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The Sikh Coalition News
November 1, 2019
  • Remembering 1984, 35 Years Later

    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 (by Ensaaf)
    Survivor Interviews, Days After Nov. 1984 (by Ensaaf)
    The Last Killing (by Ensaaf)
    Mapping Crimes Against Humanity (by Ensaaf)
    1984 Living History Project
    Mapping June 1984 (by the 1984 Living History Project)
    Sawinder Singh Recounts His Experiences with 1984

    Reports
    Amnesty International
    Human Rights Watch / Physicians for Human Rights
    Ensaaf

    The Sikh Coalition remains committed to raising awareness about anti-Sikh violence in India and supporting efforts to promote justice and accountability.
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