The All India Sikh Students' Federation (AISSF) and the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) have claimed to have identified at least nine sites in Delhi where gurdwaras were not reconstructed after they were razed by mobs during the November 1984 anti-Sikh carnage.
“65 burnt alive”
Talking to reporters on Tuesday, SFJ's chief legal counsel Navikiran Singh and AISSF president Karnail Singh Peermohammad said that 26 years after the massacre, they also discovered that at least 65 Sikhs were burnt alive at the Gurdwara Udaseen Taran Ashram in Block 22 of Nagloi colony of Delhi.
They released a list of 49 persons who were killed there. After playing a documentary film, they provided details about the nine sites where gurdwaras were razed.
They also pointed out that attempts were made to construct temples at some places, while idols and pictures of Hindu gods put up at others. At one such site, signs of Swastika were also painted. Most sites were now marked by dilapidated boundary walls, debris of burnt bricks and remains of some structures.
At many places, non-Sikh residents favoured reconstruction of the gurdwaras and restoration of normality.
Mr. Peermohammad chided the mainline Sikh leadership in the various factions of the Akali Dal, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and the religious sects that organised Kar Sewa at large shrines for “ignoring” these small gurdwaras, which served the poor sections of the community.
He said that recently the DSGMC announced its decision to spend Rs. 57 crore on the renovation of the historic shrine Rakab Ganj, which according to him already was full of grandeur.
He said that the Kar Sewa sects were busy putting marble and gold-plated domes on the shrines where the managements were already flush with resources.
Mr. Navkiran pointed out that these shrines were also ignored when the Prime Minister's special package was announced in 2006 after the Nanavati Commission came out with the report for rehabilitating the November 1984 victims.
The Centre, SGPC, DSGMC and the Sikh sangat must be involved in restoring the shrines.
“It is not necessary that a shrine be reconstructed. At the vacant sites, let them put up a library, charitable hospital or anything that can be of common social use. But the memory of those who were killed on those spots should be maintained,” he said.
While these organisations would create public opinion, they would seek more information about similar sites in Delhi and other parts of the country that witnessed riots.
They would also write to the Union government and related authorities to ensure justice to these shrines as well, the leaders said.