November 2, 2011 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Ottawa, Canada (November 1 , 2011 ): Several hundred Canadian Sikhs stood strong together outside the Parliament of Canada today to remember the victims of November 1984 and were greeted warmly by Canadian politicians, who acknowledged the need to pursue justice by bringing the perpetrators of such violence to trial.
Prominent politicians like Sheila Copps, who is currently running to become the President of the Liberal Party of Canada spoke to the gathering to lend her support. Likewise, The Honourable Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough-Agincourt) met with the crowd to voice the need to remember the victims and to pursue those responsible. While addressing the justice rally, both politicians emphasized the need for accountability, the denial of justice and just how horrific the events of 1984 were. The strong show of support energized the crowd, who raised their voices even louder in demanding justice through chanting and singing.
The noise outside also echoed in the chambers of the House of Commons when Conservative MP Parm Gill (Brampton-Springdale) stood to raise the issue and to advocate for perseverance until justice is fully served.
Parm Gill’s Statement:
“Mr. Speaker 27 years ago today following the assassination of Indira Ghandi thousands of innocent Sikh men, women and children were mercilessly killed in the streets of Delhi and other parts of India. During this violence at great risk to themselves, Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others sheltered and rescued their Sikh neighbours from the mobs. As Prime Minister Singh stated in his apology on behalf of the nation in 2005, what took place in 1984 is the negation of the concept of nationhood enshrined in our constitution. He also said ‘I bow my head in shame that such a thing took place.’ Last year, during his trip to Canada Prime Minister Singh also indicated that the perpetrators of these crimes need to be brought to justice and I agree Mr. Speaker.”
Navkiran Singh, Chief Legal Counsel for Sikhs for Justice in India:
“The recognition that justice has been denied is a huge step forward. For too long, it has been easy for the people behind these crimes to hide behind the political machine in India to skirt justice. Today, Canadian politicians are helping us publicly and behind the scenes to raise the issue in India. We are also fortunate to have the support of progressive political leaders in India, who recognize that we cannot forget this shameful part of our past. Justice must be a part of the healing process.”
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Legal Advisor for Sikhs for Justice in North America:
“The Genocide that took place in November 1984 will never be forgotten, nor will we stop in our pursuit of justice. It has been a struggle, but it’s encouraging to receive the support of politicians who genuinely care about what took place and can recognize how the hurt lingers in the Sikh community. Families were destroyed and the impact transcends generations. It’s not just the older generation, but our young people feel the impact too.”
Jatinder Singh Grewal, Sikhs for Justice Youth Coordinator:
“Today’s rally was another step in the right direction for our community. Our emotions run deep during this time of year. And while we mourn for the victims, we also share in the joy of bonding with our brothers and sisters around this issue. It feels like we’re making headway with politicians in Canada and internationally, who recognize that justice must prevail. I’m truly proud to be Sikh and I’m proud to be a Canadian.”
Sikhs for Justice led today’s rally with the support of Gurudwaras across the country. The group’s goal is to introduce a motion in Parliament to debate whether organized killing of Sikhs in India during November 1984 was “Genocide” as defined in Article 2 of the UN Convention on Genocide.
It is notable that during the tenure of India’s first propagated Sikh Prime Minister’s tenure many culprits of Sikh genocide are enjoying high posts in Government. Kamal Nath, who is facing suit in US Federal court under Alien Torts Act and Torture Victims Protection Act and is a suspect of genocide, is a minister in Manmohan Singh’s cabinet.
It is notable that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had justified the denial of justice to the victims by saying that Sikhs should “forgive and forget November 1984”.
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