Right in the capital of our country, starting from the evening of October 31st and lasting up to November 3rd, 1984, armed gangs, led by the top leaders of the ruling party, massacred people of the Sikh faith. The police from top to bottom, with a few honourable exceptions, disarmed the Sikhs, and actively encouraged the massacre. The then Prime Minister of India, late Rajiv Gandhi justified this genocide at a mass rally in Delhi two weeks later, saying “When a big tree falls, the earth shakes”.
On the occasion of the 39th Remembrance Day of this genocide, a meeting is being organised by Lok Raj Sangathan along with several other organisations on November 1st at the Press Club of India, New Delhi.
The objective of this meeting is to call on the people to oppose state-organised communal violence and all forms of state terrorism, demand the recognition of command responsibility, demand punishment of the guilty, and advance the struggle for the establishment of a society where people can live in peace and harmony, with the State guaranteeing protection for all without exception.
Civil and human rights organisations, political parties and groups and concerned sections of people belonging to all faiths and religions have been demanding ceaselessly that the truth behind the carnage of 1984 should be made known to the people by the Government of India. We have also been demanding that those in command must be held responsible whenever any section of the people is attacked; and firm deterrent mechanisms must be established with the full involvement of people of all communities, to ensure that such acts of state terrorism can never again be organised.
During this long period, several governments have come and gone. Reports submitted by many Commissions of Enquiry have been consigned to the dustbin.
Till date none of the governments has accepted that this genocide of close to 10,000 innocent people accompanied by rape of women and girls and widespread loot and destruction of property, was organised systematically by those in positions of power. While a few individuals have been given token punishment, the principle of command responsibility, that those at the highest levels of authority are accountable for organised crimes against the people, has been totally ignored.
While the ruling establishment never tires of swearing that they stand by the rule of law, in reality those in positions of power are above the law. The weapon of ‘divide and rule’, targeting of people of particular religious belief, inciting one community against another, cultivating vote banks on communal lines – all these have become the preferred weapon of the ruling circles to quell dissent, break the unity of people and deprive them of their right to conscience.
The meeting is being organised by Lok Raj Sangathan, Jamaat E islami Hind, Communist Ghadar Party of India, Welfare Party of India, Sikh Forum, Lok Paksh, Mazdoor Ekta Committee, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Hind Naujawan Ekta Sabha, Citizens for Democracy, Student Islamic Organisation, CPIML (New Proletarian) and others.
Image caption: File photo of a protest against Sikh genocide in Jantar mantar