Though the NDA government is yet to spell out the steps it proposes to take for punishing those involved in the killing of a large number of Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere in November 1984, union home minister Rajnath Singh’s admission that the killings were a genocide has gone down well with the Panthic parties.
The admission has led to Panthic leaders, including from the SAD and the SGPC, demanding that the minister take steps to punish those responsible for it.
Commenting on the minister’s statement given in New Delhi while distributing compensation of Rs. 5 lakh each to 17 relatives of the victims, SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar welcomed it saying that after 30 long years, someone had spoken the truth. “We have all along been saying that the killings cannot be labelled riots. It was a one-sided and planned massacre of innocent men, women and children by armed persons. It was fit to be called genocide because the state had a role to play, with police officials openly siding with the killers,” Makkar said.
He said that now that Rajnath had made an important admission, he should take concrete measures to ensure that those responsible for it be punished. Wherever FIRs had not been registered, adequate steps be taken for rehabilitating the affected families, he added.
The All India Sikh Students Federation had launched a signature campaign a couple of months ago for soliciting public support to declare the violence as genocide. The Akal Takht had lent its support to the campaign.
Phoolka wants genocide laws applied
Aam Aadmi Party leader and Supreme Court lawyer HS Phoolka said it was for the first time that a home minister had admitted this. “I want the Centre to treat it as genocide and apply all international laws applicable for genocides in the court of law,” said Phoolka, who has been fighting these cases for several victims.
Radicals want official declaration
Radical Sikh group Dal Khalsa has urged Rajnath to impress upon his government to “officially recognise the incidents as genocide”. In a statement, party spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh said the killings were planned and carried out with official support leading to 2,733 people being killed (official figure). He urged the minister to direct the ministry of information and broadcasting to direct the media to stop terming the carnage as riots.
Rights group to bring resolution in UN
US-based human rights group Sikh for Justice announced that a resolution to declare the violence as genocide would be brought in the 70th UN General Assembly session.
Picture by Sikh Siyasat