Remembering the 1984 Sikh Massacre

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India Tomorrow

NEW DELHI—Lok Raj Sangathan and several other organizations jointly organized a meeting here on Tuesday to mark the 38th anniversary of the Sikh massacre on November 1, 1984.

The main banner at the meeting site read, “The Struggle Against State-organized Communal Violence and Terror Continues!”, “An Attack on One is an Attack on All!”

Participants carried banners and placards on which were written — Down with the state organized communal violence and state terrorism!, The organizers of the 1984 massacre of Sikhs must be punished!, Punish the organizers of 1984, 1992, 2002, and other genocides!  An attack on one is an attack on all! 

This protest meeting was jointly organized by Lok Raj Sangathan. Other organisers included the Communist Ghadar Party of India, Jamat-e-Islami Hind, Citizens for Democracy, Welfare Party of India, The Sikh Forum, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Lokpaksh, Jan Sangharsh Samanvaya Samiti, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushavarat, CPI (ML) New Proletarian, Hind Naujawan Ekta Sabha and Mazdoor Ekta Committee.

The meeting was conducted by Sucharita from Lok Raj Sangathan.

She welcomed all the people who came to participate in the meeting. She said that 38 years ago, on 1st November 1984, it was the well-known leaders of the Congress Party, which was in power at the Centre, that lead the attacks. People everywhere tried their utmost to protect their Sikh neighbours. The entire state machinery including the police had actively worked to carry out this massacre. However, till today no political party that has come to power has punished those who had organized and those who actually carried out the massacre. Therefore, our struggle against “state terrorism” and communal violence is continuing.

She invited speakers from organizations who were present at this meeting.

The President of LRS, S. Raghavan said that in the past 38 years the use of state terrorism has been systematically escalated and the incidence of state organized communal violence has increased. Those who organize communal violence and harm our unity are never punished but are offered to occupy the highest offices. On the other hand, those who fight for their rights are labelled as “terrorist” and “anti-national elements”. Political parties like the BJP and Congress Party talk of defending national unity but actually work all the time to divide the people in the interest of the rulers. They systematically and frequently inflame people’s passions on the basis of religion, caste, language, and region so that the unity of workers and peasants can be shattered. Therefore it will be wrong to think that the source of communal violence lies only in one party, i.e., BJP. And, that with the changing of the party in power will make this problem go away. In order to advance the struggle against communal violence and state terror, we will have to build and strengthen the unity among all exploited and oppressed people for affirmation of rights. He said that it was necessary to uphold and implement the principle that ‘an attack on one is an attack on all’.

Inam ur Rehman from Jamat-e-Islami Hind congratulated  Lok Raj Sangathan for organizing the program every year on this occasion. He said that this criminal act cannot be forgotten. By protesting every year, we are giving the message to the rulers that we are not willing to tolerate such crimes against the people.

Speaking on behalf of the Sikh Forum, Lalli Singh Sahni told the gathering that the Sikh Forum was established to deal with the Sikh genocide of 1984. He said that we cannot even forgive the guilty because even after 38 years it has not been established who the guilty were.

Birju Nayak of Communist Ghadar Party pointed out that when the Home Minister did not take any action after many prominent people told him about the massacre that was taking place, this clearly means that it was not a riot but state organized genocide. Further, he said that the 1984 massacre is not an aberration. Those who promote the idea that the massacre of 1984 was an aberration are doing so because they want to call on the people to unite with the Congress Party in its political rivalry with the BJP. They are saying that the source of communalism and communal violence is a specific political party, i.e., BJP, and not the entire ruling class. Such an idea will divert us from the path of struggle against communalism and communal violence. State-organized communal violence and state terror can be eliminated once and for all, only when the rule of the bourgeoisie is replaced by workers’ and peasants’ rule. 

Mohammed Arif of the Welfare Party of India said that 38 years ago the massacre of Sikhs was not a spontaneous riot because in India it is simply not possible for a riot to continue beyond a few hours unless the state wants to continue it. The genocide of Sikhs in 1984 was organized by the ruling Congress Party and the entire state machinery.

Sheomangal Siddhantkar of the CPI (ML) New Proletarian talked about the establishment of the rule of workers to end the problem of communal violence.

Advocate Shahid Ali said that our elders did not make sacrifices to have such wily parties to rule over us. Human tendency is naturally to help other human beings in need. Those who organized the 1984 genocide were not humans but shaitans. Humans always have to fight evil. He said that it cannot be said that Congress Party is any better because if they were better then they would have punished the guilty.

The spokesperson of the Mazdoor Ekta Committee, Santosh Kumar said that state terrorism and communal violence target the working class and toiling people of our country. These are aimed at breaking our unity and crushing our struggle for our rights. The source of communalism and communal violence, as well as “state terrorism” lies in the rule of the bourgeoisie led by the monopoly capitalist houses. Therefore, the struggle to end communalism and communal violence will not be crowned with victory by the struggle to replace one party forming the government with another.

Poonam Sharma from the Purogami Mahila Sangathan said that we are told to forget such old events. But how can we forget it when again and again such massacres take place. She called on everyone to unitedly advance the struggle. She said that we have to replace the existing state machinery with a new state machinery that will guarantee all human and democratic rights including the right to conscience. Such a state will ensure that there is no discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, etc. Anyone who discriminates anyone on such basis will be immediately punished, no matter whatever posiition he or she occupies in the government administration.

Among the others who addressed the meeting Munna Prasad from Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra said that right from independence, hands of the Indian state are dripping with blood of the people. This is because the Indian state works in the interest of the monopoly capitalist class. It is thrusting the anti-people program of privatisation and anti-worker labour laws. To divert attention from its anti-social agenda, it organizes incidences of communal violence.

In the end, Siraj Talib from the Welfare party of India recited some Urdu couplets challenging the oppressors and appreciated the efforts of Lok Raj Sangathan to organize such meetings on the issues of injustice to the people.

Concluding the meeting, Sucharita said that the struggle will continue against such monstrous crimes until together we establish a new state that defends the rights of all and which will ensure prosperity and security for all.

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