The 1984 Operation Blue Star was the biggest internal security mission ever undertaken by the Indian Army. Operation Blue Star was Indira Gandhi’s solution to the haywire going law and order situation in Punjab.
Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India, ordered the military operation to remove Sikh militants who were accumulating weapons in the Harmandir Sahib Complex (Golden Temple).
Operation Blue Star was carried out between June 1 and June 8, 1984, in Amritsar.
Operation Blue Star took birth after the rise of Khalistan movement in India. The Khalistan movement was a political Sikh nationalist movement which aimed at creating an independent state for Sikhs inside the current North-Western Republic of India.
Even though the Khalistan movement started in the early 1940s and 1950s, it gained popularity between 1970s and 1980s.
Bhindranwale was the leader of Damdami Taksal and was one of the main reasons behind Operation Blue Star. As a leader, Bhindranwale had an influence on Sikh youth. He persuaded many people to follow Sikh rules and tenets.
During Operation Blue Star, Bhindranwale and Khalistan supporters took over the Akal Takht complex in Amritsar’s Golden Temple.
Bhindranwale was seen as a supporter of the creation of Khalistan. Operation Blue Star specifically was aimed to eliminate Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale from the Golden Temple complex and regain the control over Harmandir Sahib.
Official reports put the number of deaths among the Indian army at 83 and the number of civilian deaths at 492, though independent estimates ran much higher.
Operation Sundown was the aborted mission which was planned by the RAW agency to abduct Bhindranwale.