Canadian Sikh community looking for answers over 1980's tragedies

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New Westminister (Canada), June 6(ANI): Canadian Sikh community is set to counter the differing accounts of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the 1985 Air India tragedy released by the Indian government and human-rights groups.

The Indian government's report about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots talked of flushing out armed separatists who were part of a campaign of murderous rampages, while human-rights advocates spoke of government forces killing thousands of innocent pilgrims, who were at the temple to commemorate the death of the religion's fifth guru.

Perpinder Singh, a fourth-generation Canadian Sikh and an organizer of a candlelight vigil on Saturday evening to mark the raid on the Golden Temple, said he was taken aback initially by the allegations of government brutality.

"Can a government really do this to its people? That does not make sense. Growing up in Canada, I believed my government protects me, my cops protect me, my elected representatives are here to ... well, in an ideal world to look after me," The Globe and Mail quoted Singh, as saying.

"There is a feeling among youth - not so much among the elders now, but you have the youth asking questions - asking what can we do, how can we get involved, how do we document human-rights abuses," he added.

Meanwhile, a group called 'Sikhs for Justice' has a petition presented to Parliament calling on Canada to recognize the killing of 3,000 Sikhs during the riots as genocide.

They are also organizing memorials to honour 331 people, who were killed 25 years ago in the Air India disaster, the deadliest terrorist attack in Canadian history.

"We are concerned about all violence, whether by Sikhs, or the government or government agents. We just want the truth to come out," said Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Canadian lawyer. (ANI)

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