1984 Sikh Genocide- horror still haunts!
The land of India has witnessed a lot, whether it be partition of 1947 or 1984 Sikh genocide. Harvest to bloodshed, we remember all. But no matter how much we remember the past, unless and until we start speaking out and telling stories, restoring them- nothing is going to matter. Because history remembers stories more than the incident itself. On marking 35 years of Sikh genocide in India, let’s hear some of the survival stories so that our kids remember the sufferings, the lost and the sorrows of war and prevent from creating one!
How well do you remember 1984 Sikh genocide?
The massacre of 1984 or the 1984 Sikh genocide can be consider as a mass slaughter of Sikh’s in India. It was a series of pre organized program against Sikh community in India and this genocide happened in response to the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. During that time Congress Party was in power and thus was the ruling party. Congress had been in active complicity with the mob, as to organizing the riots freely. Several autonomous resources states that about 10000 to 17000 death occurred in this massacre but according to government 2800 Sikhs were killed in Delhi and 3335 in nationwide. It was the biggest community violence in history when Hindu’s and Muslim’s together went out killing their Sikh brothers.
The violence had been started in early 80’s as the Sikh community demanded for the Khalistan, an independent country from India. The president of Akali Dal invite Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale to take up residence in golden Temple. Bhindranwale later on made the sacred temple an armory headquarter, and this made government to start the operation ‘Blue star’. According to Blue Star, the operation army troops were send to the religious Golden Temple. Militant killed all the members and Nirankari’s of Akali dal, approximately 410 deaths occurred during the operation. Soon after Bhindeanwale died, the military troops left the temple area but this move by the government was criticized by Sikhs all around the world as killing people in religious place was considered as a shameful act by the government. After four months of this violence on 31 October, 1984 the former prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her two Sikh body guards Satwant Singh and Beant Singh. Indira Gandhi’s death lead to the religious violence across the nation against Sikh community and the most affected regions were the Sikh neighborhoods of Delhi. At that time, Doordarshan was controlled by the government, and they regularly broadcasted Mrs. Gandhi’s body lying in state along with a grieving Rajiv Gandhi and shots of agitated crowds, shouting ‘khoon ka badla khoon se lengey’. Having prepared ground, people commissioned trucks to bring in villagers from the outermost villages and armed them with iron rods and kerosene. They were assured police non-interference and women’s were brutally gang raped by these illegal troops, more than 15,000 Sikhs were murdered in daylight by the supporters of Indira Gandhi while police watched and did nothing.
Survivors stories like of a woman from the dream city of Mumbai, who had to raise her 6 children on her own, after her husband was killed by the raging mob. Survivors like the school kids of 1984 whose childhood was filled with taunts like “your family killed Indira Gandhi!” from classmates, with teachers turning a blind eye and mobs burning down their homes. Survivors like the man who hid under the train seats while his wife begged the mob to spare him. The time is full of survivor stories overloaded with grief, sorrows, anger and a series of unforgetful incidents! Few of them are listed below, too late to remember and too early to forget.
(Note: all such stories are collected by several resources.)
Nakul Singh Sawhney recalls- “I still can’t fathom what my father was thinking but he walked up straight to the mob and inquired about Indira Gandhi’s condition. ‘Salle Sardar!’ they shouted and then within few minutes the whole crowd was at him. He was pushed around. Someone spat on his face. His Hindu friend dragged him out of the crowd, quickly got the scooter and rushed him home.”
“I live in the B1 block of Safdurjung Enclave. I remember my father and other colony uncles guard gates at night for the Sikh families in our colony. I also remember watching a motel in the A2 block owned by a Sikh uncle go up in flames.” said Monami Basu.
Jamna Kaur broke down recalling the horrific event that changed her life completely, “my four son was set on fire and they made us watch them burn alive. I watched as my sons screamed for help, and I was crying too but the mob didn’t stopped. That pain and horror never left, won’t leave me till the day I die.”
“As I peeped through the windows of my friend’s house, I saw a mob of some 600 people break into the wooden door of my shop and loot it. They carried rods and kerosene. The inhumanity was frightening. Some people who I would often sip tea with in the evenings were right there, in front of my eyes, devastating my livelihood. My brother’s shop next door was looted and set aflame.” writes Amarjit Singh Walia in his Quartz India account.
“My house started to burn. I saw my husband and son lying on the ground, being hit by crowbars. I lay on my husband’s body and pleaded with the crowd: “Don’t do it.” But they hit me too-I had six or seven fractured ribs after that, a gash on my head that would require 20 stitches and a badly hurt hand. Now every time somebody asks me about the deformity on my hand, I say this is what the nation gave me back for being faithful to my country.” remembers Vibha Sethii.
Rajiv Gandhi justified this genocide by giving a statement “When a big tree falls, the earth shakes”. He stated that the massacre was a sudden outcome of intense anger, but what about those raped and gang raped? Is rape can be considered as the obligatory outburst of anger? In reality the Real mob fairly called terrorist were sponsored and funded by the government to bring out 1984 Sikh Genocide. Those sponsored terrorists are moving free today and have shit load of money while on the other hand the innocent people who suffered and witnessed such a massacre, were killed or are still in jail even after completing their sentences. And what about those who killed thousands in the name of uncanny revenge? Was that really a revenge or a planned massacre? You know better.