India, Sikh, Riot, Indira Gandhi, Bismillah Geelani

Near the Parliament building in New Delhi, hundreds of Sikh protesters have gathered.

They are carrying banners that read: ‘we will not forget the pain’

Almost all of them had loved ones killed in the anti-sikh riots of 1984.

Manjit Kaur was just 15 years old  when she saw her father being brutally murdered.

“My father was dragged out of his vehicle and the attackers put a burning tyre around his neck and then hit him with iron rods till he died. What had he done to deserve this?”

The riots started after the then prime minister Indira Gandhi was killed by her two Sikh bodyguards.

Five months earlier she had ordered a military operation against the leaders of a Sikh separatist movement in their holiest Shrine, the Golden Temple. 

The military raid killed more than a thousand people, mostly innocent people.

The men who killed Indra Gandhi were tried and executed but no one has been convicted for the revenge mob violence that killed nearly 4 thousand Sikhs.

Manjinder Singh is General Secretary of the Sikh organization Dal Khalsa.

“It was a massacre, genocide and we have seen the judiciary did nothing in thirty years. How can you get evidence when you drag on the process like this? We are at a stage now where most of the people who had filed cases are no longer alive.”

Sikhs blame some senior leaders of the then ruling Congress party for inciting mobs against the community.

But almost all of them have been acquitted of the charges by courts citing lack of evidence against them.

The Sikhs are now turning to International community for help.

The protesters marched to the United Nations office in New Delhi, urging the world body to intervene.

In solidarity with the Sikh Community many Tamil and Kashmiri activists also joined the march.

Manjinder Singh of Dal Khalsa which is a Sikh nationalist group says international intervention is now their only hope to get justice.

“Now we are appealing to the united nations to take the matter into consideration and form a commission like they did for atrocities against tamils in sri lanka and make india also accountable for the massacre of Sikhs.”

The Narendra Modi-led central government that took power earlier this year has announced a compensation of 8000 US dollars for each person killed during the riots.

A few years ago, the Congress Party government also gave the same amount of compensation.

But the relatives of the victims like Tejinderpal Singh say they want justice.

“We don’t want compensations, we don’t want apologies, we want action. If you can actually do something about it, please do, if you cannot then stop playing these dramas every year.”

More than 20-million Sikhs live in India making up 2 percent of the country’s total population.
 
Although the Sikh militancy has almost completely ended a section of the community is still supporting the demand for an independent homeland called Khalistan.  


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