The first task was the destruction of Major-General Shahbeg Singh’s outer defenses. Much of this had been completed in the preliminary firing when Major-General Brar had hoped to frighten Bhindrenwale into surrendering. These defences included the seventeen houses which the police had allowed Bhindanwale’s followers to occupy in the alleys sorrounding the Golden Temple. Some of them were as far as 800 yards away from the complex. These outposts were all in wireless contact with Shahbeg Singh’s command post in the Akal Takht. The Temple view hotel outside the Temple complex had also been occupied. Next to it was Brahmbuta Akhara, a large bulding housing the headquarters of a Sikh sect. Then there were three main towers which had been fortified to make positions from which Bhindranwale’s men could fire into the Golden Temple complex. Because they stood well above the rest of the building, the towers were also excellent observation posts for watc hing the movement of troops in the narrow alleys sorrounding the Temple. The tops of these towers were blasted off the by artillery fire. The use of artillery in the dense city of Amritsar prooved very costly, many innocent people living in close proximity of Golden Temple lost their lives. Then the commando operation was planned.
It was between 10 and 10:30 PM when commandos from 1st Battalion, the parachute regiment, wearing black denims were ordered to run down the steps under the clock tower on to the parikarma, or pavement, turn right and move as quickly as they could round the edge of the sacred tank to the Akal Takht. But as the paratroopers entered the main gateway to the Temple they were mown down.