March 1, 2011 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
San Francisco, USA (March 01, 2011): The newly discovered ruins of the small Sikh village of Hondh-Chillar in northern India serve as a mass grave after state sponsored Hindu nationalists destroyed it in November 1984.
The attack on Hondh-Chillar village was originally reported by several eyewitnesses but never investigated. The witnesses state that approximately 500 armed men arrived in trucks, shouting that they would “wipe out” the Sikhs. They then surrounded the Sikh houses and set them alight with gasoline. Men and children were reportedly tossed back as they fled the burning houses, while women were first raped before being hurled into the blaze. The village’s gurdwara and Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture, were then desecrated and burned.
“Hondh-Chillar provides specific physical evidence that the 1984 Pogrom was not merely confined to Delhi,” said Bhajan Singh Bhinder, general secretary of the AGPC. “The ruins include scattered human bones, torched houses and a burnt gurdwara. We applaud the efforts of Sikhs for Justice, who are working hard to preserve the site. Yet incomprehensibly, some MPs who incited massacres still serve in high offices in India?s central government.”
The massacre occurred during three days of bloody violence which ensued after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Gandhi was killed by two of her Sikh bodyguards in retaliation for ordering the bloody June 1984 army action in Amritsar. During the November carnage, armed mobs in Delhi systematically cordoned off Sikh neighborhoods, murdering all they found and burning homes and religious structures.
Several Indian National Congress parliament members personally hired thugs for liquor and cash, distributed weapons and issued orders to kill Sikhs and burn their property. Thousands of Sikhs died.
The AGPC insisted that Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the South Asian Human Rights Commission should immediately visit the historical crime scene. Warning that the Indian government cannot be trusted to preserve the integrity of Hondh-Chillar, they demanded unrestricted international media access. The organization stated that India’s government must investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators, but added that they believe it well never do so.
?The government refuses to properly investigate these crimes because it so often actually sponsors them,? explained the president of AGPC, Jaswant Singh Hothi. ?Religious and cultural pluralism in India has been virtually erased. Non-Hindus ? Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and so forth ? are treated as inferior by India?s legal system.
Minorities are violently oppressed by Hindu nationalists at every turn, yet the government does nothing to prevent it.?
In the 1990s, human rights activists released evidence that thousands of innocent Sikhs had been abducted, tortured, killed in custody and illegally cremated by Indian security forces. No one was ever tried or even arrested. In 2002, Hindu gangs massacred over 1000 Muslim civilians in Gujarat, while Chief Minister Narendra Modi ordered police to permit the bloodshed. No one was punished for the high-profile slaughter, but Modi was reelected. Likewise, Congress Party leaders such as Jagdish Tytler and Kamal Nath, who both led violence against the Sikhs in 1984, were rewarded with wildly successful political careers. Nath still serves as a cabinet minister.
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Related Topics: 1984 Sikh Genocide, American Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (AGPC), Hondh Chillar Massacre, November 1984, Sikh Diaspora