The Khalistan Movement originally started in the early 1940’s and 50’s, but the movement was most popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Operation Blue Star was launched to eliminate Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his followers who had sought cover in the Amritsar Harmandir Sahib Complex during demand of Khalistan. The armed Sikhs within the Harmandir Sahib were led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and former Maj. Gen. Shabeg Singh. In order to resolve crisis, Indira Gandhi first asked Lt. Gen. S. K. Sinha, then Vice-Chief of Indian Army and selected to become the next Army chief, to prepare a position paper for assault on the Golden Temple. Lt. Gen. Sinha advised against any such move and suggested the government adopt an alternative solution. A controversial decision was made to replace him with General Arun Shridhar Vaidya as the Chief of the Indian army. General Vaidya, assisted by Lt. Gen. K Sundarji as Vice-Chief, planned and coordinated Operation Blue Star.
Operation Blue Star was comprised of two operations: Operation Shop, which kept the curfew orders in check and Operation Metal, concerned to the Harmandir Sahib complex. On 3 June, a 36-hour curfew was imposed on the state of Punjab with all methods of communication and public travel suspended. Electricity supplies were also interrupted, creating a total blackout and cutting off the state from the rest of India and the world. Complete censorship was enforced on the news media. The Indian Army stormed Harmandir Sahib on the night of 5 June under the command of Kuldip Singh Brar. Army used tanks, heavy artillery, helicopters and armored vehicles.The forces had full control of Harmandir Sahib by the morning of 7 June. Sikh leaders Bhindranwale and Shabeg Singh were killed in the operation.
The Army placed total casualties at; other than military: 492 dead, Military: 136 killed and 220 wounded. Post Operation events claimed the life of a Prime Minister and subsequently the lives of over 8,000 Sikhs at the hands of vengeful mobs in 1984. General Vaidya also was gunned down within 2 years.