The Guilty of the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 must be Punished!
On the occasion of the 32nd anniversary of genocide of Sikhs in November 1984, Lok Raj Sangathan and nearly 25 other organizations including Communist Ghadar Party jointly organised a mass rally in Delhi on 1 November 2016, from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar. Holding aloft a huge banner with the slogan “The Guilty of Massacre of Sikhs in 1984 Must be Punished!”, hundreds of people including students and youth, human rights activists, political and social activists from a variety of organisations participated in the march, carrying placards with slogans – “The killers of 1984 Must be Punished!”, “State Terrorism Down, Down!”, “An Attack on One, is Attack on All!”, “The Guilty of 1984, 2002, 2008, 2013, must be Punished!”. The streets of central Delhi through which the procession marched reverberated with these and other slogans militantly raised by the participants. The rally converged into a public meeting at Jantar Mantar, where representatives of various organisations addressed the gathering.
Speaking at the meeting, S Raghavan, President of Lok Raj Sangathan, said that what happened in 1984 was blatant state terrorism. For each of the past 32 years Lok Raj Sangathan has been observing this day and numerous organisations have been consistently coming together to demand that the guilty of 1984 must be punished. It clearly shows that people of India are one and united in their demand for justice. There are repeated attempts by our rulers to break this unity on the basis caste and religion, following the same practice as the British colonial rulers. But we the people are determined to foil these attempts and continue our struggle. Some people advise us to forget what happened 32 years back. But how can we forget when the horrific events of November 1984 are repeated on a day to day basis, targeting one or other section of our people? This has been repeated in 1992 and 1993 in Mumbai and Surat following the demolition of Babri Masjid, in 2002 in Gujarat, in 2008 and 2013 in Muzafarnagar, and in Assam, in Bangalore, etc. We not only condemn the massacre but also demand that those responsible for organizing these massacres must be punished. Since 1984 ten governments have changed at the center, numerous committees and enquiry commissions have been set up, some individuals punished, but those who were at the command position and responsible for organising these crimes have not been brought to book. Instead, they have been rewarded with ministerial and other top positions. The experience of our people time and again shows that the police, the judiciary, and other organs of the state do not provide protection to the people, but on the contrary actively participate in committing the most ghastly crimes against them. The state provides protection to those in power who oganise these acts.
He pointed out that in the present system people have no control over those who come to power. Whether is the government is of the Congress or BJP or any other party, those who organised these massacres have not punished. LRS has been demanding that there should be a law to ensure “command responsibility”, where those in positions of command are duty bound to protect people and can be held accountable for ensuring justice. We must take up this as an important demand in our struggle against state terrorism.
Comrade Santosh Kumar, speaking on behalf of Communist Ghadar Party of India pointed out that the genocide of 1984 was state organised. The entire state machinery was involved in organizing it and later ensuring that the guilty are not punished. Rumors were spread against the people of Sikh faith, communal frenzy was raised. Immediately after the massacre elections were organised and Rajeev Gandhi won with a thumping majority and became the Prime Minister, riding on the wave of the communal passions generated. Similarly the present Prime Minister was the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002 when the Gujarat massacre was organised and continued to rule through communal division of people, and was rewarded with the position of Prime Minister in 2014. In 1980s it was the Sikhs, who were being targeted; on other occasions Muslims have been targeted. “Divide and rule” remains the favourite policy of the Indian state. It is the policy institutionalised by the British colonizers, against whom the Ghadaris of 1857 has risen up with the slogan “hum hai iske malik, hindostaan hamara". Today India is being ruled by 150 big monopoly houses who exercise control over the state that is responsible for organizing communal genocide and massacre. That is how they rule over 125 crore Indian people. To put an end to state terrorism it is necessary that we -- workers, peasants, women and youth -- become the maliks of this land and set up a state that will guarantee human rights and protection for all our people.
Salim Engineer of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind said that “It is a matter of shame for the state that even after 32 years of the tragedy we have to ask for justice. The massacre of people started immediately following the partition and continues till date – 1984, 1992, 2002, Kandhamal in Orissa in 2008 and in Muzafarnagar in 2013 and so on. But this rally is a proof that irrespective of who is attacked, we will keep raising our voice for justice. It is a demonstration of our unity and resolve that “an attack on one, is attack on all!” In the present system those who were responsible for the massacre and crimes against people are not punished but are rewarded. Innocent people are branded as terrorists. Muslim youth are being targeted, despite the fact that no one has been proved guilty so far. The case of the recent fake encounter in Bhopal is the latest in the series. However it is important to remember that the reign of those who adopt the method of terror are short lived. People will never tolerate their crimes. We will continue our struggle until we get justice.
Addressing the gathering Advocate H.S. Phoolka thanked LRS for marking this occasion every year by bringing together all those who are demanding that the guilty must be punished. Referring to his interaction with the media who were asking why we are demanding justice even after 32 years, he replied that “had it not been repeated after 1984, we may have forgotten it. But it is continuing and against every section of people, who are being targeted by turn. It is the duty of the state to protect the people, but instead it provides protection to those who organise such crimes. It is important to assert “An attack in one is, attack on all!” If the guilty of 1984 are punished it will send a message to those in power, that such crimes will not be tolerated", he said.
Inderjeet Singh of Sikh Fourm said that more than 3000 Sikhs were killed in 1984 and those responsible for organising the massacre of innocent Sikhs must be punished. Comrade Pal from Jan Sangharsh Manch, Haryana highlighted instances to show that the state machinery fully participated in the massacre, and later did the same in Gujarat and other places, against Muslims, dalits, adivasis, etc. It is important to ensure that the guilty are punished, so that this is not repeated.
Fakruddin Aslam from Social Democratic Party of India said that people are being targeted based on their identity. Muslim youth are arrested and charged under the draconian UAPA. There is no justice. The government is responsible for the terrorism and for perpetuating injustice. What happened in 1984 and later cannot be forgotten. An attack in one is an attack on all!
Mushfique Khan of APCR recounted how Sikhs were massacred in broad daylight on the streets of Delhi. Numerous commissions were set up. Some of these commissions have also identified those guilty, but there has been no action. Police did not allow people to file FIRs and sided with the attackers. Similar things happened in Gujarat later in 2002. The guilty were rewarded with plum posts. However our struggle will continue and we will keep fighting until we get justice and guilty are punished.
Jagdeep Singh, MLA from Harinagar, Delhi narrated the horrors of November 1984 and how the police aided the attackers. 1984 continues, he said, with massacre after massacre of people, in various parts of India. He concluded that the system works only for the rich who are in power, while the majority of people have no rights.
Kashif Ahmad Faraz of Youth Awakening Movement said that Dalits, Sikhs, Muslims, everyone has been targeted. The political parties play their communal card. During 1984 Sikh massacre, the police and army participated in the massacre. The state very systematically spreads communal poison. We must continue our struggle for justice, he said.
PK Shahi of AIFTU (New), elaborated on how the seeds of communal politics were sown in 1947. The present day rulers of India are continuing with the same politics. We must strengthen our unity to smash their evil designs, he said.
Parvez Ahmad of Popular Front of India denounced state terrorism and said that we have to unite if we have to face this challenge. All the organs of state are being used against our people and in favour of the capitalists. The chief terrorists are sitting in the highest positions of power.
Siraj Talib of Welfare Party of India condemned the1984 massacre as a state organised conspiracy against the people of a particular community. Chepal of Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Student Organisation said that every section of people – students, youth, women, dalits, Muslims are being targeted. It is a well organised conspiracy of the rulers against the people. This is not democracy. We have to unite to assert our democratic rights.
Poonam Sharma of Purogami Mahila Sangathan said communal massacres are repeatedly organised by the state, with the full participation of the state machinery. What kind of freedom is this? Communal violence is the preferred weapon of our rulers to divide our people. The constitution itself is based on communal division. Women are the worst victims of communal violence. Through our struggle we have to create a new system in which we will have political power. Only then we will get justice. Iqbal Hussain of Student Islamic Organisation said that the genocide of Sikhs in 1984 puts a big question mark on our freedom, where even after 32 years we have to keep on demanding justice. A movement must be raised against all the violence and massacre.
Mohan Singh of United Sikh Mission said “People have lost faith in the system. They have realised that under this system they will get never get justice and the guilty will never be punished. People are denied rights on a daily basis and we must raise our united voice against injustice.
Sucharita of Lok Raj Sangathan coordinated the proceedings of the public meeting. The rally and the public meeting were jointly organised by Lok Raj Sangathan, Communist Ghadar Party of India, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Citizens for Democracy, United Sikh Mission, Insaf, CPI (ML) New Proletarian, Nishant Natya Manch, Hind Naujawan Ekta Sabha, Social Democratic Party of India, All India Forward Block, Association for Protection of Civil Rights, All India Progressive Women’s Association, Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Student Organisation, Welfare Party of India, AIFTU (New), Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Sikh Forum, United Muslims Front, Popular Front of India, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushavarat, Student Islamic Organisation, Youth Awakening Movement, Mazdoor Ekta Committee, Jan Sangharsh Manch (Haryana), and others.