Australian Sikhs Call To Recognise 1984 Massacre Of Sikhs In Delhi As Genocide

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MELBOURNE – An Australian MP has called for the country to recognise the killing of more than 37,000 Sikhs in India in 1984 as a genocide.

Warren Entsch tabled a petition of more than 4,000 signatures, calling for the government to recognise “that an organised campaign of horrific violence took place against Sikhs in November 1984”.

Around 300 Australian Sikhs sat in the parliament’s public gallery to see the motion be put forward on the 28th anniversary of the events.

It calls for the violence, rape and killings to be recognised formally and urges the Indian government to bring those responsible for organising the campaign of violence to justice.

Protestors in Delhi call for justice

Entsch compared the events in Delhi to the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis saying: “the continued denial of such historical injustices can only encourage modern-day crimes against humanity.”

He paid tribute to the growing and affluent Sikh community who have been a “vibrant part of the Australian cultural mosaic since 1897”.

He said he felt it was the right thing to do after being told about Sikh culture, tradition and religion by his friend Daljit Singh, adding: “That is why I commenced this journey two years ago and I hope our aims will be taken in that context.”

Daljit Singh said: “For Warren Entsch to take this issue to parliament is not only unforgettable for the Sikhs in Australia, but for the whole Sikh nation around the world. To speak against cruelty and genocide is a service to mankind.”

It is the first time such a petition about the controversial killing of thousands of Sikhs has been put forward outside of the sub-continent.

In India survivors of the atrocities marched through the capital in protest at no prosecutions being brought forward despite numerous commissions set up to investigate the violent mob attacks.

In August 2005, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh apologised in the Indian parliament for the attacks and forced the resignation of Congress minister Jagdish Tytler, who is alleged to have been involved.

The orchestrated violence against Sikhs in the capital Delhi took place after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.

Her death came five months after she ordered the Indian army to storm the holy Harimandir Sahib (or Golden Temple) complex in Amritsar and other Sikh places of worship in the Punjab where armed Sikhs were seeking redress for their grievances.