Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

As I searched the Internet for information on the 2008 Diwali celebration at the Golden Temple, I came across this video on YouTube. It shows a beautifully lighted Golden Temple complex, with fireworks going off in the nighttime sky. My joy at watching the visuals soon turned to discomfort in hearing the sounds — the cracking of the fireworks reminded me of gunshots, gunshots that went off in that same area over twenty-four years ago.

As I thought about the horror of Operation Blue Star and the subsequent anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, a friend relayed this disturbing and upsetting news: the Indian Army finally admitted last month that Sikh soldiers were among those killed in the anti-Sikh pogrom. Up until last month, the Indian Army reportedly hid the names of the soldiers who were killed in the riots. In fact, the government allegedly “hatched a conspiracy to hush up [the] matter by labeling the soldiers as deserters.”

The cover-up and lies aside, one has to wonder about why it took more than twenty-four years for this truth to be revealed:

Said Pratap Singh Phoolka, a retired Army officer who has been leading the campaign and is identifying such cases on his own: The untimely delay caused by the Army in this regard has caused immense damage. Parents of many such unmarried victims have also died in these 25 long years. Who will get the compensation now? [Link]

The extent of the government’s deceit is still unknown. According to Phoolka, “only a few [soldiers] have been identified so far,” however “there could be around 300 soldiers who had lost their lives in the riots.”

For more information on the efforts to obtain justice for the families of the Sikh victims of 1984, please visit Ensaaf’s web site. [The insignia of the Sikh Regiment is pictured]


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