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1984 1984 and Injustices in a Democracy? What is the Solution?

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by Gyani Jarnail Singh, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

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    Tehleka NEWS Magazine

    Continued from Part One
    ‘When He Sees A Cop, He Wets His Pants’
    CHANDU SINGH, Lost 7 family members
    SINCE NOVEMBER 1, 1984, Chandu Singh has been afraid of the police. Chandu is not a thief but he hides like one anytime he sees a man in uniform. It was the men in khakhi who burnt his brother alive that day. He watched the ferocious mobs from his hiding place on a terrace and then leapt to save his life. Now, he stands in a room full of women, the lone male survivor, dressed in a light pink turban and a white kurta. His body is so frail you can see blue veins and bones. His hands rest so feebly on his hips, they seem to be slipping down on their own. His eyes are glassy, empty. When people point, Chandu stares blankly, unaware that he’s the topic of conversation.
    For the last 25 years, Chandu has been mentally unstable. When you try to talk to him, he mumbles something that sounds like words, but backwards. He looks at you so earnestly, it is almost as if he believes he’s making sense. He was 30 years old during the 1984 Sikh carnage, working as a daily labourer at a factory.. He always wanted to marry late. After the riots, marriage never happened. Life became hours of standing in the middle of the room, staring.
    Chandu lives in a small Tilak Vihar flat in west Delhi with his brother’s wife, Gopi Kaur, and the other surviving women of the family. Gopi Kaur, 58, lost her husband, Phool Singh, a coolie, and seven other family members. Three sons and two daughters survived with her.
    After the massacre, Gopi found Chandu among the dead. Knees folded, he sat in a corner, his head dripping blood from the leap that saved him. “I was surprised to see him alive,” Gopi recalls. “I tried to talk to him but he would not say anything. He just began to cry and then went silent. Every time he tried to say something, he only cried and went silent. He has been like that since.”
    Gopi doesn’t know what Chandu saw that numbed him forever, but she tries to guess from her own experience. At 5 pm, November 1, 1984, the police came to east Delhi’s Trilokpuri and fired gunshots in the air. Gopi breathed a sigh of relief. Until then, a desperate mass of Sikhs had been fighting the bloodthirsty mob.
    “Go inside your homes, nothing will happen to you,” the police ordered. “We thought the police had come to protect us,” Gopi says. “But we were wrong. They separated us and then unleashed the mob. The police pushed my family into the fire.”
    Chandu has never left the house since the family relocated to Tilak Vihar in 1985, except when asked to fetch milk and groceries from the local store. But Gopi tries to ensure Chandu remains indoors. Once, when he was out he happened to see a local policeman.
    “He went berserk and started to run,” Gopi says. “If he sees a police officer, he wets his pants.” At other times, when angry or scared, Chandu tears his clothes and beats himself.
    Two things sustain his life now: a water pump and children. “Chandu feels that switching on the water pump everyday is his duty. He doesn’t let anyone else do it,” says his nephew Deepu Singh, 26, who lives in the same house. “He also loves playing with my children. It’s the only time I see him laugh.”


    ‘Police Used Political Clout To Stop My Probe’
    Days after Indira Gandhi was assassinated, Ved Marwah, IPS, was appointed to head a commission to probe the 1984 Sikh massacre. But when he was to write his report, he was summarily asked to wind up by the then Delhi Police Commissioner. Marwah, who became Delhi Police Commissioner a year later and Governor in Manipur and Jharkhand after retirement, tells HARINDER BAWEJA how he was thwarted from telling the truth about the role of the police in the Sikh killings
    [​IMG]You headed the first committee set up to investigate the role of the police. What were your findings?
    I was brought back to Delhi Police after the 1984 anti- Sikh riots and asked to inquire into the role of police officers and give my report in three months. I spent night and day to complete the inquiry. I examined a number of persons, both in the police as well as outside. But I did something more. I seized all records of the police stations [in whose jurisdiction] the killings had taken place, and that alarmed people because they realised the trend of the inquiry. The records could not have been challenged. It was obvious that the men in uniform had vanished from their police stations [when the massacre happened]. According to police rules, all movements of police officers are recorded minute by minute into the thana daily diary. [But] the diaries were totally blank and they had obviously disappeared. The other thing that I found was that the so-called mob comprised a small number of people: groups of 20 to 30. So the police could have intervened and stopped the groups from setting Sikhs ablaze. This is something that bothered them. Then, some Delhi Police officers, whose names figured prominently, filed a writ against the inquiry in the High Court. The court refused to stall the inquiry. Then they used political clout. I completed my inquiry and only had to write the report when I received, out of nowhere, an order to stop my inquiry.

    The records I seized showed the police officers vanished when the massacre happened. Their daily diaries were blank. They could have stopped the mobs if they wanted From whom?
    From the Commissioner of Police, because it was he who had ordered the inquiry. It was a written order.

    Did you ask him why?
    He only smiled. The ostensible reason was that the government had decided to appoint another commission, headed by [former Chief Justice of India] Ranganath Mishra.

    Wasn’t that just an excuse?
    I should have been allowed to complete my inquiry but the police officers concerned didn’t want it to go any further. Ironically, I have been hounded for 25 years. A number of cases have been filed against me on flimsy grounds. They do it even today. Summons came to me even when I was the Governor of Manipur. The last summons were pasted in front of my flat. This is how a former commissioner of police and governor is treated. So much litigation requires money. The police officers are obviously funded.

    Who is funding them?
    Obviously, powerful people who were against the inquiry.

    Can’t the police stop a riot, if they choose to, in five-tosix hours?
    I can’t talk about any other riot, but in this case it was certainly possible because Delhi is a city where you can get additional manpower. Again, [from] the complete police control room record I seized, I remember clearly that odd cases had started taking place in the night [of October 31] itself. There was plenty of warning that an attempt will be made to settle scores with the Sikhs. Even then nothing was done. For two-to-three days, even normalcy wasn’t restored. The Sikh community was accused of killing the PM. They should have called the army. And it wasn’t done. Why, I can’t say. So the trend of the inquiry alarmed not only Delhi Police officers but also some other people.

    You mean the politicians?
    Well, the politicians, the senior bureaucrats. Their role came under question.

    Is it not appalling that not a single police officer has been punished?
    Some of them were promoted. This is the saddest part. If this sort of thing happens in the Capital, it sends a very wrong signal. That is why I have been strongly pressing for police reforms, particularly with regard to recruitment, promotions and transfers, [and] particularly [on] the role of the ruling party, which decides which case is registered and which will be investigated.

    So the absence of the police from their duty obviously encouraged the mobs and added to the death toll?
    In a place like Delhi it is unthinkable that a small mob can hold a territory and kill people. Obviously, they had believed, rightly or wrongly, that they had impunity. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have dared. And look at the consequences. Both the 1984 riots and the 2002 Gujarat [anti- Muslim] riots have had a huge fallout on the country’s security. The 1984 riots gave birth to people like Surjit Singh Penta and Jinda. I met Jinda in hospital after his encounter. The man was bandaged and we thought he would not survive. He said, “Sir, I can’t get up but I want to tell you that I have great regard for you.” I reminded him that he had sent me a threatening letter. He said it was because I was with the Delhi Police.

    So why did he hold you in high regard?
    He was referring to the fact that I treated the Sikh officers in Delhi Police on an equal basis, because an order had somehow gone that the Sikh officers should be withdrawn from key positions in Delhi after the riots. As Police Commissioner, I rescinded the order in 1985. You know, [one should] look at an officer not as a Hindu or a Sikh but whether he is fit for the job or not. The point is that the police must be a composite force and above the prejudices of a communal divide.





    In A Blind Alley
    The women screamed for help, but the police car drove by. Duty hour was over
    HARINDER BAWEJA
    Editor, News and Investigations

    THE SKYLINE was a dark, uncomfortable grey as I stood at the window of my office in Delhi’s Connaught Place area, watching plumes of thick smoke spiralling skywards. Word had spread that Indira Gandhi had been shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards and a motley crowd of angry protestors had started burning taxis. The phones rang incessantly, each call bringing news of an unfolding carnage.
    [​IMG]One such call was from my father, an Indian Air Force officer. He had left his office in Lutyen’s Delhi, the political heart of the Capital, at about 7 pm as he did daily, but that day — 31 October, 1984 — the proud uniformed officer cowered in fear. He had tried making his way home on his Vespa scooter but by then, mobs had already started searching for anyone in a turban.
    My father had discarded his turban and worn a helmet to reach home, an act that left a deep wound in his psyche. Another relative hid inside a water tank overnight, after being chased by a mob in South Extension, a posh Delhi locality. The tank water that November night was cold, but he trembled in sheer fright as he described how he ran for dear life.
    But the next three days were about death. Every morning, I turned the key of a huge padlock — my family secure within the precincts of the house — and went about my job as a young reporter. I have lost count of the number of times my taxi was stopped by blood-lusting lumpens. They were looking for Sikhs everywhere, anywhere. Under the seat, inside the boot. Several times, they ordered the driver to open the petrol tank and thrusting a rubber pipe in, simply sucked petrol out, preparing for the next kill.
    The streets of India’s political capital were littered with burning vehicles, burning houses, burning gurdwaras, burning men. Death was in naked display; turbaned Sikhs easy prey. For three days and nights bonfires raged as the mobs freely slaughtered. Helpless women and children sat around burnt corpses and wailed in Mongolpuri, in Palam, in Bhogal. Faceless colonies now etched in aff idavit after meaningless affidavit.
    My father had discarded his turban and worn a helmet to reach home, an act that left a deep wound in his psyche Police vehicles drove past hapless women in Mongol puri. We waved desperately for them to stop. Help us, help us, the women pleaded, looking in turns at us and the passing vehicle. Why were the cops not stopping? The women pointed us to a nallah, a drain running through Mongolpuri and adjacent Sultanpuri where burnt bodies had been dumped. ‘Stop, stop,’ the women and I screamed in unison when another police car drove by. It slowed for a moment as one of its occupants said, “Hamari duty khatam ho chukki hai.”
    They were past their duty hour. So what if mobs were still on the rampage. So what if these widows knew the names of their husbands’ killers? So what if a young innocent, barely in her 20s, was holding her dead four-year-old son to her chest?
    Everyone in Mongolpuri revealed the truth as they saw it — Sajjan Kumar, the Congress MP, had freely distributed kerosene bottles and hundred rupee notes, Sajjan Kumar’s men moved around with voters lists in their hands, Sajjan Kumar’s men first beat the men with iron rods, then forced them to cut their hair and then burnt them alive.
    Revisiting 1984 is a painful memory; the denial of justice a second stab in the hearts of wretched survivors. 1984 is still about the dead and the living.







    A Darkness Unforgotten
    As charred bodies lay in hundreds, it was the utter silence that was haunting
    RAHUL BEDI
    Bedi is a senior journalist

    THE DENIAL of party election tickets to Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar is little recompense to the over 3,000 Sikhs who died in the pogrom following then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination in October 1984. The wave of ethnic cleansing that raged unchecked for nearly three days across the country after Mrs Gandhi was shot dead by two of her Sikh bodyguards on the morning of October 31 ended in Delhi only with her funeral, the state’s crazed blood-lust satiated at last.
    [​IMG] Macabre A burnt body in Delhi, after the anti -Sikh riots on 31 October 1984
    Whilst unbridled chaos and mayhem spread unchecked across the Capital, the casual slaughter of some 350 Sikhs, including women and children in the trans-Yamuna Trilokpuri resettlement colony, was without doubt the most brutal. The charred and hacked remains of the hundreds that perished in Trilokpuri’s Block 32 on a smoky and dank November 2 evening bore silent testimony to an unbelievable orgy of slaughter which, over two decades later, still haunts my memories. Time has not made them fade.
    The massacre took place in two narrow alleyways not more than 150 yards long, with one-roomed tenements on either side. It lasted over 48 hours, with the murderers — who go unpunished to this day — even taking breaks for meals before returning to resume their mad slaughter.
    Both lanes were littered with bodies with body parts and hair brutally hacked off, forcing people to walk on tiptoe. It was impossible to place one’s foot fully on the ground for one would step on either a hacked limb or a dead person.
    The entire area was awash with blood, some liquid, some clotted. Blood-gorged flies buzzed lazily, sated. The blood did not flow down the drains, as they too were now choked with human body parts.
    It all began on the morning of November 2 around 11.30 am when my colleague from Indian Express, Joseph Maliakan, and I heard of the Trilokpuri massacre — then ongoing — from Mohan Singh who had shaved his head and face only hours before to save himself and had fled, taking refuge in our office canteen. A dazed Singh, who had somehow managed to escape the pogrom under cover of darkness, blandly told us that 300 Sikhs had been killed in Trilokpuri’s Block 32. These houses, we learnt later, were occupied by poor, low-caste Sikhs who wove string beds.
    Shortly after, along with Maliakan and Alok Tomar of Jansatta, I rushed to Trilokpuri and, on arrival at the re-settlement colony — which was established by Sanjay Gandhi during the Emergency in the mid-1970s — found the entrance blocked by massive concrete pipes, with lathiwielding men atop them.
    At about 300 yards from Block 32, we found our path blocked by a huge mob. Before we could reach them, two policemen astride a motorcycle burst through the crowd, coming from the direction we were headed. We flagged the motorcycle to a halt and asked the head constable driving it whether any killings had taken place in Block 32.
    Smiling sardonically he told us that “shanti” (peace) prevailed. On persistent questioning, he admitted that two people had been killed in Block 32. As we proceeded down the narrow road towards Block 32, our car was blocked by the mob. It turned nasty and began stoning us. A spokesman for the crowd, a short, vicious looking man dressed in a white kurta and pyjama, told us to leave or be prepared to “face the consequences”. Block 32 was out of bounds, he said flatly.
    Hurriedly backing out under a barrage of rocks, we headed for the nearby Kalyanpuri police station and asked the duty officer whether any trouble had been reported from Trilokpuri’s Block 32. He too echoed what his motorcycleborne colleagues had said, that the area was calm, that shanti prevailed and that no deaths had been reported from the police station’s area of responsibility.
    A truck parked nearby attracted our attention. On closer inspection we found three charred bodies in the back and a half-burnt Sikh youngster lying on top, still alive. In his quasiconscious state the man told us he was from Punjab and had come visiting relatives in Trilokpuri. He said that a few hours earlier, a rampaging mob armed with lathis and machetes had killed his hosts and set him on fire after dousing his body with kerosene. He had been brought to the police station, placed on top of the dead bodies, and had lain there for the past six hours. He died a horrible death soon after, we later learnt.
    When the three bodies in the truck and the grievously burnt yet still living Sikh were pointed out to the station duty officer, he denied all knowledge of them, saying they would be dealt with by “Saheb”, the Station House Officer, who was “away in Delhi on routine business and would return later in the evening”.
    Desperate to get help, we combed the area and were met by an army patrol commanded by a Sikh colonel, part of the detail summoned from Meerut to bolster civil authority who assured us that he would dispatch help to the beleaguered Block 32. We returned to Block 32 only to discover that no troops had arrived.
    Later we came to know that though the army had officially been summoned a day after Mrs Gandhi’s killing to maintain order, it was merely token deployment as none of the units summoned from cantonments around the Capital were provided necessary help, guidance or logistical direction by the local authorities.
    The army was not issued shoot-to-kill orders to quell the blood-thirsty mobs till after Mrs Gandhi’s funeral pyre was lit on November 3, despite claims to the contrary by officials, which were dutifully headlined by newspapers.
    Once those orders were given, the army restored order within hours, although for many days there were cases we investigated which revealed that the local authorities had deliberately concealed reports of pockets of Sikh refugees still fighting for survival across many east Delhi neighbourhoods.
    After pleading in vain with many military convoys to intercede and stop the Trilokpuri killings, we arrived at the Police Headquarters around 5 pm and informed Additional Commissioner of Police Nikhil Kumar (who later retired as head of the National Security Guard) of the goings-on in the east Delhi colony.
    To our chagrin and amazement, he asserted that he was a “mere guest artist” at Police Headquarters and only tasked with manning Commissioner SC Tandon’s telephone line. All our pleadings to Kumar — now an MP from Bihar — to do something about the Trilokpuri killings were insouciantly brushed off. Other senior police officers including those in charge of the Trilokpuri district also expressed indifference and their inability to help.
    On returning to Trilokpuri an hour later in the darkness we found the local Station House Officer and two constables surveying the sea of dead Sikh bodies, surrounded by thousands of people.
    The most frightening part, the part that still sends a chill up my spine after 25 years, was the pall of utter silence that shrouded the area.
    NOT A sound emanated from anyone as, by the light of a few hurricane lanterns, we walked dazed and wordlessly down the alleyway littered with bodies. Halfway down was a young polio-afflicted woman holding a child in dumb silence, all emotion drained from her. Her blank, uncomprehending eyes looked at us sightlessly in what we took to be a plea for help. Quietly, we lifted her and the child and handed them over to the police party, never to see them again.
    In darkness, a three-year-old girl, stepping over the bodies of her father and three brothers, said quietly, ‘Please take me home’ A faint whimper from inside the same house led us to a young Sikh whose stomach had been slashed open two days earlier. He had managed somehow to tie a turban around his gaping wound, crawl under a pile of bodies and survive. All that the handsome scooter rickshaw driver wanted was water. He died hours later before he could reach a hospital.
    A three-year old girl, stepping over the bodies of her father and three brothers amid countless others lying in the street clung helplessly to one of us, pleading for help. “Please take me home,” she quietly said, standing knee-deep in corpses in what was the only room of her house.
    Police arrived in force more than 24 hours after the Trilokpuri massacre was revealed by the Indian Express on November 3, the day of Mrs Gandhi’s funeral.
    By the time they got there, there was nothing to protect. And no one.
    In the 25 years since then, we eyewitnesses deposed before innumerable inquiry commissions, culminating with the one headed by Justice Nanavati. However, not one of those really guilty ever ended up being punished for the state-sanctioned pogrom of 1984.
    WRITER’S EMAIL
    shahji.bedi@gmail.com

    A Pack Of Wolves In Khaki Clothing
    Evidence was overwhelming that the Delhi Police connived in the Sikh massacre. TUSHA MITTAL tracks how it was systematically compromised over 25 years
    THIS IS what the police did during the 1984 Sikh massacre: they watched. They let the rampaging mobs storm the Sikhs’ houses. And some even took part. They removed the Sikh police officers who would have acted against the killers. They disarmed ordinary Sikhs so they couldn’t protect themselves, and gave them no protection. They wired messages about Sikhs charging ahead with kirpans, but forgot to mention the mobs assaulting the Sikhs.
    [​IMG] Targeted Shikh houses and shops were specially attacked as police stood by
    This is what the police did soon after the 1984 Sikh massacre: concealed the number of those killed despite dead bodies all around. Closed 300 of the 700 cases claiming the culprits were “untraceable”. Directed subordinates to not register cases. Merged hundreds of cases into a single FIR. Refused to register FIRs against police officers and government officials. Registered — shockingly — FIRs against Sikhs. Threatened eyewitnesses and forced them to sign affidavits favouring the police. Reduced major offences to minor ones, manipulated evidence, and destroyed paper trails. In some areas, the police said that the curfew that followed the mass killings only applied to the Sikhs.
    There’s worse. Pretending to be victims, many officers wrote false affidavits exonerating various Congress leaders who were seen inciting the killer mobs.
    Since the pogrom, many investigative commissions have come and gone, each scrutinising the role of the police. First, in 1984, the commission led by IPS officer Ved Marwah. Then, in 1987, the Committee led by former IAS officer Kusum Lata Mittal. In 1990, the Jain-Agarwal Committee led by retired judge JD Jain and retired IPS officer DK Agarwal. And, in 2000, the Nanavati Commission of retired Supreme Court judge GT Nanavati. Each received thousands of affidavits meticulously detailing how the police aided the Sikh massacre.
    Surinder Singh — a prime-witness against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, who allegedly led a killer mob — approached the local Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) for help after the killings. “This,” Singh told TEHELKA, “is what the police officer said to me: Jo log mar gaye, hamne unki madad ki. Aap mar jaate, ham aapki bhi madad karte (We helped those who died. Had you died, we would have helped you too).”
    A quarter century later, neither justice nor accountability has come. In all, the various commissions and committees indicted 147 police officers for their role in the Sikh killings. Not one officer has been prosecuted. Some 42 of these officers had retired or died by 2005. The Delhi Government has taken no action against the remaining officers.
    Several officers, whose dismissal was recommended for their role in the killings and in destroying evidence, were promoted. Several others were allowed to retire gracefully. The Union Home Ministry exonerated five officers. Meanwhile, systematic machinery has been in place to ensure that those accused of killing the Sikhs remain scot-free.
    IT WAS on Shoorveer Singh Tyagi’s watch that 500 Sikhs were brutally killed in the east Delhi slum of Trilokpuri. He was the SHO of the local police station. This was the Capital’s heaviest toll in a single location. The Kusum Lata Mittal probe noted Tyagi’s “criminal misconduct” during the killings and described him as a “living shame for any police organisation”.
    “[Tyagi’s] attempts, to a great extent successful, in obtaining affidavits in his favour by browbeating the witnesses indicate that it is highly unlikely that any witness would have the courage of coming and giving evidence against him,” Mittal wrote in her report. Her shocking finding — Tyagi found an honourable discharge from the court only because the police failed to take the sanction from the Union Home Ministry to file a chargesheet against him, which was mandatory because he was a government employee. No action was ever taken against him. In 2005, he was promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP).
    Sewa Dass, DCP (East), was Tyagi’s immediate boss. This is what Mittal said of him: “The conduct of Sewa Dass is a slur on the name of any police force. He should not be trusted with or assigned any job of responsibility. Sewa Dass removed Sikh officers from duty who were inclined to take proper measures to deal with the rioters. The SHOs under his jurisdiction systematically disarmed the Sikhs [and] as a result they couldn’t protect themselves. At the same time no steps were taken to provide police protection to them.”
    She added: “Sewa Dass made blatant efforts to conceal the number of killings. He directed his subordinates to register only a few cases in each area, which was illegal. The killings continued till November 5, which could have been prevented. Tyagi in Kalyanpuri/Trilokpuri and Dass in the whole district have been mainly responsible for the killings.” Sewa Dass was later promoted as Special Commissioner.
    The DCP of west Delhi, UK Katna, wrote nothing in his logbook from 11 am to 10.30 pm on November 1, and from 9 am to 5.30 pm on November 2. This is the period when Sikhs were being massacred in his area. The logbook of DCP of south Delhi, Chander Prakash, was actually later found with pages torn pertaining to the time of the Sikh massacre in his area. Delhi’s Police Commissioner at the time, Subash Tandon, never submitted his logbook to the Mittal Commission.
    The Mittal committee said Trilokpuri SHO Tyagi is a ‘living shame’ and east Delhi DCP Sewa Dass a‘slur’ on the police. It held the two responsible for the killings. But both officers were promoted Amrik Singh Bullar, the then SHO of Patel Nagar Police Station, told the Nanavati Commission that senior police officers had ordered him to merge 115 complaints as one FIR. Even the Jain-Agarwal report acknowledged this: “Instead of registering a separate case on the complaint of each victim, the police registered a vague and generally worded omnibus FIR purportedly covering all the offences that took place in a given locality. Since the FIR itself contained no specific information, much less the names of the accused persons, whatever chargesheets were filed under it ended mostly in acquittals.”
    The numbers tell the story. The official death toll in Delhi is 2,733. For that many deaths, the police filed only 228 FIRs, the Delhi Administration told a Commission headed by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Ranganath Misra.
    Several eyewitnesses say they have testified against Ram Pal Saroj, the Congress Pradhan of Trilokpuri, who was a subordinate of the late MP HKL Bhagat, another Congress leader widely accused of leading the mobs that killed the Sikhs.
    In his ruling on the case against Saroj, then Additional Sessions Judge SN Dhingra wrote: “Police had not made any other person as witness in this case. In fact, there is no investigation done by the police except recording the statements [which] are also very sketchy. Sometimes the statements are actually not made by the victims but they have been recorded by the police officials sitting in a police station and it is alleged that these statements were made by victims. In most of the cases in order to help the accused persons police has given wrong facts in the statements. The victims when appeared in court had given altogether a different story.”
    IN THE rare instance a police officer tried to bring justice, he was stopped. In his affidavit to the Nanavati Commission, Marwah — the first police officer to inquire the police lapses — disclosed that he was asked to discontinue his probe before he could examine senior police officers. His handwritten notes were destroyed on instructions from higher authorities. Justice Nanavati ignored all such observations. On Sewa Dass, he wrote: “As the departmental inquiry held against him... exonerated [him] the commission does not recommend any action against him.”
    The commissions and the committees may have forgotten the role of the police. But the eyewitnesses remember everything in graphic detail. “A policeman shot my husband in the head right before my eyes,” says Ladhi Kaur, 41, who then lived in Trilokpuri. “The SHO [Tyagi] was standing there too.” Kaur, who now lives in a one-room quarter in a resettlement colony in west Delhi, lost 18 members of her family. “My biggest sorrow is that our own people, not outsiders, killed us… our own politicians, our own policemen.”
    WRITER’S EMAIL
    tusha@tehelka.com


    When A Big Tree Falls, The Earth Shakes
    Jagdish Tytler is a symptom of the unfinished business of 1984. HARINDER BAWEJA examines why the Congress had to axe him once again
    SOMETIMES, WORDS can haunt even decades later and become a powerful leitmotif. Rajiv Gandhi’s infamous words — when a big tree falls, the earth shakes — during the brutal massacre of Sikhs in 1984 is one such sentence. It has peppered discussions and debates for 25 long years and it is this chillingly cold analogy that still records a high nine on the emotional Richter scale, so powerful is its recall.
    [​IMG] The past will not forget Congress candidate Jagdish Tytler had to step down due to party pressure
    Photo: SHAILENDRA PANDEY

    This time, the earth shook again, but under the Congress’ feet. One boot thrown at the Home Minister P Chidambaram by a journalist was enough to uncork the lava and focus attention straight and square on the anti-Sikh riots once again. But this time, if the earth shook it was because of the timing of the shoe-throwing incident. It came in the midst of the general election, a crucial election in which the Congress-led UPA is fighting to reclaim power.
    It has been an election issue even earlier. Both Sonia Gandhi and her son, Rahul Gandhi, have in the past made a political point of apologizing to the Sikh community in Amritsar’s Golden Temple, the most-revered gurudwara. The shoe was a mere reminder that Carnage 1984 still has the potency to trigger an election flashpoint.
    As soon as the shoe was thrown, various Congress leaders were besieged with frantic phone calls from Punjab and its state unit in Delhi. Every single one of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab is linked to the Sikh vote bank and nobody in the Congress high command could afford to alienate a community that comprises 59.9 percent of the state’s population. No one could afford to overlook the negative impact of fielding Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, the two most prominent and maligned faces of 1984 from the Capital city of Delhi where Sikhs were slaughtered in the worst massacre. Sikh votes add up to 25 percent of the total votes in Delhi’s seven Lok Sabha segments.
    Till the day the journalist flung his shoe, it was all about winnability, not accountability; about victory in the public arena, not justice in the courtroom. Till then, the Congress was looking at the Sikh vote bank differently — Tytler had won the Delhi Sadar seat four consecutive times, beaten Vijay Goel, the formidable BJP candidate in 2004 by 16,000 votes and, in any case, the Sikh votes total a mere 1.20 percent, the least in Delhi. In the case of Sajjan Kumar too, the Sikh votes comprise only two percent and his victory margin was much larger — he had won the outer Delhi seat by an overwhelming two lakh votes, defeating former BJP chief minister, Sahib Singh Verma.

    Nov 1984
    MARWAH COMMISSION
    Set up to inquire into the role of the police in the carnage. Was abruptly told by the Central government to stop the probe. Records were selectively passed on to next commission

    May 1985
    MISRA COMMISSION
    Set up to probe if the violence was organised. Its August 1986 report recommended the formation of three new committees: Ahooja, Kapur-Mittal, and Jain-Banerjee

    Nov 1985
    DHILLON COMMITTEE
    Set up to recommend rehabilitation for victims. Asked that insurance claims of attacked business establishments be paid, but government rejected all such claims

    Feb 1987
    KAPUR-MITTAL COMMITTEE
    Enquired, again, into the role of the police. 72 policemen were identified for conivance or gross negligence, 30 recommended for dismissal. No one was punished

    Feb 1987
    JAIN-BANERJEE COMMITTEE
    Looked at cases against Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, and recommended cases be registered against both. Later, Delhi HC quashed the very appointment of the committee


    Feb 1987
    AHOOJA COMMITTEE
    Set up by Misra Commission to ascertain the number of people killed in the massacre in Delhi. In August 1987, Ahooja’s report put the figure at 2,733 Sikhs

    Mar 1990
    POTTI-ROSHA COMMITTEE
    Appointed as a successor to the Jain-Banerjee committee. Potti-Rosha also recommended registration of cases against Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler

    Dec 1990
    JAIN-AGGARWAL
    COMMITTEE Appointed as a successor to Potti- Rosha, and also recommended cases against HKL Bhagat, Tytler and Kumar. No cases registered, and probe stopped in 1993

    Dec 1993
    NARULA COMMITTEE
    In its report in January 1994, it was the third committtee in nine years to repeat the recommendation to register cases against Bhagat, Tytler and Sajjan Kumar

    May 2000
    NANAVATI COMMISSION
    One-man commission appointed by the BJPled government. Found “credible evidence” against Tytler and Kumar. The CBI is now trying to give a clean chit


    The shoe sent the carefully crafted calculations out of the window. As Sikhs protested across Delhi and Punjab, the case against Tytler took center stage once again. If Tytler was forced to call a press conference in which he announced his withdrawal from the electoral fray, it was not because he wanted to save his party the embarrassment, as he put it, but because he’d had a midnight knock. Senior Congress leader, Oscar Fernandes, sources reveal, made a nocturnal call in which the message was delivered clear and straight — if he did not make the announcement himself, the party would be forced to make it and that would be even more embarrassing. But it would be unwise for anyone to think that the embarrassment was Tytler’s alone.
    [​IMG] Victims of 1984 A young Sikh is rushed to the hospital by his relatives in Tilak Nagar
    Photo: VIJAY SALUJA

    When a big tree falls, the earth shakes.
    IF TYTLER and Sajjan were summarily axed as potential candidates it was because of the potent recall factor. The CBI’s leak that Tytler had been given a clean chit ignited the spark for the nth time in 25 years. The ghost of 1984 was back and the voice of the victims could be heard once again. The most damning testimony is that of Surinder Singh, who was the Head Granthi of Gurdwara Pul Bangash near Delhi’s Azad Market. This is what he saw and this is what he has testified to on sworn affidavits: “On 1st November 1984 in the morning at 9am a big mob which was carrying sticks, iron rods and kerosene oil attacked the Gurdwara. The crowd was being led by our area Member Parliament of Congress (I) Jagdish Tytler. He incited the crowd to set the Gurdwara on fire and to kill the Sikhs. In the crowd some people were having in their hands the flags of Congress party and they were raising slogans such as, ‘The revenge of blood will be taken by blood, the Sikhs are traitors, kill them, burn them’. Five to six policemen were also with the crowd. On incitement by Jagdish Tytler, they attacked the gurdwara and set it on fire. Thakur Singh, who was a retired inspector of Delhi Police and an employee of the gurdwara Managing Committee, was killed by the crowd. Badal Singh, who was the Sewadar of the gurdwara, was burnt alive by putting a burning tyre around his neck. This whole incident was helplessly witnessed by me from the upper floor of the gurdwara. The gurdwara was on fire, but the fire did not reach the upper floor.”
    As soon as the shoe was thrown, Congress leaders were besieged with frantic phone calls from its Punjab unit. All 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state are linked to the Sikh vote bank In the face of such a powerful testimony, why then is Tytler on the verge of a clean chit? The Congress politician refuses to answer any questions, refuses to be drawn into a discussion on his role or the clean chit. A TEHELKA reporter tried over three consecutive days to get his side of the story, but all he would say is this: “You have published lies about me. I will not answer your questions.”
    [​IMG] Opportunity Rioters looting shops in 1984 in Azad market, Delhi
    Photo: S N SINHA

    The ‘lies’ — or conversely the uncomfortable truth — that Tytler is referring to is a detailed, month-long investigation undertaken by TEHELKA in 2005. Over one month, we uncovered lie from truth, sifted fact from fiction. Slowly but surely, we blew the lid off the machiavellian attempt through which Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and HKL Bhagat had gone about the task of subverting and derailing justice.
    THE TRUTH often lies buried in small details and it is often hard to find. The investigation is worth recounting, worth retelling. This is what we found.
    The dead cannot strike a deal but the living did. They were coerced and threatened by a network of middlemen who struck dubious deals to win over witnesses, subvert the truth and derail justice. Investigations reveal that in almost all cases, deals were struck to win over witnesses. In Bhagat’s case, Rs 25 lakh was offered to a witness. In Tytler’s case, a week after changing his statement, the prime witness went abroad for a year, and the second witness is still in the US. There were threats to their lives as well and a prominent Sikh leader was involved in pressurising the witness to say Tytler didn’t lead the mob. Further sensational disclosures were made that a prime witness, who turned hostile against Sajjan Kumar was taken to the Congress leader’s residence.
    Tytler withdrew from the electoral fray not because he wanted to save the party embarrassment, but because he’d had a midnight knock from a senior Congress leader But this story is primarily about Tytler and his effect on the political Richter scale. It is important to return to Surinder Singh, the main eyewitness who testified to Tytler’s role. Surinder, like the other victims, was not immune to pressure from the middlemen and their masters. Commission after commission gave birth to sub-committee after sub-committee but it was during the hearings of the Nanavati Commission that both Surinder and Tytler stood rattled.
    When Nanavati Commission summoned Jagdish Tytler on Surinder’s affidavit, the Head Granthi appeared like he had been ‘managed’. Tytler drew the Commission’s attention to another affidavit by Surinder, this one dated August 5, 2002, which amounted to a retraction of Singh’s earlier position — he said he did not even know what was in the earlier affidavit because he could not read or write English. He also said he had not seen Tytler leading the mob that attacked Gurdwara Pul Bangash. This affidavit was filed on October 22, 2002 and it came to light a year later when Tytler was served a notice to appear before the Commission.
    The dead cannot strike a deal so the living did. They were coerced and threatened by a network of middlemen who struck dubious deals to win over witnesses and subvert the truth The Congress leader’s knowledge of such an affidavit astonished the Commission as Surinder Singh had named Tytler in his testimony on January 17, 2002.
    Tytler had been trying to work on Surinder Singh. In his testimony to the Nanavati Commission, Surinder Singh did state that he was contacted by Jagdish Tytler on November 10, 1984 and asked to sign two sheets of paper. He declined to sign. But subsequent efforts by Tytler to ‘win over’ Singh appear to have succeeded.
    About Surinder Singh’s changed affidavit, Justice Nanavati stated, “What appears from all this is that the subsequent affidavit was probably obtained by persuasion or under pressure. If this witness had really not seen Jagdish Tytler in the mob, or if he was not approached by Tytler, then he would not have come before the Commission to give evidence or would have told the Commission that the attack did not take place in that manner. For speaking the truth, it was not necessary for him to wait till 5-8-2002 and file an additional affidavit.”
    [​IMG] Embattled Victims of the anti-Sikh riots protest outside Delhi’s Karkardooma court
    Photo: VIJAY PANDEY

    So when Nanavati finally submitted his report in 2005 and found what he called “credible evidence” against Tytler, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was forced to ask him to quit the Cabinet. In an emotional speech, the prime minister said, “I have no hesitation in apologising, not only to the Sikh community but to the nation because (the riots) negated the concept of nationhood. I bow my head in shame for what happened... but there are ebbs and tides in a nation’s history.” Admitting that the past cannot be undone, he urged: “But we have the willpower to write a better future and ensure such incidents are not repeated.”
    ‘The riots negated the concept of nationhood,’ said the PM in an emotional speech. Strong words from a Sikh PM acted as balm then, but what happened subsequently was a shame Strong words from an emotional Sikh Prime Minister acted as balm then, but what happened subsequently was a shame. The premier investigative agency, after a gap of two years, approached Delhi’s lower court with a closure report, but the court ordered that the case against Tytler be reinvestigated. The CBI was forced to go back to Surinder Singh, who then gave a fresh affidavit saying, “In case I die, then Jagdish Tytler will be responsible for the same. Jagdish Tytler had put great pressure on me and had obtained my signatures on blank papers… threatened me that in case I speak against him in future, then me along with my family will be finished.” This damning disclosure was obtained by the CBI on February 12, 2008.
    The CBI, in fact, would not have tracked down Surinder if it were not for the courts. The agency had approached the court asking for the case to be closed since it had not been able to find another witness in the Tytler case. Jasbir Singh, in an affidavit to the Nanavati Commiss
     
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  3. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Injustices in a Democracy ?? whats the solution ?

    Lot of hard work has gone into compilation in April 25th 2009 Tehelka edition.

    Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine
    Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine
    Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine
    Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine
    Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine
    Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine
    Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine
    Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine
    Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine
    Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine
    Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    When A Big Tree Falls, The Earth Shakes
    By Harinder Baweja
    Jagdish Tytler is a symptom of the unfinished business of 1984. HARINDER BAWEJA examines why the Congress had to axe him once again READ »
    [​IMG]
    The Boot Of The State
    By TARUN J TEJPAL
    Three myths were shattered when a diffident Sikh took off his footwear READ »
    [​IMG]

    As charred bodies lay in hundreds, it was the utter silence that was haunting
    [​IMG]
    A Pack Of Wolves In Khaki Clothing
    By Tusha Mittal
    [​IMG] The women screamed for help, but the police car drove by. Duty hour was over
    [​IMG]
    ‘Police Used Political Clout To Stop My Probe’-Ved Marwah, IPS,
    By Harinder Baweja [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]





    From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 16, Dated Apr 25, 2009 CURRENT AFFAIRS
    the victims
    ‘Bhagat’s Men Offered Me Rs 25 Lakh’
    DARSHAN KAUR, Lost 12 family members
    WHATEVER YOU need — chemicals, powders, anything — I will give them to you,” Congress leader HKL Bhagat egged the mobs. Darshan Kaur, 47, could hear him speak as she lay crouched inside her Trilokpuri house. Her husband was hidden in a small landing in the attic. The mob dragged him out, poured oil over him and set him afire. He was half-burnt when Kaur emerged from hiding and clutched at an attacker’s legs, pleading for mercy.
    [​IMG]The attacker dragged her down the road before throwing her off. She saw the local Congress leader Ram Pal Saroj instigating the mobs, saying, “No one should be spared.” As many as 12 members of Darshan Kaur’s family died in that attack. Many of them were stabbed in their stomachs with pieces of glass. Today, Darshan lives with her three sons, all in their twenties, in Ragi Bagh in west Delhi. Two of her sons are unemployed. One drives an autorickshaw. Her husband ran a garment export and auto-renting business before he died. The factories were burnt down, but some of the savings remain. Getting daily meals isn’t a problem. But Darshan barely eats. “It doesn’t feel as if it’s been 25 years,” she says. “It is still 1984 for me.”
    Outside her gate, a policeman sits on a cane chair, an ancient rifle by his side. For the last 11 years, Darshan has been under police protection. In 1994, HKL Bhagat’s men came to buy her over. “Take Rs 25 lakh and don’t give an affidavit against Bhagat,” she was told. “Can you return at least one of my family back?” she asked.
    She testified against Bhagat, and asked the court for police protection. Despite the security given to her, she has been attacked several times. “I was leaving the court, when three men arrived on a motorcycle and brandished a pistol. I ran into the closest shop and just managed to survive,” she recalls. Another time, a group of 20 men with lathis were waiting for her outside a gurdwara. One of the attackers was Atma Singh Lubhana, the middleman who tried to bribe her on Bhagat’s behalf. She left the scene with a bleeding nose and scars on her forehead. A 10-day hospital treatment followed.
    Darshan now works as a nurse at the Tilak Vihar government hospital. “I want God to do the same thing to them as they did to us. Bhagat is now dead but I want Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar to hang while I’m still alive. Only then will I feel I’ve got justice,” she says.
    Since the case was reopened in 2008, Darshan has been helping the CBI gather more evidence against Tytler and Kumar. She has taken the team to meet 13 people, 11 of whom have testified against Kumar and two against Tytler.
    “The CBI told us to keep these testimonies secret,” Darshan says. “Why are they not disclosing them now?” When she put this question to the CBI, she got a vague reply from the investigative agency. “But I’m still hopeful that someday we will get justice,” she says.
    TUSHA MITTAL


    ‘I Don’t Think Justice Will Come’
    NIRPREET KAUR, Lost her father
    THE PHOTOGRAPHS of the two men who are significant to Nirpreet Kaur’s life hang on the walls of her living room. The first is a faded black-and-white photo of her father. The second is a framed photo of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the Khalistani separatist leader who was killed by the Indian Army in Operation Bluestar of 1984.
    [​IMG]
    Nirpreet was 16 years old on November 2, 1984 when the mob came for her father, Nirmal Singh. The gurdwara next to their house in south Delhi’s Raj Nagar had been set ablaze, and a mob of about 450 was looking for more Sikhs to butcher. The Sikhs of Raj Nagar decided to confront the mob.
    An hour later, Nirpreet recalls, Balwan Khokhar, the Youth Congress leader, came to her father requesting him to “settle the matter”. A day earlier, when violence against Sikhs broke out following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards, Khokhar had sworn to the Sikhs that they would be protected from violence.
    “Khokhar sweet-talked my father into coming with him for a compromise,” says Nirpreet. But Khokhar went straight to the mob and handed Nirmal Singh over. The oldest of three siblings, Nirpreet, ran to the mob but could only watch helplessly as her father was tied up and set ablaze.
    The family then fled to safety. When they returned to collect his ashes for Nirmal Singh’s last rites, the area had been swept clean.
    They moved from one rented house to another before settling in a home in west Delhi’s Tilak Vihar in 1986. Nirpreet moved to Chandigarh in September 1985 for her post-graduate degree. “My life then changed drastically,” she says. “I joined the Khalistan movement to avenge the brutal killing of my father.” Nirpreet married a militant in November 1986; the reason why Bhindranwale’s portrait hangs next to that of her father’s.
    As a functionary of the then dreaded All India Sikh Students Federation, Nirpreet came in contact with those involved with the Khalistan movement, an armed insurgency fighting for an independent Sikh homeland in Punjab, and became part of the militancy that ravaged the state for over a decade in the 1980s.
    Twelve days after her wedding, the Delhi police picked up her husband. He was never heard of again. Nirpreet, then pregnant with her son, was declared an absconder. She went into hiding. In December 1986, Nirpreet’s mother, Sampooran Kaur, was sentenced to three years in Delhi’s high-security Tihar jail for “sheltering a terrorist”. “She didn’t even have an inkling of what I was up to when they arrested her,” Nirpreet says.
    In May 1988, Punjab Police and paramilitary forces launched Operation Black Thunder against armed militants who had built up a fortified stronghold within the Golden Temple in Amritsar. At least 40 extremists were killed and several arrested.
    Sampooran Kaur was watching the news on television in the jail. She leapt with joy as she caught a fleeting glimpse of her daughter among those arrested. She hadn’t heard from Nirpreet for over a year.
    Five months after her arrest in Amritsar, Nirpreet, by then a mother of a oneyear- old boy, was also brought to Delhi’s high-security Tihar Jail. Sampooran rushed to Nirpreet’s cell as soon as the gates were unlocked. “She wouldn’t stop weeping,” recalls Nirpreet, a tear betraying her resolute demeanour. Other inmates gathered around the cell to witness the reunion of a 20-year-old “dreaded terrorist” and her mother.
    Nirpreet joined the Khalistan movement to avenge the killing of her father. She married a militant in 1988. ‘I went to jail for this,’ she says, ‘but those who massacred Sikhs still roam freely.’ AFTER EIGHT-and-a-half years in prison, Nirpreet was acquitted on October 24, 1996. Though, her family was supportive, it took time to start life anew. Today, Nirpreet, a readymade garments exporter, is actively involved in fighting for justice for victims of the 1984 Sikh carnage.
    She is one of the 11 witnesses who, in January this year, testified before the CBI against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar.
    On the morning of November 2, 1984, Nirpreet says Kumar stood up in a police jeep near Palam colony and announced: “No Sikh should live. If anyone gives shelter to Sikh families, their houses will be burnt.” The CBI is yet to file a chargesheet against Kumar.
    Though she regrets having taken the extreme step of joining the Khalistan movement, she is not unhappy with the way life has turned out for her. “I was forced to take that step because of the Congress government’s injustice. The irony is that while I have been punished for what I did after the 1984 killings, those who executed the massacre of Sikhs still roam freely.”
    The situation took a new turn following the CBI’s exoneration of Jagdish Tytler this month. A Delhi court has postponed the hearing on the CBI’s plea that the case against Tytler be closed. The survivors of the Sikh killings still live in the hope that the courts will bring them justice. Till that day, they will, like they have been doing for almost 25 years, relive the horror of 1984. “I don’t think we’ll ever get justice because the politicians are bothered only about votes,” rues Nirpreet.

     
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  4. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    PART TWO of April 25 Edition followed from part One...

    ‘I Lived As A Queen. Now, I’m A Servant’
    LAKHWINDER KAUR, Lost her husband
    ATOE CURLS IN subconscious revulsion. She wipes a clammy palm against a crushed hankie, clears a choked throat and speaks: “I was 18 years old, a mother of a fivemonth- old daughter, and two months pregnant with my second child when they killed my husband.” On November 1, 1984, a mob surrounded Badal Singh, stabbed him, put a tyre around his neck, doused him in kerosene, and set him ablaze. Twenty-five years later, his widow, Lakhwinder, still shudders when she thinks of that morning. “I was told my husband screamed in agony as he died.”
    [​IMG] Badal Singh, a ragi (devotional singer) of Gurdwara Pulbangash, was one among the 3,000 Sikhs killed in New Delhi in just three days. Lakhwinder was at her village when she heard the news. She collapsed, gaining consciousness only intermittently over the next two weeks.
    Twenty days later, Lakhwinder returned to Delhi with her daughter, vacated their old home, and went from house to house, taking shelter with relatives and friends for three months, until she moved into a one-room tenement. Sewing, her only skill, allowed her to survive. “My aim everyday was just to be able to buy milk for my baby daughter,” she says. Her parents urged her to remarry, but the 18-year-old would not budge. Her life now belonged to her children. “I didn’t think I could get anyone more handsome than my husband,” she says, breaking into a smile.
    In 1987, Lakhwinder was allotted a two-room house in west Delhi’s Tilak Nagar and employed as a peon in a government organisation. “I lived like a queen before the 1984 riots,” she says. “Now, I live like a servant.”
    When a movement seeking justice for 1984 began, Lakhwinder joined it, convinced that the guilty would be brought to book. “I want to know how Tytler’s wife will feel if he is untraceable for a month,” she says. “It seemed easy for [former Prime Minister] Rajiv Gandhi to say, ‘When a giant tree falls, the earth below shakes.’ Our trees were felled and we can still feel the tremors.”
    SHOBHITA NAITHA
    ‘I Had To Dress My Boys In Frocks’
    BHAGGI KAUR, Lost 10 family members
    PEEP INTO ANY room in west Delhi’s Tilak Vihar and you will see framed pictures of dead men, hung on peeling walls. The pictures may be old, but the marigold flowers that garland them are fresh. So is the memory of 1984. Morning only illuminates the faces of men who will not return — husbands, sons, brothers —killed for no reason except that they were Sikh.
    [​IMG] Photo : Shailendra Pandey
    Bhaggi Kaur, 53, will never forget four names: Rotas, Manu, Rishi and Kamal. These are the men who killed 10 members of her family during the 1984 anti-Sikh violence. They all lived near Bhaggi’s jhuggi in Trilokpuri. It has been 25 years, and now the outlines of their faces are beginning to fade in her memory, but their words still pierce. “Indira Gandhi has died and you are distributing sweets,” screamed a mob before charging in. “We won’t leave even the sons of Sikhs alive. Saanp ka bachcha bada hokar hamein dasega (the snake’s offspring will grow up to sting us).” Bhaggi’s family scrambled for shelter. Seven families hid in one room, but it wasn’t long before the mob barged in.
    “They put my brother, Soan Singh, in a cardboard TV box and drove a knife through it,” she says. It’s as if she can see them right before her eyes. “My brother, Jagdish Singh, died at Block 30, my brother-in-law Gyan Singh at Block C.” Her husband, Lacchu Singh’s disfigured body was found in a canal.
    It was clear that the mob was after men. The ladies tried to pass off the last remaining man as an ailing woman, covering him in white sheets and placing a baby by his side. But the mob dragged him off the bed. “They threw him and the baby into the fire right before our eyes,” Bhaggi says. Amid all this, Bhaggi remembers HKL Bhagat, the Congress politician she thought had come to save them. “He was dressed in a white kurtapyjama, white shawl and black glasses, watching people kill and be killed.”
    She pauses, and cries in muffled sobs. Her eyes lower, and her shoulders crouch as she whispers: “I don’t like to tell people, but you know, they were all drunk, they raped us all.” The next morning, all the women who managed to stay alive left the room wrapped in thin sheets. For days after, Bhaggi wandered homeless with two sons, dressed in frocks. “When they were thirsty, I’d make them drink water from the drainage canals.”
    Six months later, Bhaggi was given the one-room quarter where she now lives. The room has enough space for a bed, a couch and a TV. She moved in with her two sons, candles and matchsticks. Her husband had been a coolie at the New Delhi Railway Station; he had left little behind. Friends brought clothes and utensils. The government gave her a job as a “waterman” at a local municipal school. From 1 pm to 6 pm everyday, she goes from classroom to classroom pouring water for the teachers. She earns a few thousand rupees to feed a family of seven — a son, his wife, and their four children.
    Her eldest son, Balwant Singh, 31, has a job at the Rakabanj Gurdwara, but he rarely goes to it. He spends most of his time popping blue spasmo-proxyvon pills, taking at least 12 a day. “I have to force him to go to work in the morning,” says Bhaggi. Her younger son, Balbir Singh, was two years old at the time of the Sikh massacre. Three years ago, he committed suicide by overdosing on spasmo-proxyvon. Bhaggi found him dead when she came home from work.
    “[Prime Minister] Manmohan Singh had promised us jobs but nothing came,” she says. “Balbir was depressed and unhappy. I couldn’t save him.”
    The women tried to pass off the last remaining man as a woman, covering him in sheets and handing him a baby. ‘But,’ says Bhaggi, ‘the mob threw them both into a fire right before my eyes’ IN TILAK VIHAR, Delhi’s largest resettlement colony for the widows and orphans of 1984, at least 250 children have died in the last five years because of drug overdose, says Mohan Singh, Chairman of the All India Sikh Riot Victim Action Committee. The drugs are easily available over-the-counter at the local chemist’s. In fact, some have used proxyvon so long, it has stopped intoxicating. Now, they’ve turned to pills used for pets, Mohan says. The addicts mix the pills with a liquid, pour it onto the street and lick it up. “It literally turns them into animals,” says Mohan.
    Residents suspect that a lack of education, parenting and jobs may have caused the lethal addiction among so many boys. For years after the killings, women in Tilak Vihar were afraid to send their children to school. With no education, most children who lost their families in 1984 now drive autos and do odd jobs around gurdwaras.
    For them, and the hundreds of widows living in Tilak Vihar, the 1984 massacre is not an event in history, but a reality they grapple with everyday. “They say it has been 25 years, so forget 1984,” Bhaggi says. “But how can I? Not one day goes by without me thinking about it.” She praises journalist Jarnail Singh for galvanising the Sikh community to demand justice. Jarnail recently threw a shoe at Home Minister P Chidambaram after asking why the Centre had allowed the CBI to give a clean chit to Congress leader Jagish Tytler, who is accused of leading the mobs that killed Sikhs.
    Twenty-five years after her family was killed before her eyes, Bhaggi still makes the journey to Karkardooma court in east Delhi to protest against Tytler, to testify against Rotas. She is one of the many thousands still waiting, hoping for justice.


    to be continued....part three
     
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  5. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    The solution is to take law in their own hands and kill the culprits from ground level to top but that does not mean they should become puppet in hands of some organisation who is fulfilling its agenda
     
  6. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Its true..Such visible and naked injustices create and breed...lawlessness..subversives..separatists..rebels....UNREST.
    CIVIL SOCIETY in INDIA owe it to themselves to REDRESS and find solutions to these..
    HELP the VICTIMS..and bring the GUILTY to JUSTICE...or forever hide in SHAME.
     
  7. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    One of the biggest reason of 1984 injustice is That delhi sikh gurdwara committe is puppet in hands of congress
     
  8. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    THATS EXACTLY THE SIKH DILEMMA...THE SGPC/BADAL ETC IS PUPPET OF THE BJP/SANGH PARWAAR... SO WHO IS LOOKING OUT FOR SIKH INTERESTS ?? nobody.OMGOMGOMG
     
  9. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Here is another view...from a non-indian (WESTERN) sikh...

    Sat Sri Akal,

    After being sikh for few years and reading a lot of about the riots of 1984, i have to say riots never happened. I saw a lot of photos, read also "who are the guilty".

    1) Riots or unlawful assemblies occur when crowds of people have gathered and are committing crimes or acts of violence.
    Dispersing violent crowds is typically a task for the police, although widespread rioting may require military support. One reason unstable countries typically have paramilitary forces is because without them, rioting would be a daily occurrence. To control riots often non-lethal weapons are used, such as water cannons, rubber bullets, flexible baton rounds and riot control agent. Deadly force is used in some repressive countries to stop riots, particularly if martial law is declared or in a country at war. This is generally permissible under the laws of war so long as nonparticipating civilians are not intended targets. Collateral damage is a usual result.


    it was not riots ????? because just like the jewish holocaust, there was hitler, nazi officers it was all organized, well planned massacre of sikhs.

    in the case of sikhs, there was many hitlers (rajiv ghandhi said "when a big trees fall), so he gave the green light, there was many nazi officers (so many politicans ), the nazi army was the indian police. (the indian police disarmed the sikhs, then gave the green light to the crowds to attack). so all was planned against a minority.

    what about the congress using the vote list to see which names are sikhs and to attack those house, this is ethnic cleansing.

    2) The Holocaust (from the Greek ὁλόκαυστον (holókauston): holos, "whole" and kaustos, "burnt"),

    3)Ethnic cleansing is a euphemism referring to the persecution through imprisonment, expulsion, or killing of members of an ethnic minority by a majority to achieve ethnic homogeneity in majority-controlled territory.[1] It is sometimes used interchangeably with the more connotatively severe term genocide.

    4)Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.



    I say 1984 was:

    1)sikh holocaust.

    2) ethnic cleansing.

    3)massacre of innocent citizens(sikhs).

    4)crimes against humanity.

    5)genocide




    Thank You
    Livia Kaur
    Why I Chose Sikhism
     
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