The All India Council of the Lok Raj Sangathan mourns the sudden passing away of Wing Commander (Retd) RS Chhatwal on November 16, 2013. He was 84 years of age.
Shri Chhatwal will always be remembered as an indefatigable fighter for the rights of people, and committed fighter against state terrorism and state organized communal massacres. He was a soft spoken man, with no trace of enmity towards anyone in his heart, a person who could not tolerate injustice.
29 years ago, the Congress government at the center organized the gruesome genocide of people of the Sikh faith, in the wake of the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Thousands of people of the Sikh faith were butchered and burnt to death in broad daylight in the capital, as well as in other towns. At that time, no person of the Sikh faith was safe from the rampaging mobs, no matter how high a position he or she held in society. In such circumstances, RS Chhatwal, who had just retired from the Indian Air Force in September 1984, plunged into work in the relief camps set up in various gurudwaras in Delhi, without any thought about his own safety.
Shri Chhatwal was a founder and leading activist of the Delhi Sikh Forum. In his capacity as leader of the Sikh Forum, Shri Chhatwal worked indefatigably to assist the families of the victims of the November 1984 carnage to rebuild their shattered lives. He fought tirelessly for the cause of punishing the organizers of the 1984 genocide. For over 29 years, until his last breath, Shri Chhatwal worked to ensure that the struggle to punish the guilty would continue. On November 1, 2013, Shri Chhatwal spoke at the dharna organized by the Lok Raj Sangathan demanding that the guilty of 1984 be punished.
Shri Chhatwal believed that the genocide of Sikhs of 1984 was not an issue only affecting the victims’ families or people of the Sikh faith. It was an issue for the entire Indian people. He played an active role in ensuring that all those opposed to state terrorism including state organized communal violence come together on one platform. He played an important role in building of close relations between the Sikh Forum and Lok Raj Sangathan in the course of the common struggle to Punish the Guilty. He was a member of the All India Council of the Lok Raj Sangathan.
The All India Council of Lok Raj Sangathan sends its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and to the numerous friends and co-fighters in the common struggle for rights and justice.