Punish the guilty! Stop vilifying the victims!
A solemn but spirited campaign for demanding justice to the victims of the 1984 massacre of Sikhs got underway on 21st October 2012 from Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, with a moving and poignant pictorial exhibition.
On the same day, a press conference was called by a number of organisations and individuals regarding this campaign for justice for the victims of the 1984 genocide in Delhi, Kanpur and other places in which more than 7000 people were killed. Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Lok Raj Sangathan, Sikh Forum and Socialist Yuvajan Sabha were among the organisations present to address the press conference.
Thousands of people have come forward to support this campaign as the caravan passed through numerous cities on the way to Delhi, where a series of events have been planned for late October and early November 2012.
Blaming the victims
Leaders of the Congress Party in Punjab have derided the decision of various people’s organisations to set up a memorial to commemorate those who were killed in Operation Blue Star, in June 1984. They claim that it is tantamount to “glorifying terrorists”. This is nothing but turning the truth on its head.
Who is responsible for spreading terror in Punjab since the eighties? It is the central state and the ruling party in New Delhi which are responsible. It is the Congress Party led government headed by Indira Gandhi that initiated the policy of unleashing state terror against the Sikh community, savagely attacking them and destroying their holiest shrine. Now they want to cover up their utter criminality by blaming the victims as the source of the problem.
Operation Blue Star
“Operation Blue star” — the armed assault on the most sacred shrine of the Sikhs, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, was launched on June 6, 1984 in the name of “flushing out terrorists”. However, the vast majority of the over 4,000 people who were killed in this attack were unarmed devotees. Operation Blue Star was executed on a day sacred for women and men of the Sikh faith, the martyrdom day of Guru Arjun Dev, when thousands of people had gathered at the Golden Temple. The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered the army to attack the Golden Temple with heavy tank and artillery fire, resulting in a huge number of people getting killed and physical destruction ofthe sacred shrine of the Sikhs, the Akal Takht.
The attack on the Golden Temple was followed by several years of state terrorism in the Punjab, Delhi and other parts of India, during which thousands of people, especially youth, were killed, tortured and rendered missing. This reign of terror was leashed essentially to crush the revolt of the workers and peasants and the demand for national rights that had been raised in Punjab and elsewhere. To divide and disorient the legitimate protests and political demands of the people, the ruling party and central agencies deliberately fomented divisions between Hindus and Sikhs. The people of the Sikh faith were portrayed as anti-national — enemies of national unity and territorial integrity. The political demands of the people of Punjab were treated as a “law and order problem”. The working class and peasants were called upon to line up behind the policy of state terrorism in the name of crushing the “enemies of India’s unity and integrity”.
Massacre of Sikhs
The Congress party organised the massacre of Sikhs in Delhi, Kanpur and other major cities of Northern India following the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Several thousand Sikhs were brutally butchered to death, thousands of girls raped, the homes, shops and establishments of Sikhs were set aflame. All evidence available shows that this was a pre-planned genocide. With lists of Sikh voters in their hands, mobs led by the Congress Party MP’s, openly egged on by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and with the full support and connivance of the police forces headed by Home Minister PV Narasimha Rao, went around torching and murdering people of the Sikh faith.
Punish the guilty – establish command responsibility
“Punish the guilty!” is a demand that the survivors of the carnage and the justice-loving people of India have been making unswervingly for 28 years. The thousands of people who have come forward to support the current campaign for justice for the victims of 1984 show that people are in no mood to forget the heinous crimes committed 28 years ago.
It is necessary to uphold the principle of command responsibility – of punishing not merely the ruffians and individuals who carry out such massacres and crimes against humanity – but to punish those who commanded them, organised and led them, even if they remain behind the scenes.
Vilifying the victims must stop forthwith and the guilty must be punished without further delay!