June 8, 2012 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Vancouver, BC (June 7, 2012): The first week of June holds great significance for the Sikh community as they commemorate and remember the victims of the week-long siege and invasion of the Darbar Sahib complex in 1984 by the Indian Army.
The invasion came following the rise of the civil disobedience campaign, called the Dharam Yudh Morcha, launched by the Sikh Nation which was gaining massive support among the people of Punjab. The demands of the movement, which focussed on the restructuring of the Indian State to institute a genuine federal structure and the honoring of India’s founders’ promises to the Sikh Nation, were painted as secessionist demands and met with total indifference by political leaders in Delhi.
As a result, the Army cut off the city of Amritsar from the world, expelling journalists and other potential independent observers, as it prepared to invade the shrine on one of the busiest days of the year. Over 70,000 troops, chemical gases, and tanks were employed by the Indian state against it’s own purported citizens, killing up to 5,000 men, women, and children.
Since the attack, the state has been exposed by many of it’s own proponents, such as former MP, Subramaniam Swami, and Lt. Gen. S.K. Sinha, who revealed that not only had the state indulged in a mass propaganda campaign to justify the heinous and unnecessary action but that the action itself had been planned and rehearsed years before it took place.
Moninder Singh Bual, Canadian Sikh Coalition spokesperson says the invasion cannot be forgotten by Sikhs as the issue has not attained closure at any level. “The major demands of the Dharam Yudh Morcha have gone overlooked by India’s political establishment for decades now, while the perpetrators of gross human rights violations against the Sikhs not only roam freely but enjoy political power in India today.”
“The military invasion of Darbar Sahib in 1984 remains a live issue for the Sikh community because it has come to symbolize the subjugation and exploitation India has subjected Punjab to since 1947. It has been and will remain a symbol to continue the struggle for Punjab’s liberation until it’s achieved.”
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