He doesn’t owe it, but why should Rahul Gandhi still apologise for Operation Blue Star Rahul Gandhi cannot be held acco
He doesn’t owe it, but why should Rahul Gandhi still apologise for Operation Blue Star Rahul Gandhi cannot be held accountable for all that happened during his childhood. But if he does choose to apologise for Operation Blue Star, his apology may demonstrate a genuine commitment to change. By Harmeet Shah Singh: Empires, democracies and non-democracies do terrible things. Operation Blue Star is one among them. It may not be an election issue in the present-day Punjab though. Congress may have swept to power in the state twice since 2002. Under Sonia Gandhi, it may have given India its first Sikh prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. Under the de-facto leadership of Rahul Gandhi, out on a crowd-pulling nationwide Bharat Jodo Yatra, the same party may even have come a long way from what it was under the rule of his grandmother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi. Populist majoritarian sentiments of the time might well have rallied around the military attack on Sri Darbar Sahib 39 years ago. Back then, the use of army may even have won the support of BJP stalwart L.K Advani, who in his autobiography, 'My Country, My Life', wrote that “the prime minister was ultimately forced to use the military to liberate the Golden Temple from its anti-national occupants.” HISTORY UNKIND TO CONGRESS ON OP BLUE STAR But history will still continue to hold Congress to account for having presided over an act seen by many others as a move aimed not at insurgency but at a culture. In a world without social media and a barrage of TV stations in India, the Sikh and non-Sikh intelligentsia rose in solidarity with the community alike when its soul was pounded by military tanks. “The army went into (the) Darbar Sahib not to eliminate a political figure or a political movement but to suppress the culture of a people, to attack their heart, to strike a blow at their spirit and self-confidence,” a 2013 piece in the HuffPost quoted anthropologist Joyce Pettigrew, an author and an expert on the Punjab trouble. Legendary writer Khushwant Singh returned his Padma Bhushan in protest against Operation Blue Star. ''Only a minuscule proportion of Sikhs subscribed to Khalistan before the temple (Darbar Sahib) was stormed,” he told the New York Times in 1984. "I wanted to find one and talk to one, but I couldn't.'' Columnist Rajinder Puri insisted Indira Gandhi ignored militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale's offers of compromise. "Was an avoidable Operation Blue Star undertaken to serve national interest, or some foreign interest?" he asked in a 2007 piece in Outlook. "It was avoidable because this scribe, on Rajiv Gandhi’s request, had obtained from Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale an acceptable compromise one month before the operation. The offer of compromise was ignored." For a Congress of 2023 and even for some members of the Sikh elite, Operation Blue Star could be water under the bridge so far as elections are concerned.