Welcome to SPN

Register and Join the most happening forum of Sikh community & intellectuals from around the world.

Sign Up Now!

1984 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots - The Causes and The Repercussions

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by Admin Singh, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,975
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    1984 Anti-Sikh Riots - The Causes and The Repercussions


    Sikhism and the Punjab in Politics in the 20th century

    Cause for the rise of the Akali Movement

    By the early 20th century Sikhism had reached a troubled point in its brief history. A lot of the clergy had become neglectful of their religious office. They had begun to accumulate wealth and land that had once belonged to the Gurudwaras. Their lives no longer bore any resemblance to the simplistic life that the Gurus had preached. The simple form of Sikh service had been supplanted in the shrines by extravagant ceremonies. Their central shrine, the Golden Temple at, Amritsar, was controlled by the British Deputy Commissioner through a Sikh manager whom he appointed. There were idols installed within the temple precincts. Astrologers sat on the premises plying their trade unchecked. Pilgrims from the lower classes were not allowed inside the Golden Temple before 9 o'clock in the morning. This was a travesty of Sikhism which permitted neither caste nor image worship.



    The Akali Movement

    The Akali movement, also known as Gurdwara Reform Movement or Gurdwara Agitation, the Sikhs' long-drawn campaign for the liberation of their Gurdwaras or holy shrines, began in 1920. It started as a movement to wrest the Gurudwaras from the priests who managed them. The movement was successful and The Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee took over all the gurudwaras. The Akali Dal was later founded-it was the militant wing of, the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee.


    Sikhistan/Punjab Subba

    In 1944, during the Gandhi-Jinnah talks the idea of a separate Sikh nation arose with Tara Singh’s request for “Sikhistan”. This was around the time that talks surrounding the formation of Pakistan had commenced. While the Akali Dal favored an undivided India they reasoned that if Pakistan could be formed then why not “Sikhistan”. The Akali Dal favored an undivided India with constitutional guarantees and electoral weightage for the Sikhs, but if Pakistan was conceded then it demanded an independent Sikh state.

    However, the arguments for Sikhistan were undermined by the absence of any contiguous area where the Sikhs formed a distinct majority. Since the Sikh religion had been founded Sikhs were concentrated in the North-West region of undivided India, i.e. the Punjab (the land of the five rivers). In 1947 Sikhs comprised 1 per cent of the population of India and 14 per cent of undivided Punjab. There was no Sikh majority area in Punjab. When Pakistan was carved out of India, the part of the Punjab that was left in India consisted of only 13 of Punjab’s original 29 districts. Partition changed Punjab's ethnic mix, with Muslims now comprising just 2 per cent of the population in Indian Punjab, whereas the Sikhs now comprised 35 per cent -- up from 15 per cent. In 1951 the first Hindu-Sikh riots occurred in Punjab over a census study on whether an individual's mother tongue was Hindi or Punjabi. A separate Punjabi Subba (State) was sought.


    In 1966, during Mrs. Gandhi’s stewardship of the nation and after the Akalis had proven their loyalty during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, a state with Punjabi as its national language was formed. After much consideration Himachel Pradesh and Haryana had been carved out of the part of Punjab that remained in India. The Sikh population of the new “Punjab” was 52% of the population whereas in the two new states that were formed the Sikh population was only about 5% of the entire population.


    The Anandpur Sahib Resolution
    In 1973 the Akalis approved a document called the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, which not only included these demands but also referred in vague terms to a “separate Sikh nation”. The word that was used in the document was “quam” which could mean anything from community to nation. Indira Gandhi and her government chose to interpret this as a call for a separate state. The seemingly innocuous demands of the Anandpur Sahib were:
    1. Limit the power of the central/federal government to defence, foreign affairs, currency and communications;
    2. Integrate Punjabi speaking areas into Punjab;
    3. Provide central assistance for power generation projects;
    4. Institute agricultural reform, particularly in financing of farmers;
    5. Provide a solution to water sharing with neighboring states.


    Over a period of time the non-fulfillment of these demands became the cornerstone on which the secessionists attempted to capture popular sentiment. Mrs. Gandhi refusal to grant these demands fueled the Sikh fundamentalists’ fanaticism and their desire for an independent state called “Khalistan”.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Loading...


  3. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,975
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    Khalistan Movement

    It was in Britain that the Khalistan movement gathered steam. Men like Jagjit Singh Chauhan, who became unhappy with Indira Gandhi’s stonewalling tactics concerning Sikh demands for greater autonomy in the Punjab, decided that the time was propitious to launch an agitation for not an autonomous state but an independent and theocratic nation-Khalistan. Khalistan mean “Land of the Pure”. Chauhan raised millions of dollars for his cause from rich Sikhs all over the world. Khalistan cells were created in Canada and the United States, where there were and still are significant Sikh enclaves.

    The Khalistan supporters issued their own passports and their own currency, neither of which, of course, was legal anywhere but in Chauhan’s home in London. The Khalistanis feared that Sikhism was on the decline. Sikhs were freely intermarrying with Hindus; Sikh males were cutting of their long hair (Sikhism requires that the males never cut their hair) and beards. They feared that Hindus viewed Sikhism as not a separate religion but as a variation of Hinduism. The Khalistanis were aware of Hinduism’s great modus operandi-triumph not by coercion but by cooperation; Hinduism assimilated and absorbed, it did not convert by the sword. Chauhan and his supporters felt that the purity of Sikhism could only be preserved in a totally independent Sikh nation. They began to solicit and receive the endorsement of many Sikh clergy men in the Punjab, who shared Chauhan’s apprehension.

    In the Punjab the Akalis never formally called for a separate Sikh state but the Sikh fundamentalists thought that Khalistan was a necessary development. The fundamentalists rallied around Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who had originally helped Mrs. Gandhi undercut and embarrass the Akalis but who soon convinced himself that he was capable of dispensing with Mrs. Gandhi’s patronage. He launched a terrorist campaign of cleansing the Punjab of moderate Sikhs and Hindus-which drew national attention.
     
  4. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,975
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    Sant Bhindranwale - His Ascent to Power



    His life

    Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was the youngest of seven brothers. Originally a farmer by profession, he joined Damdami Taksal ("The Damdami Taksal is the traveling Sikh university, which was founded by our Father Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji to impart knowledge of Gurmat onto Sikhs […]The first and foremost function of the Taksal is to educate Sikhs, to teach them the correct pronunciations of Gurbani, to do Katha and Kirtan. This is done by getting students to undergo rigorous studies, meditations and seva, thus a wholesome Sikh lifestyle is developed and maintained." from Damdami Taksaal Online ) of Bhinder Kalan village, about 15 km north of Moga, then headed by Sant Gurbachan Singh Khalsa. He remained at Bhinder Kal for year but in 1966 he moved back to his village, married and had children. He continued his religious studies and kept in close touch with the Taksal. In 1977, he was named the head of Damdami Taksal when the head at that time was killed in a road accident. Trained to spread the teaching of the gurus, he used to go to small villages in Punjab and preach to the young about adopting Sikh practices. He vehemently denounced drugs, alcohol and the trimming of hair.

    His Ascent to Power

    Bhindranwale exhibited remarkable enthusiasm in carrying out missionary works. He took special notice of the Nirankari heresy which he said was undermining the Sikh strutcture. Matters came to a head when the Nirankari conference was held in the holy city of Amritsar during Baisakhi. The Damdami Taksal under Sant Jarnial Singh Bhindrenwale and the Akhand Kirtani Jatha, another purely religious organization, protested against government allowing the Nirankaris to hold their convention at a time the Sikhs were celebrating the birth anniverssary of the Khalsa. Some of them who marched to the site of the convention were fired upon by Nirankari guardsmen killing 13 of them on the spot and wounding 78 others. This incident brought Bhindranwale into the political arena. After this incident the Congress removed the Akali Dal from power and re-elections were held at which point a Congress Government was installed.

    From 1977 until 1983, Bhindrenwale led his agitation against Arya Samajis and other fanatic Hindu organizations who were thought to be working against Sikh. Many Sikhs opposed him for his fanatical views. Most of his followers were young Sikhs from the more rural parts of the country, who had been disappointed with state and central government due to unemployment, poverty and other problems. By 1983 about 500-1000 people were killed all over Punjab by armed brigades of young motor cycle driving terrorists who would suddenly appear and with one burst of machine gun kill 10-15 people. Prominent Arya samaji leaders and news paper publishers of Hind Samachar group like Lala Jagat Narain were killed by unidentified persons and the Government of India implicated Bhindrenwale and arrested him at Chowk Mehta in 1982, but he was released in two days. Then, in later half of 1982 he moved to Golden temple complex where he setup his headquarters in Guru Ram Das Sarai. He made the Golden Temple, Sikhism’s holiest shrine, his fortress. From there he directed a terrorist movement that would result in the deaths of hundreds of Hindus and moderate Sikhs in the Punjab who did not support him.


    The Punjab was placed Under the President's rule on 6 October 1983. An ordinance declaring parts of the state a disturbed area was promulgated, and the police was given arbitrary power to search, arrest or even shoot with immunity from legal action. Six additional divisions of the army including especially trained para commandos were inducted into Punjab by the end of May 1984. On 1 June, while the Sikhs had started preparations in the Golden Temple for the observation of the martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan, which fell on the 3rd of June, strict curfew was clamped on Amritsar and surrounding districts. The actual assault of the army's operation nicknamed Blue Star took place on the night of 5-6 June 1984.
     
  5. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,975
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    Operation Blue Star

    View attachment 924

    Indira Gandhi viewed the Khalistan “struggle” not only as a secessionist movement but also one that directly and immediately threatened the unity and integrity of India. Mrs. Gandhi had been determined not to yield to the terrorists demand for a separate nation. After much contemplation (considered by some to be a political ploy to rally the state’s Hindus behind her and in order to unify the Hindu majority of the northern states, all of whom were concerned about the growing shrillness of the Sikhs’ agitation.), the military operation was authorized for the 5th and 6th of June, 1984. Four divisions of the army were deployed to Amritsar to flush the terrorists out from the temple.

    A quotation from the text of Mark Sully and Jacob Satish’s book, Amritsar, Mrs. Gandhi’s last battle, describes Operation Blue Star as follows:

    "At Seven o’clock on the evening of 5th June, tanks of the 16th Cavalry Regiment of the Indian army started moving up to the Golden Temple complex. They passed Jalianwala Bagh, the enclosed garden where General Dyer massacred nearly 400 people. That massacre dealt a mortal blow to Britain's hopes of continuing to rule India and was one of the most inspirations of the freedom movement. When Mrs. Gandhi was told that Operation Blue Star had started, she must have wondered whether it would provide the decisive inspiration for the Sikh independence movement, a movement which at that time had very little support outside Bhindrenwale's entourage and small groups of Sikhs living in Britain, Canada and the United States. Major Brar had joined Maratha Light infantry 30 years ago in 1954 as a lieutenant. He had fought in Bangladesh under Lieutenant-General Jagjit Singh Aurora, the Sikh general who was the most outspoken critic of the Operation Blue Star."


    Army Strategy for the Blue Star operation

    Army Strategy for the Blue Star operation had been determined by three officers of the Indian army, Dayal, Sundarji and Brar, who drew up at twofold plan. The essence of this plan was to separate the hostel complex from the Temple complex so that the hostels could be evacuated without becoming involved in the main battle. To achieve the prime objective to get Bhindrenwale out of the temple complex they had planned commando operations. Commandos were to be supported by infantry. Tanks were only to be used as platforms for machine guns to neutralize fire on troops approaching the Golden Temple complex, and to cover the Temple exits in case anyone tried to escape. Armored personnel carriers were to be positioned on the road separating the hostels from the Temple complex to keep the two potential battle fields apart.

    In the operation hundreds of men, women and children, who came as pilgrims to Amritsar died in the crossfire between the terrorists and the military Although the majority of the country’s 14 million Sikhs did not support the separatists, the army’s action in Amritsar was widely deplored in the Sikh community not only because of the loss of lives but also because of the extensive damage to the Sikh shrine.
     
  6. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,975
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    The Assassination of Indira Gandhi

    The desecration of the Golden Temple was shocking to the Sikhs. They were understandably outraged and some swore vengeance. After Operation Blue Mrs. Gandhi had been warned time and time again to remove all Sikh personnel from her private guard, but this she would not do. She is quoted as having said that she has nothing to fear from the Sikhs and went so far as to say that in distancing herself from her Sikh bodyguards she would be encouraging the religious discrimination that the very constitution of India forbade.

    On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi was shot by Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, widely believed to be an act to avenge the desecration of the Golden Temple. They were arrested and taken to a guardhouse by the elite Indo-Tibetan Border Police. Twenty minutes after they were arrested shots rang out from the guardhouse. Beant and Satwant had both been shot by their guards. Beant died instantly while Satwant suffered serious injuries to his spine and kidneys. He was later sentenced to death by hanging. Three officials present at the scene testified that the Indo-Tibetan guards abused the Sikhs verbally and then shot them.

    While Jagjit Singh Chauhan the self appointed “president” of Khalistan did give several television interviews when the news of the assassination broke in London. “She was doomed to die. She deserved to die.”

    Testimony to the animosity that the assassination inspired, rumors about the reaction of the Sikh ran amok.

    It was widely reported that Sikhs took out processions in Southall, the London neighborhood that is called Little India. People said of the Sikhs, "They distributed sweetmeats and chocolates, Sikh women danced in the streets. Non-Sikhs recoiled in horror. Hindus conducted special mourning services in temples. In New York City, too, many Sikhs were ecstatic over the event." However all the stories of the Sikhs’ glee is only heresy and no one actually witnessed this "joyous celebration".
     
  7. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,975
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    Aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s Assassination

    Rajiv Gandhi's speech

    Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi’s son and heir apparent who had been elected Prime Minister earlier that day, following the death of his mother, appeared on Doodarshan, India’s government run television channel, to address the 800 million people whose prime minister he had so suddenly become. He said,
    “ Indira Gandhi, India’s prime minister, has been assassinated. She was mother not only to me but to the whole nation. She served the Indian people to the last drop of her blood. The country knows with what tireless dedication she toiled for the development of India.

    You all know how dear to her heart was the dream of a united, peaceful and prosperous India. An India in which all Indians, irrespective of their religion, language or political persuasion, live together as one big family in an atmosphere free from mutual rivalries and prejudices

    Nothing would hurt the soul of our beloved Indira Gandhi more than the occurrence of violence in any part of the country. It is of primes importance at this moment that every step we take is in the correct direction.”

    Rajiv Gandhi had been sworn in as Prime minister by Zail Singh, the then president of the country. Zail Singh had initially served as Chief Minister of Punjab. In that time he had been Mrs. Gandhi’s emissary to Sikh leaders who agitated for greater autonomy in the state. His speech, in retrospect seems to hold a warning-a warning that the people of India did not heed. For, as the politicians made lofty speeches and the people of India grieved her passing, in the streets of Delhi there was carnage as India was plunged into a massacre such as had not been seen since the partition of the country in 1947.

    Riots


    Indira Gandhi was taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. By four o’clock that afternoon, a large crowd had gathered in front of the Institute’s main entrance.

    Dev Dutt, a Delhi journalist said of that afternoon, “There were slogans mostly in praise of Mrs. Gandhi, and a few slogans threatening revenge. But there was no tension. There were a number of Sikhs in the crowd. Their faces showed no fear or apprehension. We talked to some of them in order to gauge their state of mind. The Sikhs seemed to be supremely confident about the goodwill of their Hindu brethren. It seems they nursed no suspicions against the Hindus. They did not show any traces of nervousness of any kind. The non-Sikhs in the crowd did not even seem to notice the presence of Sikhs and took their presence as normal.

    While this crowd waited patiently, the flow of traffic and the normal business around the nearby kiosks continued. I was standing near the street crossing in front of the institute when thirty or forty young men emerged out of the crowd and formed a neat column, three or four men deep and ran towards the crossing near a traffic island. They caught hold of a scooter that was parked on the other side and set it on fire. Then these young men moved toward some nearby buses that had been slowing down on account of the fire. They began to pull Sikhs out of buses. They started to pull off their turbans and beat them relentlessly. I saw five turbans burning in a row on the road.

    There were no policemen in the area. The group had a free hand. After about twenty minutes, a group of khaki clad men arrived and began to chase away the miscreants. It is difficult to explain the sudden eruption of violence in the institute area that afternoon. But the question is: Who were these people who came out of the crowd and went on a rampage.”

    Communal riots flared through the nation’s capital. Mobs of young men on motor cycles burned, raped and pillaged the predominately Sikh areas of the city. Shops run by Sikhs were burned to the ground. Stories have been told about how the police drove through the areas inflicted by the riots and either did nothing or egged the protestors on. It is widely acknowledged that the rioters seemed to be secure in the knowledge that they would be protected. A senior police official hypothesized that there had to be strong leadership from well-known congress leaders and these random attacks were probably better planned than it appeared-how else would these youths know which of the stores to attack? Especially since all the signs were in Hindi and English and there was no real way to determine the difference between a store run by a Sikh and a store run by anyone else.

    The Sikh community has always very visible because the men and women are not meant to cut their hair. Sikh men have long hair that they wear under a turban, they also are not meant to shave their facial hair. At the time of these riots Sikh men were seen cutting their hair, discarding their turbans and shaving their beards as a way to escape recognition. Little Sikh boys with long hair were dressed in girls’ clothes and passed off as girls because this was the only way they could be saved.

    For days the carnage continued. Gurudwaras all over the city were attacked. Not even the old and feeble were spared. The attackers swore that all women would be spared-but in reality, what were they really spared from? They were perhaps spared the physical anguish of the torture, but not the mental agony of losing their loved ones, their livelihood and their homes for something that was no fault of their own.
     
  8. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,975
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    Commissions and other efforts to investigate the 1984 riots.

    In an effort to break the impasse over the Punjab, released from jail several top Sikh leaders, Rajiv Gandhi even promised to hold an inquiry into the massacre of Sikhs following the assassination of his mother. In an effort to create political harmony Rajiv Gandhi even allowed the Akali Dal to be re-elected. When asked about this he is quoted as having said that the victory of the Congress is immaterial, what matters is the growth and development of India as a whole.

    Since 1984 successive Indian Governments have set up commission after commission to investigate these heinous crimes. Nine commissions and committees have inquired into the riots. Justice Rangnath Mishra headed the first commission on the riots and the commission and their report has been heavily criticized as biased and a miscarriage of justice. The most recent commission on the riots, headed by Justice G.T. Nanavati submitted its 185-page report to the Home Minister, Shivraj Patil on February 9, 2005. No meaningful or definitive action has been taken against the overwhelming majority of the perpetrators.


    The Nanavati Commission


    Several of those accused in the Nanavati Commission, including Jagdish Tytler, Kamal Nath, Sajan Kumar and H.K.L. Bhagat are still at large and Jagdish Tytler is presently a junior Union Minister in the Congress-led UPA government.

    The Indian legislative body, executive, and the judiciary appear to have decided that the carnage was a natural consequence, a spontaneous reaction, of Indians at the death of their leader and a tribute to her.

    The Nanavati Commission report created a furor in the country largely because the Government immediately made its intention clear about taking no action against the guilty. Justice Nanavati submitted a report that may be considered partially unfavorable to the interests of the Congress Party. The decision to pay no attention to the recommendations of the Nanavati Commission by the government was probably in the background of the fate of other eight reports previously submitted to the various government since1984. Once again Sikhs are shocked to see the Indian Government clearly declare that no action would be taken against the members of the ruling Congress party allegedly involved in the killings of hundreds of Sikhs in the capital city of Delhi.
    Further information on the Nanavati Commission can be found on the following websites:

    A Part of the Nanavati Report

    "Organized Riots?"

    Manmohan Singh's speech

    Tytler's Resignation
     
  9. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
    Expand Collapse
    Admin SPNer

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Messages:
    5,975
    Likes Received:
    5,043
    Current Opinions

    As you can imagine these issues rouse deep sentiments in Sikhs even today. Below are the opinions of some people who were kind enough to answer my questions.

    I. Male, 60
    Madurai, India



    1. Did you lose a family member/friend in the 1984 riots?
    We did lose 3 of our relatives. One was a retired Air Force Officer, his eldest son who was Test Pilot on Jaguars and the younger son who just got selected for Ranji Trophy. All were lynched in front of the lady of the house and then burnt alive. She was also mercilessly beaten up and had multiple fractures.


    2. What is your opinion of Operation Blue Star?
    The operation Blue Star was a shameless act by the Government of India. Surely there were other means of flushing out terrorists from the Golden Temple. What was required was more patience and complete cordoning off of the Golden Temple premises so that genuine pilgrims could come out. But Government (More specifically Mrs. Indira Gandhi) wanted to teach Sikhs a lesson.
    In later years similar situation arose in Kashmir when the Militants were holed up in Hazratbal Shrine. But same Govt. did not issue orders to the Soldiers to enter the shrine.


    3. There have been many parallels drawn between the atrocities of the 1984 riots and those during of the partition, what is your view of this comparison?
    The atrocities of 1984 and what happened in 1947 have a few things in common. Both these events resulted in blood bath ending thousands of human lives. The common man was instigated by scruple-less Politicians. But during 1947 a large nation India was being split into 2 countries and such blood bath was expected. But in 1984, the innocent people were taken for a surprise. No one expected that in Democratic India such thing could happen. Let us face it, when Mahatma Gandhi was killed by Natural Gods, no Maharashtrians was killed. Then how come, when Indira Gandhi was murdered, a veritable hell was let loose on the innocent Sikhs.


    4. Did it occur to you that the atrocities committed during the riots would/should be "avenged" when Manmohan Singh became Prime Minister?
    So many lives have been lost. All the Sikhs have been asking is to punish the known guilty persons. Manmohan Singh being the PM has no significance on this.


    5. There have been many commissions to investigate the 1984 riots. In your opinion was the Nanavati Commission different and if so, why?
    None of the Commissions appointed by the Government has come out clearly to name the guilty politicians and murderers who were identified. Nanavati Commission is no exception.


    6. Why was the failure of the Nanavati Commission more disappointing than that any of the other commissions?
    Nanavati Commission had possibly the longest stint. Sikhs have been waiting for Justice for over 20 years. So people hoped that possibly this time there would be clear cut findings. But unfortunately this did not happen.


    7. Do you feel that the legal battles over the 1984 riots need to continue? If so, when, in your opinion would justice be served?
    I think the legal battle should continue till the guilty are punished.




    II. Male, 51
    Bangalore, India. (Lived in Delhi for a number of years before 1975)



    1. Did you lose a family member/friend in the 1984 riots?
    I lost an acquaintance.


    2. What is your opinion of Operation Blue Star?
    It was avoidable. There was excessive use of force. It was like using a canon to kill a fly.


    3. There have been many parallels drawn between the atrocities of the 1984 riots
    and those during of the partition, what is your view of this comparison?
    This was worse than partition because it happened in a free democratic India where the President of the country was a Sikh himself.


    4. Did it occur to you that the atrocities committed during the riots
    would/should be "avenged" when Manmohan Singh became Prime Minister?
    This was highly improbable because he represents congress which has scuttled all efforts to bring to justice those involved in the carnage.


    5. There have been many commissions to investigate the 1984 riots. In your
    opinion was the Nanavati Commission different and if so, why?
    This commission was initiated by the BJP government which promised justice to 1984 riot victims, other than that it was like any other commission.


    6. Why was the failure of the Nanavati Commission more disappointing than that
    any of the other commissions?
    Nanavati commission was seen as a last chance to bring justice to the victims of the 1984 riots, considering that 20 years had passed since the riots. Also the commissions report was being tabled in parliament with a Sikh prime minister.


    7. Do you feel that the legal battles over the 1984 riots need to continue? If
    so, when, in your opinion would justice be served?
    They need to continue because giving up at this stage will be giving in to injustice and insensitive and conniving political leadership.




    III. Female, 19
    Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.


    1. Did you lose a family member/friend in the 1984 riots?
    No.


    2. What is your opinion of Operation Blue Star?
    An extreme step taken, which could be avoided, I will not forgive the leadership of the Congress party of India for the operation. I’m not hurt that a ‘sacred’ place was destructed; it is not my religious sentiments that were hurt… I feel cheated as a citizen of the largest democracy, that my ruling party did not employ a method less severe such as starving the terrorists instead of storming the place. Operation blue star cannot be justified, it is known that the terrorists were desecrating the utensils used to make ‘prasad’ in the Golden Temple by excreting in them, nothing can be more insulting- to the purity and ‘sacredness’ of our religion than defiling the sanctum that holds our religious texts or the kitchen that serves many pilgrims. The sentiment I hold is entirely humanitarian, should not the then prime minister Mrs. Gandhi relied on more than just intelligence reports that warned her that if the operation was not swift a mass uprising in Punjab may occur? The inability of the government to curb militancy in its natal form led to the pain that the Sikh community carries today, those who might not have lost their loved ones did lose their faith in the secularity of our great country. Had operation blue star been conducted like black thunder, we might not have had to be victims of the carnage of 1984.

    3. There have been many parallels drawn between the atrocities of the 1984 riots and those during of the partition, what is your view of this comparison?
    I feel that atrocities, whether those committed during the partition or 1984 or more recently Gujarat cannot be compared, but yes an atrocity committed against an entire community because of the acts of one of its members is blasphemous! Which ‘mazhab’ teaches its followers to kill the innocent? There is no comparison between ‘atrocities’, the circumstances under which both carnages occurred may be compared but the shedding of blood in any year, of any individual or any community, by another individual or community or group is unacceptable simply because it is a crime.


    4. Did it occur to you that the atrocities committed during the riots would/should be “avenged” when Manmohan Singh became Prime Minister?
    Avenged! I feel the reason why not only our PM, but our Chief of Army Staff and the Deputy of the Planning Commission Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia appointments have been made to make the Sikhs shut up. Does the Congress think it can get away with such blatant efforts! We do not want revenge or bloodshed, I wish nothing but the best for the Congress but I must be given justice for what happened in 1984- my puppet prime minister with his turban does not make me joyous for any reason other than the fact that he is a highly competent gentleman whom I respect and feel proud of as a member of my ‘community’, but it isn’t just another thing that he happens to be ‘Sikh’. I do not expect him to hasten the process of providing justice to those who were wronged on account of his sharing the same religion! This would equal the anguish operation blue star caused our people… You cannot compensate an entire generation of orphans 20 years later by putting a Sikh Prime Minister at the forefront… I’m offended if that was the intention!




    5. There have been many commissions to investigate the 1984 riots. In your opinion was the Nanavati Commission different and if so, why?
    It was not, where is the action? Who has been jailed? Who has been provided justice? Begging for forgiveness before the Granth Sahib did not help Mrs. Indira Gandhi, she did meet her nemesis, unfortunately. But it is funny, very funny, that it took 20 weeks to prosecute her assassins but 20 years later, the victims of 1984 don’t know who killed their loved ones…


    6. Do you feel that the legal battles over the 1984 riots need to continue? If so, when, in your opinion would justice be served?
    Yes, they MUST continue, even if the criminals are at their deathbeds they must be thrown behind bars that would be their euthanasia! Justice will be served only when the ‘ministers’ who encouraged the violence and officers who took no action are jailed and each victim is given not monetary but vocational and sustainable compensation. The prosecution of the accused must continue so that the citizens of India LEARN that if you commit a crime you will be punished and not in hell but in your own country and in your lifetime.




    IV Male, 25
    Chandigarh, India

    1. Did you lose a family member/friend in the 1984 riots?
    No, I did not.


    2. What is your opinion of Operation Blue Star?
    That is was the biggest mistake of Indira Gandhi.


    3. There have been many parallels drawn between the atrocities of the 1984 riots
    and those during of the partition, what is your view of this comparison?

    During the partition, the Sikhs and the Hindus together were killing the Muslims, but in 1984 the Hindus turned against the Sikhs. Just makes me trust them less.


    4. Did it occur to you that the atrocities committed during the riots
    would/should be "avenged" when Manmohan Singh became Prime Minister?

    No, that should not have happened, because the Sikhs have large hearts and our gurus have always taught us to forgive, so did Mahatma Gandhi.


    5. There have been many commissions to investigate the 1984 riots. In your
    opinion was the Nanavati Commission different and if so, why?
    I do not know what the commission was but I have heard that Nanavati was a judge who was assigned to investigate the culprits but what I have heard from people is that one of them is dead and the other, Tytler, is free.


    6. Why was the failure of the Nanavati Commission more disappointing than that any of the other commissions?
    Well, because everyone knows who the culprit was but he is still free. Makes me believe in these commissions even less now.


    7. Do you feel that the legal battles over the 1984 riots need to continue? If so, when, in your opinion would justice be served?

    Well, I feel that it’s been 22 years and no one has been found guilty. This makes me feel that being a minority does have its own drawbacks. The same has been the case with the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat where the chief minister has not been prosecuted as there is no case against him.
     
  10. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    This is great Aman ji -- a direction for the future -- It is wonderful how you have set up the thread with well-chosen documentation and history, and then let people, real people, tell their stories. Nothing could be more powerful.

    Thanks -- it gets the gray cells up and running for more and more ways to set up at least a sense that there are people who care and are paying attention.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. harbansj24

    harbansj24
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    494
    Likes Received:
    887
    Amanji,

    I do not think that Sikhs did not anticipate that there would be repercussions. I had a sickening feeling that we were sitting atop a tinderbox waiting for a spark to ignite.

    However no one anticipated the organized intensity and savagery.

    That day, after it was confirmed that Indira Gandhi was dead, I packed up to leave for home from my workplace. Though the route to my house was via All India Institute of medical Sciences, the bus I took fortunately had a detour. In the bus I did try to chat up a few commuters but I met with somber and sullen silence. This is unusual for Delhi commuters who are otherwise very communicative. This was ominous.

    After 3 days when I did venture out I was greeted by a complete stranger with a remark "Oh! there are still some Sikhs in Delhi!"

    Although neighbors and acquaintances did show concern, hostility towards Sikhs was perceptible upto early '90s when it started to subside. But scars still remain.

    1984 was the year when India lost its innocence. Till then there were sporadic incidences of violence against Muslims, but they far in between. Otherwise people of different religious groups lived in harmony.

    But 1984 was a watershed. From then onwards people started developing mistrust. Bal Thackeray who was until then just a local goon, renamed his outfit as Shiv Sena during the Punjab disturbances. Now there is no trust between any religious group. Everywhere there is hate talk against Muslims followed by Christians. Christians were never in hate group just a decade back.
    Admittedly there is no open show of hate towards the Sikhs but deep inside there lingers a lack of trust.

    India has had to pay a huge cost for the indiscretions committed in 1984.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Sikh royalist

    Sikh royalist
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    78
    i think if we don't learn from our past no one is a bigger fool than us. 84 was hard time and most of the people who were harmed were those who had earlier seen 47 which is of course very sad in itself.a few days back i went to Delhi to attend a marriage and i asked my friend who was showing me his new bike worth lakhs do you own a rifle? he replied why do we need one the police needs it or the terrorists need them i was shocked by his reply i further asked not even for your safety he said no we are safe.i was left thinking we are Sikhs Guru ji taught us that silence is the sign of upcoming storm as long as we have differences we will fight and we will have to protect ourselves.
     

Share This Page