Members of the South Asian community came together to raise their voices for justice to the survivors of state sponsored violence against Sikhs in the first week of November, 1984.
Organized by Indians Abroad for Pluralist India, the vigil was opened by Indigenous activist Jenifer Allen, at Holland Park in Surrey, on the evening of Sunday, November 1.
She tried to make connections between the cultural genocide of the First Nations in Canada with the ongoing genocide of minorities elsewhere in the world.
Thousands of innocent Sikhs were slaughtered all across India by the political goons, following the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, seeking revenge for the military attack on their holiest shrine in June that year.
Many senior politicians and police officers who were complicit in the massacre remain unpunished. Not only were the slain leader’s Congress party involved, but also members of the currently ruling right wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party.
This was done to polarize the Hindu majority by demonizing Sikhs in the ensuing general election. The pattern has repeated under BJP rule because of the culture of impunity.
The speakers were unanimous in their criticism of the Indian state for allowing systemic violence against religious minorities, including Sikhs, Muslims and Christians, and the oppressed communities such as Dalits, in the garb of secularism and democracy.
Those who addressed the gathering included Member of Parliament Randeep Singh Sarai, besides Sikh activists Tejinder Kaur, Gian Singh Gill, Inderjit Singh Bains, Harbans Singh Aujla, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Charanjit Singh Sujjon, Dr. Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal and Gurmukh Singh Deol.
Two Muslim activists, Imtiaz Popat and Sayed Wajahat, also spoke on the occasion. Preet Manpreet and Parminder Swaich recited poems in memory of the victims of 1984 pogrom.
The participants raised slogans against ongoing state repression in India against minorities and political dissidents.