people were killed including pilgrims caught in the crossfire”. Human rights groups have, however, suggested the number of those killed close to 5,000.
A bloody battle ensued between the Indian army and the Sikh militants inside the complex. Thousands of civilians, mostly Sikh pilgrims who were marking the highly significant religious festival of the martyrdom of the 5th Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun Dev, were also killed. Thousands of other Sikhs were rounded up and disappeared in Operation Woodrose, the counter-insurgency operation that followed Operation Bluestar. Several reports have highlighting serious human rights violations that occurred during Operation Bluestar including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, arrests and torture and the mass cremations of dead bodies without proper identification and verification.