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

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

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".

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

Dalit, Adivasi protest in Jharkhand against 'illegal' transfer of land for development

By Rishit Neogi Displacement and eviction are not new terms. It is surprising that they are still continuing and have become a tool in the hands of state backed corporates to forcibly occupy lands in the name of development.