1984 sikh massacre

I salute the veterans who recently dared to write to the President and Prime Minister of India regarding “open call of the genocide of Indian Muslims”; their letter also mentions targeting of other minorities like Christians, Dalits and Sikhs. These brave soldiers and other eminent personalities have written exactly what needed to be said to the powers that be – and at a considerable risk to themselves and their families.

Equally true, even 37 years after the 1984 Sikh genocide, no veteran – with a ring side view – has shown the courage and honesty to publish a book on how the services of Army were called in late during November 1984; how their deployment was delayed; what pressures were put on the soldiers to bid their time on the streets; and at what level in army hierarchy were obstacles created by the political masters of the day. These and other related questions beg an answer; more so because there has been no real reconciliation and peace building process involving the victim community. Not even a formal proper apology has been forthcoming – Manmohan Singh’s utterances in 2004 in Parliament 20 years after the genocide notwithstanding. He appears to have been outsourced to do the most minimal by the remnants of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

The Indian Armed Forces has 1455550 active personnel and 1155000 reserve personnel (Wiki). Besides there are about 2.6 million ex-servicemen. (Wiki) Yet not one has had his/her conscience pricked over this hidden conspiracy of the then rulers. What about the debt the Indian Army owes to posterity? It could take a cue from Lt. General Zameer Uddin Shah’s memoirs: “The Sarkari Mussalman: The Life and Travails of a Soldier Educationist” released belatedly in 2018 – but nevertheless at least released. This book throws new light on the delay in deployment of the Army during the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat. Zameer was Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Indian Army at that time.

Zameer got a chance to document the events leading to the pogrom. He wrote about Ahmedabad being aflame; fires burning all across the city; about lack of vehicles and logistic support provided; rampaging mobs and police standing as mute spectators; delayed availability of transport, maps, police guides and magistrates; crucial hours lost; hundreds of soldiers and officers witnessing all this; and the official war diaries which had documented the same.

Irrespective of the time elapsed truth must come out. A similar book by a veteran on the 1984 Sikh genocide would be a step towards truth and reconciliation for the Sikh community. Justice of course is too much to hope for!

I do hope that such a book sees the light of the day before I – an Indian first and then a Sikh – exit this world.

P.S.: I have gone through the author background of 21 books written around 1984 violence against Sikhs; if any book written by a veteran has escaped my attention I apologize in advance.

P.S. Sahni has worked amongst the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh violence along with a group of professionals for 26 months continuously from the first week of November 1984 onwards in a non-funded, non-party way. Also see by the same author: State Sponsored Terrorism Against Sikhs In November 1984 & The Role Of Peace Warriors:Lessons For The Indian Army

Email: pilwatchgroup@gmail.com]


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