Condemn the fascist attack of the Indian state on the people of Sikh faith!
The brutal attack by the armed forces of the Indian state on the Golden Temple – the holy shrine of the Sikhs – on June 6, 1984, was condemned at a public meeting organized by Lok Raj Sangathan in New Delhi on June 5, 2016. The hall was filled to more than capacity. A large number of youth and students were present.
The meeting was addressed by S. Raghavan, President of Lok Raj Sangathan. Other political activists, human rights activists, trade union activists and youth activists who attended the meeting and addressed the participants included Punjab Human Rights activist and senior advocate Rajvinder Singh Bains, N.D. Pancholi from Citizens for Democracy and a senior and active member of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Gurpreet Singh from Kendri Shri Guru Singh Sabha, Punjab and activist of the Sikh Forum, Com. Prakash Rao, spokesperson of Communist Ghadar Party of India, Com. Atul Kumar Anjaan, CPI National Council Secretary, Comrade Umar Khalid, student from JNU, advocate Bhavani Shankar and Com. Arjun from PDFI. Many youth activists who attended the meeting also expressed their views.
The meeting was chaired by Birju Nayak, Delhi Secretary, Lok Raj Sangathan and Sucharita, member of All India Council of Lok Raj Sangathan.
Initiating the meeting, President of Lok Raj Sangathan, S.Raghavan described how, in the beginning of June 1984, the then Indira Gandhi government at the centre sent the army to attack the holiest shrine of the Sikh religion, the Golden Temple in Amritsar. On June 3, the martyrdom day of Guru Arjun Dev, more than 10,000 devotees had gathered at the temple complex. For 6 days the armed forces kept firing at the temple, bombarded the sacred Akal Takht and ruthlessly massacred all those who were inside the temple complex. He explained that the attack on the Golden Temple was justified by the Indian state in the name of “fighting terrorism” and “defending the unity and integrity of India”. A huge propaganda campaign was carried out to the effect that the government had “no other choice”, that the army attack was necessary to “liberate” the Golden Temple from “Sikh extremists” who were allegedly out to massacre the Hindus and spread terror throughout Punjab. However, to date, no evidence has been furnished to substantiate this.
He elaborated on the political context of the attack. People were extremely dissatisfied in Punjab at that time and there was a people’s movement for assertion of their rights. This attack was to divide the people, so that the ruling class could stabilize its rule. It was an attack on the entire Sikh community. History shows that organising communal violence against specific communities to break the unity of our people is a preferred method of rule of the Indian state, he pointed out.
All the speakers who addressed the meeting unanimously condemned the barbaric attack by the Indian state on the Golden Temple and reiterated the demand that the guilty must be punished.
Shri. Rajvinder Singh Bains appealed to all the people of India to remember this horrific event and draw their lessons from it. What happened 32 years ago – against which a protest is raised in Delhi every year – was not on account of Sikhs, nor is it a problem for Sikhs alone. But the rest of India must understand this, else the ruling classes will continue to gain from organizing such attacks on the people. He went on to explain that at that time, in Punjab, people were deliberately divided as Hindus and Sikhs. The political demand for greater autonomy for Punjab was deliberately twisted by the rulers and made out to be a demand of the Sikhs. Even today no one knows the extent of lives lost in that attack on Golden Temple. The official figure of the toll was 4,400 but there were thousands more.
He added that over the next 12 years Punjab was bled. All those who spoke out against state terrorism were killed in encounters or jailed on charges of supporting terrorism! 40000-50000 young men disappeared in that period. Many went into depression and took to drugs. . He concluded saying that the truth behind Operation Blue Star must be brought out before all the Indian people and called on all to come together to put an end to state organised communal violence.
N.D.Pancholi described the gruesome attack on Sikhs in 1984 as one of the most shameful events in independent India. The political demands of the people of Punjab were deliberately portrayed as a “law and order” problem. People were called upon to support the policy of state terrorism, in the name of “crushing the enemies of India’s unity and integrity”, he said. Throughout that period of the 80s, the people of Punjab were under attack by the Central state. Those who raised their voices in protest were killed or incarcerated under false charges, like the State is doing today with the Muslims. So many youth are languishing in the jails under such flimsy charges. He highlighted the struggle that has been going on for the past 32 years, to expose the crimes of the state, and called on the youth present to come forward and continue the struggle today
.Gurpreet Singh of Kendri Shri Guru Singh Sabha thanked Lok Raj Sangathan for organizing such a meeting and for consistently taking up the issue of the attack on the Golden Temple, the atrocities against the Sikh people in the aftermath of the attack and the 1984 genocide of Sikhs. He reported that his organization was among the many who have been investigating since some years to understand the real reason behind this attack, and to raise people’s consciousness about it. This is being done in the background of the false history that have been presented to the people. He condemned Operation Bluestar as an attack on the Sikhs to suppress the culture of the people, to strike at their spirit. The approach of the State was – either you are with us, or not with us. The media was used to portray the Sikhs as separatists, pro-Khalistan. He appealed to the youth to see through the games that politicians play. He drew attention to the comment by President Pranab Mukherjee in his memoirs which refers to the 1984 genocide as having been committed by some miscreants! He concluded that Operation Blue Star was not merely an attack on the people of the Sikh faith, but on all Indians.
JNU student leader Umar Khalid cautioned against our rulers who advise the youth that they should “forget the past and move on”. He pointed out that this should not be done because what happened against the Sikhs in 1984 has been played out again and again, even at the present time. They do not want us to learn the lessons of history, so that they can continue their crimes against the people, he explained. He pointed out that the Indian state organised the massacre of revolutionary peasants of Telengana and Muslims in Hyderabad in 1950, the one of the biggest massacres of Muslims was organised in Jammu following partition.
He spoke of the numerous crimes of the state and its security forces against various communities and sections of the people and exposed as utterly false, the state propaganda that India is a socialist, democratic republic. He highlighted the state organised violence and terror against the adivasis in Chhattisgarh with the aim of securing their land and mineral resources for loot and plunder by the big monopoly capitalist houses. He appealed to all those present, who are fighting for justice, to demand justice for the people of Chhattisgarh, against state terrorism which is being unleashed against people who are fighting for their right to land and livelihood.
Comrade Prakash Rao, spokesperson of the Communist Ghadar Party of India explained that targeting one specific community or another, spreading an atmosphere of communal hatred and suspicion, organizing communal violence and genocide – this is the tried and tested policy and practice of the Indian state, which has been repeated again and again. Describing the state terror that was spread in Punjab at that time, he pointed out how systematically, the state tried to divide the Hindus and Sikhs. Hindus would be pulled out of buses and murdered in cold blood by state security forces wearing turbans, to make out as if Sikhs were killing Hindus. At that time, Communist Ghadar Party of India was almost the only force to speak out against state terrorism and expose the truth that the “turban-wearing terrorists” were in fact the Punjab Police. Our Party was young then but we boldly declared that it was state terrorism.
Our rulers justify their crimes against the people in the name of "defending the unity and integrity of the country" but in fact, by spreading violence, anarchy and hatred and dividing us, they are the biggest threat to the unity of our people, he said. The guilty are never punished, because those who execute these crimes against the people are themselves in the high seats of power. He drew attention to the fact that today about 150 monopoly capitalist houses are ruling over us and they are closely linked with the imperialists. We cannot rely on the Indian state for justice, neither can we rely on the international agencies which are dominated by these same imperialist powers, he pointed out. He called on those present to target the state and not this or that political party or government. Governments are nothing more than managers of the state that defends the interests of the biggest monopoly capitalists and implements their agenda, he said. He gave the call that we need to step up the struggle with the perspective that we have to create a new state that will ensure security and justice for all.
Comrade Arjun pointed out how despite so many commissions of enquiry, the guilty have never been punished. Comrade Atul Kumar Anjaan called on the youth to unite to defeat the attempts of the state to divide people on the basis of religion.
Several youth came forward to thank Lok Raj Sangathan for the very informative meeting and discussion. They called on our people to strengthen our unity and defeat the diabolical designs of the rulers.
Summing up the views expressed by the speakers, LRS All India Council member Sucharita pointed out that Lok Raj Sangathan is of the view that bringing out the truth behind Operation Blue Star will be a big step forward in the struggle to punish the guilty and put an end to state organized communal violence and terror. For this, we cannot rely on the agencies of the state. Neither can we rely on various international agencies dominated by the Anglo-American imperialists, because racism, communalism and disinformation are part of the standard operating procedure of the Anglo-American imperialists. Only the united struggle of the people can stop the state organized communal violence and terror. An attack on one is an attack on all! Let us strengthen our unity and take the struggle forward, she said.
The meeting concluded with a call to all democratic and progressive forces to come forward for building a new India, in which the right to conscience as well the human, democratic and national rights of all without exception will be protected.