OPINION
1984 ANTI SIKH VIOLENCE – 34 YEARS OF KADDU FARMING
“Elections were coming up…Everybody wanted to forget the killings”
- S Pal
“Elections were coming up…Everybody wanted to forget the killings”



"Three thousand Sikhs were killed in Delhi in just a couple of days. And still through those days, as through Blue Star earlier, hardly a Hindu was attacked across Punjab. In 1984, I grew proud of Punjab, and ashamed of Delhi."
— Sanjay Suri; 1984: The Anti-Sikh Violence and After; Harper Collins, 2015. Page 185
 
 
ON NOVEMBER 1, 2018, a deafening silence prevailed in Punjab, in fact, across India, about the 34th anniversary of the anti-Sikh massacres in Delhi in 1984. 

Not one leader of the ruling Congress party, currently working overtime to ensure the sanctity of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, issued a single statement to assuage a community hurt very, very deeply because of denial of justice for over three decades now.

Not one leader of the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal, which stresses its monopoly over all affairs panthic and lords over the SGPC, has issued a single statement to at least push its alliance partner BJP government at the Centre to make the wheels of justice grind faster. 

The morcha at Bargari, which is of such pious people that anyone having any reservation about the mode of struggle for the adab of the Guru is automatically declared a traitor, has not issued any statement about the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in Delhi.

The Aam Aadmi Party, which at one stage was very eager to claim ownership of the issue of denial of justice and wanted credit for setting up an SIT, has chosen to remain pragmatically mum on the issue.

The breakaway faction of the AAP, headed by Sukhpal Singh Khaira who is always eager to sport a black band on his forearm as a mark of his late recruitment into the panthic flank, also forgot to mark it on its calendar.

The communists are too busy fighting for human rights and civil liberties and spent October 30 to November 1 at the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall to remind us of the atrocities on Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha, and in the process did not surprise us at all by not issuing a single statement demanding justice for those affected by the 1984 mass killings.
----------
In fact, the Congress and the Akali Dal in Punjab have been playing a game in almost a lockstep by raising such issues in a loud pitch that drown out any possibility of anyone reminding them of issues of legacy. Their silences are also conjoined.
----------
A number of Punjab-hitaishis trundled out on the roads on November 1. They spoke of autonomy, federalism, Punjab’s claim over Chandigarh, but 1984 was not their issue.
 
US Sikhs were also out in force with banners in hand: "We stand in solidarity with Jewish community.” That’s such a nice thing in these times of poisonous anti-Semitic talk, but it would have been nice to also speak about those killed in 1984.

The nation, of course, heard about Indira Gandhi. The Prime Minister tweeted about it. Amarinder Singh went a step ahead, put his face next to hers, and certifying that that she was "always” right – "for the state and its people, always.”

In fact, neither the Akalis, nor the AAP or the comrades had any problem with the huge advertisements in the print media splashed at the expense of the taxpayer that sang hosannas to Indira Gandhi and taught us how she preached "courage of different kinds," but did not say a word about the thousands of Sikhs burnt alive, killed, maimed, beaten, assaulted, raped on the streets of Delhi in 1984.

"Capt. Amarinder Singh pays tributes to the former Prime Minister on her 34th death anniversary," the Govt of Punjab announced in the advertisement, duly stamped with a Govt of Punjab logo, and embellished with the smiling pictures of Amarinder Singh and Indira Gandhi.

It was also the 34th death anniversary of a lot of other people. It would have been nice to add a line that the chief minister was also committed to continue to fight for justice for the victims of 1984 massacres. "Always” would have been a nice touch.

In fact, the screaming headlines in Punjab newspapers dealt with things entirely different. The Akali Dal is now out to reclaim the panthic domain by making noise against a school textbook already scrapped by the government. In fact, it announced a 48 hour dharna for that purpose, thus ensuring that 1984 no more remains in headlines.
----------
The Congress, the SAD, the AAP, and those at Bargari or Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall’s Mela Gadri Babiyan Da, have maintained a pragmatic silence in complete lockstep.
----------
Sample this: On this November 1, 2018, the 34th anniversary of the anti-Sikh violence in Delhi and elsewhere, the only official statement issued by Sukhbir Singh Badal, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, said he has asked the Punjab government to immediately announce an enhanced State Advised Price (SAP) of Rs 360 per quintal for sugarcane procurement in Punjab. The SAD president considered it wise to delve deep into history and inform us that his government had announced an additional SAP of Rs 50 per quintal, and had also facilitated Rs 200 crore worth of soft loans to private sugar mills.

Was this exactly the kind of thing the entire Sikh community wanted to hear on October 31/November 1, 34 years after seeing men, women and children being hacked to death in the streets of Delhi which is almost a second home to Punjab's rulers of all shades?

In fact, on the morning of November 1, when Sukhbir Singh Badal and company landed at Akal Takht to offer Ardas before beginning their two-day dharna against the impugned history book after announcing their intention to do so and having issued statements to that effect, the mention of the anti-Sikh violence was quickly tagged on to the Ardas.

Not one newspaper in Punjab published a single editorial about the events in Delhi circa October/November 1984.

In fact, the Congress and the Akali Dal in Punjab have been playing a game in almost a lockstep by raising such issues in a loud pitch that drown out any possibility of anyone reminding them of the issues of legacy. Their silences are also conjoined.

The house-trained media is also playing footsie with this approach.
----------
Do you think everyone in the Akali Dal forgot that April 2018 was the 40th anniversary of the Nirankari clash?
----------
So, the Baisakhi of April 2018 passed off very "peacefully” without even a single newspaper article, editorial or news headline mentioning that this was the 40th anniversary of the 1978 Sikh-Nirankari clash in which 13 people were killed and which stoked the fires of terrorism in Punjab and a rift with a sect that lasts till date.

Do you think everyone in the Akali Dal forgot that April 2018 was the 40th anniversary of the Nirankari clash? The truth is that everyone in the top Akali Dal echelons made it a point to forget to remember the date.

The conspiracies of silence need much coordination. One statement, one article, one editorial, one off the cuff remark can puncture the entire venture. In April this year, they pulled off their grand plan. In October/November this year, they have almost succeeded in doing it again.

Even the frontpage headlines about Hashimpura massacre court case sending 16 to life imprisonment 31 years after the killings of Muslims did not send a reminder to Punjab’s political leadership.
 
Amarinder Singh did pay tributes to the martyrs, but it was in Gallipoli, Turkey for the soldiers of Commonwealth countries. 

Now, all that’s left to do is to wait if HS Phoolka finds the time to issue a press release or a Jarnail Singh makes a perfunctory statement since he should still have one shoe left, having thrown the other one once. The first one took him far, he should find some use for the second.

In the late 1980s, I was a student at a university in Punjab where a teacher of English literature who had then recently flirted with Punjab’s Akali politics told me a shocking story of how he was pestered by an office superintendent to get an article of his published in some newspaper. 
----------
Even the frontpage headlines about Hashimpura massacre court case sending 16 to life imprisonment 31 years after the killings of Muslims did not send a reminder to Punjab’s political leadership.
----------
The office superintendent, working in the journalism department of the university, had suffixed a pen name to his name and wanted to see it in print. Since he was the one who would send articles of university researchers to newspapers, he put his own byline on one such write up and a leading Punjabi newspaper duly published it with an unprecedented credentials: "ਗਣਤੰਤਰ ਦਿਵਸ 'ਤੇ ਵਿਸ਼ੇਸ਼ - ਕੱਦੂਆਂ ਦੀ ਕਾਸ਼ਤ ਵਿਚ ਧਿਆਨ ਰੱਖਣ ਯੋਗ ਨੁਕਤੇ - ਮਨਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਮਹਿਰਮ.” (Gantantar Diwas Te Vishesh – Kadduan Di Kashat Vich Dhyan Rakhan Yog Nukte – by Manjit Singh Mehram.)”

Manjit Singh Mehram is no more. He was a kind soul, and I was never in doubt that apart from the wish to see his name in print, his concerns about those opting to enhance their kaddu production were genuine. I have serious doubts about the real intentions of politicians now worried about the concerns of sugarcane farmers on this 34th anniversary of anti-Sikh violence of 1984.

"I did not report the refugee story much…elections were coming up by end-December that I was assigned to cover. The election became the story. Everybody wanted to forget the killings and the survivors.”
—Sanjay Suri; 1984: The Anti-Sikh Violence and After; Harper Collins, 2015. Page 209.

You got it right, Sanjay Suri, at least 34 years in advance.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 
 

FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE

Amarinder Singh, the coup in the CBI & the ED case: Headline is missing, so please read it between the lines

COP Vs. COP IN PUNJAB: Saiyan Bhaye Kotwal Ab Dar Kahe Ka

SURGICAL STRIKE DAY & WE THE PEOPLE The story of the gate is not the story of the house

Akali Dal's attempt to brand Navjot Sidhu as anti-national & ISI agent is ridiculous

UNHOLY HASTE To save the faith

Hua Panthik-Panthik Punjab - How do we reclaim real politics?

The Yuba City Attack on Manjit Singh GK & General Sambit Patra

Pakistan, Navjot Sidhu & the hug: Amarinder Singh 2018 is opposing Amarinder Singh 2004

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Paragraphs that went missing from PM’s Red Fort speech could have pre-empted Opposition attack

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

Mr SY Quraishi, can you please help to save this pet dog locked inside this sealed building?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

Punjab is Silent as India Wakes Up to Talk of Refugees

AAP-CONG ALLIANCE: ARREY BHAI, YEH KYA LIKH DALA?

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS PLANNING HONEYMOON? 

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

DEATH EMBRACING LOGIC: Drugs in Punjab

PANJAB'S EMERGENCY: FORMAL AND INFORMAL

THE KASHMIR GOVERNOR, THE TRIBUNE TRUST & ETHICS - How Journalism Fails Readers?

"Congress Sikhan Di Dushman Jamaat Hai?” —Akalis need to dump broken record, shift gears

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel

AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?

A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab

OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT


 











Comment

your name*

email address*

comments*
You may use these HTML tags:<p> <u> <i> <b> <strong> <del> <code> <hr> <em> <ul> <li> <ol> <span> <div>

verification code*
 







MOST VISITED
YOU MAY LIKE

TOPIC CLOUD

TAGS CLOUD

ARCHIVE



Copyright © 2016-2017







NEWS LETTER