Sikh groups write to Obama, seek justice for 1984 victimsNovember 22nd, 2009 - 2:07 pm ICT by IANS
Chandigarh, Nov 22 (IANS) Two Sikh organisations have written to US President Barack Obama, seeking his intervention in getting justice for thousands of victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots by taking up the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when they meet this week.
In an open letter to Obama, US-based human rights advocacy group Sikhs for Justice and Punjab-based All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) have urged the US president to take up the matter during Manmohan Singh’s US visit.
“In November 1984, thousands of innocent human beings were killed, butchered, slaughtered, maimed and burnt in Delhi and more than 100 cities in 18 Indian states. The victims were only Sikhs and they were targeted and killed solely because of their religion. The killings were instigated and led by leaders who had taken oath under the Indian constitution to protect the lives of citizens,” the letter says.
It names top Congress leaders like Kamal Nath, Arjun Singh, Arun Nehru, Vasant Sathe, Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar, H.K.L Bhagat and Dharamdas Shastri as ones found by inquiry commissions to be involved in organising and spearheading the killing of Sikhs.
The letter states that successive governments in India had shielded those behind the genocide and had even given them important public positions as a reward.
“We are also getting a few Congressmen to sign the representation sent to President Obama,” Sikhs for Justice’ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun told IANS from New York.
Manmohan Singh left for the US Saturday as the first state guest of Obama at the White House. The two will hold talks Tuesday on bilateral, regional and global issues.
AISSF president Karnail Singh Peermohammed said here that Sikh organisations would continue to fight for the rights of the riot victims and to bring perpetrators of the 1984 riots to justice.
Thousands of Sikhs were killed in Delhi and other places across India in the four days of anti-Sikh riots that broke out following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards Oct 31, 1984.