The province of Ontario is the first legislature in Canada to carry a motion describing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as genocide.
Harinder Malhi, Member of Provincial Parliament, moved the motion with 34 votes in favour and five against.
Malhi stated that the Legislative Assembly of Ontario should “condemn all forms of communal violence, hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance in India and anywhere else in the world, including the 1984 Genocide perpetrated against the Sikhs throughout India, and call on all sides to embrace truth, justice and reconciliation.”
In response, India’s external affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay said, “We reject this misguided motion which is based on a limited understanding of India, its constitution, society, ethos, rule of law and the judicial process.” In addition, several Indo-Canadian organizations wrote to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne asking to oppose the motion.
In contrast, the World Sikh Organization stated that, “For years, the term ‘1984 anti-Sikh riots’ was used to describe the events of November 1984 which was a distortion and wrongly implied unorganized communal violence. Recognizing the state-sponsored violence that targeted Sikhs across India in 1984 is an important and historic step towards justice, accountability and reconciliation which we hope will be an example to other governments.”
In November 1984, 30 000 Sikhs were brutally beaten and burned to death throughout India.