June 3-8, 1984
Anniversary of Operation Blue Star
Indira Gandhi’s Invasion of the Golden Temple and Massacre at the Sikhs’ Holiest Site
June 3-8 is the 38th anniversary of the invasion of Golden Temple and 38 other Gurdwaras in Punjab by the Indian army in 1984, ordered by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Hundreds of thousands of people had gathered at the Golden Temple to commemorate the anniversary of the martyrdom of the 6th Guru of the Sikhs, Arjan Dev. The army attacked with tanks, armoured cars, rockets and other heavy weapons killing thousands of people and injuring many more. The magnificent Sikh reference library was burnt, a curfew was imposed on all of Punjab and all media suppressed. No news was allowed to come out of Punjab. All the political parties of the rich supported this attack on the people revealing their anti-people nature. Many of those who are today shouting about “fascism in India” were in the front ranks of the attacks against the people of Punjab, acting as cheerleaders of this attack on the people.
Since partition, Punjabis have been fighting against the colonial policies of the central government of Delhi. Farmers have been fighting against ruination, devastation and destruction of the land as they are doing now. They wanted to take control of their resources, so they could make decisions about them which favoured the farmers, rather than falling victim to decisions taken by the Delhi government which favoured agribusiness. But the colonial state in Delhi attacked them with all its might. The attack on the Golden Temple was a great provocation against the people of Punjab by which the Indian state wanted to incite communal violence. But it failed miserably. It is a testament to the wisdom of the Punjabi people that they did not allow that.
In the following decade more than 150,000 young men were killed by the security forces in assassinations carried out through fake encounters and black ops. Many people were disappeared and falsely imprisoned as a result of black laws. Still, the people never succumbed. The years of state terrorism by the Indian ruling elite did not succeed in crushing the spirit and determination of the people of Punjab, as can be seen in last year’s farmers’ protests at the encampments surrounding Delhi. Time after time they have proclaimed that they will keep on fighting the rulers until they achieve their goals.
The 38th anniversary of the invasion of Golden Temple and military occupation of Punjab reminds the people of Punjab, India and the world of the colonial nature of the Indian state in the service of a tiny ruling elite comprised of billionaires such as Adani, Ambani, Tata and others. It also brings into sharp relief the disinformation and deception that the political parties of the rich have been pedalling about India’s being the largest democracy in the world.
The invasion and the conditions of life of the peoples of India since then reveal that the India brought into being as a Westminster style democracy in 1947 is a ruthless dictatorship of the rich. The experience of the people calls on them to strengthen their unity in action against the terroristic dictatorship of the Indian ruling elite.