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Opinion Understanding the Sikh Genocide

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by spnadmin, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    By Jagtaran Singh

    “In Delhi alone more than 3000 Sikhs were burnt alive in the most gruesome manner. With the Delhi Police playing a most shameful passive role.”

    -- Ved Marwah, former Delhi Police Commissioner, Director General of the National Security Guard, and Governor of Manipur, Mizoram, and Jharkhand.

    On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated. It was announced to the world that her Sikh bodyguards were the perpetrators of the crime; soon after, the killings, rapes, and looting began, not ending until three days later. On November 9, Rajiv Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India, addressed a rally at the Boat Club, famously commenting on the violence, death, and rape in the Indian capital with the casual remark, “When a big tree falls, the earth shakes.”

    Interestingly enough, when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by a Maharashtrian Hindu, the earth didn’t tremble for all Maharashtrian Hindus. In fact, when Rajiv Gandhi himself was killed, there were no riots breaking out against Hindu Tamils either.

    In Delhi, for nearly three days following the assassination, organized and systematic killings of Sikhs took place. Numerous government initiated commissions have noted the role of Congress (ruling party) politicians, and the police in passively allowing the killings and rapes to take place and even actively encouraging them. Those who led the mobs often had lists of ration card holders, enabling them to seek out Sikh households to subject to terror.

    In spite of appeals made to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister, the army was not called in to stop the pogroms for three days, at which point the Home Minister, Narsimha Rao, famously noted: “Now it is enough.” BBC Reporters Mark Tully and Satish Jacob note that, while Rao and Gandhi allowed for three days of killing, burning, raping, and looting Sikhs to pass before calling in the army, they made sure to call the army into Punjab. This was, of course, out of concern that Sikhs may react violently against Hindus in retaliation for the killing of Sikhs by Hindu mobs in Delhi. As it turned out, nothing of the sort took place in Punjab.

    O.P. Dwivedi, a Delhi Additional District and Session Judge wrote in judgement of one of the few convictions of the pogroms, “This genocide would not have been possible but for the inaction and connivance of the police.... Police did not try to prevent arson or murders, nor were they willing to take any action against the guilty.”

    Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, defines genocide as any act committed with the intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group by, inter alia, killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to the members of the group.

    During the pogroms, mobs were found to have been supplied with voters lists, indicating where Sikhs lived, along with tires, kerosene, and weapons used to burn, beat, maim and kill Sikhs. Politicians were seen encouraging the violence if not participating in it themselves. Manoj Mitta, senior editor of the times of India, and author of the book “When a Tree Shook Delhi,” notes that the police actually stopped Sikhs from defending themselves, confiscated their weapons, and returned them to the mobs. Some Sikhs were even charged with assault as they defended their families from arsonists.

    Rahul Bedi, journalist for the Indian Express, writes in the book “The Assassination & After,” “The engineered Holocaust needed at least a day to get organised. And there is enough evidence available to indicate complicity in the overall plot, complicity of the Congress – I, complicity of the police, and complicity of the local administrators.”

    Interestingly enough, despite all this evidence, there are many who balk at the idea of admitting that the violence of November 1984 constitutes genocide. The Indian judiciary, noted journalists and academics, and many others (non Sikhs) readily admit to this. It seems that those who refuse to, are those who are afraid of letting the world see India for what it really is – an egregious offender of human rights. Sikhs are not alone in their plight. Christians, Muslims, and many others have suffered and continue to suffer from human rights abuses in India. In 2002, near identical pogroms took place against Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat, with all the telltale signs of genocide. Though the number of casualties was lower in number, it remains a stark reminder of India’s record on human rights.

    Let me be clear: as a proud Canadian, I realize that economic growth is an important part of our country’s future – of which India is and should be an integral part. I am in no way suggesting that Canada rethink its plans to conduct business with India. But as Canadians, we should also remember that we have a proud history of standing up for human rights – even when it may not be particularly palatable to our business partners.

    Anything less would simply be, well, un-Canadian.

    Jagtaran Singh is currently a law student at McGill University, and serves on the board of directors of the Darfur Sudan Peace Network.

    http://www.inter-alia.ca/
     

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  3. dalbirk

    dalbirk
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    Sikhs must strive for justice for NOV 84 genocide at all costs , it should not be forgotton or forgiven . It may reoccur in future also .
     
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  4. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Dalbirk ji

    Just tell me realistically Is it Possible to get justice after 26 years?What chance do you see sikhs getting Justice?

    I see 0.0000000000000000001% chance of any justice(you can add any amout of zero's you like)
     
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  5. dalbirk

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    Kanwardeep Ji ,
    At least we can keep remembering it for all times to come just as we remember Ghallugharas . It will keep us vigilant so that same mistakes are not repeated . Today all Sikhs have chosen to forget & worst some of US are apologitic when the mention of word "1984" comes instead of feeling hurt . Such depths we have fallen to .
     
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  6. ac_marshall

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    Anti-Tamil backlash was also turned a blind eye by the media as was the case with Anti Sikh riots. Of-course the backlash was not aimed at Tamil Hindus, it was aimed at Tamils in general. My father expired on 9 May 1991 and his funeral was held at a cemetery in Madurai the town where my grandfather retired in an Anglo Indian settlement. The car in which my mother, sister and I were travelling to Bangalore on 21st got stranded for nearly 2 days at the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border about 40 km from Bangalore city. All cars bearing Tamil Nadu registration were stopped, people were dragged out and questioned. Some were even taken into detention. While being stranded Congress goons extorted money using choppers. Shops and homes belonging to Tamils in Karnataka were torched with their owners either being beaten brutally or even stabbed. We somehow made it to Bangalore with the help of our Kannada Speaking driver. But through out the way in Karnataka, there were goons with banners displaying "Death to Tamil Traitors" and wielding choppers instructed to stop any vehicle bearing Tamil Nadu Registration. As our names did not sound like typical Tamil Names, we were spared humiliation at various points. Even the shopkeepers in Bangalore took pleasure in taunting Tamils calling them LTTE. At a roadside tea shop where we stopped for a refreshment, the first question I was asked by the shopkeeper was "Who is the next on your hit list?" However, the verbal abuse ended there while my driver came to my rescue saying in Kannada that I was a tourist and not a Tamilian. I thanked God for my peculiar looks.


    It was not as horrifying as in case of 1984 but still, Anti-Tamil hatred was encouraged openly. Maybe the reason for lower magnitude of destruction was that visual identification of Tamils was difficult unlike the case of Sikhs.

    In rural areas, many Tamil villagers were rounded up and taken in the name of preventive measures. Many never returned. Many Tamil small vendors and labourers were either extorted or assaulted across the southern states.

    In case of 1984, the target was a religious community and in case of 1991 it was a linguistic community. As long as the evil pseudo secular divide and rule policy exists in India, communal violence will continue to take place.
     
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  7. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    I think may be the reason was that the sikhs were killed almost all around India While anti Tamil feelings were restricted to Karnatka only because of their dispute on Kaveri Water
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaveri_River_water_dispute#Interim_award_and_the_riots
    Karnataka was thus forced to accept the interim award and widespread demonstrations and violence broke out in parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu following this. Thousands of Tamil families had to flee from Bangalore in fear of being attacked and lynched. The violence and show down, mostly centered in the Tamil populated parts of Bangalore, lasted for nearly a month and most schools and educational institutions in Bangalore remained closed during this period.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Kannad groups may have thought that Rajiv's assasination is good time to attack them.

    BTW Both DMK and AIDMK played crucial role in government making from 1996
    Its strange I have never seen them demanding probe or justice.
     
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  8. ac_marshall

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    Justice under the present system is reserved for the affluent ones. May be it's a quota benefit for the affluent ones. Common men can only dream of justice. They must feel happy that they are atleast allowed to dream. This is the state of majority of citizens in the world's largest democracy. :disgustedmunda:

    India would probably need a revolution like Russia and France if the common man has to rule.
     
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  9. gurmeeti

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    Most of the time all of us are talking about justice for 1984 genocide, which is a just and natural demand. But we never talk about taking care of the families who bear the brunt. Our sikh community is very well off and settled all over the globe. If some one with good intention take initiative in helping/ settling those families i don't think money will be any problem. Here I want to mention one thing that efforts were done in this regard earlier also but ended with abrupltly.

    Lets start a movement to help those families which are daily staging dharanas and pleading polticians for some help.
     
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  10. ac_marshall

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    Why would DMK or AIADMK even bother about Tamils outside Tamil Nadu? These are regional parties with footprints in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry alone. They will not get any vote from anyone outside Tamil Nadu. These parties will just show some false solidarity to appease their relative in Tamil Nadu whose votes may be needed.
     
  11. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    If I am not wrong veerappan wanted justice for kaveri riots victims.One could say what a notorious gangster have to do with justice.may be he wanted to gain sympathy from tamil people ,similarly DMK or AIDMK could had raised this issue as it could give them sympathy from Tamil people within Tamil Nadu
     
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  12. ac_marshall

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    Dear Kanwardeep Singhji,
    I appreciate your point on justice and would like to add some more points. In case of Veerappan, the objective would have been sympathy so that he could get amnesty in Tamil Nadu, avoid arrest followed by prosection and possible execution. Moreover, nobody knows whether Veerappan really spoke about Kaveri Issue. That itself was another debate. However even if he had spoken, he would have done that to save himself from possible execution. Whereas these parties AIADMK and DMK had to just speak some buttery words just to act concerned. Moreover, both these parties were involved in sponsoring riots at each others constituencies. They were never interested solving any problem or addressing the people's concerns. Each of these parties enter into agreement with a representative from a dominant caste in a village who ensures that all voters of his caste vote for the party he supports giving promises of special status, caste benefits, etc. It's a well known fact in India that while caste card is played, everything else gets diminished. If a caste turns hostile, the follow up action is to brutally a few members of that caste so that other members will no have the guts to cast their votes and there ends the matter.

    While this time tested method yielded the required results, they just did not feel it necessary to address the concerns of riot victims.
     
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