1984 Anti-Sikh Pogrom - 1984 - A Different Perspective | Sikh Philosophy Network
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1984 Anti-Sikh Pogrom 1984 - A Different Perspective


Jun 1, 2004
A FADING silk scarf wrapped around the forehead, dirty shirt sleeves pulled down and his stained teeth protruding in an awkward smile. Devender is a recognisable face in this lower class residential area in Delhi's stinking eastern fringe. In the bylanes buzzing with flies, buffaloes and children, they call him "Gabbar" after the famous villain of Sholay. They follow him shouting "Gabbar, Gabbar" as Devender leads us like a seasoned guide through the winding lanes of Trilokpuri.

This area typifies the urban fringe of India: overflowing community toilets, scraps from building sites where men search fortunes and daily bread, children and cattle fighting for space and women stay mostly behind the closed doors.

[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Devinder's
father is among the handful punished for the anti-Sikh riots
of 1984 and is doing time in Tihar jail

Trilokpuri is also one of the most shameful and indelible blot of 1984 riots. And Devender is a mentally unstable child living the madness of his father during the riots. He is not alone in this colony where Sikhs were killed in hundreds overnight.

After the riots, the Sikh families who lived in Block 32 and other riot-struck areas of Trilokpuri sold off their houses dirt cheap and took refuge in other parts of the city.

But the killers and their families stayed back, unaffected by the carnage they had wrought. And it was much later, after several years of court battles that some of them were brought to book.

Devender hasn't seen his father for months. "I don't have any money to travel to the jail," he says, as he jogs his memory to recall when he last saw his father.

Jagdish, alias Jagga is among the handful punished for the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, and is doing time in Tihar jail, in west Delhi.

After his father went to jail, Devender's life took a downward town. His mother had died of brain haemorrhage when he was very young.
Devender, a mentally challenged child, was brought up by a relative. He went to the nearby government school, dropped out after Class VII and has since been of little use but as a butt of joke for children of his colony.
"I know he also wants to meet me," Devender says of his father, but isn't sure when that would happen.

But for Devender one thing is for sure. He has to bear the cross of his father's sins on the by-lanes of this colony. Everyone recognises him, by his father's deeds.

OCTOBER and November of 1984 mean different things to different people. For the Sikhs it represents the dance of death. For a few like Devender, it is an emblem of the madness that stuck their fathers.
Yards away from Devender's house, Rakesh speaks of his father Kishori Lal's innocence. He repeatedly points out that his father owned a meat shop and some 20 cycle rickshaws and they were on a fast track to affluence.
"He is innocent. There was no reason for him to kill someone," Rakesh insists.

But for the world Kishori is the butcher of Trilokpuri and the main accused in one of the most horrendous cases: State vs. Kishori (Karkardooma, Delhi S.C. No.52/95 FIR No.426/84).

Kishori Lal was sentenced to death seven times by lower courts, but Supreme Court has converted them into life imprisonments.

The hang-till-death order proved to be a fatal shock to Kishori's wife. Rakesh and his little sister were orphaned.

As the order was being read, their mother collapsed of heart attack in the court premises and died a few days later. Kishori attended his wife's funeral in chains, in custody parole for just two hours.
While Kishori returned to the jail, Rakesh and his little sister dropped out of school and the 20-year-old resorted to odd jobs.

THE story is not very different for Kiran and her three daughters, a couple of bylanes away, next to the park that became a graveyard for many Sikhs.
Kiran, 50, recalls the days of riots when the houses across the park were set ablaze, and dozens lay dead: some in burning tyres, others chopped to pieces, many without even proper clothes on.

"How could we kill our neighbours?" Kiran laments.

But her husband Manohar Lal alias Munna, is yet another convicted for the riots and serving his sentence in Tihar jail.
[FONT=Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif]Survivors
come to see the streets where their dear ones were burnt to death, their houses torched, where they
hid for days
in terror

For the past seven years Kiran and her three daughters have followed one routine. Early morning, they lock their house and walk to bungalows of rich families a few kilometres away to clean, mop and do other chores.
"We don't tell them that our father is in jail," says Kiran's 20-year-old daughter, Poonam. "If they come to know we will lose the job," she says.
After they finish the morning's work, the four women to set out for courts or lawyer's chambers almost everyday. Kiran has sold off two of the three houses in illegal colonies, to pay the lawyers.

"I have spent a decade in courts and visiting jail. I am tired," Kiran says, struggling for breath. Her blood pressure problems are only complicated by the lack of her husband's income and the worries about marrying off her daughters.

Kiran is happy that her struggles paid off partially when the Supreme Court commuted Manohar's death sentence to life imprisonment. But life "has been really bad for me and my daughters," Kiran says.

BLOCK number 32 of Trilokpuri till the riots was a mix of lower class Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims. But the riots changed the colony overnight. Block number 32 is now a colony of just Hindus and Muslims.

Sikhs sold off their houses here to move to the safety of Tilak Vihar and other Sikh-dominated colonies.

Widows, children and other survivors come once in a while to see streets where their dear ones were burnt to death, their houses that were torched, where they hid for days in terror.

A gurdwara stands at the beginning of Block No 32 by the dirty drain along the congested road running through the colony.

There are no daily visitors to this shrine, which was rebuilt after it was burnt down during the riots.

The only Sikh presence is a turbaned Sikh ice cream vendor just outside the desolate gurdwara.

Whenever someone buys Devinder an ice-cream, he relishes it in the company of the Sikh vendor.

As we turn to leave, Devender wipes his watery nose on his shirt sleeves and asks with a flash of clarity, "Will your writing be of any help to us? I would love to be like you one day."

And then he pauses to add, "If my father were here I think I would have been different."
Last edited by a moderator:


(previously jeetijohal, account deactivated at her
Mar 14, 2006
London, UK
Re: 1894 - A different Perspective

Sikhs wish to live in an Autonomy, where religion and state are one, without seperation or divorce of state and religion, found unworkable in America. There are a small group of hard right wing militants in the corridors of power who hold a vicious grudge against Sikhs, and dogmatically refuse to move from that position. Their dogmatism costs not only many thousands of innocent Sikh lives, but Hindu’s too. the root cause of this hatred for which Sant Jarnail Singh was murdered with his men whilst taking sanctuary in The Holiest Sikh Shrine but cost the life of the menace who vicariously launched an attack against all Sikhs in India as well as the destruction of their shrine and population. I think it is time this small but powerful lobby should be brought to justice than ordinary men pay with their lives or freedom for their ongoing sin.

Sikhs are a fair minded people, with a due regard for the rights of all populations, a luxury afforded by the strength of their own faith than through any state demands or manmade laws. Many Saints and Crusaders have died in seeking to destroy this evil lurking behind the facades and shields of dignitaries in Delhi, London and America. Westerners are not evil nor the religious so pragmatic, a Glasgow situation where a small evil cartel orchestrates events innocent civilians pay for with endurance of needless suffering and struggle.

India should remain a peaceful and unified nation of many faiths, classes, castes and sects. Hinduism too is under divisive assault from both internal and external assaults culture and tradition. Bring the group to justice, allowing the Lok Saba to put its house in order or point a subtle insinuating finger towards the culprits responsible in their midst exonerating themselves from culpable blame thereby London, washington and new york are as, if not more corrupt in similar dealings. ..
YouTube - Bhai Davinder Singh Sodhi - Mittar Pyaare Noon ...

YouTube - Sant Jarnail Singh Speech Part Two

YouTube - teri yaad 1984 repost

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