India 1984 – when it backstabbed & betrayed with Sikh nation (Part-8).
The revelation made by Justice RS Narula, former judge of Punjab and Haryana high Court – 1984 Questions that Remain Unanswered.
Justice R S Narula
Eminent jurist and former Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court. Article reproduced from The Sikh Review, September 2000.
The Government of Delhi State has, by a Notification dated May 08, 2000, assigned to Justice Nanavati all matters relating to the 1984 massacre of Sikhs. Here are some key Questions for the Commission.
Justoice Narula himself reveals that once I thought to write an article on the 1984 genocide of Sikhs but I have, time and again, restrained myself, as the article would forewarn the culprits because my reference to various aspects of the case may lead to destruction of even the remaining relevant records.
Here are some of the questions the Commission – indeed the Government – must answer.
- Why was seriousness not attached to the situation when wireless messages started pouring in from 18.30 hours on Nov. 01 onwards, about dead bodies lying on the roads? Why was the common feature of dead bodies being of Sikhs not brought on record?
- Why were the higher-up police and executive officers – up to the Home Minister, Narasimha Rao, paralyzed when the situation in Kalyanpuri and Tirlokpuri (in East Delhi) reporting: (a) the butchering and murders of persons on large scale was reported on Wireless at 17.31 hours; and again (b) when DCP R.K. Sharma’s wireless message was received at 18.58 hours on Nov. 01 reporting about 200 persons having already been killed in Tirlokpuri alone?
- Was this deliberate non-action not due to the publicly expressed view of the then P.M. that all this was the natural rumbling caused by the “fall of a Big Tree”?
- How is it that hundreds of attackers drawn from different parts of Delhi and Haryana appeared, armed with iron rods of same material and size? Why have these rods not been recovered from them after the killings?
Neither any Sikh was reported killed on 31st October, nor any house of a Sikh was looted! If we have a look on next day’s news papers on 1st November, we do not find any untoward incident against Sikhs …..but yes, there was a short news in 1st column on page no.1 that some tension was seen in out skirts of Delhi and Ghaziabad and some reports of disturbance also mentioned. What was the reason the public which was pacified, got provoked next day and then this same public is so incited that it starts killing their own brothers—the Sikhs? We have to find it’s answer.
The day when Indira was assassinated, public was feared but peaceful, they may be Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs but nothing worst happened anywhere. Some Hindu anti social elements tried to create tension by disturbing in crowd as reported from AIIMS (All India Medical Sciences) but it was not on large scale. Hindus couldn’t dare to attack on house of a Sikh because Sikh could fight till his last breath and saved his family. Therefore nobody attacked on houses of Sikhs. The attack begun only when these hoodlums were assured of their safety. They were incited against Sikhs and prepared mentally to attack on innocent Sikh families. To set their houses on fire, and wherever they see a Sikh—kill him. The govt. of India used it’s all the propaganda organizations to prepare grounds to eliminate Sikhs in India like Door Darshan TV, All India Radio and news papers etc.
A fact-finding team jointly organized by one People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) and people’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in the course of investigations went to every corner of Delhi where the innocent Sikhs were killed. Indian govt. called these well organized killings of Sikhs as Sikh riots but the riots means where to communities, groups clash with each other. Here in 1984, only Sikhs were attacked in a well planned manner, a very well organized by perpetrators and chief organizers, hence it was genocide of Sikhs not the riots. To unravel the facts behind these killings, both these organizations had published a book jointly named as “DOSHI KAUN” in Hindi which was also published in English as “WHO ARE THE GUILTY”. These books were sold immediately from the book-shelves in markets. All the government system of India were shattered by publishing of these books including Rajiv Gandhi. The President of Delhi Congress at that time called it as BUNDLE OF LIES and threatened these organizations who collected evidences, revealed and published. She was Ambika Soni.
On the basis of information gathered from various sources, including eyewitnesses, survivors and relatives of the dead, When all these incidents were investigate, it was found….’the main reason behind these incidents were three rumors’. First rumor was of distribution of sweets by Sikhs on assassination of Indira Gandhi which was found baseless, they couldn’t find any eye witness of it and second …..’The Second rumors was that train-loads of hundreds of Hindu dead bodies had arrived at Old Delhi Station from Punjab. Third, water was poisoned by the Sikhs, As for the two latter rumors, we came across evidence of policemen in van touring certain localities and announcing through loudspeakers the arrival of the train and to poison the water. In certain areas, we heard that police officials had rung up residents advising them not to drink water. These rumors( the last two were officially repudiated later) contributed to the shaping of a public mind that acquiesed in the attack and murders that took place soon after.
The second face begun with the well armed Hindu youths who arrived by Tempos, Vans, Buses and Trucks. Their arrival was noticed from the midnight of 31st Octber and next morning they could be seen from South Delhi to North Delhi, from west Delhi to east Delhi, as they were seen in Munirka of south Delhi, Saket, south extension, Lajp[at nagar, Bhogal, Jangpura and in Ashram area.beside these they also spread in markets of Connaught place of south-west Delhi and in the colonies across Yamuna and in north Delhi too. With cans of petrol they went round the localities and systematically set fire to Sikh houses, shops and Gurudwaras (their places of worship) before they set them on fire. We were told by the residents of these colonies that they were lead by known famous Congress leaders and activists who identified the residences and shops of Sikhs and informed the killing squads. A senior Police officer of Delhi revealed under condition of not disclosing his name that , ‘the sign boards of shops are generally written in Hindi or English, how could the illiterate goons could identify them whether the owner of shop was Sikh or Hindu until it’s true identity is not revealed by a local or by a literate person? In some villages of Delhi like Trilokpuri, Mangolpuri and across Yamuna, the loot was organized by local Gurzars and Jatt farmers along with the local residents in which most were congress activists. We were also told that the Balmiki (Bhangi) community organized the loot. The buses of Delhi Transport Corporation were engaged in ferrying these members of killing squads from one place to other in south Delhi. How could DTC deploy it’s buses to ferry these goons?
These killing squads had planned a very well organized plan to kill Sikhs. According to census of 1971, the number of Sikh youths in the age group of 20-25 in Delhi was about 1,00,000. Most of the Sikhs killed in this pogrom were of this age group only. As per reports of Hindustan times on 7th Nov. & 11th November, the dead toll of Sikhs was only 325 including 46 Hindus. It was the biggest joke with dead. The statistics collected from Jhuggi colonies and other sources it was counted to more than 100 which later on confirmed to 2733 officially on govt. records but unofficial records reveals that more than 10,000 Sikhs were killed only in Delhi.
The same tactic was applied to set ablaze the houses, shops and Gurudwaras of Sikhs in Mangolpuri and Trilokpuri where maximum killings were reported. The youths were mostly targeted. They were pulled out of their houses, beaten and then set on fire alive, whereas the old men, women and children were generally given a chance to escape. The registration papers (Papers of ownership of their houses) were also burnt. We were informed in Mangolpuri that even children were not spared. We also received the reports of gang rape with Sikh women. A well organized plan was orchestrated to destroy the wealth and life of Sikhs by set on fire their houses, shops, businesses and holy Gurudwaras. The orgy of destruction embraced a variety of property ranging from shops, factories, houses to gurudwaras and schools belonging to the Sikhs. In all the affected spots, a calculated assailants to burn alive the Sikhs on public roads. Even five days after the incidents, on November , in the courses of one our regular visits to Mangolpuri we found that although the ashes had been cleared, the pavement in front of the Congress (I) office was still blotched with burnt patches, which the local people had earlier pointed out to us as spots where four Sikhs were burnt alive.
More important ; in the area which were most affected, such as Trilokpuri, Mangolpuri and Sultanpuri, the mobs were led by local Congress (I) politicians and hoodlums of that locality. These areas, it will be recalled , were setup in the urban resettlement drive initiated by the Congress (I), and have since been active support bases of the Congress (I). These areas have also in the recent past provided the Congress (I) rallies in the city substantial numerical support. In other words, there exists in such areas an established organizational network through which masess are mobilized for demonstration of Congress (I)’s ostensible popular support. A veteran politician based in Delhi put in very crisply when he said that these resettlement colonies ” are the kept (rakhel) of the Congress (I)”.
The Gurzars and Jatts from the outskirt villages of Delhi played a key role in loot and massacre of Sikhs. They provoked against Sikhs, fuelled in fire and brutally killed the Sikh youths. Justice Narula himself wrote it that …..36. How is it that hundreds of attackers drawn from different parts of Delhi and Haryana appeared, armed with iron rods of same material and size? Why have these rods not been recovered from them after the killings? The participations of the Jats and Gujjars from the so-called “urban villages” of Delhi played a very strong role in adding to the numbers of rioters and in aiding to the numbers of rioters and in aiding the riots, murders and looting. They were particularly dominant in West and South Delhi. Most of the these villagers who once owned land in Ber Serai, Munirka and Mohammadpur, for instance made a tidy sum of money after their land was taken away for the urban expansion of New Delhi. The land owned by these villagers was generally of a very poor quality with no irrigational facilities. For this reason the villagers in these areas had to augment their resources through non-agricultural means, not least of them being brigandage. After their lands were acquired by the government they suddenly became prosperous and began to exert themselves politically as well. It is a known fact that if one is to make any headway in an election the Gujjars and Jats of these areas have to be one’s side. Unfortunately, much of the police force which is stationed in this area and around is drawn from these communities. For this reason, on various occasions there had been a noticeable complicity in these areas between the criminals and the police. This truth was brought home startly during the recent riots.
As for the Scheduled Caste communities who were displaced due to the acquisition of land for urban expansion those from the Balmiki community utilized the benefits of the reservation policy and came into the city where they found jobs in the policies, UPSC etc. The Bhangis went into the Corporation, while the third-major group, the Dhanaks, considered the lowest caste, are engaged in a variety of odd jobs. Among the Scheduled Caste communities living in the resettlement colonies, the Balmikis are pre-dominantly supporters of Jagjivan Ram, while the Bhangis are solid supporters of Congress (I), Information gathered by us from the trouble areas suggests that the Bhangis many of them working as a corporation – comprised the bulk of the local miscreants the Sikhs.
Role of Police;
All throughout the period from October 31 to November 4 – the heights of the riots the police all over the city uniformly betrayed a common behavioral pattern marked by (I) total absence from the scene; or (ii) a role of passive spectators or (iii) direct participation or abetment in the orgy of violence against the Sikhs. On November 1, when we toured the Lajpat Nagar area we found the police conspicious by their absence while Sikh’s shop were being set on fire and looted. Young people armed with swords, daggers, spears, steel Trishuls (Tridents) and iron rods were ruling the roads. The only sign of police presence was a police jeep, which obstructed a peace procession brought out a few concerned citizens (who later organized themselves into the Nagarik Ekta manch) on the evening of November 1, When the procession was on its way to the Lajpat Nagar main market, a police inspector from the van stopped the procession, warned it not to proceed reminding its members that the city was under curfew and Section 144. When leaders of the procession wanted to know from the police inspector why the arsonists and rioters were not being dispersed if curfew was on, he gave no reply and warned instead that the procession could go to the Lajpat Nagar market at their own risk. At the Lajpat Nagar market, leaders of the procession sought to pacify the mob by pointing out that innocent Sikhs were not responsible for Mrs. Gandhi’s assassination and should be protected from the attacks. They raised the slogan : “Hindu-Sikh Bhai Bhai ” As the crowd began to listen to the speeches made by the procession leaders, organized attempts were made by certain groups from among them to shout down the speakers, by raising the slogans :- “Indira Gandhi Zindabad” “Hindi Hindi Bhai Bhai”. It is significant that wherever we went, we did not find any sign of mourning or grief on the faces of those who were participating in the looting and burning. Attempts of pacify them by the peace marchers were met with derisive laughter. Listening to their gleeful faces, one would have thought it was a festival, but for the arson and loot that was going on.
Beside these organized attacks wherever a Sikh was seen on the roads or streets, he was helpless to face these killing squads. He was killed on the spot, he may be an army personal who was going on vacation to his home or was returning to join his duty, was targeted by these brutal killing squads either at a railway station or in the bogie of the train. But the bitter truth is these cowards though supported by local administration and the Police had not strength to face a Sikh anywhere. It’s quite easy to stop a moving truck on road and kill it’s driver but to face an armed Sikh —-is sheer foolishness. Therefore these brutal killers massacred only single or less in numbered Sikhs. They didn’t set any example of valor to which these Congress goons could feel proud.
The Station Hours Officer (SHO) of Kalyanpuri police station under which Trilokpuri falls, withdrew the constables who were on duty there. In Sultanpuri, the SHO, one Bhatti, is alleged to have killed two Sikhs and helped the mob in disarming those Sikhs who tried to resist the mob. No action is ever taken against this guilty Police officer.
But the Delhi Police was also under control of ministry of home affairs. The Home Minister, Mr. Narasimha Rao who was inducted in the new Cabinet by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi soon after Mrs. Gandhi’s death, was empowered in his capacity as a Home Minister to deploy the para-military forces (if the Delhi Police force was found to be inadequate or inefficient) to quell the violence that erupted following the announcement of Mrs. Gandhi’s death. He could deploy the force to save the helpless citizens in a short notice if he wished but he didn’t did so and left the innocent Sikhs on mercy of killing squads. He dishonored his position and violated his constitutional duties by not following them truthfully.
Any direct involvement of him may not be proved in Sikh genocide but he is responsible for giving indirect support to the killings and for the negligence to save precious lives of citizens by delay in giving orders and taking the decisions being the home minister of the nation …doesn’t give him any benefit of doubt but keeps him under clouds. We will discuss more in coming pages ahead.
Delhi police was so negligent that it’s one officer Gautam Kaul (Additional commissioner of police) accepted before the rioters in All India Medical Institute that, ‘ we were not prepared to face such situation (Indian Express 1st Nov. 1984) Very amazed to see that an inefficient officer was given the charge of Additional Commissioner, Security in a short time.
On the morning of November 3, 8.30 a.m. onwards two opposition M.P.’s repeatedly requested both Mr. Narsimha Rao and Shiv Shankar to provide army protection to trains carrying Sikh passengers arriving from Punjab. No troops were sent, with the result that every train was left at the mercy of killing squads who dragged out Sikhs from the incoming train compartments lynched them, their bodies on the platforms or the railway tracks and many were set on fire. Newspaper report that 43 persons were killed. This was denied by Doordarshan in the evening. Visiting the Tughlakabad station around 3.30 p.m., the STATESMAN reporters saw “two bodies still smouldering on the platforms across the tracks”. (November 3, 1984). The troops had either arrived after the incident, or the incident took place in front of the troops who did not intervene.
President Giani Jail singh said that he had no right to intervene. The police commissioner of Delhi Subhash Tandon says that he was not given any report on what was going on in Delhi whereas he himself was seen with the mob which attacked at the Gurudwara Rakabganj. Home Minister Narsimharao was silent. Lieutinent Governor Gawai thought as everything was under control and he didn’t took any dicision to call the army. He said to President ….If army is called it could be disastrous. A magistrate refused to order to apply force on mob (if required) to sign the order to control the mob by applying force whereas the homes of Sikhs were set on fire in his neighborhood and Sikhs were burnt alive.
The senior politician of Congress like Rajpal Singh was in meeting till late in the night and busy to deliver kerosene and a white colored inflammatory substance to mob. To get help of Delhi police and the DTC was in it’s agenda.
This post shall continue to reveal the truth of Sikh genocide 1984 on involvement of govt. machinary, its administration, ministers and the Prime Minister himself i.e from Bottom to Top, so please keep watching whole month of October or until it ends in November sometime.
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Ajmer Singh Randhawa.