Earlier this month, worldwide Human Rights organization Amnesty International released a news article on the plight of Sikh Massacre victims of 1984, still awaiting justice after 25 years. This came shortly after the Delhi Court delayed ruling on Jagdish Tytler, due to the CBI’s inability to produce enough evidence against him. Ramesh Gopalakrishnan, Amnesty International’s South Asia Researcher stated:
“The fact that almost 3,000 people can be murdered without anyone being brought to justice is offensive to any notion of justice and should be an embarrassment to the Indian government.”
“For the Indian government to dismiss these cases due to lack of evidence is farcical. The various agencies responsible for carrying out the investigations failed to carry out the most cursory of tasks – including recording eyewitness and survivor statements.”
As troubling as it is to read this, I was pleased to find that Amnesty International had covered it at all. As many of know, AI, as well as other independent human rights groups and initiatives were either banned or prevented from conducting research in India in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. It seems as though there is hope for an independent investigation on the 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms and perhaps the subsequent disappearances during the counter-insurgency.
Not so fast…in an un-related story, the Tribune reported that Amnesty International has decided to shut down its India operations. The decision is said to have been triggered by continued denial to the Amnesty International Foundation of the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) registration by the Government of India. In a letter to the country offices Amnesty International said,
“The Government of India continues to deny the FCRA registration to the AI India Foundation and our local resources are very insufficient for our survival.”
You might ask – with a corrupt government, poor human rights record, rejection of independent investigations, rejection of the ICC, and an unbelievably strong lobby – what course of actions must Sikhs take for justice? I don’t know… But I do feel our generation has a unique opportunity to present our case to the world in a way the previous generation could not. The material is out there…AI Reports, HRW reports, Ensaaf reports, and personal accounts – but it’s upon us to either let this information lay on shelves collecting dust in law libraries…or to make it known to the world. Let this 25th anniversary of the Sikh Holocaust serve as a call to artists, musicians, film-makers, MCs, poets, writers, educators and story-tellers…the Panth needs you…let the truth be heard!