November 1, 2019 (New York, NY) -- Thirty-five years ago, from October 31 to November 3, 1984, thousands of Sikhs were hunted and murdered by government-orchestrated mobs in cities throughout India following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Along with Sikhs around the world, the Sikh Coalition marks this solemn occasion as a turning point in our community’s history.
Earlier this year, we also marked
the 35th anniversary of the Indian Army’s June 1984 assault on Darbar Sahib (popularly known as the Golden Temple) and dozens of other gurdwaras (Sikh houses of worship) throughout Punjab. Code-named Operation Bluestar, this event claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Sikhs.
As we recognize the 35th anniversary of these atrocities, it is important to understand the deep history of these events and the issues of state repression and impunity that are still relevant today. According to eyewitnesses and human rights activists, the killings were organized by government officials and facilitated by police officials. Unfortunately, 35 years later, the Indian government continues to deny appropriate justice to the victims and survivors of the massacres.
We cannot achieve accountability without continuing to find ways to document and share the history of what happened during and after 1984 and the stories of those who experienced it all first-hand. The Sikh Coalition is proud to stand with organizations like Ensaaf
and 1984 Living History Project
who work to document this history. Here are some additional resources about the events of 1984, the decade of disappearances and extrajudicial executions afterwards, and the effects of both on the collective Sikh diaspora:
Videos and Personal Accounts
A Witness Among the Bodies
Survivor Interviews, Days After Nov. 1984
The Last Killing
Mapping Crimes Against Humanity
1984 Living History Project
Mapping June 1984
(by the 1984 Living History Project)
Sawinder Singh Recounts His Experiences with 1984
Human Rights Watch / Physicians for Human Rights
The Sikh Coalition remains committed to raising awareness about anti-Sikh violence in India and supporting efforts to promote justice and accountability.