How was Operation Black Thunder at Golden Temple Conducted?
While visiting Punjab you can’t help but admire the places, the story they tell and the rich culture, among other things. But it is very important to know the history that lies silently under the golden fields
The assassination of Indra Gandhi ignited the already hot air in the regions of Delhi and Punjab. Punjab was in a very vulnerable yet dangerous state amidst the phantom of Khalistan hovering above the state and the countless number of young boys converting into militants. The Punjabi blood was thick with rage and revenge.
1984 marked a rather difficult time for the Sikh community. On one hand there were countless being murdered in Delhi and on the other hand the power of the militants raised.
The Golden Temple became the main office and hiding spot for the militants. They thought after the atrocious reaction of the Sikh community, the India Government wouldn’t carry out another operation like the Blue Star. While thousands came every day to the holy place to ask for peace and blessings, there were armed people using the temple as their safe sanctuary.
After Blue star proved be an ill-fated operation by the Indian army, a more well thought approach was required.
The authorities decided on making this a psychological mission. This would require a best in their field spy. This is when Ajit Doval (IB operations chief) and MK Narayan (IB Director)were appointed to carry out this mission to clear the temple of militants. This was named as ‘Operation Black Thunder’.
The mission was to clear the Golden temple without any collateral damage. Ajit Doval would enter the temple premises and extract the inner information and feed it to the intelligence Bureau.
Since the Khalistani Militancy was supported by organizations in Pakistan as well (as their chance to destabilize Indian government) , Ajit Doval entered the temple and the militant headquarters disguised as a helper from Pakistan sent by ISI. His aim was to skillfully enter the minds of the militants and bring about the realization that surrendering was the only way out. He had to observe and identify the militants who would easily give in and those who could act as an obstacle. He simultaneously also had to provide information to The IB.
This was an incredibly risky operation. The militants would shoot down anyone they doubted of being a spy. They weren’t willing to give up and surrender easily.
Ajit Doval was successful in being a part of the flock. He gave them suggestions which would favor the government and weaken their capabilities. He eventually made them all feel that surrendering might be their only option as being alive and planning again was better than dying.
Before coming out of the premises he neutralized three top militants which eventually weakened the militant unit. Seeing this as the perfect opportunity the NSG Commandos, in Punjab police uniforms entered the temple and surrounded the militants. Ajit Doval gave them detailed information about the militants. How many were there, each one’s location, their phycological state etc. There were snipers which limited the militants to a few rooms only.
The air was dense. The electricity and water supply to the rooms were cut off. The defenses had overpowered the militants psychologically and physically. While every second felt like an eternity, the militant group was falling apart. As soon as the district commissioner, Sarabjit Singh announced that if the militants surrender, they would be escorted out safely and no gun power would be used.
A few of the militants actually surrendered by waving a piece of cloth and as promised, no gunpower was used.
The commands continued to entered the golden temple and seizing the buildings. Eventually they found out that all those who refused to surrender, took their own lives by intaking Cyanide.
After two weeks the kirtan at Darbaar Sahib was resumed.
This was a huge success for the Indian government.
While a lot of people were involved, Ajit Doval’s work was exceptional. He entered the minds of these criminals and altered their thoughts in the direction he wanted to. He remained calm headed, composed and alert at all times. He individually weakened the militant group enough to be overthrown by the commandos.
He became the first ever policeman to receive the Kirti Chakar which is the second most prestigious peace Gallantry award.
People like these are who maintain the peace in our country and work towards a more peaceful place.