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1984 a riot or genocide - Controversy explodes in Canada again as Hardeep Puri tweets
- PT Bureau
1984 a riot or genocide - Controversy explodes in Canada again as Hardeep Puri tweets



TORONTO, Dec. 14: India’s Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri knows what is a genocide — his grandfather barely escaped alive by jumping over the wall of the Jallianwala Bagh in 1919. Now that he has termed the 1984 killings of Sikhs a genocide in his tweets, the Indian diplomatic corps is in a tizzy and trying to tell the world that these were merely ‘riots’. 

Exactly 98 years after the bloody Vaisakhi at Jallianwala Bagh, senior BJP leader and minister Arun Jaitley had protested to Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan over the Ontario Assembly describing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as genocide. 


Now, Hardeep Puri has gone ahead and described the 1984 killings exactly in the same terms – a genocide – and this is making news when Puri is on a trip to Canada. 

And India’s diplomats are running for cover, trying the hide the shame of targeted mass killings.

Puri, in fact, hailed legal activist and AAP leader HS Phoolka in his tweet, saying the community owes him gratitude and then went ahead and added the hashtag #SikhGenocide in his tweet. There are more than one tweet by Puri that have the same hashtag.

Official Indian response to the motion passed by Ontario Assembly on April 6, 2017 said, "We reject this misguided motion which is based on a limited understanding of India.”

The private members’ motion was moved by Harinder Malhi, a member of the Provincial Parliament (MPP) from the riding (as constituencies are called in Canada) of Brampton-Springdale, near Toronto, and was carried with 34 MPPs (the equivalent of MLAs) voting in favour and only five against. 
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Hardeep Puri has now gone ahead and described the 1984 killings as a genocide, and it has triggered a row when Puri is on a trip to Canada. India’s diplomats are running for cover, trying the hide the shame of targeted mass killings, and insisting that these were just ‘riots’.
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Incidentally, Harjit Sajjan had disassociated himself from the resolution and claimed it was not the view of the Canadian government. Hardeep Singh Puri apparently knows what is a riot, and what is a genocide.
 
Also Read: Three Women of 1984  

May be having a grandfather who saw General Dyer firing into the crowds is educative enough to distinguish between a riot and a genocide, but it is having the guts to add #SikhGenocide that sends a message that some will never forget 1984. Not unless we also forget Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

Did 1984 killings of Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere amount to a riot or a genocide? You decide. For a clue, here’s Ramachandra Guha in India After Gandhi – The History of World’s Largest Democracy:

"Everywhere it was Sikhs and Sikhs alone who were the target...In Delhi alone more than a thousand Sikhs perished in the violence...They were murdered by a variety of methods, and often in front of their own mothers and wives. Bonfires were made of the bodies; in one case, a little child was burnt with his father, the perpetrator saying, ‘Ye saap ka bachcha hai, isse bhi khatam karo’ (This offspring of a snake must be finished too).”

* * * 

"There is a large cantonment in Delhi itself, and several infantry divisions within a radius of fifty miles of the capital. The army was put on standby, despite repeated appeals to the prime minister and his home minster PV Narsimha Rao, they were not asked to move into action. A show of military strength in the city on the 1st and 2nd would have quelled the riots — yet the order never came.” Doordarshan, the only television channel in the country at that point of time, added fuel to fire by constantly showing crowds baying for the blood of the Sikhs. (From India After Gandhi)
 

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