November 2, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Geneva, Switzerland (November 02, 2013): It is learnt that thousands of Sikhs from across the globe rallied on November 01, 2013 at the UN’s Geneva base, demanding an international investigation of a deadly wave of genocidal violence against the Sikhs in India in 1984. Sikh activists have strongly asserted that the killings 29 years ago were state-sponsored genocide, while India blames them as mere “riots”.
A protest rally against India was primarily organized by Sikhs for Justice and Movement against repression with the help and participation of various diaspora Sikh bodies and Gurdwaras was attended by around ten thousands Sikhs from Europe, North America, India, Hong Kong and Australia.
Earlier on November 1, 2013 the members of the New York-based group Sikhs for Justice submitted a million-signature petition to the UN human rights office, where they held talks with officials.
“The reason we are petitioning the UN to investigate the killing of Sikhs in November 1984 is that we believe the truth has not been told to the world” Canadian-born Jatinder Singh Grewal, policy director at Sikhs For Justice, told the media representatives.
“What happened in November 1984 was a systematic and deliberate attempt to kill a religious minority. It happened with the complicity of the government and, in many documented cases, with the participation of the government” he added.
Thousands of Sikhs were brutally killed in a series of systematic and organized genocidal massacres after the assassination of the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by Bhai Beant Singh and Bhai Satwant Singh.
Indian diplomats in Geneva declined to comment on the petition
According to certain media report Indian diplomats in Geneva declined to comment on the petition, but said their country’s position on the killings was well-known and the issue had been handled by India’s justice system.
India acknowledges that 3,000 Sikhs died in New Delhi from November 1 to 3, 1984, in what it says were communal riots.
But Sikh according to the Sikhs for Justice the evidence shows the killings were countrywide and that the toll was over 30,000.
The violence of November 1984 had included countless gang rapes and drove 300,000 Sikhs from their homes — was anything but spontaneous.
India has failed to hold the perpetrators to account, which makes a UN probe essential: SFJ
“If India has nothing in their closet, they should open the doors. But they have skeletons. The skeletons of Sikhs” Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Sikhs for Justice’s legal adviser, reportedly said.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said officials from India’s ruling Congress party ran death squads, the authorities armed and transported killers, used voting lists to locate Sikhs, and state media demanded “blood for blood”.
Systematic killings of a community fall under the 1948 Genocide Convention.
Pannun said India had failed in its duty to hold the perpetrators to account, making a UN probe essential.
Response of the UN officials:
According to certain media reports the UN officials said a decision whether to open a Human Rights Council probe would not come before next year, and that it lay with the International Criminal Court to apply the genocide label.
Failure to address 1984 resulted in 2002 & 2008: Indira Prahst
Indira Prahst, a Canadian sociologist with Sikh and German roots, said failing to address 1984 emboldened those who killed Indian Muslims in 1992 and 2002, or Christians in 2008.
“We remember atrocities so that we do not repeat the past. And the past continues to be repeated in India through violence with impunity,” she said.
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Related Topics: 1984 Sikh Genocide, Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, Indira Prasht, November 1984, Sikh Diaspora, Sikhs for Justice, Sikhs in Europe