Free Press Journal

BJP asks govt to come out with facts on UK link to Op Bluestar


New Delhi: BJP today asked the government to come out with the “facts” on ‘Operation Bluestar’ after declassified documents claimed that Britain’s elite Special Air Services had advised Indira Gandhi before the 1984 raid on the Golden Temple.

BJP said since political consultation within the government on the subject at that time was minimal, it asked whether the action against Sikh militants holed up in the shrine was planned on British advice or was any other country also consulted.

“It is about time that the Government of India decided to tell us the truth as to what the real facts were. This would enable the people of India to conclude whether ‘Operation Blue Star’ was a strategic miscalculation,” Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.

Labour MP Tom Watson and Lord Indarjit Singh had claimed that recently declassified documents indicated that Special Air Service (SAS) officials had been dispatched to help India on the planning on the raid of the Golden Temple.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has directed his Cabinet Secretary to establish the facts behind claims that Margaret Thatcher’s government may have helped Indira Gandhi plan the operation.

The BJP leader also hit out at Congress for not nipping the problem at the initial stage. Jaitley said instead of exploring alternative methods of evacuating extremists holed up in Golden Temple, the government went ahead with the operation and hurt Sikh sentiments.

“If British Government was being consulted in February 1984, it only lends credence to the fact that Government of India neither believed in nipping the problem at the initial stage nor in exploring alternative methods of evacuating the extremists from the Golden Temple.

“It wanted to invade the sacred precincts of the Golden Temple no matter even if it hurt the national interest and certainly the interests of the Sikhs,” he alleged.

The BJP leader added that declassification of confidential documents shows that there was a significant foreign hand behind the advice given to Indira Gandhi to proceed in a particular manner.

Jaitley said ‘Operation Blue Star’ will remain one of the most controversial acts by a government in independent India, which he claimed was probably planned by Congress on the eve of 1984 elections to win them on the patriotic slogan of “saving Punjab and saving India from terror”.

Jaitley said a chapter in the book on ‘Operation Blue Star’ by P C Alexander, the then Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, gives an impression that it is only when dialogue between him and Sant Longowal failed that Gen Vaidya was called towards the end of May 1984 and asked to get ready for a military operation.

“Did the Government of India take the necessary intelligence and political inputs as to the impact the military action would have on the Sikhs, one of the most patriotic communities? Indeed that was not a consideration for the Government of India,” he said.