BOOK READING: Operation Blue Star

Terrible failure of the State - Ramesh Inder Singh

BOOK READING: Operation Blue Star

An Insider’s Account of the Army Operation and Its Aftermath


Operation Blue Star was a disaster – ill conceived, poorly planned, terribly executed

In matters of faith, they say, reason always is the first casualty. Sacrosanct spaces require careful handling; the holier a hallowed place, the greater the sensitivity of the faithful, and still stronger their reaction if in their eyes its sanctity is violated. It doesn’t matter even if they initiate violence. The state ignored this sentiment and the consequences were catastrophic.

“Still worse was the way Blue Star was carried out. It was a disaster – ill conceived, poorly planned, terribly executed. Consequently, for the troops it was a pyrrhic victory. A few hundred militants were killed. But their death sowed the seeds for ethno-religious nationalism to proliferate and generate a violence far worse than what the operation had eliminated. Blue Star was not the epilogue, but a prelude to the violent struggle for Khalistan. The army won the battle, but at the cost of peace in Punjab,” Ramesh Inder Singh, known generally as RI Singh writes.

Not surprisingly, he writes, most Sikhs viewed Blue Star “as a premeditated, sacrilegious invasion of their holy shrine. And that explains the backlash that followed the operation; it synthesized the sentiments of the quam (the Sikhs) against the state as a collective voice. In the battle of public perception, the state had miserably failed to carry the community along. This was, more than any other factor, the cause of the fatal consequences that followed Blue Star, and it continues to haunt the community even today”.

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