Skip to main content

Human Rights Watch to Modi govt: Enact anti-communal violence law, prosecute anti-Sikh riots culprits

By Our Representative
Sharply criticizing “successive Indian governments” for failing to prosecute those most responsible for killings and other abuses during the 1984 anti-Sikh violence, influential human rights body, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has asked the Narendra Modi government should “enact a law against communal violence that would hold public officials accountable for complicity and dereliction of duty.” Saying that independent civil society inquiries have found “complicity” by both police and leaders of the Congress, HRW underlined, “Three decades later, only 30 people, mostly low-ranking Congress supporters, have been convicted for the attacks that resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries.”
Pointing out that no police officer has been convicted, and there were no prosecutions for rape, highlighting a comprehensive failure of the justice system, the HRW’s Meenakshi Ganguly said, “India’s failure to prosecute those most responsible for the anti-Sikh violence in 1984 has not only denied justice to Sikhs, but has made all Indians more vulnerable to communal violence. The authorities repeatedly blocked investigations to protect the perpetrators of atrocities against Sikhs, deepening public distrust in India’s justice system.”
Following India Gandhi’s assassination on October 31, 1984, in three days officially 2,733 Sikhs were killed, and their property was looted and destroyed, and many women were raped in the capital. “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’,” the HRW said.
In its statement, issued from New York, the HRW said, it has already demanded, among other things, to:
  • Establish an independent, time-bound investigation into the 1984 violence cases, including the 237 cases closed by police, with the authority to recommend cases for prosecution.
  • Implement police reforms to insulate the police from political pressure to protect perpetrators, such as occurred after communal violence in 1984 (Delhi), 1992 (Mumbai), 2002 (Gujarat), and 2013 (Muzaffarnagar).
  • Create a police complaints authority both at the state and district levels, as recommended by the Supreme Court, that would investigate public complaints of serious police misconduct.
  • Establish an effective witness protection program to end the intimidation, threats, and harassment of victims and witnesses such as occurred after the 1984 attacks.
  • Enact pending laws against communal violence, compliant with international human rights standards, that would make state officials liable for failure to act to prevent and stop communal violence, including as a matter of superior responsibility. 
  • Adopt measures on nondiscrimination for displaced people, access to relief, and voluntary return and resettlement in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, and on the right to redress in line with the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Remedy and Reparation.
“Thirty years since the horrific massacre, communal violence still breaks out in India, raising the same concerns about accountability,” Ganguly said. “The Indian government’s failure to take even rudimentary steps to bring to justice the authors of the 1984 violence has perpetuated a climate of lawlessness that demands a renewed commitment to ending state complicity in such attacks.”

Comments

Anonymous said…
Sikhs were killed in 1984; since than Congress was in majority. Why they are making noise now; where were they when it happened.
Besides, Sicks killed too many non-sikhs in punjab to attain khalistan, where were they when they were killing innocent people.
Why they are shouting now?
Anonymous said…
Nobody is bothered when the victims are Sikhs or Hindus or Christians. They will have to silently suffer.
Anonymous said…
Dear HRW,

No mention of Kashmiri pandits, who have suffered the largest ethnic cleansing in India. Wonder what got you blindsided... anti-Hindu funding maybe?

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Recalling Jallianwala martyrs' communal amity as BJP 'warns' of Sitalkuchi everywhere

By Shamsul Islam*  The RSS-BJP rulers declare India to be a battle-ground between Hinduism and Islam. Muslims have been declared as ‘internal threat’ by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar (“Bunch of Thought”, Chapter xvi). Behaviour of many of their leading cadres, including those who hold high constitutional posts, is such that they seem to be conspiring over-time to ignite a civil war between the two communities. They are under the impression that this would help divert attention from failures of the Hindutva rulers on developmental front.