Former RAW Official Alleges Kamal Nath and Sanjay Gandhi Provided Financial Support to Bhindranwale

An ex-RAW operative has claimed that Kamal Nath and Sanjay Gandhi, both important Congress officials, allegedly provided monies to pro-Khalistan extremist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
Pro-Khalistan Extremist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale
Pro-Khalistan Extremist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale Image Credit: ANI

In a highly contentious revelation, GBS Sidhu, a former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) official, claims that Kamal Nath and Sanjay Gandhi, prominent leaders of the Indian National Congress, provided financial support to militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was eventually killed in Operation Blue Star in 1984. 

During an episode of the ANI Podcast with Smita Prakash, Sidhu made these claims, giving insight into the delicate political dynamics of the time.

According to Sidhu, during the turbulent period preceding Operation Blue Star, political figures attempted to use Bhindranwale in order to further their interests. 

He said that Bhindranwale was used to engender terror among Hindus and to artificially manufacture the issue of Khalistan, which was not a major concern at the time, in order to raise public anxiety about the country's integrity.

Revelations Question Political Role in Punjab

Sidhu cited Kamal Nath as saying that the Congress party was looking for a "high-profile" saint to serve its interests. According to reports, Kamal Nath admitted to giving money to Bhindranwale. 

This discovery calls into question the extent to which political leaders were involved in the complicated web of alliances and power struggles that existed in Punjab at the time.

Notably, Sidhu claimed that Bhindranwale never actively promoted Khalistan. Instead, he maintained that Bhindranwale's willingness to accept such an offer would be contingent on if then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi "put it in his bag." 

This shows that Bhindranwale was more of a pawn in a bigger political game than a separatist supporter.

Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the leader of the Sikh religious organisation Damdami Taksal, was killed during Blue Star, Indira Gandhi's military effort to face terrorists holed up in the Golden Temple complex. 

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Legacy of Operation Blue Star

The operation, carried out by the Indian Army between June 1 and June 8, 1984, ended in the deaths of Bhindranwale and his associates.

These disclosures add to the ongoing argument about the involvement of political figures in Punjab at the time, and how much they may have helped to the rise of Bhindranwale and the subsequent crisis that led to Operation Blue Star. 

Lt Gen (retd) Kuldeep Singh Brar, who headed Operation Blue Star in 1984, alleged in an earlier episode of the ANI Podcast that Indira Gandhi had allowed Bhindranwale to grow into a strong figure and had opted to intervene when he became too powerful to handle. 

Lt Gen (retd) Brar emphasised that the political leadership at the time played a part in Bhindranwale's growing power.

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