Skip to main content

Ram Mandir issue has potential of causing holocaust similar to 1984 anti-Sikh riots

By Shantanu Basu*
October 31 was the death anniversary of Indira Gandhi. On this day at 1300 hours I was at Hazrat Nizamuddin Station boarding a special coach attached to the Utkal Express to Jhansi, en route to Lalitpur, an offshoot of Jhansi district. This was for our village visit from LBSNAA, Mussoorie. Crowds had started gathering in the streets of Delhi as the news of the PM's assassination spread like wildfire.
The motley group of civil service probationers, including quite a few Sikh men and women officers came close to a face-to-face encounter with certain death at Gwalior railway station. It was at 1800 hours at Gwalior that AIR finally broadcast the sad news of the assassination. The train had just 5 minutes to leave for Jhansi.
A few of us that had realised the enormity of the problem rushed to the nearest GRP post, introduced ourselves and obtained a few armed guards to accompany us to Jhansi in the coach. The guards told us to down the steel shutters on the windows of the coach and bolted the doors of our coach wherever the train stopped en route.
We landed in Jhansi at around 9 pm to a PAC and Army truck each and a posse of about 20 UP Police in a PAC bus. Part of the group was taken to the Jhansi Circuit House while the rest of us were shepherded to Lalitpur Circuit House and Irrigation Guest House there.
We were further spilt into small groups of 7-8 probationers each and then sent to sub-divisional HQ. In my case, it was a tehsil called Mehroni, about 15-20 km from Lalitpur. We were put up in a Panchayat Hall and a PWD and Irrigation Dept,. rest house there.
In the afternoon of the following day, the thinly-staffed PAC unit informed us to stay indoors as crowds were advancing toward us, having heard that our group had Sikh officers too. The SDM was unnerved and 3-4 of us, including yours truly, had to prop him up and face the mob of about 2000-3000. 
The DM, Noor Mohammad (?) was running from pillar to post finding police reinforcement. Mercifully, our suggestion to the SDM to evacuate the Sikh officers to Lalitpur was heeded and they had left our group by the time the crowd gathered. Only a Sikh lady volunteered to stay back.
In the week that followed, we witnessed unthinkable violence. We saw a Sikh business family dragged out of its house and slaughtered in cold blood, an acrid black smoke hanged heavy over Mehroni as Sikh-owned homes and businesses were mercilessly torched. 
Sikh women were dishonoured and kids had their growing locks violently trimmed or simply torn off their scalps. We helplessly saw elderly Sikhs being dragged out of their houses, dragged by their locks on streets and beaten with iron and violently kicked on their vital organs.
On our return journey, we silently traveled in the escorted bus to Jhansi and boarded the special coach for Delhi. Enroute, we watched the pillage and the stench of death along the 15 km route. It was then the other group joined us and we heard their horrible Jhansi Circuit House being attacked by mobs, Sikh probationers tonsured and much more. On arrival at Nizamuddin, we were provided army escorts to take us to Karim's for a quick meal and then herded on buses for LBSNAA, guarded by four Jeep loads of army men.
It is not possible to recount my experience in further detail here. Suffice it to say the Sikh lady probationer who stayed back with us was identified by the kadas on her wrist. Village women refused to answer her survey questions.
I was ashamed to call myself an Indian. 1984 was the greatest slur on our polity and cast the greatest aspersion on the integrity of our nation. The Indian state had ceased to exist. It cast the gloom of ignominy on an entire community, it forgot humanity even as it dumped non-violence while the Indian National Congress government slept over a giant human tragedy, the biggest since 1947. There was no government worth the name; the only govt was the army lorry bren gun mounted on its back and our heavily-armed army escorts.
The Ram Mandir issue has the potential of causing a similar holocaust. More so, since Ram is not revered evenly by all Hindus. I can only hope that the Hon'ble Supreme Court delivers a reasoned verdict on this contentious issue. I hope my batchmate Karan Bir Singh Sidhu, a Sikh IAS officer, agrees with me on the darkest phase of our post-Independence history.
---
*Indian Audit and Accounts Service (1984) at Ministry of Finance, Government of India. Source: Author's Facebook timeline

Comments

Anonymous said…
Thanks for sharing your experience its really said what happened after the assassination. But you didn't conclude how ram temple issue will lead to a similar circumstances? If anything it was blog of recounting your experiences during the riots

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

Across the board, among Muslims, Hindus, there's enormous fury at Delhi Police: Report

Counterview Desk
A quick report, prepared by Delhi's concerned citizens, "Let Us Heal Our Dilli", based on one-day visit (February 27) to several areas and mohallas of North East Delhi affected by the riots that gripped the country's capital -- Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Chaman Park, Shiv Vihar, Main Mustafabad (including Bhagirathi Vihar and Brijpuri) -- has said everywhere there is "zero trust" towards that the police.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.