Ten government-appointed commissions and committees have investigated the deadly attacks against thousands of Sikhs in 1984 following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. Independent civil society inquiries found complicity by both police and leaders of Gandhi’s Congress Party. Yet, three decades later, only 30 people, mostly low-ranking Congress Party supporters, have been convicted for the attacks that resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries. No police officer has been convicted, and there were no prosecutions for rape, highlighting a comprehensive failure of the justice system.
Following the assassination, mobs, often instigated by Congress Party leaders, went on a rampage against Sikhs in Delhi and other cities. Over three days, at least 2,733 Sikhs were killed, their property looted and destroyed. Many women were raped in the capital. Hundreds of Sikhs were killed elsewhere in the country. The authorities quickly blamed every incident of mass communal violence on a spontaneous public reaction—Gandhi’s son and successor, Rajiv Gandhi, declared at a rally in the capital, “Once a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it shakes.”
Many victims, witnesses, and perpetrators have since died, making hopes for justice and accountability more remote with every passing year. Many legal cases collapsed after powerful suspects allegedly threatened or intimidated witnesses. In other cases, poor investigation and tampering of evidence by the police led to acquittals of the accused.
36 years of Impunity
Failure of Police Investigations
Fact-finding bodies and civil society groups found that the 1984 anti-Sikh violence was led and often perpetrated by activists and sympathizers of the then-ruling party, the Indian National Congress, some of whom later became members of parliament or occupied posts in government. The police simply stood by, and were often complicit in the attacks. Instead of holding those responsible for the violence to account, many police officials and Congress party leaders involved have been promoted over the last 36yrs.
The Delhi police eventually filed only 587 FIR’s official complaints, for three days of violence that resulted in 2,733 deaths. Out of these, the police closed 241 cases without investigation, claiming inability to trace evidence. Following a report by the government-appointed commission led by retired Supreme Court judge G.T. Nanavati in 2005, four of the cases that had been closed were reopened and reinvestigated.
Here is why Manmohan Singh’s apology is a Joke
In 2005, during a discussion in parliament on the Nanavati report, then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of the Congress Party, himself a Sikh, apologized for the 1984 anti-Sikh violence. He said: “I have no hesitation in apologising not only to the Sikh community but the whole Indian nation because what took place in 1984 is the negation of the concept of nationhood and what is enshrined in our Constitution. So, I am not standing on any false prestige. On behalf of our Government, on behalf of the entire people of this country, I bow my head in shame that such thing took place.” But at the same time, Singh failed to accept the government’s responsibility for the killings: “The Report is before us, and one thing it conclusively states is that there is no evidence, whatsoever, against the top leadership of the Congress Party.”
Government appointed commissions were a mere eye wash
Ten different commissions and committees were appointed by the government to investigate the anti-Sikh violence in Delhi. Soon after the carnage, in November 1984, the central government appointed Additional Commissioner of Police Ved Marwah to inquire into the role of the police during the killings. But before the Marwah commission could finish its inquiry and submit the report, in May 1985, the government put the commission on hold. The official reason offered was that a judicial investigation had been set up the same month, headed by a Supreme Court judge, Ranganath Misra, and the inquiry commission was required to look at the violence in its entirety.
The Misra commission, which submitted its report in 1986, was criticized because of its lack of transparency; it held its proceedings in camera, media was not allowed to report, and victims’ lawyers were not allowed to attend or examine the witnesses. Victims’ representatives did not even receive copies of affidavits. Even though the report acknowledged that the violence that erupted spontaneously on the news of Indira Gandhi’s death later developed into “organized riots,” it blamed it on “anti-social elements.” It stated that many of the rioters belonged to lower ranks of Congress party or were sympathizers, but concluded that the riots were not organized by Congress party or any senior officials of the party.
The Misra commission recommended setting up three distinct committees to inquire into specific aspects of the violence: one was formed under former chief justice of the Delhi High Court, Dalip Kapoor, and Kusum Lata Mittal, a retired secretary to the central government, to inquire into the role of police; the second, under a former judge of the Delhi High Court M.L. Jain, and A.K. Banerjee, a retired inspector-general of police, was established to recommend registration of cases against politicians; and the third, headed by Delhi home secretary R.K. Ahuja, was supposed to ascertain the total number of deaths in Delhi.
The Ahuja committee set the death toll at 2,733, although civil society groups believed this was a conservative estimate.
The two chairs of the Kapoor-Mittal committee had differences over the matter of indictment of individual police officers. The committee was purely an administrative one without powers to examine or summon police officials. Therefore, Kapoor felt the committee could not indict any policemen. But Mittal disagreed. Based on affidavits and all the material collected from the Misra commission, she submitted a separate report in 1990 in which she indicted 72 police officials and recommended that an outside agency take action against delinquent officers. “Departmental enquiries by officers of Delhi Police are not likely to yield any results,” Mittal wrote. But in complete disregard of this, only departmental inquiries were conducted and in nearly all such inquiries, the accused were exonerated.
The Jain-Banerjee committee recommended that the police register a case against former Congress member of parliament Sajjan Kumar. But another Congress leader, Brahmanand Gupta, also accused in the same case for alleged murder and rioting, obtained a stay against the committee from the Delhi High Court. In August 1989, the High Court upheld Gupta’s petition, and effectively disbanded the committee. Five months later, the Delhi administration appointed a new body, the Poti-Rosha committee, to replace the Jain-Banerjee committee. It recommended action on 30 or so affidavits—including registering a case against Kumar. Kumar secured anticipatory bail to preempt arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The committee chairs subsequently suspended the inquiry and quit.
Another committee was constituted under retired judge of the Delhi High Court, J.D. Jain, and D.K. Aggarwal, a former director general of police of Uttar Pradesh State, and it recommended cases be registered against Kumar and HKL Bhagat, a Congress member of parliament from east Delhi. But no action was taken.
A committee headed by Gurdial Singh Dhillon was appointed in 1985 to recommend measures for rehabilitation of the victims.
In 1994, the Delhi government, led by then-Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, appointed retired Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Ranjit S. Narula to review the findings of the previous committees. It, too, recommended that charges be filed against Congress leaders HKL Bhagat and Sajjan Kumar.
The last of the commissions was formed in 2000 under retired judge Nanavati who held public hearings and invited fresh affidavits but as with the very first judicial inquiry held by the Misra commission, it admitted that the attacks were organized and yet failed to attribute responsibility. The commission stated: “But for the backing and help of influential and resourceful persons, killing of Sikhs so swiftly and in large numbers could not have happened,” and that bringing the mobs and “supplying them with weapons and inflammable material also required an organized effort.”
Police Complicity in the Violence And influencing investigations
The role of the Delhi police, both during the riots and during investigations, has been scrutinized by several of the official investigations as well as independent lawyers and civil society organizations.
Most investigations and victims’ accounts said that in many cases the police failed to file complaints against the accused. There was also evidence to show that the police often filed FIRs that did not have columns for the names of perpetrators or the deceased, as well as any facts about the relevant incidents. Instead of filing separate FIRs for each incident as is required by law, the police filed a “general, vague, and omnibus type of FIR” combining numerous incidents that took place in different locations and failed to properly investigate the incidents. While recording FIRs, police were reluctant to record murder and often put down lesser charges. For instance, station house officer Ram Mehar Sharma, of Gandhi Nagar police station in east Delhi, told the Nanavati Commission that there was some discussion at the district level and it was decided that all cases of deaths during riots should be registered as offenses under Indian Penal Code section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), and not under section 302 (murder).
In the few cases where charges were filed, the police failed to produce proper evidence in court. The Nanavati Commission found that in most of the cases, investigations carried out by the police were “absolutely casual, perfunctory and faulty,” resulting in acquittals.
Several affidavits cited in the Mittal report state that in Trilokpuri, in east Delhi, which had the largest number of killings and some of the most brutal and horrific violence, the police prevented Sikhs from protecting themselves. The Sikh religion requires that men carry a ceremonial dagger, and witnesses alleged that the weapons were confiscated by police. Instead of protecting Sikhs from violent mobs, in some cases, the police filed false cases against Sikhs who were trying to defend themselves. Police also threatened witnesses, forced them to sign affidavits that favored the police, and understated the numbers of those killed. The Mittal report said there was evidence to suggest that the police “had quietly collected and disposed of the bodies of those whom the mobs were unable to completely burn.”
The Mittal report also noted that police log books were manipulated by senior officers to cover their tracks and officials failed to record messages coming in regarding the violence in a bid to escape responsibility and accountability. Moreover, the report found that the Police Control Room appeared to have started rumors such as water being poisoned and trainloads of dead Hindus arriving from Punjab State, creating panic and inciting mobs.
Sexual violence against women
Most investigations conducted into the violence have been largely silent on violence against women. Very few affidavits submitted to the various government commissions discussed it in any detail. In many cases, women preferred to use euphemisms such as “humiliation” or “dishonor” because of social stigma. According to the PUCL-PUDR report, inquiries conducted by a senior police official revealed that “at least four women, their ages ranging from 14 to 50, were gang raped. Later seven cases of rape from Trilokpuri were officially reported by the J.P. Narayan Hospital, Delhi.”
Even the earliest commissions had received affidavits from victims alleging rape but failed to probe any further. Padmi Kaur of Sultanpuri area, in her affidavit submitted to the Misra Commission, described an incident that took place on November 1 and named several people in the mob, including Congress leader Brahmanand Gupta:
After some time the mob arrived, broke open our door and came inside. They caught hold of my daughter Maina Kaur forcibly and started tearing her clothes….They broke the hands and feet of my daughter and kidnapped her. They confined her in their home for three days. I know some of the persons in the mob… Now my daughter Maina Kaur has fallen ill and has become like a mad girl.
The most detailed accounts of sexual abuse were recorded by Madhu Kishwar, the publisher of women’s magazine Manushi. Kishwar recorded the testimonies of several women from Trilokpuri, in east Delhi, the city’s worst-affected neighborhood. Kishwar published the story of Gurdip Kaur, a 45-year-old woman who said that her husband and her three sons were brutally murdered in front of her:
“My youngest son stayed in the house with me. He shaved off his beard and cut his hair. But they came into the house. Those young boys, 14 and 16 years old, began to drag my son out even though he was hiding behind me. They tore my clothes and stripped me naked in front of my son. When these young boys began to rape me, my son began to cry and said: “Elder brothers, don’t do this. She is like your mother just as she is my mother.” But they raped me right there, in front of my son, in my house. They were young boys, maybe eight of them. When one of them raped me, I said: “My child, never mind. Do what you like. But remember, I have given birth to children. This child came into the world by this same path.”
According to journalist Manoj Mitta, about 30 female Sikhs were abducted from Trilokpuri and held captive for over 24 hours at the nearby Chilla village. But there was no investigation and no victim received compensation.
The Commissions whitewash all these crimes and don’t mention these. If not for civil society investigations of PUCL and PUDR, it is likely that no one would have ever known about these incidents of rape as well.
Note on people who justified the Carnage.
The hashtag #NeverForget1984 trends every year during the first week of November, and it is followed by strong criticism from some groups and people who believe that Carnage was somehow justified. It would be wrong to label each one of them as ‘Congress Agent’ for it dilutes the suffering of people who were burnt alive. These people who justify the carnage on social media with whatever reasons can be well imagined to be the ones leading the mobs in 1984, and if given a chance they are very much capable of doing that again.
Under the cloak of Dharma
‘Standing up for Dharma’ has been used by one and all in political sphere and you would be surprised to know that Congress was once thought to be the saviour of Hindus. Rajiv Gandhi himself believed that Hindus were in danger due to Sikhs and that all Hindus need to wake up to teach Sikhs a lesson. This probably explains why RSS, a Hindu rights advocate group supported Rajiv Gandhi in the elections post carnage giving him landslide victory. The RSS-Congress Nexus is not a surprise anymore for those who understand politics and know that Dharma is deeper and bigger than RSS or any other party. The fringe groups or people who justify 1984 carnage are not some alien groups, they are the product of the mentality and emotion that as long as they claim to stand for Hindu rights, they can advocate annihilation of anyone or anything. This cloak of Dharma worn by people who have gone out of business with congress out of power have adapted to the new situation and know that only way to stay relevant today is to advocate for what Rajiv Advocated or believed but by doing that in a BJP way. This is not the ideology of BJP.
List of people who Justified 1984 Carnage
1. Rajiv Gandhi
“When a big tree falls, the ground shakes a little bit” This statement came after the carnage and justified the carnage as a reaction to the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Indira Gandhi being the big tree.
“If bulldozers need to be brought in again, they will be brought in Amritsar as well as Delhi.”
In this statement Rajiv Gandhi reminded Sikhs after 1984 carnage that he was capable of damaging the Akal Takht in Amritsar as well as Sikhs in Delhi.
“I am not ashamed of anything. They should be ashamed. They should seek Khalistan in Canada not India”
The insensitivity of this statement right after winning the elections explains that Rajiv Gandhi considered all Sikhs as ‘militants’ and believed that he did absolutely right thing.
2. Arun Nehru
“It is unfortunate that some innocent Sikhs were killed. They had killed our mother like Prime Minister, I think the anger of Hindus consumed some lives.”
I don’t even need to explain the insensitivity of this statement.
3. Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan was a hardcore congressman and wouldn’t have given up if Bofors Scandal allegations on him had not caught fire. He was willing to contest elections as well. With his flop show in Bollywood that he presents as an inspirational story, politics and friendship with Rajiv was his only hope. The story of his struggle is a scam. Amitabh lived a luxurious life sponsored by congress and it was due to phone calls of Rajiv Gandhi that many producers had to rope him in their projects ‘unwillingly’. Late Vinod Khanna is a proof of what happens when influential people take jobs of deserving ones. However that is beyond the scope of this piece.
Amitabh Bachchan was outraged and he couldn’t contain his anger when he addressed the crowd standing by Rajiv’s side and raised slogan, “Khoon Ka Badla kya?” The crowd responded in chorus “Khoon” Doordarshan made sure this slogan reaches to the mobs and telecasted it live. The archives of Doordarshan went mysteriously missing or burnt after fires in 1987. Doordarshan like DTC and Delhi Jal Board declined to appear in any investigation.
4. Nana Deshmukh
Nana Deshmukh who had justified killings of thousands of Sikhs during 1984 Sikh genocide has been awarded Bharat Rattna by BJP led Indian government on India’s republic day.
English Translation of the Document from Hindi:
MOMENTS OF SOUL SEARCHING
Indira Gandhi ultimately did secure a permanent place at the doorstep of history as a great martyr. With her dynamism borne out of her fearlessness and dexterity, she was able to take the country forward like a colossus for over a decade and was able to build an opinion that she alone understood the realities of the country, that she alone had the ability to run the decadent political system of our corrupt and divided society, and probably that she alone could keep the country united. She was a great lady and her death as a brave leader had added to her greatness. She was killed by a person in whom she kept faith despite several complaints. Such an influential and busy personality was killed by a person who had the duty to protect her person. This act came as a blow not only to her admirers in the country and the world but also her critics. This cowardly and treacherous act of killing not only ended the life of a great leader but also killed, in the name of the Panth, the mutual faith of humanity. Explosion of sudden arson and violent hysteria throughout the country was probably a direction-less and improper expression of the hurt, anger and feeling of loss of her followers. Lakhs of her followers used to see her as the only defender, powerful protector, and a symbol of united India. It is a different matter whether this is right or wrong.
For these innocent and uninformed followers, the treacherous murder of Indira Gandhi was the tragic culmination of the poisonous campaign of separatism, antagonism and violence conducted over the previous three years in which hundreds of innocents had to lose their invaluable lives and the sanctity of religious places was destroyed. This campaign assumed an ominous pace after the painful army action in June which, in the eyes of most of the people of the country, had become necessary to protect the sanctity of the religious places. Barring a few exceptions, the Sikh community observed silence for a long time on the barbaric massacres and heinous killings of innocent people, but they condemned the long-pending army action with anger and dangerous explosiveness. The country was stunned at their attitude. The army action was compared to the “gallu ghara” action of Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1762 to desecrate the Harmandir Sahib. Without going into the objectives of the two incidents, Mrs. Gandhi was pushed into the category of Ahmed Shah Abdali. She was termed the enemy of the Sikh panth and big prizes were announced on her head. On the other hand Bhindrawale who was guilty of heinous crimes against humanity in the name of religion was hailed as a martyr. Open display of such feelings in different parts of the country and abroad played a special role in increasing the distrust and alienation between the Sikhs and the rest of Indians. In the background of this distrust and alienation, stunned and bewildered people accepted the validity of the rumours of celebrations by the Sikhs at the heinous murder of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards in retaliation of the army action. Of these the most hurting explanation was that of Giani Kripal Singh who being the Head Granthi considered himself to be the sole spokesman of the Sikh community. He said that he expressed no sorrow at the death of Indira Gandhi. This statement added fuel to the fire of boiling anger. No immediate and natural condemnation of this despicable statement by an important leader came from responsible Sikh leaders, intellectuals or organization. Therefore the already angered common and unimaginative people took it as correct that the Sikhs celebrated the death of Indira Gandhi. Because of this belief, selfish elements could succeed in making the common people become violent against the hapless Sikhs.
This was a most explosive situation which needed utmost patience and skilful conduct on behalf of our Sikh brothers. I am saying this, being a life member of the RSS, because on January 30, 1948 a Hindu fanatic, who was a Marathi and had no relation with the RSS, rather was a bitter critic of the Sangh, committed unfortunate killing of Mahatma Gandhi. On this occasion we also suffered the sudden eruption of hysteria, loot and atrocities of misdirected people. We ourselves saw how selfish elements who were well acquainted with this incident, deliberately declared a murderer to be a member of the RSS and also spread the rumour that the RSS people were celebrating throughout the country death of Mahatma Gandhi, and thus they succeeded in diverting the love and the feeling of loss and hurt in the hearts of people for Gandhi. Such feelings were spread against Swayamsewaks and their families, particularly in Mahrashtra.
Having gone through such experiences myself, I can understand the strong reaction and feeling of innocent Sikh brothers who became of victims of sudden eruption of people’s violent hysteria. In fact, I would like to condemn in strongest words the inhuman barbarity and cruelty on Sikh brothers in Delhi and elsewhere. I feel proud of all those Hindu neighbours who protected lives and property of troubled Sikh brothers without caring for their lives. Such things one being heard from all over Delhi. These things have practically increased the faith in natural goodness of human behavior and particularly faith in Hindu nature.
I am also worried at the Sikh reaction in such delicate and explosive situation. As an activist engaged in national reconstruction and unity for half a century and being a well wisher of Sikh community I am hesitating in saying that if reactive armed action by Sikhs is even partly true then they have not been able to evaluate the situation correctly and comprehensively and as a result could not respond according to the situation. Here I wish to draw the attention of all my countrymen including Sikhs that in a similar difficult situation arising out of murder of Mahatma Gandhi when in the hysteria against the RSS crimes of destruction of property, heinous burning alive of children, inhuman cruelty etc. were being committed and the news was reaching Nagpur from all over India, then the ‘dictator’ of the RSS known as the so-called big private army, the then head of the Sangh late M.S. Golwalkar issued an appeal in Nagpur on February 1, 1948 to the lakhs of armed young followers throughout the country in the following unforgettable words:
‘I direct all my Swayamsewak brothers that despite spread of provocation due to lack of understanding, they should adopt cordial attitude towards all and remember that this mutual distrust and improper hysteria is the result of the love and respect that the whole country has for Mahatma who made the country great in the eyes of the world. We salute such great respected departed soul’.
These were not empty words to hide cowardice and helplessness in the hopeless situation. In those life threatening serious moments he proved that every word of his appeal had a meaning. On the evening of February 1, hundreds of Swayamsewaks in Nagpur urged for armed resistance and resisting till the last drop of their blood to stop the probable attack on their leader the same night. And some associates of Guruji told him of a conspiracy against his life and requested to shift his residence to a safe place before the attack, Guruji told them in such a black moment also that if the same people whom he had truly and with full ability, served throughout his life wanted to take his life, then why and for whom he should save his life. Thereafter he cautioned them in stern voice that even if a drop of blood of his countrymen was shed in saving him, then such a life would be useless for him. History is a witness that lakhs of Swayamsewaks spread throughout the country followed this directive word by word. Though they had to digest vulgarities in exchange of their patience and tolerance but there was a faith to give them patience that whatever may happen to them in present condition, history will definitely prove them innocent.
I hope that in present difficult situation my Sikh brothers will also show the above-referred patience and tolerance. But I am deeply pained to know that rather than displaying such tolerance and patience at some places they have retaliated against the crowd with arms and played into the hands of such selfish elements who were eager to spread the trouble. I am surprised how a section of our society considered to be most disciplined, organized and religious, adopted such a negative and self-defeating attitude. May be they could not get proper leadership at the moments of such a crisis. Through my scanty study and understanding of Sikh history I consider that such a nonpolitical reaction of Sikhs in moments of such a crisis came from their complete involvement with teachings of love, tolerance and sacrifice of Sikh nature. Warrior nature of Sikh religion was a short time provision against barbarity of foreign Mughals which was taught by tenth Guru. For him Khalsa was a relatively small part of a broad Hindu-Sikh brotherhood and was designed as an armed hand to defend Hindu community and its traditions. Guru Govind Singh laid down for Khalsa followers five KS (Kesh, Kripan, Kangha, Kara and Kachha) and ‘Singh’ in the name of Khalsas. This was a symbol of their being soldiers. But unfortunately today these only are being projected as basic and necessary forms of Sikh religion.
I am sorry to say that Sikh intellectuals too have failed to understand that conversion of Sikh religion into Khalsaism is a much later event and this was due to deliberate plan of British imperialists to divide and rule in Punjab. Its aim was to cut the Sikhs off from their Hindu environ. Unfortunately, after independence power hungry politicians kept alive for their own interest the unnaturally born problems of separation and equal existence, and carried forward the game of imperialists to divide and rule by their vote bank politics. This improper equating of Sikhs with militant Khalsaism is not only the basic root of separatist tendencies in some parts of Sikh community, but it also raised militancy and faith in the power of weapons to the level of religious worship.
This religious worship gave rise to terrorist movement like Babbar Khalsa in the second decade and recently Indira Gandhi was killed as a result of terrorist wave under the leadership of Bhindrawale and a long ‘hit list’ is yet to be executed.
I used to imagine that Sikh community has freed itself totally from illiteracy, ignorance, frustration and defeatism in which it was in the fifth decade of 19th century after losing its freedom and which was exploited by cunning British imperialists and selfish Sikh elites for their selfish interests. It is clear that in eighth decade Sikhs adorning the places of high responsibility represent highly educated, laborious, vigilant, relatively rich, enlightened and active section of Indian society in every walk of life. In nineteenth century their experiences and vision was limited to the boundaries of the then Punjab but today they are spread not only throughout India but throughout the world, and they are in a situation to directly know the conspiracies of big powers which are being hatched against independent and united India rising strongly in the world. In such an advantageous situation they should know their historical development as an integral part of India.
Such a revaluation of history will give them the opportunity to see many wrong formulations of their own religion and past which has been systematically drilled into their brains by wrong and distorted historical writings by British administrators and intellectuals about nature and development of their religion. Such an attempt will take them to their real roots.
This is the time that our Sikh brothers should search their hearts so that they can get rid of the false description inserted by British imperialists and power greedy opportunist people into their basic religious nature. Removal of such false descriptions is necessary to bridge the gulf of distrust and alienation between two communities of similar destiny, nature and similar traditions. I am afraid that without such a self-introspection and revaluation of history they would not be able to live with peace among themselves and with other countrymen. A disinterested analysis of their own enlightened interests will be enough to make them understand that their fate is indivisibly linked with the destiny of India. Such an understanding will save them from falling prey to the disruptive and destructive interests of foreign powers.
I disbelieve (sic) that my Sikh brothers will accept the cautious words of spiritual expression of a well-wisher.
Lastly, it is not to deny the truth that sudden removal of Indira Gandhi from Indian political scene has created a dangerous void in the Indian common life. But India has always displayed a characteristic inner strength in the moments of such crisis and uncertainty. According to our traditions, responsibility of power has been placed on the inexperienced shoulders of relatively young person in a lively and peaceful manner. It will be hasty to judge the potentialities of his leadership at this time. We should give him some time to show his ability.
On such challenging juncture of the country, in the meanwhile he is entitled to get full cooperation and sympathy from the countrymen, though they may belong to any language, religion, caste or political belief.
In the capacity of a nonpolitical constructive worker I only hope and pray that God bless him with more mature, balanced, inner strength and ability to give an impartial Govt. to the people so that he can take the country to real prosperous unity and glory.
Guru Nanak Divas November 8, 1984
What was he implying in his article
1. The massacre of Sikhs was not the handiwork of any group or anti-social elements but the result of a genuine feeling of anger.
2. Deshmukh did not distinguish the action of the two security personnel of Indira Gandhi, who happened to be Sikhs, from that of the whole Sikh community. From his document it emerges that the killers of Indira Gandhi were working under some kind of mandate of their community. Hence attacks on Sikhs were justified.
3. Sikhs themselves invited these attacks, thus advancing the Congress theory of justifying the massacre of the Sikhs.
4. He glorified the ‘Operation Blue Star’ and described any opposition to it as anti-national. When Sikhs were being killed in thousands he was warning the country of Sikh extremism, thus offering ideological defense of those killings.
5. Sikhs should have done nothing in self-defence but showed patience and tolerance against the killer mobs.
6. These were Sikh intellectuals and not killer mobs which were responsible for the massacre.They had turned Sikhs into a militant community, cutting them off from their Hindu roots, thus inviting attacks from the nationalist Indians. Interestingly, Deshmukh would not mind having militant Hindus. Moreover, he treated all Sikhs as part of the same gang and defended attacks on them as a reaction of the nationalist Hindus.
7. He described Indira Gandhi as the only leader who could keep the country united and on the killing of such a great leader such killings could not be avoided.
This document was published in the Hindi Weekly Pratipaksh edited by George Fernandes who later became Defence Minister of India in the NDA regime, in its edition of November 25, 1984 titled ‘Indira Congress-RSS collusion’ with the following editorial:
“The author of the following document is known as an ideologue and policy formulator of the RSS. After the killing of Prime Minister (Indira Gandhi) he distributed this document among prominent politicians. It has a historical significance that is why we have decided to publish it, violating policy of our Weekly. This document highlights the new affinities developing between the Indira Congress and the RSS. We produce here the Hindi translation of the document.”
5. Salman Khurshid
Salman Khurshid in his book, ‘At Home in India: A Restatement Of Indian Muslims’ said that Sikhs paid the price for what they did to Muslims during petition.
“On the other hand, there was also a terrible satisfaction amongst Muslims, who had not completely forgotten the Partition’s unpleasant aftermath. Hindus and Sikhs were alike paying for their ‘sins’. They were paying for the blood they had drawn in 1947. They were paying for the life of Mrs Indira Gandhi who, after her father Jawaharlal Nehru, was perceived as the “Only hope of the Muslims” in India.”.
6. Sam Pitroda
Overseas Congres chief Sam Pitroda said “hua to hua” (So what, it happened) about the anti-Sikh riots. He was slammed by his own party as well as Narendra Modi for his statement. He later said that his Hindi is not good and his statement has been ‘misunderstood’
7. Kamal Nath
Kamal Nath was identified by many people as well as journalists like Sanjay Suri. He was leading a mob and giving directions to mob at Rakab Gunj. “If I wanted to kill Sikhs, I would have done it without being part of mob” he said. He never expressed any regret and has been denying his role.
8. Kapil Sibal
The intellectual one of the Congress said “Aisi cheezein hoti rehti hain” in response to a question on why did congress commit crimes against humanity.
9. Narasimha Rao
“Small incidents of violence don’t make it a genocide, we acted swiftly and stopped it.”
While there were/are people who are insensitive to what happened in 1984, there are people who uphold their values and recognise the carnage as a genocide. Rajnath Singh visited the widow colony in 2019 and said that it was a genocide and crime against humanity. Madan Lal Khurana who is also known as face of Hindu-Sikh unity said that Hindus owe a great deal to Sikhs and every Hindu should be grateful to Sikhs. He said that Hindus should condemn the carnage and should stand shoulder to shoulder with their Sikh brothers.
Justice is still very distant, many people (both victims and perpetrators) have died, but it will never be late to set an example by providing justice to the victims and declaring perpetrators as guilty posthumously. Memorial, Candles, and Twitter hashtags mean nothing if killers are free and alive.