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The army was in too much of a hurry to bother about public relations, so all the journalists were then bundled out of Punjab.
As we drove through Amritsar, we heard intermittent small-arms fire and the occasional whoof of a mortar.
More than 2000 people were killed in Delhi alone, almost all of them Sikhs.
But no leader of the ruling Congress party who has been accused by eyewitnesses of leading gangs of rioters has ever been convicted.
Two more attempts were then made to reach the Akal Takht. The firing from inside became intermittent, and eventually stopped.
The Akal Takht after Operation Blue Star (Photo: Khalistan.net) I returned to Amritsar in the first press party taken to the Golden Temple complex after the operation. The Golden Temple itself was in tact, scarred only by a few bullet holes. In the immediate aftermath of the operation, some Sikh soldiers in the Indian army mutinied.
The government had clamped a strict curfew on the whole state.
Frequent army check posts insured that there was no traffic on Kipling’s Grand Trunk Road.
That division is highlighted today by the sword fight at the temple between Sikhs who were marking the anniversary of the raid.
Back in 1984, as the BBC’s Delhi correspondent, I had been in Amritsar for the four days leading up to the Indian army’s attack. There had been a spate of murders by Bhindranwale’s supporters and now they were threatening to disrupt the supply of food throughout the Punjab.
Indira Gandhi won’t be able to keep the lid on outraged Sikhs’ anger for ever.” Five infantry battalions, the equivalent of two companies of commandos, six tanks and two companies of paramilitary police were assembled to oust Bhindranwale.
In his book describing the battle, Major-General Kuldip Singh Brar, the Sikh officer Mrs Gandhi put in charge of the assault, says the first infantry contingent, soldiers of the 10 Guards Regiment, entered the complex through the North Gate and immediately came under fire from machine guns concealed at the bottom of the steps.