Operation Blue Star was the codename for the attack on the Golden Temple from June 1-6, 1984 to evict Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his armed followers from the Golden Temple on the orders of the Prime Minister at that time, Indira Gandhi. Bhindranwale had wanted the Indian government to pass the Anandpur Resolution, and thereby agree to the formation of a separate state of Khalistan for Sikhs. The operation was launched in response to a deterioration of law and order in Punjab. Operation Bluestar was a two-fold operation – the first one was called Operation Metal, which was restricted to eliminating the armed militants holed up in the Golden Temple. This was followed by Operation Shop, which was carried out across Punjab to ensure that all suspects were captured or killed. Following it, Operation Woodrose, the second component, was launched throughout Punjab.
Operation Woodrose was a military operation carried out by the Indira Gandhi-led Indian government in the months after Operation Blue Star to “prevent the outbreak of widespread public protest” in the state of Punjab. The government arrested all prominent members of the largest Sikh political party, the Akali Dal, and banned the All India Sikh Students Federation, a large students’ union. In addition, the Indian Army conducted operations in the countryside during which thousands of Sikhs, overwhelmingly young men, were detained for interrogation and subsequently tortured. Despite its purported success in controlling the armed insurgency in the Punjab region, the operation was criticized by human-rights groups for the suspension of civil liberties and habeas corpus, resulting in the disappearances of thousands of Sikh men. After the operation, the central government was criticized for using “draconian legislation” to repress a minority community.
Operation Blue Star was an excessively violent massacre, that could have been avoided and was ill-considered.