Fear of Sikh extremists prompts tight security

Globe and Mail
June 20, 1984

NEW DELHI (Reuter) — About 100 Sikh extremists still at large pose a major risk to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and security has been tightened around her and her closest aides, Government sources said yesterday.

Extra precautions had been ordered for the Prime Minister, her son Rajiv, top Government officials and leaders of Mrs. Gandhi's Con­gress (I) party. "We are planning for the worst," one source said. The sources said the security threat, inside Punjab and outside its borders, should be over within two months.

Security forces have rounded up about 3,000 Sikhs since the army fought its way into the Golden Temple in Amritsar on June 6 in a battle in which about 1,000 people were killed.

Correspondents who returned to New Delhi yesterday after driving through Punjab said army patrols checked vehicles every 20 kilometres. But they said that despite the presence of the army, life was returning to normal in the farming region, with villagers as anxious about the impending monsoons as the Sikh crisis.

Transplanting of rice seedlings into fields was in full swing throughout the state and trading was as hectic as ever on the Punjab stock exchange in Ludhiana, about 240 kilometres from Amritsar.

Trains and buses, out of action for the past two weeks, were running again.

But villagers appeared uncertain about the future once the army returns to barracks.

Back to news reports