Pakistan News PakTribune.Com The fifth and sixth days of June which remind the tragic memory of India’s Operation Blue Star launched on the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of the Sikhs in 1984 have come at a time when Pakistan’s armed forces have been conducting Malakand operations against the Taliban. It looks interesting to compare the phenomena and other dimensions of these opertions. The main aim of the Operation Blue Star led by Indian General Kuldip Singh Brar was to arrest Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the only spititual leader who had been boldly fighting for the genuine rights of Sikhs. Indian government which never tried to negotaiate with the Sikh leader had signed no peace agreement with him or the Sikh community, while activities of Bhindranwale were only confined to the Golden Temple. As regards Pak military operations, Swat peace accord was signed on February 15 this year between the government and the militants led by Sufi Muhammad. Meanwhile, National Assembly passed the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation which was also signed by Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari. While implementing it, two Qazi courts were appointed in the Malakand Division. But, by setting aside the terms of the peace pact, the Taliban equipped with heavy weapons started making checkpoints, strengthening their position in Swat and Dir. They not only refused to renounce arms, but even entered Bumer in open violations of the peace agreement. Sikhs who were fighting for their political rights never forced the people of their community or those of the other sects to join them. They did not employ coervcive methods by creating fear among the people in order to get their sympathies. They never tried to impose their religious values over other regions of India by extending their influence. Neither, they did involve themselves in criminal activities to raise funds for their stuggle of indepedence. People of their religious community in India and abroad voluntariry supported their stand, providing them with funds. On the other side, Taliban re-initiated their previous practice of beheadings, kidnappings, attacks on the checkposts of the security forces etc. In the past four years, in FATA and other regions of our country, Taliban’s various inhuman tactics such as attacks on government buildings, girls school, video shops and police stations, using car suicide bombers had not only been destabilizing Pakistan but also amounted to anti-social activities. Particularly in some tribal areas, these militant leaders had created state within the state, and have been involved in a number of crimes such as killing the moderate dissidents and fuelling sectarianism as noted in Khyber Agency and Kurram Agency where more than 2000 people died in the last two years. They were pitching Sunni Muslims against the minority Shia. In the 2008, with the open destruction of over 200 girls schools in the Swat Valley, these insurgents discouraged women’s education, keeping them exploitable. Money earned through drug-smuggling, hostage-taking for ransom and even car-snatching was justified to wage their holly war. However, violation of Swat peace agreement and their advances beyond Swat triggered a great deal of panic among the local population. It was in these circumstances that the military operations were re-conducted to restore peace in these affected areas, and to get rid the inncocent people of the brutalities of the Taliban. It was due to the transgressions and atrocities of these insurgents that overwhelming public, belonging to every province of Pakistan have been supporting the ongoing military operations as majority of the people are against the Taliban style of Sharia. Besides backing these operations through various political and religious conventions organized in Lahore, Islamabad and other areas of the country intermittently, on May 18 this year, an all-parties conference (APC) vowed to unite the nation against insurgency in Malakand and Swat, pledging to end terror. Especially, member of the civil societies and religious scholars from the Frontier Province also unanimously favoured the military operations, and no massive protests were witnessed against these operations. Unlike the Taliban, Sikhs did not engage themselves in anti-social activities, inciting the people for suicide attacks or sectarian violence. Severe protests had been lodged by the Sikhs against Indian military Operation Blue Star inside and outside India. History proves that any genuine movement includes majoriy of the people of that community, race and sect. In this context, struggle of Sikhs had become voice of the majoriy of their people before and after the operation at the Golden Temple. Nevertheless, on June 5 and June 6, The Indian Army supported by armoured vehicles and heavy weapons broke all the records of state terrorism through that barbaric military operation. At that time, there were only 251 Sikhs inside the complex to protect the Golden Temple, their sacred shrine by resisting Indian well-trained army. Notably, in those days, majority of the Sikhs were coming to Golden Temple to celebrate Martyr day of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Indian military troops, while using tanks, destroyed the Akaal Takhat Sahib, which is right in front of the Golden Temple. On June 6, when all Sikh fighters were martyred along with Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, army soldiers entered the temple with their shoes by deliberately neglecting the holiness of the Shrine. When Indian troops came to know that only 251 men had stopped them from entering the temple for many days, they started murdering even those innocent Sikhs who had come there to visit the Temple. The sole aim behind was to hide their humiliation. In this regard, Ramnarain Kumar and Georg Sieberer in their book, The Sikh Struggle, write: “The Army killed every Sikh who could be found inside the temple complex. They were hauled out of the rooms, brought to corridors on the circumference of the temple and with their hands tied behind their back, were shot in cold blood. Among the victims were many old men women and children.” Past records indicate that all the visitors were locked up in the rooms for two days without any food, water and electricity, starving them to death. And the Golden Temple remained under the army control for many a month. The cruelty of the Operation Blue Star was not confined to the Golden Temple only. Indian armed forces simultaneously attacked 40 other historical Gurdwaras all over Punjab. When Sikhs in other states came to know about the desecration of the Golden Temple and genocide of their brethren, they quickly left for Punjab. Focusing their attention on Sikh military, Indian rulers tried to stop them before they could reach Punjab. Many Sikhs were assassinated on the way. According to an estimate, about 50,000 Sikhs were killed within a few days including tourists. The whole Amritsar city was sealed and was burnt. Sikh’s shops were looted and their houses were set ablaze by Hindu mobs backed by Indian intelligence agency, RAW. In most of the cases, Sikh women were dishonored and some persons were also burnt alive. Another tragic dimension of the military operation is that historical Sikh artifacts entailing all the literature written by the Gurus was taken away by the army and was also set ablaze. In November of 1984, two dedicated Sikhs who were posted at Premier Indira Gandhi’s residence in New Delhi, assassinated her. Then Hindu riots erupted in the capital and other cities in which more then 15,000 Sikhs were killed in broad daylight by the supporters of Indira while police watched silently providing the Hindus with free hand to massacre Sikhs. To maintain their control on the Golden Temple, another attack was launched on the Temple in 1987, called, namely Operation Black Thunder. In that respect, quite number of people of Sikh community was murdered. According to a report, many trucks were loaded with dead bodies and all were burned with kerosene oil. Afterwards, Operation Woodrose and Operation Black Thunder II were conducted against the Sikh community, which also assassinated them extra-judicially. The attack on Golden Temple and genocide of Sikhs only accelerated the liberation movement for Khalistan as Bhindrenwale became a folk hero in giving a greater inspiration to freedom fighters. After these barbaric operations, Sikhs organized themselves into an armed power in order to fight the Indian state terrorism. Sikhs who have been living all over the world keep the movement of Khalistan alive. Finally, difference in Indian and Pak military operations can be witnessed from the fact that no Sikhs were annoyed with other Sikhs in connection with their struggle. Neither majority of Sikhs left the province of Punjab or Amritsar. But on the other side, 2.5 million people have so far left Malkanad Division and other adjoining regions. They have took sigh of relief, describing the atrocities of the Taliban, they faced. And majority of the Pakhtoons strongly support the Pak military operations.