Remembering the Sikh Genocide (1984 – 1998)!


New Jersey, USA: It has been thirty-nine (39) years since the start of the prolonged Sikh Genocide which carried on from 1984 till 1998. Over ten thousand innocent Sikhs, all citizens of the ‘Republic of India’ (ROI) were hounded like animals and killed from Oct 31, to Nov 3, 1984.

 The government of India led by none other than Indira Gandhi the then Prime Minister who had planned a highly secret pogrom of all Sikhs across India called ‘Operation Shanti’ during the first week of November 1984. Indira Gandhi was assassinated because two of her personal body-guards found out about her secret plot and took her down before she could implement her master plan to exterminate the entire Sikh population, even though part of the design did go through as a scaled down version by her son Rajiv Gandhi.  Over 30,000 innocent Sikh citizens were butchered in over 100 plus cities across India in the space of four days.

 During and immediately after this horror, not a single Hindu was harmed by Sikhs in Punjab or elsewhere by way of retaliation, such was the restraint and moral character of all the Sikhs.

 In the following years hundreds of thousands of Sikhs were eliminated through extrajudicial killings all across Punjab. Bodies were either burnt, chopped up and thrown into rivers or mutilated beyond recognition. Starting with Indira Gandhi, (her son) Rajiv Gandhi, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, Chandra Shekar and Narasimha Rao all Prime Ministers in succession, were all directly responsible for the nonstop pogrom against the Sikhs from 1984 – 1998 in the killing fields of Punjab.

 To date other than a handful of low-ranking Hindu men who have been put behind bars, thousands of murderers, police officials, senior bureaucrats and many high-ranking politicians, are not only free but were actually given even more powerful positions inside the government. This kind of impunity even though shocking, unfortunately is the norm in the modern democratic ‘Republic of India’ (ROI).

 The ROI has multiple erasers in their toolbelt with which they are not only expunging the memories of the horror they perpetuated on their own ethnoreligious minority citizens (Sikhs) but made sure there is no proper hearing leave alone justice ever, to gargantuan crimes committed by the state on its people.

 It is up to the Sikhs in the diaspora to keep the pressure on all the state actors of ROI to be brought to justice. The gang rape of babies to older women, the public burning of men by Hindu mobs and later the planned disappearances of hundreds of thousands of young Sikh men from rural Punjab can never be forgotten. The onus lies with all of us to necessitate accountability through whatever political means while providing relief to those whose families have been impacted by the terrifying trauma.

 Today, the religious bias against many minorities, but particularly the Sikhs is got bad to worse, all thanks to the actors who run ROI, when most have criminal police records. Genocide comes in many forms. Physical elimination is the most common, but there are other ways to compound it further such as the methods used in Punjab. For the last two decades ROI has planned the strategic distribution of various illegal drugs to every nook and cranny of rural Punjab making more than 73% of the youth into drug addicts.

 The ROI’s tight central control on the independent religious identity of the Sikh religion including all major Sikh institutions such as the SGPC, irrigation water, hydroelectric power, all major decisions to invest in infra-structure for major industries, land ceiling act, are all indirect soft genocide which continues today, to eviscerate the Sikh panth completely.

 Absolutely no justice can or should be expected from ROI. It is up to all the minorities from the Muslims to the Dalits, from the Sikhs to the Manipuris and others to band together and fight against the fascist, autocratic, police state that ROI has become by the spawn of the RSS, which can only lead it into total chaos, because Brahminical Hinduism known as Hindutva, at its core is not just about ‘divide and rule’, but to keep in place the rigid and draconian ‘Hindu Caste System’, otherwise the upper-caste will lose their stranglehold on (economic) power!

 The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020), which was approved by ROI on July 29, 2020, does not even contain a single word about any Sikh contribution leave alone any mention of the sustained Sikh Genocide in any textbook from grades K – 12 and beyond.

 Fast forward to 2023, and ROI seems to be now on a mission to assassinate and snuff out all peaceful but vocal voices which speak up against the sustained human right violations against the Sikhs by them. At least five prominent Sikh activists from India to Canada have been assassinated covertly, India hides behind a veil of bombastic rhetoric, claiming innocence, when the entire world sees the naked truth.

 At a bare minimum the Sikhs of Punjab need to get their act together and actually account for each and every Sikh and non-Sikh who were murdered and disappeared between 1984-1998, because without concrete evidence and hard data even the International Court of Justice at the Hague will not entertain a petition.

 Also, Sikhs can never ever forget the ‘Sustained Sikh Genocide 1984-1998’ and must do everything in their power to remember this particular long drawn out ‘Ghallughara’ through various activities, within and outside the Sikh Panth. This very recent long-drawn Ghallughara must become part of our daily Ardas, permanently!

 ASC also continues to present at schools, community colleges, universities and other national forums in order to teach and inform the American public about the hell, perpetuated on the Sikhs in India.

 ASC has also planned and designed the Sikh Genocide Memorial Plaque, starting in 2014. Over 200 of these plaques have been installed at gurdwaras and other locations across the US, while more are being added continually! Sikh Americans and others need to step up and take charge of their own narrative of recent history otherwise someone else will rewrite it to our detriment, and most of it has already happened.

 The American Sikh Council (ASC) continue to raise awareness about the sustained Sikh Genocide by the Republic of India (ROI). We hope those nations that pride themselves about human rights, help efforts to promote justice and accountability for the Sikhs in ROI. We will never forget our history or the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters – ever!

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