Recordings from past webinars, live events and presentations by SikhRI presenters, as well as creative explorations of Sikh concepts.
The Army began the assault on June 4 morning by firing heavy artillery and mortars against the temple complex, destroying the tops of two 18 century towers, the water tank behind a large public assembly room called Teja Singh Samundri Hall, and other buildings in the circumference. Hundreds of people were killed in the criss-cross of intense firing that continued throughout June 4.
“Operation Blue Star” begins. Indian Army attacks the Complex and more than 120 other Gurduaras in Panjab simultaneously. The shelling of the Complex starts between 4 and 5 am. At 7:00 pm, Major-General KS Brar orders Vijayanta tanks towards the clock tower entrance. Thousands of Sikh pilgrims were killed.
“When I met Bhindranwale on the evening of 3 June 1984 in the Akal Takht, I did not know that I was perhaps the last journalist to meet the lion in his den.”- Subhash Kirpekar (Journalist), “Operation Blue Star: An Eyewitness Account”"No one inside the Golden Temple had yet realised the sinister plan of the authorities. Punjab had been sealed. Amritsar had been sealed. The Golden Temple had been sealed. Thousands of pilgrims and hundreds of Akali workers had been allowed to collect inside the Temple complex. They had been given no inkling or warning either of the sudden curfew or the imminent Army attack. It was to be a black Hole-type of tragedy, not out of forgetfulness but out of deliberate planning and design."- Citizens for Democracy, Report to the Nation: Oppression in Punjab
This day was Guru Arjan Sahib’s martyrdom. Thousands gathered to commemorate. A total curfew was imposed, trapping thousands of civilians inside the Complex; no opportunity was given for civilians to leave. All communications, including phone lines to and from Panjab, are cut. Roadblocks prevent anyone from entering or leaving Panjab, and all journalists are expelled from Panjab. Panjab is sealed off from the rest of the world.
"Let us join hands together to heal wounds… to all sections of Panjabis, I appeal - don’t shed blood, shed hatred.” - Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, during a live broadcast “But the Prime Minister had already decided she would shed blood if necessary.” - Mark Tully (BBC Journalist), Amritsar, Mrs.Gandhi's Last Battle Learn about the impact of 1984: https://sikhri.org/tags/june-1984
Panjab is “Sealed off” to foreigners. Indian Army replaces Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Border Security Force (BSF) in Panjab. At least seven divisions of the army are deployed in the villages of Panjab.
On June 1 afternoon, mixed groups of various security agencies that had occupied the multi-storied buildings in the circumference did open fire against the temple complex when Bhindranwale was holding his audience on the roof of the kitchen building. Instead of targeting Bhindranwale, the sharpshooters aimed at various buildings, including the main shrine of Harmandir Sahib which sustained 34 bullet marks. The objective of this barrage of firing, that lasted for seven hours, was to assess the strength, the training, and the preparedness of Bhindranwale’s resistance. According to Devinder Singh Duggal, in charge of the Sikh Reference Library located inside the Golden Temple complex and an eye-witness, Bhindranwale’s followers were under strict instructions “not to fire a single shot unless and until the security forces or the Army entered the holy Golden Temple.” The action claimed the lives of eight pilgrims, including a woman and a child, inside the temple complex and injured 25 others. The Government of India’s document called the White Paper on Punjab released on 10 July 1984, does not acknowledge this incident. - Ram Narayan Kumar, Reduced to Ashes
Pilgrims start to gather at Sri Harimandar Sahib and Akal Takht Sahib Complex, commemorating the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Sahib. The Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force start firing upon the Complex to test the defenses and preparedness of the Sikh fighters, in which at least 8 people died.