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27 years on, Sikhs demand justice for 1984 anti-Sikh riots

Families of those killed during anti-Sikh riots in 1984, held vigils on Tuesday, demanding justice for the victims.

Over 5000 Sikhs were killed during riots, following the assassination of then Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi, by her Sikh bodyguard on 31st October 1984.

Vigils of remembrance were held at India Gate, in New Delhi, and outisde the Canadian Parliament, where diaspora Sikh families remembered those who had been killed.

The call for justice has been endorsed by numerous human rights organisations including Lok Raj Sangathan, Sikh Forum, People's Union for Democratic Rights and the People's Union for Civil Liberties.

Lok Raj Sangathan's, Delhi secretary, Sucharita said,

“The victims have not seen justice even after 27 years of the massacre. Commission after commission has exonerated the ruling party in spite of compelling evidences against them. The Congress organised and supported the riots…which raises the question, can the killer hang himself?”

One mother, whose son was killed during the riots, said,

Even though we do not expect this government to give us justice, we will not give up our demand for it. They have not kept any of the promises made to families of the victims of the riots. Neither the jobs, nor any other financial help…but we continue to fight to bring justice to the ones we have lost."

In Canada, several MPs and activists expressed support for the campaign.

Conservative MP for Brampton-Springdale, Parm Gill said,

"As Prime Minister Singh stated in his apology on behalf of the nation in 2005, what took place in 1984 is the negation of the concept of nationhood enshrined in our constitution. He also said ‘I bow my head in shame that such a thing took place.’ Last year, during his trip to Canada Prime Minister Singh also indicated that the perpetrators of these crimes need to be brought to justice and I agree."

Second generation, Sikh-Canadians, endorsed the demand for justice.

Jatinder Singh Grewal, Sikhs for Justice Youth Coordinator said,

“Today’s rally was another step in the right direction for our community. Our emotions run deep during this time of year. And while we mourn for the victims, we also share in the joy of bonding with our brothers and sisters around this issue.

It feels like we’re making headway with politicians in Canada and internationally, who recognize that justice must prevail. I’m truly proud to be Sikh and I’m proud to be a Canadian.”

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