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The Sikh Coalition News
October 31, 2022
  • Remember 1984

    October 31, 2022 (New York, NY) – Thirty-eight years ago, from October 31 to November 3, 1984, thousands of Sikhs throughout India were hunted and murdered by government-orchestrated mobs following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Today, the Sikh Coalition joins Sikhs around the world in solemnly recognizing these horrific events as a turning point in our history.

    Earlier this year, in June, we also marked the 38th anniversary of the Indian Army’s June 1984 assault on Darbar Sahib and dozens of other gurdwaras throughout Punjab. Code-named Operation Bluestar by the Indian government, this coordinated attack claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Sikhs. Historians estimate that tens of thousands of Sikhs were killed starting in 1984, and this violence continued into the 1990s. According to eyewitnesses and human rights activists, the killings were organized by government officials and facilitated by police officials.

    As we recognize the 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. Unfortunately, nearly four decades later, the Indian government continues to deny appropriate justice to the victims and survivors of the massacres.

    We cannot attain 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 amplify the work of 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 afterward, and the effects of both on the collective Sikh diaspora:

    Videos and Personal Accounts
    1984 Living History Project
    Survivor Interviews, Days After November 1984
    Mapping Crimes Against Humanity
    A Witness Among the Bodies
    Mapping June 1984
    The Last Killing
    Firsthand Account of Sawinder Singh
    Sikh Genocide Project

    Amnesty International
    Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights
    Human Rights Watch

    The Sikh Coalition remains committed to raising awareness about anti-Sikh violence in India and supporting efforts to promote justice and accountability. Our history is our responsibility--and it is equally our responsibility to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself with our community or any other community. On the eve of pivotal federal, state, and local elections in the United States, bigotry and nationalism remain pressing threats both here at home and in countries around the world. Together, our shared work for democracy, justice, and equal rights must continue.

    As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.
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