Apology demanded for killing of Sikh soldiers in 1984 riots

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Chandigarh, Nov 1 (UNI) The Ex-servicemen Wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today demanded a public apology from the Union Government and the Congress party in particular for the 'brutal killing' of defence personel belonging to the Sikh community in the aftermath of the assassination of former prime minister, Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

"The ruling party at the Centre in 1984 was the Congress, so it was squarely responsible for the anti-Sikh riots that also engulfed men in uniform, which was an act of shame", the general secretary of the ex-servicemen wing, Col (retd) P I S Phulka said here today.

Addressing mediapersons, Col Phulka who retired from the army in 2002 said that so far he had been able to locate 50-odd defence personel who were targeted by Congress backed mobs at railways stations, bus stands and elsewhere after the assassination of the then prime minister. However the Defence Ministry after 24 long years managed to come out with a list of just 34 servicemen who were killed in the anti-Sikh riots, he added.

"It is rather sad that it is now that the defence ministry has finally admitted that their men in uniform were also killed in Nov 1984", he added while pointing out that it was only after retiring from the army that he took up this issue. The defence ministry has so far only acknowledged 34 deaths while the number was near 300, he added while demanding that a consolidated list of killed sikh soldiers be prepared and released to the nation.

"If the government fails in releasing a list and does not give the families of the dead soldiers due compensation and other benefits, then with the help of eminent nationalistic lawyers we will file cases of treason and violation of Geneva Convention at the International Court of Justice, Hague", Col Phulka said.

He also demanded martyr status to the slain Sikh soldiers and facilities to their families on the line of Kargil martyrs and land for memorial to be given by Punjab for raising a suitable memorial where families of these unsung heroes can pay tribute to their sons. He appealed to the Punjab government to declare year November one, 2008 to October 31, 2009 as year of repentence.

"Prayers should be held at places of worships for peace to the souls of our heroes whose blood was shed on roads, trains and railway stations rather than on borders, their place of duty", he added.


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