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Those guilty of mass killings are seldom brought to justice in India, notes The Tribune Editorial

January 30, 2014 | By

Waiting for justice

1984 anti-Sikh violence remains a live issue

STATEMENTS of the Delhi Chief Minister and the Congress vice-president have both brought focus back on the anti-Sikh violence in New Delhi and other places. In the 30 years since the event, most of the people involved in the violence have escaped punishment. Cases were registered against some of the guilty persons and a few were convicted. Leaders from the Congress party, including Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, have expressed regret over what had happened. However, the issue remains open because some of the most prominent persons blamed for their role in the violence have not been punished for their crimes. Politically, they did well within the Congress party and its governments. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi admitted the role of ‘some Congressmen’in a recent interview, even as he claimed that the Congress government had sought to control the situation.

Unfortunately, those guilty of mass killings are seldom brought to justice in India. We have a sorry history of not punishing people who kill during riots or other public disturbances. Be it Delhi in 1984, Gujarat in 2002 or Muzaffarnagar in 2013, it is the same story. Is it the case that the only lesson we learn from history is that we do not learn any lesson? It is much deeper than that. There is collective political amnesia regarding the victims of large-scale violence. Various factors like caste, creed and religion come into defining the ‘other’, which is targeted and brutalised.

Punishing those guilty of killing thousands of Sikhs in the wake of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination has remained on the backburner, no matter which political party came to power at the Centre. Indeed, even non-Congress dispensations, including those who had the support of the Akali Dal, did little to expedite matters. Now, Arvind Kejriwal has demanded a probe by a special investigation team into the matter. While its effectiveness at this late stage remains to be seen, one thing is clear — the need to end the quest for justice by bringing the guilty to book as soon as possible.


Note: Above write-up is Editorial of The Tribune (dtd: 30 January, 2014). It is reproduced in verbatim, as above, for the information of readers/ visitors of Sikh Siyasat News (SSN). Source Page:

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