Skip to main content

Anti-Sikh riots campaigner asks Rajnath Singh to stop using 1984 genocide to justify lynching incidents

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Sanam Sutirath Wazir, a top human rights campaigner fighting for justice to the survivors of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that followed Indira Gandhi’s death, and is the project lead for Justice for 1984 Sikh massacre at the Amnesty International India, has asked Union home minister Rajnath Singh to stop using 1984 to counter every incident of lynching.

Text of the letter:

BJP led NDA Government had started putting the correct markers to win the trust of the Sikhs on the eve of the 2014 general elections. The party made a commitment that if voted to power, it will deliver justice to the victims of 1984.
On November 1, 2014, that is, on the 30th commemoration of the counter Sikh savagery, Narendra Modi had said: “A country that forgets its history can’t make history… That incident (anti-Sikh violence) was not a wound in the heart of any community. It was a dagger in the centuries-old fabric of India’s unity…our own people were murdered.”
Thereafter, on December 26, 2014, you characterized 1984 slaughters as a “genocide.” While distributing cheques to the victims you said you choose this day because it’s the martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh ji’s mother Mata Gujar Kaur and their sons, Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh. You also said until the guilty are punished, the victims will not get relief. You assured victims and survivors that government is with them and will be with them in even bad days.
You said that the biggest incident of mob lynching happened in 1984. That is correct. But what have you done differently than the previous governments? Enhancing compensation is no justice.
On August 11, 2018, while speaking to the news agency Prime Minister highlighted his government’s promptness in bringing justice for the victims of violent crimes. He said his government will implement rule of law in true letter and spirit. But four years have passed and yet the inquiry is nowhere close to completion.
Sanam Sutirath Wazir
The impunity for the 1984 Sikh massacre has been used to downplay other incidents of mass violence. As long as the perpetrators of the carnage in 1984 go unpunished, the rule of law remains weakened in India.
The 1984 Sikh massacre is only used as political football by the BJP, and its evident from its regular comparison with the present mob lynching menace. Do two wrongs make one right?
Congress has failed the victims of the 1984 Sikh massacre, you have the opportunity to correct the wrong but it seems like you too are not interested.
Perhaps you are scared, if you will deliver justice to the victims of 1984 then it will send the wrong message to the administration which helped the state in slaughtering its own citizens. Or is it something to do with Gujarat 2002?
You appointed the SIT which was initially mandated for six months but they took nearly two and a half years and did nothing. Thereafter, the Supreme Court ordered another SIT that would comprise of a Chairman and two other members. However, nearly six months later, the third member of the SIT is yet to be appointed.
For too long, governments have only paid lip service to the victims and survivors of the 1984 massacre. No words can erase the pain and suffering these people have experienced. The only way forward is justice. But unless the issue is prioritized through speedy investigation it will be impossible for the victims to get justice. The first generation of the victims are now in their sixties. In another decade they might not be around or not be able-bodied to pursue long winding legal battles.
For once, let politics over the massacres of 1984 take a back seat and let the evidence speak for itself. 35-years may be a long time to wait but it can turn out to be a historic opportunity for the BJP government to deliver justice while the victims are still alive.
It is time for India to learn how to ensure that brutalities of 1984 do not remain a festering sore.

Comments

Kevin Antao said…
They talk about 1984, they have forgotten 1992 and 2002.
Uma said…
Agree with Antao

TRENDING

Why do I lend my support to voices protesting world class renovation of Gandhi Ashram?

By Martin Macwan* One would not expect an activist working on Dalit rights to join such a protest. Dalits carry unhealed trauma that Gandhi caused to Dr BR Ambedkar and the Dalit cause of effective political representation by using violent means of his own definition in the event of the Poona Pact. This apart, Gandhi’s ideas in general, which changed often, on caste were orthodox. I have nothing to add to the subject after the sharpest critique offered by Dr Ambedkar.

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.

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".

Inaccurate gender-relevant data 'spoiling' government policy on Covid social impact

By Simi Mehta*  The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been different across vulnerable groups. They were hit by the pandemic at various stages, whether it was accessibility to medical treatment or financial support. The second wave witnessed human suffering at a level where one can never forget the traumatized faces of people due to the inaccessibility and unavailability of essential medical services such as hospitals beds and oxygen. The probability of the third wave has also been one of the major upcoming challenges.

Flamboyant 'demagogues' adjust politics, personality in shadow of democracy

Modi, Erdogan, Bolsonaro By Ajit Singh The terms dictators and demagogues are used interchangeably in various contexts, but there is a difference. The former rule over a totalitarian states where governments are able to exercise complete influence over every aspect of citizens’ life, whereas the latter are a "wannabe dictators" but due to the system of checks and balances they are are not fully capable to create police states.

Vindictive raids? Centre 'retaliates' after Delhi govt child rights body's clean chit to ex-babu

By Our Representative  Over 700 academics, advocates, activists, civil servants, writers, film makers, journalists, musicians and artists have condemned the raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the offices and private home of top IAS bureaucrat-turned-human rights and peace activist Harsh Mander, stating, the aim is nothing but to “harass and intimidate” him.

Protests break out as school going children 'branded Naxalites, taken prisoners'

By Sheshu Babu* Conditions in all spheres of life is going from bad to worse. On September 13, Political Prisoners' Day was observed. On that day, Jatin Das, friend of Bhagat Singh and member of the Hindustan Republican Socialist Association, passed away after 63 days of hunger strike. He demanded 'political prisoners' status to those who have been jailed by the state.

Celebrating birthday amidst image of 'coerced, submissive' India ruled by a strong leader

Pushkar Raj*  As the weeks long birthday festivity of the leadership was being rejoiced India wide, the Covid was still raging in several parts of India. The carnival was in line with the post-Covid decisions and actions of the leadership demonstrating a pursuit of personal power and glory instead of national interest in times of disease and death.

Catholic women warn: Kerala Bishop turning Church into puppet in political games

Counterview Desk A group of Catholic women under the banner Concerned Catholic Women of India has said that they are deeply concerned over "a bishop’s controversial statement" which may threaten communal harmony in India. As many as 89 Catholic women from across India have urged the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and its Kerala unit to take special steps to "foster peace and avoid strife."

Politically-motivated: Global NGO network on ED 'harassment' of Harsh Mander

Counterview Desk  CIVICUS , a top global alliance of civil society organisations seeking to strengthen citizen action and civil society around the world with a claimed membership of more than 10,000, objecting to the alleged harassment of IAS bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander by the Government in India, has said that the the the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raid on his house and office highlights “an ongoing pattern of baseless and politically-motivated criminal charges brought by the authorities against activists across India”.