India 1984 – when it backstabbed & betrayed with Sikh nation (Part 24)
In this post readers will read about attack on Sikhs in Kanpur (UP) in 1984 Sikh genocide. Those who wish to read previous post on pogrom of Delhi, may view at : https://asrandhawa.wordpress.com/india-1984-when-it-backstabbed-betrayed-with-sikh-nation-part-23/
Genocide in Kanpur (UP).
KANPUR CHAPTER – 9
:: Delhi Massacres ::
(Misra Commission Report)
GENOCIDE AT KANPUR;
There is a distinction in the reference to the Commission so far as the events of Delhi and events of Kanpur and Bokaro are concerned. In regard to Delhi the incidents are said to be “ organized violence” whereas in regard to Kanpur and Bokaro – Chas what happened during the riots has been described as“disturbances”. While all disturbances may not be riots, all riots would usually include disturbances. What happened during October / November 1984 at Kanpur and Bokaro-Chas is certainly riot. All incidents at Kanpur and Bokaro-Chas were confined to 31st October and 1st November. The allegation of organised violence as such is not there in regard to the incidents at Bokaro-Chas though so far as the incidents at Kanpur are concerned, such an allegation has been raised. The Commission is bound by the terms of reference. It would not be open to it to find out whether the disturbances riots at Kanpur and Bokaro-Chas were also organised. In terms of the reference the question whether the violence at Kanpur was organised, however, would not fall for examination.
On behalf of the State of Uttar Pardesh it has been contended that the terms of reference do not require the Commission to report about the lapse, if any, cxommitted by any particular officer though the extent of the damage may be a relevant aspect for consideration. The Commission is inclied to hold that it has jurisdiction to act under section 8B of the Commission of Inquiry Act even within the frame of the reference as it stands. However, whether such action should be taken is another matter when the Commission issued notification calling for affidavits from persons in the known of events relating to the October / November 1984 riots, it was open to officers in the Kanpur District Administration or even the U. P. State Administration to file affidavits disclosing the facts. No affidavits were, however, filed. In all 675 affidavits were received out of which four were rejected being out of time or being in regard to events outside the Kanpur city limits.
Painful days and horrible nights whose remembrance still brings tears in his eyes.
Imagining as to what would have happened 25 years ago is nearly impossible for me. Therefore on the 25th anniversary of Indira Gandhi’s death and the subsequent anti-Sikh riots, I decided to meet some of those who witnessed the uproar, grief, death, suffering and bloodshed. Alok Tomar, who was a reporter in Jansatta at that time, Arati Jerath, the reporter of Indian Express, and Deepak Duggal & Jasbir, businessmen who were targets of the carnage, shared their memories with me.Alok Tomar (Editor, Datelineindia.com)
Nobody could have imagined the wrath and anger that October 31 brought with it. Alok Tomar was going to watch a movie in now defunct Chanakya theatre when, as a routine habit of a crime reporter, he called the police control room and was informed that PM Indira Gandhi had been shot dead by her Sikh guards at PM’s official residence at Safdarjang. He could not digest the idea of her being hit by 38 bullets.
He hired a taxi to AIIMS hospital and managed to see Mrs Gandhi at the 7th floor, lying lifeless. Many of the cabinet members were waiting in the conference hall of AIIMS. Rajiv Gandhi flew back from Orissa. Some of the prominent ministers urged him to take oath immediately but he insisted that his first priority was his mother who was dead. Alok then called Prabhash Joshi, his editor, and dictated to the desk the whole scenario over phone
He even witnessed the first death in the riots at around 4 pm on October 31 when, near the INA market, a sardar was brutally battered with bricks. Later in the day, he filed his story. He recalled the first lines of his report that said- “Aaj do hathyaen hui hai- ek Indira ki aur doosri manushya ke manushya par vishwas ki” (Today, two deaths have occurred- one of Indira and the other of trust in humans)
By November 1, the situation had worsened. While walking to his office, he was amazed to find all the police posts closed and locked. Trilokpuri, especially block 32, was badly hit. The second death occurred at 10:20 am when an elderly sardar was thrashed and killed using a burning tyre that was thrust around his neck. When he questioned Nikhil Kumar (the then additional commissioner of Delhi Police and now Governor of Nagaland), he answered that Hindus are just burning garbage and how could police stop the madding crowd?
For three days and four nights the killing and pillaging continued without the police, the civil administration and the Union Government, which was then in direct charge of Delhi, lifting a finger in admonishment. The Congress was in power and could have prevented the violence, but the then Prime Minister, his Home Minister, indeed the entire Council of Ministers, twiddled their thumbs.
Even as stray dogs gorged on charred corpses and wailing women, clutching children too frightened to cry, fled mobs armed with iron rods, staves and gallons of kerosene, AIR and Doordarshan kept on broadcasting blood-curdling slogans like ‘Khoon ka badla khoon se lenge’ (We shall avenge blood with blood) raised by Congress workers grieving over their dear departed leader.
In mid-morning on October 31, 1984, Mrs Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh guards posted at her home. Her death was ‘officially’ confirmed at 6 pm, after due diligence had been exercised to ensure Rajiv Gandhi’s succession. By then, reports of stray incidents of violence against Sikhs, including the stoning of President Zail Singh’s car, had started trickling in at various police stations.
By the morning of November 1, hordes of men were on the rampage in south, east and west Delhi. They were armed with iron rods and carried old tyres and jerry cans filled with kerosene and petrol. Owners of petrol pumps and kerosene stores, beneficiaries of Congress largesse, provided petrol and kerosene free of cost. Some of the men went around on scooters and motorcycles, marking Sikh houses and business establishments with chalk for easy identification. They had been provided with electoral rolls to make their task easier.
By late afternoon that day, hundreds of taxis, trucks and shops owned by Sikhs had been set ablaze. By early evening, the murder, loot and rape began in right earnest. The worst butchery took place in Block 32 of Trilokpuri, a resettlement colony in east Delhi. The police either participated in the violence or merely watched from the sidelines.
Curfew was declared in south and central Delhi at 4 pm, and in east and west Delhi at 6 pm on November 1. But there was no attempt to enforce it. PV Narasimha Rao, the then Home Minister, remained unmoved by cries for help. In his affidavit to the Nanavati Commission of Inquiry, Lt-Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora, decorated hero of the 1971 India-Pakistan war, said, “The Home Minister was grossly negligent in his approach, which clearly reflected his connivance with perpetrators of the heinous crimes being committed against the Sikhs.”
The first deployment of the Army took place around 6 pm on November 1 in south and central Delhi, which were comparatively unaffected, but in the absence of navigators, which should have been provided by the police and the civil authorities, the jawans found themselves lost in unfamiliar roads and avenues.
The Army was deployed in east and west Delhi in the afternoon of November 2, more than 24 hours after the killings began. But, here, too, the jawans were at a loss because there were no navigators to show them the way through byzantine lanes.
In any event, there was little the Army could have done: Magistrates were ‘not available’ to give permission to fire on the mobs. This mandatory requirement was kept pending till Mrs Indira Gandhi’s funeral was over. By then, 1,026 Sikhs had been killed in east Delhi. Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar were among Congress ‘leaders’ who, witnesses said, incited and led mobs. Both deny the allegation, but the evidence is overwhelming.
A report on the pogrom, jointly prepared by the PUCL and PUDR and published under the title, Who Are the Guilty? names both of them along with others. The report quotes well-known journalist Sudip Mazumdar: “The Police Commissioner, SC Tandon was briefing the Press (about 10 Indian reporters and five foreign journalists) in his office on November 6, at 5 pm. A reporter asked him to comment on the large number of complaints about local Congress MPs and lightweights trying to pressure the police to get their men released. The Police Commissioner totally denied the allegation… Just as he finished uttering these words, Jagdish Tytler, Congress MP from Sadar constituency, barged into the Police Commissioner’s office along with three other followers and on the top of his voice demanded, ‘What is this Mr Tandon? You still have not done what I asked you to do?’ The reporters were amused, the Police Commissioner embarrassed. Tytler kept on shouting and a reporter asked the Police Commissioner to ask that ‘shouting man’ to wait outside since a Press conference was on. Tytler shouted at the reporter, ‘This is more important.’ The reporter told the Police Commissioner that if Tytler wanted to sit in the office he would be welcome, but a lot of questions regarding his involvement would also be asked and he was welcome to hear them. Tytler was fuming…”
The slaughter was not limited to Delhi, though. Sikhs were killed in Gurgaon, Kanpur, Bokaro, Indore and many other towns and cities in States ruled by the Congress. In a replay of the mayhem in Delhi, 26 Sikh soldiers were pulled out of trains and killed.
After quenching their thirst for blood, the mobs retreated to savour their ‘revenge’. The flames died and the winter air blew away the stench of death. Rajiv Gandhi’s Government issued a statement placing the death toll at 425!
Demands for a judicial inquiry were stonewalled by Rajiv Gandhi. Human rights organisations petitioned the courts; the Government said courts were not empowered to order inquiries. Meanwhile, Rajiv Gandhi dissolved the Lok Sabha and went for an early election, which the Congress swept by using the ‘sympathy card’ and launching a vitriolic hate campaign.
Once in office, Rajiv Gandhi was desperate for a breakthrough in Punjab. He mollycoddled Akali leader Sant Harchand Singh Longowal into agreeing to sign a peace accord with him. Sant Longowal listed a set of pre-conditions; one of them was the setting up of a judicial commission to inquire into the pogrom.
Thus was born the Ranganath Misra Commission of Inquiry, which took on the job of crafting a report that would suggest extra-terrestrials were to be blamed for whatever had happened. Worse, submissions and affidavits were passed on to those accused of leading the mobs; some of these documents were later recovered from the house of Sajjan Kumar. Gag orders were issued, preventing the Press from reporting in-camera proceedings of the Commission.
For full six months, Rajiv Gandhi refused to make public the Ranganath Misra Commission’s report. When it was tabled in Parliament, the report was found to be an amazing travesty of the truth; neither were the guilty men of 1984 named, now was responsibility fixed.
Subsequently, nine commissions and committees were set up to get to the truth, but they were either disbanded midway or not allowed access to documents and evidence. India had to wait for the report of the Nanavati Commission for an approximate version of the real story.
Justice Nanavati’s report said, “The Commission considers it safe to record its finding that there is credible evidence against Jagdish Tytler to the effect that very probably he had a hand in organising attacks on Sikhs.” This is not an indictment, Mr Manmohan Singh and his Government decided, so why bother about it? Four years later they remain unrepentant, their attitude remains unchanged.
Two thousand seven hundred and thirty-three men, women and children killed in Delhi, another 2,000 killed elsewhere, scores of women raped, property worth crores of rupees looted or sacked. Families devastated forever, survivors scarred for the rest of their lives.
But the Congress doesn’t care!
This post shall continue to reveal the truth of Sikh genocide 1984 on involvement of govt. machinery, its administration, ministers and the Prime Minister himself i.e from Bottom to Top, so please keep watching whole month of October.
If you want to read this post ahead, kindly click here;
Ajmer Singh Randhawa