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Author: Mark Tully
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8129109174
On 5th June 1984, the Indian army began its attack on the complex at Amritsar which housed the two most sacred shrines of the Sikh community: the Golden Temple and the Akal takht. Generals who had pledge to minimum force, and on no account to violate the shrines, were not prepared for the fierce and adept resistance they encountered. Having suffered severe casualties, the infantry were driven back, and as a last resort –with approval from Delhi-tanks were ordered in.
The Akal Takht was virtually reduced to rubble. It is doubtful if Mrs. Gandhi would have initiated Operation Blue Star had she known how bloody and devastating would be the consequences of that 24 - hour conflict. Yet up to that point she had resisted any armed intervention in what had literally become a reign of terror in the Punjab. Perhaps, as many, including her son Rajiv, suggested, she waited too long before her attack on the fundamentalist Sikh preacher Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
Mark Tully and Satish Jacob, who ran the BBC's bureau in Delhi, here trace the long build up to the storming of the Sikh stronghold, the shifts of power within the Sikh community and the efforts of the central government both to utilize and control them; the rise of Bhindranwale - initially put forward by then President of India Zail Singh and Mrs. Gandhi's own son Sanjay - whose extremism placed a wedge between Sikh and Hindu, Sikh and Sikh, and the Punjab and India; the indecisiveness of Mrs. Gandhi, who paid for the catastrophic aftermath of the operation with her life.
In this vivid and well-documented account of historical and political events, Tully and Jacob bring the Sikh tragedy into focus from many arresting angles. They were the first to film the fortification of the Golden Temple. They met Bhindranwale, his military mastermind Major-General Shahbeg Singh and many of the other central characters in the drama. They gathered eye-witness accounts from every quarter to fill in this remarkable picture of what occurred and present their thought-provoking analysis with eloquence.
Illustrations and Picture Credits
Preface to the Indian Edition
Note to Readers
1. The Assassination of a Prime Minister
2. The Sikhs
3. The Grievances of the Sikh
4. The Rise of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale
5. The Arrest of Bhindranwale
6. Mrs Gandhi Attempts to Negotiate with the Sikhs
7. The Asian Games and their Aftermath
8. Two Brutal Killings – Mrs Gandhi Acts at Last
9. President’s Rule Fails
10. Last Ditch Negotiations
11. Mrs Gandhi Gives the Go-ahead
12. Operation Blue Star
13. The Golden temple, 6the june
14. The Aftermath