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No justice for 1984 riot victims, says Congress leader

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At the launch of Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay’s  Sikhs The Untold Agony of 1984, the two politicians — one from the BJP and the other from the Congress — who sat on the dais as guest speakers faced a series of tough questions, each one rooted in one long-standing question that has troubled the country’s Sikh population the most: will justice ever be served?

Congress politician Sandeep Dixit said the Congress, his own party, failed its citizenry when mobs inflicted violence against Sikhs in 1984, killing more than 2,700 of them and raping several hundred of their women. Sitting on the other end of the panel was senior BJP leader and spokesperson Sudhanshu Mittal, who put the blame on the people for becoming beasts of worst order and unleashing death and destruction on Sikhs.

Mr. Mukhopadhyay’s book captures the stories of several victims of the 1984 riots, placing them in one of the crucial political contexts of India’s post-colonial history, when former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi imposed an Emergency across the country, tossing 40,000 Sikhs out of 1,40,000 dissenting Indians in jails with an under-trial status.      

One of the victims, Nirpreet Kaur, sat in the audience listening to what the two politicians had to say. As a teenager in 1984, she lost her father to street violence. The mobs used gun-powder to set him ablaze. As the panelists took the questions from the audience, she said, “The reason why we are not getting justice is because we are Sikhs.” The panelists had nothing to say in response.

Earlier, Mr. Dixit said ever since the violence broke, the entire State machinery has been mobilised to hide crimes committed against Sikhs. “I don’t think there is any political party in India which has a capacity to serve justice,” he said. “The State has constantly protected the people who were involved in that violence. Therefore, it’s hard to serve justice.”

Mr. Mittal said that he was witness to an incident when a tall Sikh man was targeted by a mob. Because of so much hatred against the turbaned Sikhs, he could not save the man, he said.

Mr. Mittal said that he asked one of the mobsters, “How could you do that?”

In response, the mobster, according to Mr. Mittal, said: “Because sweets were distributed [to celebrate the deaths].”

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 9:13:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-justice-yet-for-1984-riot-victims-says-congress-leader-sandeep-dixit/article7817830.ece

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