Indira Gandhi tried to solve 'Operation Bluestar' peacefully: Rammohan Rao
Former director of the News Services Division of All India Radio, Mr. I. Rammohan Rao, on Tuesday said the statement made by Britain's Labor MP Tom Watson with regard to "Operation Bluestar" was contrary to what he knew had happened, adding that former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had tried to solve the issue peacefully.
"What has been stated by Tom Watson yesterday is contrary to what we know. He has said that the British intelligence services asked former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to flush out the Khalistanis from the Golden Temple. We do not know when this advice was given," said Rao.
"It is true that Mrs. Gandhi did not want to use the army to evict the Khalistanis from within the Golden Temple, and she tried to solve this peacefully without the use of force by arranging for a meeting of Rajiv Gandhi with Akali Dal leaders in Delhi, to persuade Bhindranwala and his associates to come out of the Golden Temple," he said.
"These are stated in a book called ""Kaoboys of R&AW - Down Memory Lane". by B. Raman, who was the then deputy chief of the R &AW. Later, he disclosed that she (Gandhi) sent Mr. R.N Kao to the United States and England to contact the Khalistani forces to persuade Bhindranwala," Rao added.
He further said that these talks bore no fruit, and former Raw Chief Mr. K.N Kao then sought the help of MI5 officers.
"These talks did not succeed. Then Mr. Kao made a request to MI5 officers, who visited the Golden Temple as tourists, and they advised them to have patience and use police. This request might have been a follow up of the earlier advice given by United Kingdom. May be these facts would come out," said Rao.
"During the Bluestar operations, I had gone and asked General Vaidya if this violence could be avoided, and he had said that a lot of ammunitions were stored in there, which no one knew about. He said that they had done their best, and ensured that the Golden Temple was not damaged, but a certain amount of damage was inevitable,"
British Prime Minister David Cameron has directed his Cabinet Secretary to establish the facts behind claims that Margaret Thatcher's Government may have helped Indira Gandhi plan Operation Bluestar in 1984.
Labour MP Tom Watson and Lord Indarjit Singh had demanded an explanation after recently declassified documents indicated that Britain's Special Air Service (SAS) officials had been dispatched to help India on the planning on the raid of the Golden Temple to take out militants from the shrine, an operation left more than 1,000 people dead.
"These events led to a tragic loss of life and we understand the very legitimate concerns that these papers will raise. The Prime Minister has asked the Cabinet Secretary to look into this case urgently and establish the facts," a UK government spokesperson said in a statement issued in London on Monday night, according to reports.
"The PM and the Foreign Secretary were unaware of these papers prior to publication. Any requests today for advice from foreign governments are always evaluated carefully with full ministerial oversight and appropriate legal advice," he added.
(Posted on 14-01-2014)