WHO ARE THE GUILTY? Report of an inquiry into the causes & impact of the riots in Delhi (October-November 1984)

A fact-finding team jointly organised by one People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) and people's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in the course of investigations from November 1 to November 10, has come to the conclusion that the attacks on members of the Sikh Community in Delhi and its suburbs during the period, far from being a spontaneous expression of "madness" and of popular "grief and anger" at Mrs. Gandhi's assassination as made out to be by the authorities, were the outcome of a well organised plan marked by acts of both deliberate commissions and omissions by important politicians of the Congress (I) at the top and by authorities in the administration. Although there was the handiwork of a determined group which was inspired by different sentiments altogether.

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:

Also see: 
A Hard Rain Falling: on the death of TP Chandrasekharan and related matters. EPW "... In 1984 the Congress transformed itself into yet another vehicle for communal hooliganism; and thereafter protected the criminals. This allowed the RSS to drag the very idea of moderate constitutionalism through the mud and slime. The habit of self-deceit progressed by leaps and bounds. For example, reports about communal incidents generally tend to name (or hint at) this or that community, but for 1984, a political category came into play: ‘Congress killed Sikhs’. (Were there Bahais and Parsis in the streets?). Here too, mobs shouting communal slogans were desecrating shrines and killing people to assert the superiority of one religion over another. And many residents of Delhi were enjoying the spectacle. But judging from the typical responses to any discussion of Gujarat in 2002, the RSS is delighted at the precedent – it enables them to say ‘What of it? The Congress did the same in 1984’. For the Sangh Parivar, it appears that one massacre deserves another. One little fact tells a big story however – the number of BJP MP’s elected to the 1985 Lok Sabha was precisely two, because Hindutva ideologues and their voters had switched to the Congress. This is why fascism cannot simply be reduced to partisan affiliations, even if some parties propagate fascist ideas whilst others make pragmatic adjustments to it. And the ruthless practice of certain Leftists completes the picture. What we are witnessing is the criminalisation of the polity – and I’m not referring to a head count of MPs. The process intensifies with every instance of impunity..."

And: Terrifying implications of the SC's Staines Judgement
Armies of the Pure: the question of Indian fascism 

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