Sikhs observe 24th anniversary of 1984 riots

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New Delhi, Nov 1 (UNI) Observing the 24th anniversary of the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots today, several Sikh organisations said that it was the ''beginning of government-sponsored violence against minorities which was evident in Gujarat in 2002 and in the recent attacks on Christians thereby communalising the Indian polity to the core.'' The Hindutva forces, then backing Indira Gandhi were believed to be behind the massacre of the Sikhs but later the RSS and its political front Bharatiya Janata Party had successfully shifted the entire blame on the Congress, said a member of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee(DSGMC).

''That is why, neither the six-year long BJP-led NDA rule nor the Congress-led UPA government expressed even a customary or regret in Parliament till today on the killings of more than 3000 innocent Sikhs in Delhi alone,'' he said.

Several Singh Sabhas and local gurdwara committees here organised special prayers in the religious places, on the roads and in trains in the memory of those who were killed following then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination.

Earlier, on the eve of the 24th anti-Sikh riots anniversary, Mr Harvinder Singh Phoolka, a senior lawyer of Supreme Court, while addressing the MPs in the UK Parliament on October 30, said the 1984 genocide of Sikhs was the beginning of government-sponsored violence against a particular minority community in the country.

Despite being aware of the situation, foreign governments and leaders did not exert sufficient pressure on the Indian Government and no actions were taken, he added.

If this had been nipped in the bud at that time and the guilty of 1984 had been punished, then the recent attacks on Christians with impunity would not have taken place, Mr Phoolka said.

In the last few weeks, the US, the UK and the Australian Governments have expressed their concerns to India over the continued anti-Christian violence. French President Nicholas Sarkozy, on behalf of the 27 EU countries and civil society groups in the 53-nation Commonwealth, have also voiced their concern.

Mr Phoolka appealed to the MPs, from each of the three main political parties, to get the UK Government and nations across the globe to recognise that the violence against the minority communities is ''an act of state terrorism and communal violence targeting minorities is totally unacceptable.'' At this Parliamentary event, organised by the Sikh Federation (UK) and hosted by Rob Marris MP, the Chair All Party Parliamentary Group for UK Sikhs, it was revealed that a coalition to campaign for a worldwide travel ban/boycott of those from India involved in torture, genocide and crimes against humanity had now been put in place. It is a powerful coalition comprising Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Liberty and the Redress Trust.

UNI JSS BDP SSC1310

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