1984 Sikh Genocide – 10,000 Sikhs Massacred, 50,000 Displaced

Perpetrator: Indian National Congress

Year: October 31, 1984

Number: 10000 Sikhs murdered (Official figure – 2800 Sikhs killed; Unofficial figures – 8000-17000 Sikhs killed), atleast 50,000 displaced.

Following the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her 2 Sikh bodyguards, mass violence started out against the Sikhs, mostly led by Congress senior leaders and supporters. The assassination of Indra Gandhi was, as reports mention, because she approved the “Blue Star” army raid on the Golden Temple, Amritsar.

This violence permeated the entire northern territory of the country, not just Punjab, across forty cities in India. All Sikh localities paid the heavy price for the crime committed by two people who belonged to a certain race and religion. Shops were burnt, people were dragged out of their homes and killed in broad daylight, families were estranged, and many were orphaned.

“The next morning, mayhem broke out. As I peeped through the windows of my friend’s house, I saw a mob of some 600 people break into the wooden door of my shop and loot it. They carried rods and kerosene. The inhumanity was frightening. Some people who I would often sip tea with in the evenings were right there, in front of my eyes, devastating my livelihood. My brother’s shop next door was looted and set aflame.”

Amarjit Singh Walia, Quartz India

Violent acts were committed within Gurudwaras and other places where Sikhs gathered. Eyewitness accounts describe the pogrom has inhuman, where Sikh women were gang-raped, Gurudwaras set on fire, shops overturned and burned, while authorities and administrative officials made no efforts to stop the atrocities.

As per TIME reports, the violent acts, at their peak, were committed at the rate of claiming one life per minute!

The euphemism of these massacres as “riots” is illogical, because such a large scale violence, along with targeting of Sikhs all over India, in such a short span of time, could not have been possible had it not been a planned genocide against Sikhs.

Aftermath of the Genocide

The miscarriage of justice began with the dismissal of the Marwah Commission, which was appointed in the aftermath of the massacre to probe into the crimes. Subsequently, many inquiry commissions were created and closed, with no conclusion.

Shockingly, the Ranganath Misra Commission recorded statements in private, without the victims, & absolved Rajiv Gandhi’s government of responsibility. In 1994, the case was closed by Delhi Police for “want of evidence.” Commissions dissolved.

In 2013, the trial court had convicted 5 former Congress councillors Balwan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Kishan Khokkar, Girdhari Lal & Capt Bhagmal for their involvement. Sajjan Kumar was acquitted – who’s now sentenced to life imprisonment.

Having no remorse, Rajiv Gandhi remarked, while discounting the death of thousands,

“When a big tree falls, the Earth is bound to shake.”

Rajiv Gandhi

This cringe-worthy statement clearly shows how seriously Congress wanted to avert the investigation.

Only in December 2018, was justice brought to the Sikhs community, when their wounds could no longer be healed.

References:

It’s Time India Accept Responsibility for Its 1984 Sikh Genocide | TIME

I lived through the Sikh riots—and 30 years later, I’m not ready to forgive or forget | Quartz India

Delhi to reopen inquiry in to massacre of Sikhs in 1984 riots | The Telegraph

Wikipedia

Image:

Sandeepa Chetan via Flickr