1984 anti-Sikh riots: Wound not over but victims grateful to Modi govt for mitigating their woes

1984 anti-Sikh riots: Wound not over but victims grateful to Modi govt for mitigating their woes /IANS

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) While the 1984-anti Sikh riots and massacre will continue to remain a blot for the country, it is also a grim reminder of the highly anguished moment and painful times that the Sikh community went through, post former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination on October 31, 1984.

Even after 40 years of massacre, many riot victims vividly recall the horror tales of the massacre, allegedly sponsored by the then Congress regime. However, many of them are thankful to the Modi government for bringing ‘justice’ to their endless fight and also healing their decades-old wounds.

The first sense of closure for them came in 2022 when the SIT team, formed in 2019, arrested 44 accused after three years of investigations.

The deadly riots broke after former Congress PM Indira Gandhi was brutally killed by her two Sikh bodyguards. Thousands of Sikhs were killed in the riots and Delhi was worst hit, followed by Kanpur.

A couple of Kanpur residents on Sunday narrated the 1984 horror and also explained how the Modi government nursed their wounds in recent years.

Harjit Singh, a resident of Ashok Nagar, Kanpur

Harjit Singh, a victim of the 1984 anti- sikh riots, says that he lost his father and uncle in the bloodshed and also accused Congress of trying to save its leaders despite their direct involvement in the 1984 riots.

Harjit Singh, a resident of Ashok Nagar, Kanpur, who was just 14 years old during the riots, says, “My uncle’s (father’s younger brother) marriage was about to be fixed. My father was coming back from his shop when a peace protest march was being carried out by Sikhs of Kanpur against the riots. The mob attacked with stone pelting on the Sikh protest march at Bhadoyia Chauraha. My father was hurt during the stone pelting and when my uncle tried to help my father, someone from the mob fired bullets at him and then finally both my father & uncle were burnt alive along with the tractor”.

While putting the entire blame on Congress, Harjit Singh said, “At night, the mob came to burn our house but a Hindu family who were our tenants saved us”.

He further said, “My grandfather took care of the family and I had to leave my education and join our family business as the economic condition of the family was not good. I lost my mother due to a brain haemorrhage in 1989 as she couldn’t bear the loss of my father in riots. Congress never tried to give us any justice, rather they only saved their leaders who were involved in the riots”.

Thanking Modi government, he said, “We had lost all hope for getting justice but when PM Modi came in 2014, things moved quite fast. Many cases of Kanpur riots have been solved as the culprits have been put behind bars and the victims have received Rs 5 lakh compensation.”

Manjit Singh Chawla, another victim of anti-sikh riots in Kanpur

Manjit Singh Chawla, another victim of anti-sikh riots in Kanpur, says that highly irresponsible statements by top leaders of Congress triggered riots, resulting in the killing of innocent Sikhs.

Manjit Singh Chawla, recalling the horror, says, “When the word of Indira Gandhi’s death spread, the next morning itself our neighbours accompanied by hordes of mob started ransacking shops, assaulting people and looting houses. Hundreds of Sikhs were killed by the rioting mob. The mob went on a killing spree due to the protection of police officers, administration and leaders of the Congress government; though miscreant elements from all different sections of society were involved in the massacre.”

“The entire bloodshed took place under the political protection by leaders of Congress government and local administration to the goons. There were clear instructions not to leave anyone behind and kill all sardars. The people living in our neighbourhood changed all of a sudden and started attacking us. This was the utter failure of the Congress government at the time as no help was provided to rehabilitate the victims of anti-Sikh riots; we all have to struggle a lot to stand on our feet again and make a living for ourselves again. The government of the time clearly had a hand in the massacre and irresponsible statements by top leaders of the Congress government triggered riots when a mob went on a rampage. These wounds have been etched on our souls for this lifetime and cannot be healed ever again,” Chawla said.

1984 riots were plotted by the Congress govt, says Gurinder Singh Vasu

Gurinder Singh Vasu Prince, the General Secretary of Shri Guru Singh Sabha Kanpur and a social worker says that he was in Class X at the time of the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

Pinning the blame on the then Congress government, he said, “On the day of the incident, I was alone at home with my five sisters and mother when a mob of thousands of people attacked our house. Our entire family was inside the house, still, it was burnt by the rioters. All the wedding stuff kept in the house for my sister’s wedding was looted. There was violence in the locality for three days. The neighbouring Jain family protected us. These riots were pre-planned. The then government helped the rioters because they had lists of names and houses of Sikhs. We had to go to the camp to save our lives. My father was a senior Sikh leader and Ward Congress Committee President for 18 years but after the incident he quit the Congress. Culprits like Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar, Lalit Maken, and Kamal Nath should be punished. We are happy that the culprits are now being punished during the PM Modi government.”

He further said, “Sikh community will never forgive Congress who are the perpetrators of genocide of our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters”.

Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, “Modi ji has knowledge of Sikh religion. He has done many things for the Sikhs like opening the Kartarpur Corridor, and celebrating the martyrdom of Chhote Sahabzads at national and international levels.”

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