"Operation Bluestar Created New Crusaders for Sikh Cause"
Dr Subramaniam Swami - Ex-Member of Parliment
June 6, will be remembered as a landmark in modern Indian history. On that date, the indian armed forces took control of the Golden Temple complex after destroying the Akal Takht and killing Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. The nation, on the whole, expressed releif. A few of us, however, expressed sorrow and felt that Operation Bluestar, as the action was called, was horrible blunder which would aggravate the problem of "terrorism", not contain it. Since then, the problem has, indeed, been aggravated. New crusaders for the Sikhs have now surfaced.
To put the record straight, Ram Jethmalani - the new Galahad - was not one of those who had opposed Operation Bluestar. Today he may pose at a defender of the underdog, but on June 6, 1984, he expressed satisfaction with goverment's ation.
This is said not, of course, to defend the BJP in sacking Jethmalani. The BJP is wholly communal. As long as Jethmalani was defending Haji Mastaan, the alleged smuggler king, Varadarajan Mudaliar, Jaspal Singh (of the CIA espionage case), and the Sarda case murders in Pune, the BJP was at peace with its principles. But the moment Jethmalani decided to defend the two alleged comspirators in the murder of Mrs Gandhi, the BJP expressed great revulsion. This revulsion is due to the fact that the BJP is once again wooing the vote-bank in North India which laid the foundations for Pakistan. Besides, the BJP is now busy trying to make Khalistan inevitable. The forces behind this vote bank are actively trying to polarise Punjab. The BJP, thus, is aspiring to be the agent of the "silent terrorists" - the Hindu communalist' - Jethamalani is merely the fly in the ointment.
The Jethmalani issue is typical of the machinations that have created the present situation in Punjab. Various actors in the drama have indulged in posturing without regard for the consequences on their histrionics. First, there was Mrs Ghandi, who described the Akali Dal's 41 point economic and social demand charter as "secessionist" in a effort to win the communal Hindu vote. There was nothing separatist about these demands. Then came her son, Rajiv Ghandi, who maintained that the Anandpur Sahib Resolution was antinational. There was nothing unpatriotic in this resolution - if one cared to read it. He also raised the alarm on the Sikh's use of words like "quam" and phrases like "Raj Karega Khalsa" and on that basis denounced the whole community as Khalistanis - all by clever innuendos. "Quam" is no more unacceptable that the "desam" in Telugu Desam or "nadu" in Tamil Nadu. And "Raj Karega Khalsa" is roughly, the equivalent of "Satyameva Jayate". And yet Sikhs were made to feel traitors for using these words .
Arguing the counter-point on the Punjab issue, all discussions must ultimately zero in on Bhindranwale, about whom there is so much disinformation that this column is insufficient to remedy the situation. In fact, i am writing an account of the Punjab tragedy in the form of a book in which Bhindranwale figures objectively - warts and all. I hope, my book will inspire a future government to set up a special commission to find out the true story of what happened. My first hand knowledge of events in Punjab also lead me to say the following about Sant Bhindranwale.
He never advocated Khalistan even when the indian army laid seige to the Golden Temple.
He was a strict moralist, totally against liquor, drugs and promiscuity. Hence, i totally disbeleive any rumours about pregnant abducted women kept as his prisoners, which were only spread to malign him.
He was stance anti-communist, and had broken the hold of the Naxalities and pro-soviet communists on the youth of Punjab.
It was Bhindranwale's anti-communist stance that activated the Russians and the KGB lobby in Mrs Ghandi's camp to spread disinformation and thus discredit him. A few days before Operation Bluestar, Pravda wroted that Bhindranwale had a direct telephonic link with the CIA in Langley, Virginia, the headquarters of the agency. That was untrue, but leading dailies in New Delhi published wire service reproductions of that article. Who organised this negative media blitz?
A large number of the murders committed in Punjab brought swift condemnation from him, but these were never published. Such were the maneuvers of the goverments media mafia. In my presence, Bhindranwale had condemned the massacre in which Hindu's travelling in a bus were segregated and shot. He sent money to the affected Hindu families. But this was never published in any newspaper. When Dr V.N Tiwari, MP, was shot dead in his house in Chandigarh, Bhindranwale wrote to his wife expressing his sorrow and called the murder an act of cowardice.
But there was such as frenzy in the country at the time that no one was willing to listen. The government encouraged the rumours and disinformation. Even i, who never said anywhere that there were no arms in the Golden Temple, was quoted as having said so by Rajiv Ghandhi in the 1984 monsoon session of parliament. When i challanged him to produce just one news report from a reputable paper as proof, he was unable to do so. All this is part of the Lok Sabha proceedings which we can refer to and yet, from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, wherever i went, the statement that i had never made was quoted again and again to discredit whatever else i would say about Punjab. Who arranged this publicity? The same people who finally murdered Bhindranwale?