03 May 2009

We Will Never Forget

For a couple of years, I have been thinking about this twenty-fifth anniversary of the carnage of 1984. I have been fervently hoping that the Sikh community would wake up the world about the atrocities of that year in India, in fact the atrocities that seem to be a part of everyday life in that country, that legal fiction doomed ultimately to failure. I have been hoping we could awaken the masses of oppressed people especially in India and stir them to action. I have been looking forward to the chance of using this year as a springboard to accomplishment, a big step toward the establishment of our homeland from the rubble of what was India.

And I still am.

Imagine what we could accomplish if the various oppressed groups who cope with discrimination on a daily basis - the Dalits, the Tribals, the Christians, the Muslims, the Hindu Widows...I could go on and on...and, of course us Sikhs - imagine that we all worked together to end the injustices meted out to us by the corrupt Republic of India. It almost boggles the mind. India will disintegrate one day. The only question is, how will Bharata Mata fall? Will it be peaceful, as in the old Soviet Union, or will it be by horrible bloodshed as it was at the time of Partition when the Raj was divided and our Punjab was torn into two bloody pieces? Time will tell.

What I had not anticipated was the emotional toll that reliving, on a daily basis, the horrors of that time would have on me. Those events are so much a part of me, with me 24/7/365 that it is rather like being a woman; I am a woman, of course, it's always there, always a part of who I am, but I don't sit thinking about it all the time. I don't relive the oppression wrought upon my sisters throughout the ages, the oppression that continues even now, in both obvious and subtle ways. In the same way, I generally don't sit and relive all that happened. It's just there. Now, however, it has become very immediate to me. Looking at the old pictures, the candidacies of Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, remaking the pictures of the burnt Akal Takht, over and over, is taking its toll on me. I hope it doesn't show too much. And I most fervently hope that it will prove worth the effort and pain involved. I have great faith that the efforts of all of us survivors who have taken this burden on ourselves will be richly rewarded.

And now, yet another petition, an important one from the good folks at the 1984 Accountability Project. This one calls for a full international investigation into the role of that rascal rajiv gandhi as well as the culpability of the congress party in the slaughter of Sikhs in November 1984. If you care about the sacrifices of our shaheeds at that time, as well as the well-being of us survivors, please take a minute to sign this petition.



The November 1984 Accountability Project seeks to obtain justice for the thousands of innocent Sikhs who were murdered, tortured, raped, beaten, and burnt alive during the massacres in Delhi and throughout India in November, 1984. During this carnage, Sikhs were burnt alive with petroleum in the streets, women were gang raped, some by police, and infants were put to death. To date, the people responsible for organizing this carnage are yet to be brought to justice.

We seek and an independent international inquiry into former Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi's and the Congress party's role in planning, organizing and executing the November 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms in New Delhi, India and the immediate removal of Rajiv Gandhi's name from all public monuments, airports, roads, stadia, parks, sports awards, and professorships.

Join the quest for justice. Sign the petition http://www.nov1984.org/petition/#Signdemanding justice for the victims of the 1984 pogroms.
November 1984 Accountability Petition Demands

  • An independent international inquiry into Rajiv Gandhi's and the Congress party's role in planning, organizing and executing the November 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms in New Delhi, India and
  • The immediate removal of the name of former Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, from all public monuments, airports, roads, stadia, parks, sports awards, and professorships.

"The blackened, stiff corpses lay against the walls… with their eyes open. The burn victims were Sikhs, identifiable only by the steel bracelets worn on their wrists."
(Washington Post, Nov. 3, 1984)

"Like being a Jew in Czarist Russia or Nazi Germany" Violence makes Sikhs fear for their future in India."
(New York Times, Nov. 11, 1984)

"When the history is written of the horrors that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the 32nd block of Trilokpuri Colony will be remembered as a place where civilization disintegrated."
(LA Times, Nov. 6, 1984)

Sikhs in Train Station



To: Justice Navanetham Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Cc: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India
Cc: President Barack Obama, United States of America
Cc: President Hans-Gert Pöttering, European Parliament
Cc: Louis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court

Respected Justice Pillay,

We, the undersigned, call for

An independent international inquiry into Rajiv Gandhi's and the Congress party's role in planning, organizing and executing the November 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms in New Delhi, India

and the immediate removal of the name of former Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, from all public monuments, airports, roads, stadia, parks, sports awards, and professorships.

By conservative estimates, 4000 Sikhs were killed in the first week of November 1984 on the streets of India's capital. Organized armed groups, equipped with lists of Sikh households, overtook the city, as a curfew was imposed, and law enforcement was either absent or facilitated the atrocities.

These organized massacres followed the assassination of Rajiv's mother, the Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, by two Sikh bodyguards, who were avenging the attacks against Sikh shrines in June, 1984. On June 4, 1984, a major Sikh religious holiday, Indira Gandhi had ordered Indian troops to storm the holiest of the Sikh gurdwaras, Darbar Sahib, and 31 other gurdwaras, resulting in the brutal deaths of thousands of innocent pilgrims.

Rajiv had been sworn-in as the new Prime Minister immediately after the assassination, and very soon thereafter, the carnage against Sikhs ensued. For four days following this, Sikhs were killed with complete impunity in New Delhi under express orders from many prominent politicians such as H.K.L. Bhagat, Sajjan Kumar, and Jagdish Tytler – of Rajiv's political party.

In the April 26th, 2009 edition of the Indian Express, an eye-witness quotes Tytler as telling a crowd, "I had assured you that you kill Sikhs and nothing will happen to you. I had given a promise to the Centre. Despite this, by killing least number of Sikhs, you have lowered my prestige." This on-the-spot involvement of high ranking party members, and inaction and worse on the part of the police, complete with names of perpetrators in many cases, was first documented by a group of human rights activists (all non-Sikh) in the report, "Who Are the Guilty?," within a month of this massacre.

Shortly afterwards, Rajiv commented at a rally, "But, when a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it does shake a little." Not only that, Rajiv promoted politician Bhagat to the rank of cabinet minister, and rewarded Tytler with an appointment as minister of state. The assiduous efforts made ever since then by the Indian state to shield the guilty of 1984 are now fully documented in the book, "When a Tree Shook Delhi," by Manoj Mitta and H. S. Phoolka. We submit that such an extensive and intensive cover-up, which still continues as the Indian Express article of April 26, 2009 cited above clearly shows, would have been impossible to initiate, and sustain for so long, unless Rajiv was deeply implicated in these mass murders from the very beginning.

International criminal law recognizes the primacy of holding the one with the maximum responsibility most guilty in order to break cycles of impunity. "Command responsibility" holds a superior legally responsible for human rights violations by subordinates if the official knew or should have known about these violations but failed to prevent them or punish those who committed them.

We therefore call for an inquiry into Rajiv Gandhi and the Congress party's responsibility for the November 1984 massacres. The dozen odd kangaroo courts and commissions set up by the Indian government over the past 25 years have served to do nothing more than insult the intelligence of the Sikh community in general, and the surviving relatives of the victims in particular, who still continue to suffer due to the carnage that was unleashed on the streets of Delhi. This partisan record of Indian courts and the inaction by the government in the past 25 years necessitates that such an inquiry be held by an international body, one that is acceptable to Sikhs world-wide.

We also call for the immediate removal of Rajiv Gandhi's name from all buildings, awards, monuments, etc. This rampant and tasteless glorification of a very doubtful political character is a constant daily re-victimization of the Sikhs, and a reminder to them of the justice that has almost totally eluded them so far.

That "history repeats itself" couldn't be more true than in the parallel between the Sikh massacres of 1984 under the Congress party leadership and the Muslim massacres of 2002 under the Bhartiya Janta Party leadership. Narendra Modi should similarly be indicted and tried for his instigation and planning of ostensible pogroms that left thousands of Muslims dead. We call for justice to all, regardless of which Indian party is in control, and regardless of the faith or class of the victims.

Rajiv Gandhi's heirs are deluding themselves if they think that they can make the Sikhs forget the facts about 1984. At the very least, they should have desisted from naming even small-town parks in the Punjab after him. Unless their objective in so doing was not to let the Sikhs forget 1984? For, they are only succeeding in constantly reminding the Sikhs of their humiliation, by confronting them, day in and day out, with the name, and often the picture, of the person whom the Sikhs hold the most culpable.


I did not write this article; I wish I had. It's interesting to see what the RSS is up to when not causing mischief for us Sikhs. I'm not sure if this is funny or just plain gross.

From Times On Line:


Does your Pepsi lack pep? Is your Coke not the real thing? India's Hindu nationalist movement apparently has the answer: a new soft drink made from cow urine.

The bovine brew is in the final stages of development by the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India's biggest and oldest Hindu nationalist group, according to the man who makes it.

Om Prakash, the head of the department, said the drink – called "gau jal", or "cow water" – in Sanskrit was undergoing laboratory tests and would be launched "very soon, maybe by the end of this year".

"Don't worry, it won't smell like urine and will be tasty too," he told The Times from his headquarters in Hardwar, one of four holy cities on the River Ganges. "Its USP will be that it's going to be very healthy. It won't be like carbonated drinks and would be devoid of any toxins."

Hindus revere cows and slaughtering them is illegal in most of India. Cow dung is traditionally used as a fuel and disinfectant in villages, while cow urine and dung are often consumed in rituals to "purify" those on the bottom rungs of the Hindu caste system.

In 2001, the RSS and its offshoots – which include the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party – began promoting cow urine as a cure for ailments ranging from liver disease to obesity and even cancer.

The movement has often been accused of using more violent methods, such as killing 67 Christians in the eastern state of Orissa last year, and assaulting women in a pub in Mangalore last month. It also has a history of targeting foreign business in India, as in 1994, when it organised a nationwide boycott of multinational consumer goods, including Pepsi and Coca Cola.

The cola brands are popular in India, now one of their biggest markets, but have struggled in recent years to shake off allegations, which they deny, that they contain dangerous levels of pesticide.

Mr Prakash said his drink, by contrast, was made mainly of cow urine, mixed with a few medicinal and ayurvedic herbs. He said it would be "cheap", but declined to give further details about its price or ingredients until it was officially launched.

He insisted, however, that it would be able to compete with the American cola brands, even with their enormous advertising budgets. "We're going to give them good competition as our drink is good for mankind," he said. "We may also think of exporting it."


WARNING: Any Bharata Mata (BM) Lover, should probably skip this post and go do something else.

Most of my W3I (What's Wrong With India?) posts are dead serious. This one is a little more light-hearted.
In my exploration of all sorts of things on the Internet, I came across the preamble to the Constitution of India.

I read it. Then I read it again. Liberte, equalite, fraternite. It seems to have borrowed something from the French. As I am 3/8 French, I appreciate that. As for India being a secular state, I have decided to modify the flag of the Republic of India to show her true "secularism."



WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of

W3I: Burnt Alive! Izzat Is A Dirty Word

Evidentally not only Sikhs in Delhi - and elsewhere - Muslims in Gujarat and Christians in Orissa, but also young girls who may have been misbehaving need to be taught a lesson by being burnt alive, while the police stand by and do nothing. I have always been appalled by so-called "honour killings" (See the box on the sidebar). It seems that if the girls happen to be members of a "scheduled caste," it is simply the thing to do when young girls exchange Diwali greetings with young boys.

To read more about Indian violence against Dalits, etc., please go to Atrocity News.

The article:.

2 Indian girls burnt alive for visiting boys on Diwali

CLOSE [X] BHIWANI: As Kaluvas, a village just three km from Bhiwani in Haryana, celebrated Diwali, the festive smiles amid the din of firecrackers and ritual
exchange of sweets may just have hidden a horror no one has till now either dared or wanted to speak about.

Almost 13 days after the incident, it now transpires that Rajender Shivran, who claims he couldn’t sleep under the weight of the unspeakable crime, had on November 1 given a written complaint to the Bhiwani SP’s office saying two teenaged girls of the Dhanak community were ‘‘attacked by machetes and axes and stones as soon as they got down from a car on Diwali night (October 28).

The villagers had waited for them after getting wind of their movements. They were unconscious, but alive, when some of the men brought out jars of kerosene and set them on fire.’’

The complaint, a copy of which TOI has retrieved, was quite shockingly dismissed by the police who have not acted on it even two weeks after the girls were butchered and burned. More surprisingly, Bhiwani superintendent of police Sanjay Kumer said he hadn’t received any ‘‘written or verbal complaint’’ though Shivran went with his petition right to the SP office.

Shivran, who had sent copies of the complaint to the National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Women, DIG and DGP of Haryana, goes on to say in his chilling report that the two girls, whose fathers have been named, were waiting for them to come back after they went to some boys’ house to wish them on Diwali. The enraged family members even chased the car that dropped them home but couldn’t lay their hands on it.

‘‘The girls were alive when someone started pouring kerosene over their bodies. They were then dumped in the cremation ground,’’ the complaint goes on to say. ‘‘Everyone knows about it but is keeping quiet as most are in it together and those who dare to speak about it have been threatened with dire consequences.’’

Sources told TOI that though the Bhiwani police had received the complaint on the same day it was filed and even marked it for verification of facts with a rider to ‘‘report within three days’’, no attempt was made to investigate or even visit Kaluvas. Sanjay Kumar, however, said he has marked an inquiry into the allegations and police teams have been sent to Kaluvas to check out the facts.

But Kaluvas, the village India came to know after local boy Vijender Singh won a boxing bronze in Beijing, is keeping mum about what exactly happened that Diwali night.

The entire village had watched as two young girls were assaulted with sticks and axes, hauled to the cremation ground half-dead and set on fire by their family for the sake of “honour” on Diwali.

The girls had returned from an outing late in the evening, escorted by unidentified men.

The incident had cast a smear on the glory won for Kaluwas in Bhiwani by pugilist Vijender Kumar.

But, in an even more damning evidence of the system’s casual acceptance of the scheduled caste family's act, not even an FIR has been registered in the October 28 incident to date.

Rajender Shivran, a Kaluwas resident, had brought the matter to the notice of the district police in writing on October 30. Copies were sent out to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), SP, Bhiwani and the National Commission for Women (NCW).

The complaint was formally shown received in the SP's office on November 1 and marked by police officials concerned to SHO, Bhiwani Sadar Police Station, for verification of facts. He was asked to submit a report within three days.

Bhiwani Superintendent of Police, Sanjay Kumar, when confronted by Hindustan Times on Monday, claimed that no written or verbal complaint with regard to the matter had been brought to his notice so far.

“However, I have ordered an inquiry based on a news report published today in a Hindi daily,” Kumar hastened to add.

At Kaluwas, meanwhile, villagers are guarded and vigilant against outsiders, allegedly for fear that word may spread.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Two_girls_burnt_alive_for_meeting_boys/articleshow/3697230.cms Less..