Commandos who conducted one of India’s most controversial military raids against a militant Sikh group were trained by Israeli Mossad agents, an Indian paper has reported.
Writing for India Today to mark the raid on one of the most sacred sites in the Sikh tradition, Prabhash K Dutta claims that the attack known as “Operation Blue Star” was conducted by Indian commandos trained by Israeli agents when India refused to have any diplomatic ties with Israel.
The commandos who entered the Golden Temple on 6 June 1984, Dutta says, were part of Special Group of the 56th Commando Company of the Indian Army. They were the only unit of the Indian forces to have received specialised training. The Special Group or SG commandos, as they were called in those days, had been trained by an expert team of the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence organisation.
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Thirty-four years on, the operation which led to clashes between Sikh militants and Indian commandos, continues to divide the nation.
The incident took place just about 100 feet from the sanctum sanctorum “Harmandir Sahib”, the holiest of Sikh shrines located inside the Golden Temple complex.
Official reports put the number of deaths among the Indian army at 83 and the number of civilian deaths at 492, though independent estimates ran much higher. The Indian government’s decision to bar media coverage fuelled speculation about a cover up of the number of casualties.
What followed shocked the nation. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, viewed by militant Sikhs as the person responsible for the raid, was assassinated on 31 October 1984, by two of her Sikh bodyguards.
The country was pushed into crises following the assassination. Anti-Sikh riots followed across India for days, killing thousands of Sikhs. The 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182 is thought to have been taken in revenge. The plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. A total of 329 people were killed.
Thousands of Sikh soldiers are said to have mutinied and further operations were carried out by Indian commandos to flush out remaining Sikh activists from the Golden Temple.