Operation Black Thunder - An Eyewitness Account of Terrorism in Punjab

Operation Black Thunder - An Eyewitness Account of Terrorism in Punjab

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Author: S Subramanian
Sarab Jit Singh/
Publisher: Sage Publications
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 356
ISBN/UPC (if available): 076199506X


Terrorism has affected several of India's states, at different times and in different forms, and continues to be a matter of national, and increasingly international, concern. One of the states most affected by terrorism was Punjab, which was torn apart by acts of violence during the 1980s, while its people were caught in the crossfire between the threats of the terrorists and the Indian government's attempts to combat them.

The Golden Temple in Amritsar was the scene of two pivotal anti-terrorist operations during this decade - Opposition Blue Star in 1984 followed by Operation Black Thunder in 1988, when the Indian government dislodged terrorists who had occupied this holiest of Sikh places of worship. The consequences of Operation Blue Star included the assassination of Indira Gandhi - The Prime Minister who sanctioned the operation. The success of Operation Black Thunder , on the other hand, was a turning point in the battle against terrorism.

Centered around a gripping account of Operation Black Thunder, by one who initiated it and was intimately involved in executing it, this absorbing book analyses the factors responsible for the rise and growth of terrorism in Punjab, including the role of Pakistan in promoting terrorism in India. Pulling no punches, the author also criticizes the role of politicians and the Congress government in Delhi, particularly its use of central intelligence agencies in order to undermine the growth of a regional party like the Akali Dal by promoting the rise of leaders such as Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

Sarab Jit Singh covers the history of Punjab during the 1980s from before the Rajiv-Longowal Accord, through the tenure of successive Governors and their measures to curb terrorism, till elections were held in the early 1990s and peace was finally restored to Punjab. In the process he brings to light many crucial and significant events which have remained shrouded in mystery.

Combining an impartial and authentic eyewitness account of a tumultuous period in contemporary political history with a critical analysis of the causes of the growth of terrorism in Punjab and the methods used to combat it, this book will be of interest to students of politics, public administration, contemporary Indian history and the general reader.




1 The Golden Temple: In the Eye of the Storm
2 The Sikh Heritage and the Punjab Problem
3 The Rajiv Longowal Accord: The Secret Healing Touch
4 S S Barnala's Government: The Healing Touch Impaired
5 Governor Ray's Tenure
6 The Politics of the Clergy
7 January-March 1988: The Killings Increase
9 Operation Black Thunder
10 The Militants Surrender
11 Trial at Midnight
12 Restoring the Maryada
13 Demoralization versus a Gun Battle
14 The SGPC's Dilemma
15 Jasbir Singh Rode's Dismissal
16 The Corridor Plan
17 Jasbir Singh Rode Resurrected
18 Panchayat Elections Postponed: Missed Opportunities
19 The Militants and the Police: Between the Two Terrors
20 The National Games
21 A New Government at the Centre
22 The Civil Face of Governor Mukerji's Administration
23 Governor Varma's Tenure
24 1990: The Killings Continue
25 Governor Malhotra Takes Charge
26 Attempts to Restore Democracy
27 Delhi's Inconsistent Punjab Policy
28 Elections by February 1992
29 From President's Rule to an Elected Government: The Return of Democracy
30 In Retrospect

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