“Grenades and poisonous gas shells were thrown at the men, women and children, who had locked themselves in the rooms, bathrooms and toilets of Guru Nanak Niwas, Guru Ram Das serai and Teja Singh Samundri Hall. Those who tried to come out were pierced with bayonets and shot dead. Some soldiers caught hold of small babies and children by their feet, lifted them up in the air and then smashed them against the walls and thus breaking their skulls.” ~ Harvinder Kaur; Blue Star Over Amritsar (Delhi, 1990) ”
It was a virtual massacre. A large number of women, children and pilgrims were gunned down.” ~ As reported by The Guardian on 13th June 1984.
June 1984 never forgettable but fills our minds with disgust and hate to this nation;
ਵਹਿਸ਼ਤ ਦੀ ਇੱਕ ਹੋਰ ਦਿਲ ਦਹਿਲਾਉਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਹੱਡਬੀਤੀ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਸਕੂਲ, ਪਾਉਂਟਾ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੀ ਇੱਕ ਸਿੱਖ ਅਧਿਆਪਕਾ ਨੇ ਸੁਣਾਈ | ਉਹ ਅਤੇ ਉਸਦੇ ਦੋ ਹੋਰ ਅਧਿਆਪਕ ਸਾਥੀ (ਇੱਕ ਮਰਦ ਤੇ ਇੱਕ ਔਰਤ), ਛੇ ਤੋਂ ਚੌਦਾਂ ਸਾਲ ਦੀ ਉਮਰ ਤੱਕ ਦੇ 65 ਬੱਚੇ ਲੈ ਕੇ ਬੱਸ ਰਹਿਣ 2 ਜੂਨ 1984 ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰੂ ਅਰਜਨ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ ਦਾ ਸਹੀਦੀ ਪੁਰਬ ਮਨਾਉਣ ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਸਮੂਹ ਵਿਚ ਆਏ ਸਨ | ਫੌਜ ਵੱਲੋ ਸਖਤ ਕਰਫਿਊ ਲਗਾਏ ਜਾਣ ਕਰਨ ਉਹ ਉਥੇ ਹੀ ਘਿਰ ਗਏ| ਬਚ ਨਿਕਲਣ ਦਾ ਕੋਈ ਵੀ ਰਾਸਤਾ ਨਾ ਹੋਣ ਕਾਰਨ ਉਹ ਗੁਰੂ ਰਾਮਦਾਸ ਸਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਹਾਲ ਕਮਰੇ ਵਿਚ ਘੁਸੜ ਗਏ | ਖੂਨ ਦੇ ਤਿਹਾਏ ਫੌਜੀ ਭੇੜੀਆਂ ਨੇ ਮਰਦ ਅਧਿਆਪਕ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ 33 ਬੱਚਿਆਂ ਨੂੰ 5 ਅਤੇ 6 ਜੂਨ ਵਿਚਾਲੜੀ ਰਾਤ ਨੂੰ ਗੋਲੀਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਭੁੰਨ ਸੁੱਟਿਆ| ਬਾਕੀ ਦੇ ਪਤਾ ਨਹੀ ਕਿਵੇਂ ਗੋਲੀਆਂ ਦੀ ਮਾਰ ਤੋਂ ਬਚ ਗਏ| ਇਹ ਜਵਾਨ ਅਧਿਆਪਕਾ, ਜਿਸਨੇ ਲੁਧਿਆਣਾ ਜੇਲ੍ਹ ਚ ਮੈਨੂੰ ਇਹ ਖੌਫਨਾਕ ਕਹਾਣੀ ਸੁਣਾਈ, ਨਾਲ ਫੌਜੀਆਂ ਨੇ ਮੂਹ ਕਾਲਾ ਕੀਤਾ ਅਤੇ ਉਸਦੀ ਸਾਥਣ ਅਧਿਆਪਕਾ ਨੂੰ ਅਣਦੱਸੀ ਥਾਂ ਤੇ ਲੈ ਗਏ | ਮੈਂ ਜਿੰਦਾ ਬਚੇ ਨਾਜੁਕ 32 ਬੱਚਿਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਜੇਲ੍ਹ ਚ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਜੋ ਹਾਲੇ ਵੀ ਸਹਿਮੇ ਹੋਏ ਲੱਗਦੇ ਸਨ| ਮੈਂ ਵਹਿਸ਼ਤ ਦੀ ਇਹ ਖੌਫਨਾਕ ਕਹਾਣੀ ਸੁਣ ਕੇ ਹੱਕਾ ਬੱਕਾ ਰਹਿ ਗਿਆ| ਮੈਂ ਕਦੇ ਕਿਆਸ ਵੀ ਨਹੀ ਸੀ ਕਰ ਸਕਦਾ ਕੀ ਭਾਰਤੀ ਫੌਜ ਐਨੀ ਨਿਰਦਈ, ਐਨੀ ਜਾਲਿਮ, ਐਨੀ ਰਾਖਸ਼ੀ ਤੇ ਐਨੀ ਚਰਿਤਰਹੀਨ ਵੀ ਹੋ ਸਕਦੀ ਹੈ|
ਕੀ ਨਾਜੁਕ ਉਮਰ ਦੇ ਮਾਸੂਮ ਬੱਚੇ ਅੱਤਵਾਦੀ ਤੇ ਦਹਿਸ਼ਤਗਰਦ ਸਨ ? ” _____ ਏ. ਆਰ ਦਰਸ਼ੀ Writer of “ The Gallant Defender”.
Were these children offender age extremists or terrorists?
The Bridge of Sighs
Any way, it is a fact that the Army was in full control of both the Complexes on 6th June. Major General Brar, who was present inside the Temple Complex, ordered the infuriated and blood thirsty soldiers to search all the rooms situated around the Parkarma and the adjoining buildings. The soldiers went berserk and threw hand grenades inside the rooms and blasted every inmate. The rooms which were bolted from inside were broken open by machine gun fire and the Sikh pilgrims found there were shot dead. Those Sikhs who surrendered or were seized from other buildings, including the Hostel Complex, were lined up and gunned down. These innocent victims of army, wrath were the pilgrims who had come to observe the martyrdom day of Guru Arjun who had fondly built the holy shrine surrounded by the Saro-var. The Army mercilessly killed even children and women. Some survivors told me later that young women and girls were raped by the army and some of them were killed. Some of them, however, escaped and told their woeful stories.
One young woman of about 20 years who alongwith other women was confined in the Central Jail Ludhiana narrated me a horrible tale of terror. Her husband had bought a new truck. A male child was born to her a couple of months before. Her husband, therefore, took, his whole family, including their grand mother, to the Golden Temple for paying obeisance. They were fourteen in number. All of them except this young woman and the grand mother of about 80 years, were shot dead by the savage soldiers. Her two months old child was hit by a bullet and killed while he was in her arms. She was raped and then taken to the army camp. Another married young girl, who was also lodged in Ludhiana jail, was gang raped by the army.
Another tale of error was narrated by a young Sikh woman teacher of the Khalsa School, Paunta Sahib. She alongwith her two colleagues, one male and another female teacher, had brought in a bus 65 students, ranging between six and fourteen years, to the Golden Temple Complex on 2nd June 1984 to observe the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev. They were trapped there when the Army had imposed strict-curfew. As they had no way to escape they all huddled themselves in a hall in the Sarai Complex. The blood thirsty army mercilessly mowed down 33 children alongwith the male teacher on the night intervening 4th and 5th June. The rest of them miraculously survived the bullets. The young female teacher, who had narrated the horrible story in the Central Jail Ludhiana. was raped by the Army personnel and her other colleague was taken away to unknown place. 1 met the 32 surviving students of tender age in the jail who were terror-stricken and still looked frightened. I was stunned on listening the terrific tale of terror. 1 could never imagine if the Indian Army could be so cruel, so brute. and so monstrous.
I reported this matter to the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana district and pleaded with him that these innocent children, who had experienced the horrible trauma, should be immediately released from the jail but he had expressed his inability saying that the Army was not inclined to set them free. Then I sought his permission to release them myself by exercising my power in the capacity of Special Magistrate for State of Punjab, which powers the state government had vested in me during the emergency to enable me then to deal with the detainees belonging to different districts of Punjab. The D.C. was reluctant to give me a formal concurrence.
Thereafter some noble lawyers filed a petition in the Supreme Court for gross violation of human rights by the government. The Supreme Court accepted the petition and ordered the release of these innocent children with immediate effect. Only then they were released
Excerpts from THE GALLANT DEFENDER written by Shri AR Darshi, ex-joint secretary, Punjab Govt.
Ajmer Singh Randhawa