WHO ARE THE GUILTY? Report of an inquiry into the causes & impact of the riots in Delhi (October-November 1984)
The People’s Union For Democratic Rights and People's Union For Civil Liberties place on record their gratitude for the valuable information given by the survivors of the carnage at tremendous risk of their lives, the volunteers of the Nagrik Ekta Manch and many others who by their dedicated work made possible the investigation and publication of this report.
The first edition of our report was sold out within a fortnight. We are bringing out the
present edition - with a post-script. Our report is primarily based on case studies -carried out in the trans-jamuna and West Delhi areas. It is by no means exhaustive and covers only partially the killings, arson and brutalities committed in other parts of Delhi. Memories of the holocaust and the plight of the survivors have been pushed into the background by the shrill campaign for the approaching election. No efforts have been made to restore peace and confidence among the Sikhs. Our inquiries reveal that till now there has been neither any serious attempt to bring the culprits to book, nor any sincere effort to rehabilitate the victims.
Both are necessary in view of the long term implications of the holocaust that took place in Delhi in the first week of November. At the same time, an understanding of historical background to the events is necessary. Although the present booklet does no purport to go into the details of the crisis in the Punjab, it is essential to point out important stages leading to the Delhi events - the dithering attitude of the center in solving the outstanding social and political problems of Punjab, and encouraging Hindu and Sikh communalism, to feed upon each other; the rise of the Sikh fundamentalists who stepped in to fill the vacuum created by the absence of effective secular and democratic forces, the failure of Sikh political leaders and intellectuals to protest against the continued depredation by the extremists; the increasing separatist and communal tensions generated by Bhindranwale and his followers inside the Punjab (encouraged initially by leaders of the ruling party) on the one hand, and by self appointed proponents of Khalistan living outside India on the other; and the Hindu backlash in reaction to the image of the Sikh as an insolent fanatic, that was taking shape in the Hindu mind.
The aftermath of the Delhi holocaust threatens to be as menacing as what followed the above mentioned series of events in the Punjab during the last two years. The recent riots prove that the Government has given licence to Hindu communalism and a handle to Sikh fundamentalism. The victims of the carnage as well as other members of the Sikh community, out of fear and insecurity, may increasingly tend to think in terms of separation and religious exclusiveness. It is because of this that the responsibility of secular and democratic-minded citizens to reassure the Sikh community is of paramount importance. The latter will have to be reminded that just as the creation of states based on islamic fundamentalism, whether in Pakistan or Iran, have not solved the basic economic and social problems of Muslims there, Khalistan cannot solve the problems of Sikhs. It will not only lead to the emergence of yet another nation run by religious zealots and riddled with divisions among the Sikhs themselves, but create a fertile ground for legitimizing authoritarian rule by the Hindu majority inside India. Download the full report:
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