had taken their predetermined positions the same day. Her address to the nation, in fact, constituted a blatant lie and was a threat to the Akalis that if they failed to accept her dictate she would have her will by use of force.

In her broadcast she blamed the Akali leaders for not having reached agreement though the stark fact was that it was she who had resiled not once but thrice when the agreements between the Akalis and her team of ministers had been reached.

Her statement that sale of tobacco, liquor and meat had been banned in the demacrated areas in the walled city of Amritsar was a white lie. With regard to the demand for enacting of All India Gurdwara Act she stated that other states were being consulted. The consultations were going on for about 20 years!  Mere consultation does not amount to accepting the demands. Similarly, her announcement that she would constitute a Tribunal headed by a Supreme Court Judge to decide the distribution of river waters dispute was a diplomatic move which lacked sincerity.

Her proposal to appoint a Commission to decide the territorial dispute with regard to Chandigarh, Abohar, Fazilka and other Punjabi speaking areas, was a hollow announcement. The setting up of Sarkaria Commission (R. S. Sarkaria was appointed as one-man Commission to submit his report redefining State-Centre relations) amounted to ditching the Anandpur Sahib Resolution which has been the main demand of the Akalis. It was clear from her broadcast that she wanted to lull the Akalis with sweet but hollow promises. Not a single demand of the Akali Dal for which it had launched Dharm Yudh Morcha in 1981 was accepted.

In a clever move she blamed the moderate Akali leaders for having lost their control over the Morcha. She chided them that the terrorists, the anti-national elements and the religious fanatics had gained the upper hand and it was they who had been controlling the movement. This was a reference made to Sant Bhindranwale and his followers. Under such pretexts she launched military operation against the Sikhs.

She found immediate lame excuse for launching military offensive in the proposed call given by the Akali Dal for blocking movement of grams from Punjab to other States. Longowal intentionally gave this call at the behest of the Centre so that Indira Gandhi could justify her ill-designed military action. Did she give the Akali leaders a single day to reconsider their threatened agitation proposed to be launched from 3rd June onwards?

It is pertinent to note that the army had clamped curfew in whole of the Punjab on 3rd June and enforced it so strictly that whole life in Punjab came to a standstill. How the Akalis under such critical conditions could have obstructed running of trains? It was clear that the military curfew had completely thwarted the threatened Rail-Roko agitation. Where was then the justification for Indira Gandhi to resort to brutal military action? Any how she found an excuse to take action against Sant Bhindranwale and his followers.

Her closing words in the broadcast that “Don’t shed blood, shed hatred” were likened to the Devil quoting scriptures. It was Indira Gandhi who shed blood of the Sikhs and spread hatred against them and not the vice versa.

One comment

  1. Indra Gandhi was herself a terrorist. Nehru’s ancesters were the real terrorists who gave away the younger shaibzade to the mughal sarkar along with their grandmother. So, what do you expect from this family. This was in their blood. Nehru’s surname wa Kaul which he changed to Nehru to escape the sikhs.

    It is time sikh get united and have their own state.
    In india there is no place for minorities.

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