CHAPTER - 31
DISCUSSION ON WHITE PAPER ON PUNJAB AGITATION
Lok Sabha , 25 July 1984
This is the last speech that Y. B. Chavan delivered in the Lok Sabha on a major policy issue. The Debate took place in the back-ground of the Blue Star Operation, after which the Government presented a white paper on Punjab agitation to the Parliament.
Y. B. Chavan recalled the law and order situation prevailing in Punjab and a sense of alienation that prevailed. He supported strong action by the Central Government to deal with the situation which, according to him, had been allowed to deteriorate. The decision was hard but it had to be taken. According to Chavan “the decision, has made a great contribution to India’s post Independence history.” A holy place of worship should not be allowed to be used as an armed fortress. He warned that, “If allowed in Punjab, the same thing could have happened in other States.”
Shri Yashwantrao Chavan : The administration was paralysed and demoralised because of the organised violence from the holy place of Akali Takht which has created some sort of demoralisation among the common people. The people do not know why all this violence was taking place. Harmless innocent people were assassinated in large numbers. Anybody can go anywhere and can kill anybody without any consequences. Good people, scholarly people, independent people, businessmen, common people, all these were killed and there was a feeling of helplessness among them. You may ask me as to why they felt helpless. I must say that this is how the disintegration starts. When a country disintergrates, this is the manner how the process begins. Fascist movement starts where the terrorist movement begins. All Fascist movements have been preceded by this sort of terrorist activities.
Earlier to this armed action, I had a talk with responsible people in the administration of Punjab and they very frankly told me that there is no way of dealing with the situation in the normal manner, This is the honest statement or facts. I had met the highest man in Punjab administration and he said “This is the situation. But I see no way.” I came back, and on my return I gave my impression to the Prime Minister. Naturally I found her going through some sort of a mental agony when I reported this matter, but she was very calm, very quiet, she was not disturbed about it. She only uttered one sentence : “ We will have to go through a difficult period before something emerges.” This sentences gives an indication of the mental agony through which she was going, and that is very true. What happened was, the administration was demoralised, the people where demoralised, the political parties were completely demoralised. The organization of a few hundred people sitting armed in Akali Takht had created a feeling amongst all the people around that it was they who were ruling the Punjab.