In June 1984, a three-day military operation by Indian forces, known as Operation Blue Star, took place. Official Indian government figures estimate that 575 people died. Other reports suggest that as many as 3,000 people were killed, including pilgrims caught in the crossfire. This loss of life was an utter tragedy. Understandably, members of the Sikh community around the world still feel the pain and suffering caused by these events.
My Lords, I should like to add a brief word. Mrs. Gandhi was an undergraduate and, subsequently, with our own Prime Minister, an honorary fellow of Somvervile College, Oxford. I think one of her moments of great pride was when the University of Oxford conferred upon her an honorary doctorate of civil law. I remember distinctly the ceremony in the Sheldonian and the feminine touch which was there, in spite of the statesmanlike poise with which she greeted the occasion. She had inquired most carefully as to the precise shade of scarlet of the doctors' gowns so that her beautiful sari should match exactly.
Veer Savarkar`s daring defience of the British Government has its own important place in the annul of our freedom movement. I [Indira Gandhi] wish success to the plans to celebrate the birth centenary of the remarkable son of India