Skip to main content

Why is Modi silent on a new investigation of 1984 anti-Sikh genocide, asks US foreign affairs professional

By Our Representative
A prominent Indian American foreign policy expert, who has been professional staff member for South Asian Policy, US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, has wondered why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi “holding back accountability” for the anti-Sikh genocide of 1984. One who personally suffered during the holocaust as a small child, Jasmeet K Ahuja suggests Modi’s “silence” is already being interpreted as his "strategic necessity": “After all, his demanding a new investigation of 1984 would only embolden Congress Party officials to do the same for the 2002 pogroms in Gujarat. It would be the pot calling the kettle black”, she underlines.
Ahuja has played an important role in shaping US' South Asia policy. She was instrumental in drafting of the Pakistan Enduring Assistance Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2009, which passed the House of Representatives, and the US-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act of 2008, signed by the President. Prior to joining the House, she served in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the US Department of State, where "managed" arms sales and defense trade for South Asia, including the sale of F-16s to Pakistan and C-130Js to India.
Writing in “Washington Post”, Ahuja -- a lawyer and advisory board member of the US-based Sikh Coalition --  said, Modi promised “a new era for India, and especially for Sikhs... He made many overtures to the almost 20 million-strong population before the elections.” During the campaign, Modi became the first major Indian leader to “call the events of November 1984 what they were -- a genocide -- rather than euphemistically characterize them as mere ‘riots’.” His campaign promised a new investigation of the 1984 bloodshed. As a result, he won some 30 percent of the Sikh vote, almost four times the Congress Party candidate.”
Then, Modi’s “valedictory speech in New York’s Madison Square Garden last month praised Sikhs for their leadership in the fight for an independent India. Just this week, Modi added that the slaughter was a a dagger through India’s chest’.” But the influential NRI lawyer feels, “as prime minister, Modi has not followed through. Although his government upped the compensation for the next of kin of 1984 victims this week -- a very welcome development -- he has been tight-lipped in seeking justice for his Sikh countryman with the complicity of a government he now leads.”
“For Sikh victims of the 1984 'riots', justice and due process are little more than empty rhetoric. Modi, the leader of a Hindu nationalist party, has said that all citizens deserve to be treated as equal participants in a country founded on the democratic values and rule of law. If he wants to show his commitment to that idea, he should convene the special investigation he promised -- now. Let the evidence speak for itself, no matter which senior government official’s doorstep it may lead us to. Thirty years is a long time to wait. But it is never too late for justice”, she insists.

"Personal" trauma

Pointing towards how the trauma of the violence caused wasn’t just national; it was personal, Ahuja said, she was only 3 years old and she recalled how her grandmother doggedly crossed her arms after hanging up the phone on their neighbour. “She believed that our Sikh faith, founded on selfless service and courage, demanded that we stand up for ourselves. Even after a motorcyclist stopped at our gate and marked an “X”on the metal beams, confirming our address against a government voter registry, she wouldn’t abandon her home”, she recalls.
“Soon, shrieks echoed down our street as the Sikh taxi stand on the corner exploded. Still, my grandmother refused to flee. Only when a mob appeared outside our house chanting ‘Blood for blood!’did she finally surrender to my parents’ pleas. We snuck out through the back door as the mob charged through our front gate. I remember my father holding me in his arms, clutching our American passports in his left hand. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen him cry”, she said.
“A courageous Hindu family across the alley provided us shelter. Throughout the city, Sikh men were being hacked to death in front of their wives and children. At the peak of the violence, one Sikh was being killed every minute in the capital”, Ahuja points out, adding, “The balcony afforded us a horrific sight of my grandparents’ house below: their car and motorcycle ablaze, the broken windows hinting at the devastation within. After five long days, our neighbors connected us to a high-ranking police official visiting from another state; he gave us an escort to the airport, where, on the night of November 6, we flew back to California.”

Comments

Unknown said…
The day Congress party goons under PM Rajiv Gandhi murdered thousands of innocent Sikhs and with that democracy in Delhi and again rode to power by sympathy wave manufactured by showing his mothers dead body.

TRENDING

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.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

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".

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Cyrus Mistry, PM Modi’s brother: What do these accidents have in common? Merc!

By Rosamma Thomas*  In September 2022, in an accident at Palghar near Mumbai, Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of the Tata Group, died in a road accident . On December 28, 2022, a road accident in Mysore left one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brothers injured. What is common in these accidents? The car that crashed into the divider on the road, in both these cases, was manufactured by “prestigious” German manufacturer Mercedes Benz. One former dealer of Mercedes Benz cars in India has been raising issues of the threat to the lives of those riding these cars for many years now. Cama Motors, among the oldest dealers of foreign cars, having started business in pre-independence India, noted over 10 years ago that Mercedes Benz was indulging in corrupt practices . The cars are currently priced between Rs 41 lakh and Rs 2.92 crore in India; few people realize that the pride of owning a Merc comes at considerable risk to life. Cama Motors carefully documented several of the flaws on a websi

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen