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June 3, 1984, the Martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev: that was the day the Army chose to surround Guru Arjun's temple. The onslaught started two days later on the night of June 5 around 7 p.m. The total number of people killed during Operation Blue Star at Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, Punjab and other gurudwaras as well as the marching villagers and Army deserters is more than 12,000 in numbers.

Mary Anne Weaver a British correspondent in her report to Sunday Times, London June 17, 1984, observed "not since independence has the Army been used in such numbers"

The rest of Punjab was flooded with soldiers to put down internal rebellion. The specially picked and trained Indian soldiers were supported by tanks and armoured personnel carriers and yet it took them more than 72 hours of continuous all-out battle to gain control of the shrine which was defended by followers of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Brahm Chellany, the only foreign correspondent who managed to remain in Amritsar after the government had ordered them out, reported the statements of doctors and police officials that many of the Sikhs killed in the attack had been shot at point-blank range with their hands behind their backs. Some of these bodies with hands tied behind the back were photographed. This is also borne out by the testimonies of survivors. While the Darbar Sahib was under attack, other Army units were battling their way into 74 other gurudwaras in Punjab.

In their book, "The Sikh Struggle," Ramnarain Kumar and Georg Sieberer write: "The Army which had suffered a heavy toll in three days of battle went berserk and killed every Sikh who could be found inside the temple complex. They were hauled out of the rooms, brought to corridors on the circumference of the temple and with their hands tied behind their back, were shot in cold blood. Among the victims were many old men women and children."