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Inspired by Gujarat, Sikh riot victims demand justice

Oct 23, 2012

The victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots have launched a campaign seeking justice for those who lost their lives during the violence.

The victims of the anti-Sikh riots have launched a campaign 'forgotten citizens 1984' on the 29th anniversary of the violence that shook north India as a reaction to the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The campaign began on October 21 at the historic Jalianwala Bagh, Amritsar, and will reach Delhi on October 30, seeking justice for the victims.

Headed by HS Phoolka, senior advocate at the Supreme Court of India, the campaigners will stage a candle light vigil at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on November 3.

The 1984 anti-Sikh riots took place after Indira was killed by her Sikh bodyguards which led to violent incidents leading to more than 3000 deaths during the riots that followed.

According the organisers of the campaign, there has been no progress in securing punishment for the guilty even 28 years after the November 1984 genocide. A petition letter is also being sent to the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh for keeping a check on communal violence in future.

The petition letter will also cite examples of Gujarat riots, Christian killings in Orissa, and the Assam riots, saying these incidents could have been avoided if those guilty for the 1984 riots had been punished.

“Instead of punishment, culprits of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots have been rewarded with ministerial berths and, top officers of the police and public administration, who actively connived in the genocide, as well as put roadblocks in the way of justice over these 28 years, have been rewarded with promotions and honours," says the petition written by a former judge of Supreme Court of India and signed by several eminent signatories.

Referring to the Nanawati report of 2005, the petition alleges that no action was taken against the accused.  Replying to a query about the rise of militancy rise in Punjab, social activist Bhuwan Ribhu, said that the militancy in Punjab was only a result of the 1984 genocide.

"People of Gujarat have shown us the way. Even if he's a minister or Prime Minister, we'll go after him (the culprit)," S Raghavan, president of Lok Raj Sangathan, one of the organisers of the campaign.

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