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Operation Woodrose was similar to Operation Bluestar except now that the Gurdwaras were in Army control hunting down any Amritdhari (baptised) Sikhs in the countryside throughout Punjab became the sole objective. The Army stated in it’s ‘baat cheet’ or talking points, that any baptised Sikh was effectively a terrorist. It blamed Guru Gobind Singh for militancy among Sikhs and to all intents & purposes waged war on him personally. This was the third time in history that a decree of this kind of mass annihilation of Sikhs was declared; the first two being by Emperor Bahadur Shah (1707-12) and Emperor Farukh Siyar (1713-19).

During both Woodrose & Bluestar any Sikh wearing a turban was dishonoured and summarily shot at point blank range with their hands tied behind their backs using their turban-cloth. Any youth aged between 15 and 35 were particularly targeted for eradication.

The Army worked very closely with members of the Congress Party, BJP and CPM activists to ensure every village and town was combed for baptised Sikhs. Those that were not shot were indicted for being members of opposition Sikh political parties. The mopping up operations truly involved the infliction of terror upon a community that had until now been unquestionably patriotic.

Even by conservative estimates the numbers of Sikh youth taken into custody during the first 4 to 6 weeks of Operation Woodrose amounted to 100,000. Even the most the patriotic nationalist Sikhs accepted there was no choice left to somehow find a way of defending itself against the ever growing use of the Army, para-military forces and state-sponsored terrorism...