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1984 Anti-Sikh Pogrom Liberal Leader Refuses To Recognize 1984 Genocide

Mai Harinder Kaur

Oct 5, 2006
British Columbia, Canada
Canada: In a statement released earlier today, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff thrust a dagger into the hearts of Sikhs after slamming any possibility of his support for a motion to recognize November 1984 as a Genocide, adding that that the Liberal Party and its parliamentary caucus would never support the motion. After leaving the Sikh community stunned by his comments, the community, traditionally a large basin for Liberal support, was then pounded by an {censored}nal of unprovoked low blows .

In his statement, Ignatieff characterized the genocide and organized killing of Sikhs as “a highly-charged atmosphere of religious tensions” and that “describing these events as genocide is not accurate or appropriate.” Ignatieff’s comments came as a signal of his ignorance of the numerous investigations and inquiries conducted in India, that have identified the killings as pre-planned and organized.

Given its international reputation as an upholder of human rights, Canada should be especially concerned regarding the violation of human rights which occurred in 1984, where estimates of Sikhs killed in New Delhi range from 5000 to 8000 in the city and upwards to 20 000 across India. During this time, widespread targeted killings of Sikhs took place within New Delhi against the Sikhs, not only causing a loss of life but also destroying homes and complete neighbourhoods. Methods of murder used included burning Sikhs alive with the use of tires and kerosene oil while Sikh women were subjected to days of sexual violence.

Further, Ignatieff’s attack on the Sikh community was not limited by these comments. Rather, the leader of the official opposition went on to launch numerous unprovoked attacks on Sikh Canadians. In the same statement, Ignatieff suggested that the petition being put forth was irrational and an attempt to cause divisions, citing that the party would ”never stand with those who seek to polarize the community, or aggravate the tensions…”

The actions of the Liberal leader have left Sikh Canadians shocked and feeling puzzled after being blindsided by the attack initiated by the Liberal Party Leader. The leader has firstly failed to recognize what many human rights commissions and investigations have identified as organized and pre-planned killings of Sikhs. Secondly, the liberal leader denied the citizens of Canada a process for healing and reconciliation by refusing to acknowledge their horrific experiences. After witnessing and experiencing the annihilation and burning alive of entire families, victims have now been further ostracized and marginalized by Liberal Leader, Michael Ignatieff’s statements.

As Sikhs await the outcome of the June 9th, 2010 reading of the petition, a community that has traditionally voted for the Liberals are now being forced to re-evaluate their democratic vote in favour of a party and leaders that hold a high standard for human rights and justice.
Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Mobilize Against Ignatieff’s Remarks!
What You Can Do!

It is absolutely crucial that we engage in a letter writing campaign to address Michael Ignatieff’s negative remarks about the motion and the Sikh community at large. As well, the liberal parties declaration to never support this motion.

Listed below some issues that we would like to ask Michael Ignatieff to clarify. Please choose one of the points and write a letter to Michael Ignatieff and your local MP.

Email:ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca, ignatm5@parl.gc.ca, ignatm7@parl.gc.ca, ignatm9@parl.gc.ca

First Point

Michael Ignatieff stated "describing these events as genocide is not accurate or appropriate, particularly in view of genuine contemporary instances such as Rwanda"

The United Nations defines genocide as:

Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

<DIR><DIR>(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

</DIR></DIR>Does Michael Ignatieff feel that this definition of genocide is incorrect and we should rather define genocide on the number of victims compared to the harm inflicted on these victims? Were not enough Sikhs burnt alive, beaten or murdered to Ignatieff’s standards?

Second Point

Ignatieff stated that the liberal party "will always support any initiative which promotes justice for human rights abuses throughout the world" however, the party will never support this motion. Does the liberal party have its own definition of human rights violations? Is the murder of thousands of innocent civilians not a human rights violation? How does Ignatieff intend to justify such contradictory ideals?

Third Point

How does the Liberal Party intend to assist Canadian citizens in the healing and reconciliation process through a denial of their experience as victims of a genocide?

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