A tale of tragedies

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/18/2018 11:57:15 AM IST

 After 34 years, the quest for justice by the families of the ghastly anti-Sikh pogrom in 1984 has ended with the life sentence awarded to former MP and senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar by the Delh High Court on December 17. Sajjan Kumar, 73, was convicted in the killing of five members of a family in Raj Nagar and the torching of a gurdwara in Delhi on November 1, 1984. He has been told to surrender by December 31. Officially at least 3,000 people were killed by anti-Sikh mobs in response to the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. Independent sources estimate the number of deaths at about 6000 to 8000. The horrors of the anti-Sikh riots haunt the survivors, many of who lost all their loved ones in the most inhuman manner. Those who orchestrated the murder and mayhem in leading murderous thugs, were not only some leaders of the Delhi Congress but also from other communities who cut across political ideological lines. The brutality of the violence was like a re-enactment of the Hindu-Muslim riots during the days of partition. What happened in Delhi on October 31,1984 and a few days following, exposed the existence of an inherent character of some breed of people for whom communal hatred and murder are just forms of expression. The law and order machinery failed to respond because those in-charge chose not to stand in the way of powerful politicians and goons who belong to the ruling party. According to eyewitness accounts, the Delhi police was not only conspicuous by its absence but also eventually encouraged and even indulged in violence. Media reports went as far as to point out that more police was in charge of Indira Gandhi’s funeral procession than of the security of Sikhs. Despite curfew bands of murderous thugs continue to prowl the streets of Delhi ferreting helpless Sikhs. The army was deployed only on the afternoon of November 1,1984 but abstained from using fire against rioters. The action of the Delhi Police was nothing short of being accomplices to the murder and mayhem. It was reported that the police even disarmed Sikhs who tried to protect themselves and their relatives by force. Some Sikhs were either handed over to mobsters or sent back home unprotected. There were serious allegations that police refused to record people’s complaints and FIRs (First Information Reports) after the pogrom. Even if the complaints were recorded, it was alleged that they were done in such a manner that the reports were useless for prosecution. The Nanavati Commission report had also pointed out that there was ample material to show that no proper investigation was done by the police even in those cases which were registered by it. Some noteworthy observations from the issue is about how the state and media belittle such crimes. First, the tragedy is being described as ‘anti-Sikh riots’ and the general interpretation that the violence was the result of a spontaneous outburst of popular anger and grief of Indian citizens over the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The killings were not riots but ethnic cleansing and the violence was not spontaneous anger but hidden virus that surfaces. The anti-Sikh pogrom is a forerunner of the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in 2002. While trying to hit the Congress over Sajjan, the BJP should also not forget its own role in Gujarat and how its leaders had also been charged with involvement in the violence. The difference is that Congress has accepted its role in 1984 whereas BJP continues to deny its role in 2002

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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