On the 33rd anniversary of the state-organized massacre of Sikhs in 1984, citizens and activists from many organizations came together in a joint rally in front of the Supreme Court. The demonstration was organized by Lok Raj Sangathan, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Popular Front of India, the Communist Ghadar Party of India, Sikh Forum, United Muslim Front, CPI (ML), New Proletarian, Socialist Party (India), Social Democratic Party of India, Association for Protection of Civil Rights, SAHRDC, Mazdoor Ekta Committee, Welfare Party of India, Citizens for Democracy, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushavarat (Delhi state), Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Scientific Socialism Journal, Hind Naujawan Ekta Sabha, NCHRO, Student Islamic Organization. Speakers from all the organizations gave militant and fervent speeches.
S Raghavan, President, Lok Raj Sangathan, questioned how India can be called the largest democracy when those who are fighting for justice are prevented from taking out a rally. The very fact that so many organisations have gathered here means that we cannot forgive or forget this gruesome massacre. He denounced the standard position of the Indian state about the 1984 massacre of Sikhs by blaming people and calling them ‘communal’ when in reality, people stood united and helped the victims and their families. He explained that the state has been using the ‘divide and rule’ policy from 1857 to the present time. The living examples of this anti-people policy of the state are the massacre of Sikhs in 1984, the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992-93, and the attacks on Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. He emphasized that all these attacks on people are planned and that people should call for an investigation into the role of the state and not be fooled by the attempts to blame this or that individual. In India, the state is controlled by corporate houses like the Tatas, Birlas and Ambanis and the ruling party merely manages the government for them and implements policies that benefit the rulers. Such genocides of people are perpetrated to maintain and strengthen the rule of the corporate houses. The state machinery is clearly guilty, whether under the leadership of the Congress or the BJP, since such large-scale attacks cannot be otherwise carried out.
He called on people to demand that those guilty of the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 should be punished. People should also organise themselves and build a society wherein the rights of all are guaranteed, there is no poverty and unemployment and real power is in the hands of the people. In the present system, people do not have any power. We will have to fight for our empowerment so that fascist violence in the name of religion and caste is not used to crush the people’s movement. We have to fight tirelessly for the navnirmaan of society and strengthen the work by coming together and building people’s committees in every nook and corner of India.
Pratap Singh, General Secretary, Sikh Forum, highlighted that the massacre of Sikhs went on for three whole days in Delhi which proved that it was ‘state-protected and state-provided’. Apart from Delhi, people were killed in Kanpur, Bengal, Bokaro and Haryana. Official figures state that thousands of people were killed while the reality is that more than three lakh people were massacred in 1984. This is a living example of the state’s divide-and-rule policy and we must put an end to it.
Prakash Rao, Spokesperson of Communist Ghadar Party of India, called on people to think about what democracy means. It means the rule of the people. But when people fight for justice, their voices are immediately suppressed. But it is not possible for the rulers to suppress the voice of the people. On this day in 1984, blood flowed and fires burnt on the streets of Delhi while leaders of political parties calmly watched the destruction while saying they could not do anything. Even the police stood by and did not intervene. He said that CGPI stood with other organizations, then as it is doing now, in working to end such violence against the people of India. He also said that 150 capitalist houses rule India through a regime of pillage and loot, organizing bloody violence against citizens and keeping them divided with the assistance of mainstream political parties such as the Congress and the BJP. They are ruling the country for their own profits. People do not have any right in this country apart from the right to vote. He called upon people to unite under a common banner and fight to take power into their own hands.
Currently, Islamophobia is fomented on a daily basis through media channels. In 1984, these same media channels spread false propaganda that Sikhs had mixed poison in water and were distributing laddus after Indira Gandhi’s death. The media is controlled by the ruling state and all this propaganda is also carefully planned by them. We clearly denounce the state which is communal and terrorist in nature, and routinely organizes violence against the people to break their unity. Inquilab zindabad!
Mushfiq Khan, from the Association for Protection of Civil Rights, said that the victims have not yet been granted justice even after 33 years, while the perpetrators are roaming scot-free. A SIT was set up but has not done anything and justice remains denied. The victims have not even been given any compensation and many are homeless. We need to bring our voices together and fight for justice.
Salim Engineer, General Secretary, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, agreed that people are waiting for justice even now while the guilty have not been punished. He said that everyone had participated in the demonstration to demand justice. He said that our country gained independence, was divided in Partition and just a year after that, faced violence such as the assassination of Gandhi. Our country was divided on the basis of religion and caste and for the purpose of spreading hate. All parties want to divide the people and the rule of no party has been devoid of violence against the people. Attacks are regularly carried out against Muslims, people have been burnt alive in Kandhamal, Odisha and adivasis are being attacked. Such large-scale violence and attacks occur because the Indian state is involved.
Dr ND Pancholi, from Citizens for Democracy, said that history must be remembered and recounted truthfully. He said that if justice had been granted in 1984 then the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the pogrom against Muslims in Gujarat would not have been perpetrated. The violence continued from Nov 1 to 4 in 1984 and yet the police did not file any records. All governments use the police to protect their rule. We should raise our voices against this.
Advocate Shahid Ali, President, United Muslim Front, said that joint actions such as these bring people together. Large-scale massacres of people are being organized in the name of religion and caste. An affidavit was issued in court in 1992 stating that the Babri Masjid would not be demolished but as history has proved, this ruling was blatantly flouted and Muslims were killed. The Shrikrishna Commission report did not bring justice for Muslims. The state planned and conducted attacks in 2002, 2008 and 2013 after that against Dalits, Sikhs, Christians and minorities so that it could continue its oppressive rule.
Shivmangal Siddhantkar, from CPI (M-L)-New Proletarian, said that the massacre of Sikhs in the wake of the assassination of Indira Gandhi cannot ever be justified. The Golden Temple was attacked and seized by the army in a fascist manner and the blood of innocent people was spilt for which the state is responsible.
The meeting ended with rousing slogans by one and all.