WASHINGTON DC, Aug 18, 2005 | ISSN: 1684-2057 | www.satribune.com

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Sikh women and children (below) demonstrate on New Delhi streets

After Apology, Congress Tries to Scuttle Sikh Massacre Report

By Arun Rajnath

NEW DELHI, August 18: After publicly apologizing to the Sikhs, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the ruling Congress Party have decided to refer the cases of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, following Indira Gandhi's murder, to the Anti-Riot Cell of the Special Branch of the Delhi Police while vociferous protests and silent marches of the Sikh community continue in the Capital.

Sikhs are not happy at the move. Jatthedar Subedar Singh said at the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj: “This is all an eye-wash and a face-saving device. To re-investigate the cases means prolonging the matter for another two decades. The Government must arrest the accused persons immediately.”

The Indian Government tabled the report along with the Action Taken Report (ATR) in the Parliament. In the ATR the Congress-led Government has taken the whole issue in levity, and has protected its leaders Harkishan Lal Bhagat, Jagdish Tyteler and Sajjan Kumar.

These leaders are the main accused in the anti-Sikh riots that took place soon after the assassination of the then Prime Minster Indira Gandhi though Justice Nanavati has observed, there is “credible evidence that Congress leaders have participated in the riots”.

The ground is still shaking, but this time for the ruling Congress Party as the Nanavati Commission has indicated new evidence against some Congress leaders. It would be strange for the future generations to realize that everything is possible in India, and when a ruling party makes it possible. Four thousands Sikhs were murdered! But the case was not registered for 12-13 years! And when the case was registered, culprits were not named in the First Information Report (FIR)! Really, it happens only in India!

After his mother's assassination, Rajiv Gandhi was nominated as the Prime Minister on the proposal of another Sikh, Buta Singh. While commenting on the riots, Rajiv Gandhi had said: “Jab koi bara per girta hai to dharti hilti hi hai” (When a big tree falls, the ground is bound to shake). Now the ground is still shaking for the ruling Congress Party as the Nanavati Commission has directly pointed towards the involvement of at least three stalwart Congress leaders, viz. Harkishal Lal Bhagat, Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tyteler. At present Sajjan Kumar is the Member of Parliament and Jagdish Tyteler is the Minister of Non-Resident Indian Affairs.

Privileged sources told the South Asia Tribune that there is new evidences against these three Congress leaders for instigating the mob for vandalizing and murdering the Sikh community in the Capital. Affidavits against these Central leaders, along with another Congressman Dharam Das Shastri have been filed before the Nanavati Commission. These affidavits were seen by this correspondent.

Some of the eyewitnesses have said that HKL Bhagat, Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tyteler and Dharam Das Shastri were leading the crowd of rioters and they instigated the rioters to set Gurdwaras on fire, kill the Sikhs and take away their women.

One Gurmeet Singh has filed an affidavit against HKL Bhagat. He has said: “When the rioters assembled before the Gurdwara at Laxmi Nagar, Bhagat arrived in a white Ambassador car. I recognized Bhagat as I was very much acquainted with him. I have been a supporter of the Congress Party and Bhagat used to hire my taxis during elections.”

“Bhagat directed the policemen and his supporters to kill the Sikhs who had assembled in the Gurdwara to protect themselves. Thereafter six policemen came to us and asked us to throw away our arms otherwise they will shoot us,” the deponent said.

“We locked ourselves in the Gurdwara But we did not surrender our arms -- lathis and kirpans. Thereafter the police went away and the rioters assaulted the Gurdwara twice. Had we surrendered our arms, the mob would have easily butchered us,” the deponent further stated.

Similarly, another deponent, Wazir Singh, has stated in his affidavit: “On the day when Indira Gandhi was assassinated, HKL Bhagat and other Congressmen assembled at the residence of the local Congress leader Rampal Saroj. They called in their supporters and they began killing Sikhs.”

Another deponent Satoo Singh has stated: “The rioters first pelted stones at my brother and when he fell on the ground, Bhagat himself directed the rioters to kill him. Bhagat had said: "yeh saanp ka bachcha hai. Ise zinda mat chorna”. (He is the son of a snake, don't leave him alive). “The rioters poured chemicals and kerosene oil on my brother and put a burning tyre around his neck,” the deponent has stated in his affidavit.

Chief Granthi of the Moti Bagh Gurdwara Surinder Singh himself has filed an affidavit against the Central Minister Jagdish Tyteler. In his affidavit the Granthi has stated: “On November 1, 1984, the rioters attacked the Gurdwara at Azad Market in the leadership of Jagdish Tyteler. At that time I was the Granthi in that Gurdwara”

Surinder Singh further states: “Rioters set the Gurdwara on fire, and I went upstairs to protect myself but retired Police Inspector Thakur Singh and Sewadaar Bahal Singh were killed by the mob.”

“After a week to this gruesome incident, Jagdish Tyteler came to me on November 10, 1984 with some papers and asked me to sign. But I refused to do so,” he further stated.

There are other similar affidavits also that have been filed before the Nanavati Commission, and that put the ruling Congress Party, whose Prime Minister himself happens to be a Sikh, in a dire position.

But it is shameful for India that claims to be the champion of the democratic causes, those culprits are still roaming and some of them have reached the highest seat of democracy, the Indian Parliament.

Who will give justice to Darshan Kaur whose husband was killed before her eyes? She told the South Asia Tribune: “They killed my husband before my eyes. I know the killers very well. When I went to the court to give evidence, those people threatened me.”

“They are still roaming freely and nobody cares about us who have lost everything in the anti-Sikh riots. There are several other people like me who are waiting for justice. The Government has shifted us to a new settlement that is known as the ‘Widow Colony’. What does it indicate? I cannot forget the day when my husband was killed, and I have been waiting for justice for 21 years! The same Congress Party is ruling the country whose members were involved in the anti-Sikh riots. Can I expect justice? Will the Government give me justice? No body knows!”

Another riot victim Daleep Singh told this correspondent: “Those rioters tried to kill me. They had poured kerosene oil on me. My whole body has burn marks. 21 years have past since then, but there is no ray of hope and justice. It is all an eyewash.”

“These Commissions work in air conditioned rooms. The Commission should work hard to bring the culprits to book,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Sikh community is holding protest rallies and observing silent marches throughout the Capital city of Delhi in which various well-known Sikh personalities are taking part. One such silent protest march initiated from Gurdwara Bangla Saheb on August 14, and culminated at the Parliament Street. The protesters held placards demanding Justice! The march was not against any political person or accused. The Sikhs only demanded justice and equality.

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