On 1st November, 2011 a candle light vigil was organized by Lok Raj Sangathan, Sikh Forum, PUDR and PUCL at India Gate in New Delhi. The vigil began at 5:30 in the evening with the lighting of candles. Hundreds of people – men, women, children, young and old gathered with banners which proclaimed: “Down with state terrorism”; “Punish the guilty”; “the 1984 genocide can never be forgotten” ; “An attack on one is an attack on all” and so on. As darkness fell more and more men, women and children joined the peaceful protestors in support of their demand for justice, bringing the crowd to a strong 500.
In 1984, thousands from the Sikh community were massacred. Even today, 27 years later they wait peacefully for their demands to be met. The demand is simple, ‘punish the guilty!’ One of the women present at the vigil had moved from Rajasthan to Delhi with her family in the early 80’s in order that her children have a better and brighter future, she asked with weeping eyes, what had she and her family done to deserve such brutality. While she was being consoled by some around her, a young man requested through the news media that the guilty of the massacre of 1984 be punished and that if the Indian State does not know what to do with the guilty, that they be handed over to the people so that justice can be done.
All gathered were of one united view that the State and its legal system had done nothing all these years to bring justice or peace to their lives. Large numbers of men and women who had helped save the lives of the Sikhs during the massacre were also present. One such person pointed out that political parties keep blaming each other for various killings, but the point is that the people suffer. He asked “who will give our people justice while these parties settle scores with each other on who killed how many across the country before and after 1984”.
A young woman told me about how important it is that we continue to support each other. We must have faith in the people and work for people’s power if justice and peace have to be ensured in the long run.
LRS Delhi Correspondent