1984 Sikhs massacre, to be remembered by all, but forgotten

There can be no justification for the mass killing of Sikhs in 1984. But the country's collective refusal to forget this shameful past has no justification.

Faridabad, November 11: It is 39 years now. The day when hundreds of sikhs witnessed the horrifying naked dance of inhumanity on the roads of several cities in the country including, sadly, the national capital Delhi. It was an organised loot and murders in the name of mob violence on the streets of Delhi showing the ugly face of so called humans. In the aftermath of killing of Indian Prime Minster Smt Indira Gandhi by her sikh body gaurds, mob caught any sikh they found and killed him mercilessly. This was the community that had fought several wars on border and witin the country to ensure that the civilians of this country live their life safely and happily. The death toll of this violence ended with dealth of 2733 being the official number in Delhi alone. However, the humanity has not stopped on the day 39 years ago. It has been haunting the lives of every sikh sinch then not only because it keep reminding them the merciless killing of their families, but also because they feel left out when they find that no one ever remembers the horrific incident these family has witnessed.
Ajay Joneja, a resident of Faridabad and a renowned industrialists, recollects the memory of that day during a press conference on the occassion. Addressing the media, he said that this was the day in the year 1984, when we lost our father SR. Sher Singh Joneja while he was travelling from Punjab with his daughter Neelam Kaur. He was killed mercilessly at Delhi Tughlakabad Railway Station by MOB and the accused were taken by the Delhi Police against the F.I.R lodged. All the Political Parties have been assuring the Sikh Voters for Justice before coming into power but have not taken any action against the culprits. We appealed the court to take this matter seriously and culprits should be punished at the earliest, said Joneja.
Expressing his displeasure over the functioning of the government, Ajay Joneja listed out all the committies set up by different governments all through these years, chronologically. He recalled that The Marwah Commission was set up in November 1984 to inquire into the role of the police in the killings. It was abruptly told by the central government to stop the probe and records were selectively passed on to the next commission. The Misra Commission was set up in May 1985 to probe if the violence was organised. Its August 1986 report recommended the formation of three new committees: Ahuja, Kapoor-Mittal and Jain-Banerjee. The Dhillon Committee was set up in November 1985 to recommend rehabilitation for victims. It asked that insurance claims of attacked business establishments be paid, but the government of the day rejected all such claims. The Kapur-Mittal Committee, set up in February 1987, enquired again about the role of the police. Seventy-two policemen were identified for connivance or gross negligence, 30 were recommended for dismissal. No one was punished. The Jain-Banerjee Committee, established in February 1987, looked at cases against Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, and recommended cases be registered against both. Later, the Delhi high court quashed the appointment of the committee. The Ahooja Committee, set up in February, 1987, was told by the Misra Commission to ascertain the number of people killed in the massacre in Delhi. In August 1987, Ahooja’s report put the figure at 2,733 Sikhs. The Potti-Rosha Committee was appointed in March 1990 as a successor to the Jain-Banerjee committee. Potti-Rosha also recommended registration of cases against Kumar and Tytler. The Jain-Aggarwal Committee was appointed as a successor to Potti-Rosha in December 1990, and also recommended cases against H.K.L. Bhagat, Tytler and Kumar. No cases were registered and the probe stopped in 1993. The Narula Committee, set up in December 1993, was the third committee in nine years to recommend registering cases against Bhagat, Tytler and Kumar. The May 2000 Nanavati Commission – a one-man commission appointed by the BJP-led government – found “credible evidence” against Tytler and Kumar. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) later tried to help the duo by announcing a clean chit.

Justice Ranganath Misra, son of a celebrated Odia poet and then the chief justice of India, who had headed an inquiry commission into the 1984 anti-Sikh massacre, after retiring, became a Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha. Ved Marwah went on to become the chief of Delhi police for three blissfully long years of 1985 to 1988. Marwah later became the governor of Manipur, Mizoram and Jharkhand, and wrote a book on terrorism. Between that fateful day in 1984 and today, India has had nine prime ministers, 14 home ministers, 16 cabinet secretaries and 16 Delhi police chiefs. The might of the Indian state has failed to bring justice to the doorsteps of the victims and their loved ones.
Joneja said that the pathetic state of affairs in the Indian democracy is that for any of our political parties and their legacy-fixated mighty leaders, democracy will always be about party interests, not public issues; about carefully calibrated winnability of the candidates, not constitution-mandated accountability of the elected representatives; about the percentage of votes in the electoral arena, not justice for the nameless, faceless victims in the courtroom. India’s democracy needs a better criminal justice delivery system. India’s citizens, shorn of caste, creed and visible and invisible colours of religion, deserve better public institutions. India’s future generations are entitled to more humane memories. Not 1984, Delhi. Not 2002, Gujarat. Not 2013, Muzaffarnagar.
Also present in the press conference was Sr. Upkar Singh, Sr. Ravinder Singh Rana, Sr. Rama Kaur Bhatti, Sr. Gurprasad Singh Rochy, Sr. Prem Singh , Sardar Rana Bhatti, and Sr. Harbhajan Singh along with others.

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