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Sikhs, victims or perpetrators of violence?

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  • Sikhs, victims or perpetrators of violence?

    After visiting India I started being more interested in its historical events. Recently have watched several documentaries on the so called operation blue star which ended in deaths of many Sikhs. I do not doubt many were just victims but of whom? I think their leader Bhindranwale and his followers kept committing crimes which infuriated Indira Gandhi and she decided to end their violence. I do not see all Sikhs as mere victims in this situation - there was a group of Sikh extremists who demanded a separate state and who were very aggressive indeed and posed threat to security. Maybe the state's decision of military intervention was not so well planned but it was inevitable knowing how dangerous some Sikh militants were.

    Finally, a Sikh body guard killed Indira Gandhi too.

    I wonder what people who live in India think about this.

  • #2
    Very interesting topic Aiste. This is one incident , details of which are not known to most of the Indians despite being extremely popular . But, I'll tell you what I know about this, the origin, the problems, execution of operation bluestar ,death of Indira Gandhi and aftermath.
    This all started in 1977, when then Prime minister declared an emergency in India. This led to widespread backlash for Congress and Indira Gandhi. She lost the power to Morarji Desai in 1977-78 Elections as a result, and now the old yet extremely patriotic and strong Morarji Desai was viewed as the hero of Indians. Seeing his popularity and further the establishment of Research and Analysis wing (RAW) , Congress became worried and started to play wicked mind games. They executed their plans in 2 ways , first by flattering leaders like Raj Narain and Charan Singh from his party and second by contacting Jarnail Singh Bhinderawala and his DamDami Taksal, so that they can disturb the conditions in most prosperous state in India at that time,i.e. Punjab. Jarnail Singh Bhinderawala was the leader of Khalistan Movement and one of the people who had extreme hate for Hindus. He was so wicked that he and his people would stop a bus filled with Hindu passengers coming from pilgrim and kill all of them. The increasing violence and backstabbing by Charan Singh and Raj Narain, Morarji Desai was compelled to resign and retire. This led to elections, in which Indira Gandhi emerged victorious and this led to her second reign as Prime minister. She asked DamDami taksal to stop their violence in Punjab, but it was too late and what has been started as a small-level local demands, has turned into something extremely serious. Bhinderawala was out of control , and a large Sikh population was influenced by him. But after Indira Gandhi's government and Punjab government refused to help him, he turned into a terrorist and shaked hands with Pakistan. He and his colleagues of DamDami Taksal took residence in the Golden Temple (the most holy place for Sikhs) and even in that place, Bhinderawala would live and sleep in room, where their god is supposed to live in invisible form (he was starting to consider himself as god of Sikhs). Left with no other choice, government had to plan operation blue star , which was kept a secret until it's execution. Operation bluestar was carried out in Golden temple where Jarnail Singh and his colleagues were killed ,but it doesn't end there. Sikhs were deeply hurt because their religious beliefs were destroyed. Over 400 innocent Sikhs who were there to pray in Gurudwara were killed and the infrastructure of Golden temple was destroyed. After few days , on 31st October,1984 , Indira Gandhi was attacked by her own bodyguard who was a hurt Sikh. Even after his arrest, he said that he only took revenge on a wicked politician who loved to kill innocent people for her own benefits . After she was declared dead, Congress chose her elder son, Rajiv Gandhi as new Prime minister. After the formation of new government, within few hours a widespread violence against Sikhs started all over India ,especially in Delhi,Kanpur and Bokaro. This continued for next 3 days , and the outcome was the death of over 400,000 Sikhs. This was all supported by Government and it can be understood from the statement of Rajiv Gandhi after the violence and from what then president,Gyani Jail Singh said. Gyani Jail Singh said that, until the evening of 1st November, he was getting thousands of calls from people who were asking for help , but despite his calls ,Government ignored this. He said that the calls suddenly stopped in the evening and he initially thought that the government has taken some actions. But after no calls for hours , he suspected and found that actually government has blocked his telephone line so that he could not receive anymore calls. After 3 days of continuos violence,it all suddenly stopped on 3rd November and Rajiv Gandhi came and said , "Jab ek bada ped girta hai to agal bagal ki jameen to hilti hi hai "(when a big tree falls then the soil around it obviously shakes ). He was referring to Indira Gandhi as the tree and Sikhs as the disturbed soil .
    This is what actually happened,and no I'm not making stories. My mother's family lived in Bokaro and my mother saw how Sikhs were killed brutally. My maternal grandfather being an influential person in Bokaro was able to save some Sikhs by hiding them in his house but 90% of the Sikhs present in Bokaro at that time were killed. Noone was left alive, men,women,old people,children,infants, nothing , not even the common people who would try to help Sikhs. Their house ,their property and their vehicles were burnt. Police refused to look at the violence at all, it felt like they were on 2-day national leave. And don't confuse it with communal riots , because Muslims and Hindus equally took part in killing these people. This was a genocide. Khalistan movement has been suppressed since then.
    Still, if I tell you, most of the Sikhs are army men who serve for India. They love India . They are not Kashmiri Muslims. They are Indians. And I believe that the Sikhs are loved by all other Indians around the country. What happened,was just a nightmare. And we should forget that.

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    • #3
      As far as I got, Rajiv Gandhi 'punished' all Sikhs collectively after his mother's assassination... which was a horrendous thing to do for sure. It could have been enough to destroy just those Sikh extremists, leaving the ordinary ones alone.

      I wonder if the documentaries you've mentioned are available in English so will check, thanks

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      • #4
        Your question was simple and I will tell you a simple answer.

        Sikhs are the most selfless breed of people you would find. History is history. Rajiv Gandhi fucked up big time. They organised a crime worthy of being called a Genocide. But I am guessing your interest is more in knowing how Sikhs are as people.

        They are better than most people. Which community doesn't have exceptions? If one judges a society on exceptions then something is wrong in the way they look at other societies.

        If you truly want to know how Sikhs are visit a Gurudwara (Sikh temple) and see how selflessly they do their work. Their management and process are so well organised it can put many global companies to shame. And they do it all as volunteers. They make food, clean up, and serve everyone irrespective of anyone's skin color, race, sex, beliefs etc.

        I struggle to find such selfless people. I therefore have tremendous respect for them.

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