The storming of the temple, or Operation Bluestar, raged for two days, followed weeks of growing tension between the government of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Sikhs in the northern state of Punjab.

In Context

Sikh leader Bhindranwale was found dead in the temple complex.By 12 June it was reported that more than 1,000 people had died – 800 militants and 200 troops.

Government ministers later admitted they had underestimated the strength of Sikh feeling about the attack.

Prime Minister Gandhi said: “The necessity now is to heal the wounds inflicted on the hearts of the people.”

But the storming of the Sikhs’ holiest religious shrine started a chain of events and retaliations which led eventually to the prime minister herself being assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards, on 31 October.