"You heard about the attack on the Golden Temple"

Golden Temple
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeGolden Temple - Credit: Indianhilbilly, Wikimedia

The Golden Temple in Amritsar is the most important sacred site for Sikhs as it contains Harmandir Sahib, the holiest Sikh shrine.

In 1984 the Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, became increasingly concerned about Sikh separatists amassing weapons in the Golden Temple. On 3 June 1984 she ordered her troops to attack the temple with tanks and armoured vehicles. The day was an important religious holiday for Sikhs and so the temple was packed with pilgrims. The attack lasted for three days and official reports admit that 492 civilians were killed, but many claim that the death toll was far higher. Some suggest that as many as 8,000 people lost their lives.

The attack caused great anger in the Sikh community and led to Indira Gandhi's assassination by one of her Sikh bodyguards three months later.