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Posts Tagged Sikh Genocide

The Tribune 26 Dec 2016 Selection of India’s Army Chief a Sensitive Issue : Comments by Simranjit Singh Mann:

Image result for Indian Army Corps

 

The Tribune 26 Dec 2016

Selection of India’s Army Chief a sensitive issue

Comments by Simranjit Singh Mann:

 

 Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) states that our party feels that the seniority of the generals should have been kept in place, as the other two were equally good. The armored corp and motorized infantry officers, at that level of army commanders, should not have fallen by the wayside.
            Lt. Gen. Rawat had an advantage over the others as he was at headquarters in Delhi as vice chief and had all the time to work around the political and bureaucratic rigmarole. Moreover, he was from the same battalion of the Gorkha regiment as Gen. Dilbag Singh, the army chief. Officers coming from the same regiment have a great camaraderie and an esprit de corps. Therefore Gen. Dilbag Singh obviously favored an officer from the Gorkha’s. That is a bit of good luck for Lt. Gen. Rawat and bad luck for the other two army commanders.
            When I was Aid de Camp to Punjab Governor Pavate, Gen. Manikshaw was invited to a luncheon by the Governor. A serving Brigadier who was deprived of his command on the border with Pakistan asked me whether he could travel with me to receive Gen. Manikshaw at the Chandigarh airport. Having received Gen. Manikshaw at the airport I let the brigadier sit with the General in the rear seat. The Brigadier who had lost his post during that war cribbed and told his boss that it was unfair to withdraw him from his post in the middle of the battle. Gen. Manikshaw replied that it was just his bad luck and could anyone have ever wondered whether he (Manikshaw) would ever have reached the top post. It was just luck that propelled him to the top, he emphasized.
            Therefore it is also luck that Lt. Gen. Rawat had made it to where he is now. However, it will definitely affect the morale of the officer corp. In future officers vying for the top slots would definitely kowtow to the politician and the bureaucrat. This will make a bad precedent and break the morale of the soldiers.
            When politicians and bureaucrats prefer loyalty over professionalism it does not work that way. Prime Minister Bhutto of Pakistan chose Gen. Zia ul Haq over other generals, but Gen. Zia ul Haq took his Prime Minister to the gallows. Similarly, the present Premier Nawaz Sharif in his earlier prime ministership appointed Gen. Musharraf as his army chief. However Gen. Musharraf was a little kinder than Gen. Zia. Musharraf like his predecessor also wanted to show his prime minister the gallows, but Saudi Arabia intervened and asked Musharraf to send Sharif to Arabia in exile. General’s at the top have a queer behavior and to exercise total and absolute power, can undo their creators and benefactors. Anything is possible in the Indian sub-continent.
            There is something to say about the Hindu polity. Whether it is the Congress Party or the BJP-RSS. They are both intolerant of the minorities, especially the Muslim’s and the Sikh’s. We have seen when the Hindu’s go on a killing spree of the two minorities; the army stoically remains in its cantonments. However when the Hindu ruling setup wishes to teach a lesson to these minorities the army happily goes into action as was the case in 1984- Operation Bluestar, the atrocious ingress into the Sikh’s holiest shrine the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar and the slaughter of thousands of Sikh pilgrims and the total elimination of the then young and spirited political Sikh leadership. The present scenario in Kashmir is the same as the Sikh’s have been facing since 1984.
It is a shame that the army is shy and cowardly in taking on an opponent its own size. Every time the Chinese cross over the McMahon Line, Gen. Dilbag Singh’s boys beat a quick retreat. Though Mr. Modi states that the next army chief is an infantry officer and knows all the hot spots on the eastern, western and northern borders, it is hoped he will face the challenge and not chicken.  
            One thing in common with Gen. Dilbag Singh and his successor is that they both come from a martial race. Gen. Dilbag Singh is a Jaat and Lt. Gen. Rawat is a Garhwali. We do hope the new Chief to be will bring his forces out of the barracks when the Hindu’s go on a killing spree.
Editor’s Note: Pakistan Think Tank invites articles from writers in India,/Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives & Myanmar

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THE SIKH HOLOCAUST 1984 : RAPE OF SIKH WOMEN BY HINDUS IN 1984-1 : SIKH RIGHTS GROUP DECRIES “SILENCE” OVER 1984 VICTIMS

THE SIKH HOLOCAUST 1984 : RAPE OF SIKH WOMEN BY HINDUS IN 1984-1 : SIKH RIGHTS GROUP DECRIES “SILENCE” OVER 1984 VICTIMS

SIKH RIGHTS GROUP DECRIES “SILENCE” OVER 1984 VICTIMS

SARABJIT PANDHER

Sikh Rights group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), while sending its “deepest condolences” to the family of the Delhi gang rape victim, has questioned the silence of the administration, politicians and the justice system over the rape of women of the Sikh community in broad daylight during the genocide that followed the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

“BUSES USED”

In a release, the SFJ said it shared the pain of the family who lost her for no fault of her own. During the November 1984 riots, Delhi public buses were used to transport squads that raped Sikh women in November 1984, it alleged.

Responding to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s statement that as a woman and mother, she could understand the protesters’ emotions, the SFJ wondered if she had conveniently forgotten the “vicious cycle of rape and murder let loose against Sikh women in 1984 at the behest of her husband.”

Why did she or Prime Minister Manmohan Singh never visit the hundreds of Sikh victims languishing in “Widow Colony” just a few miles from the Parliament of the greatest democratic country, it asked.

For the last 28 years, successive Indian governments had given open immunity to those who perpetrated violent crimes against Sikh women, it said.

Khap leaders’ remarks

Meanwhile, the Haryana unit of the CPI(M) has taken strong exception to certain utterances by the “so-called Khap leaders.”

They reportedly described most of the rape complaints as fake and consensual.

The party objected to their reported opinion that most of the rape complaints were made for extorting money from the accused persons.

State unit secretary Inderjit Singh, in a statement, expressed grave concern at such “outrageous” remarks, particularly at a time when the entire country was displaying its anger against incidents of rapes and sexual assault on women.

The party also took a serious view of the fact that while cases were being perpetrated unabated, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who holds the Home portfolio, was “maintaining an astonishing silence.”

Keywords: Rights group Sikhs for JusticeDelhi gang-rape case1984 anti-sikh genocideIndira Gandhi assassination,

 

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THE SIKH HOMELAND OF PUNJAB (KHALISTAN) OF AUGUST 15, 1947

THE SIKH HOMELAND OF PUNJAB (KHALISTAN) OF AUGUST 15, 1947 

 

 
 Dr. Awatar Singh Sekhon whom I know personally moved to Canada when there was no concept of asylum and visitor/immigrant visas were being granted at the point of entry. He strove hard and achieved a high degree of education receiving his doctorate and assumed various designations/positions of prestige.  
 
Just as Muslims in Maqbooza Kashmir have been oppressed for decades now, the Sikhs also face the same plight. Under the Indian Constitution Article no. 25, Sikhs are homogenized under the Hindu religion; Sikhism is not even a recognized religion in India. As far as Master Tara Singh (a converted Sikh born in a Hindu Khatri family) is concerned, he was still loyal to the Hindu cause when he burnt the Muslim league flag in Lahore on March 14, 1947. This action was done in order to give out two messages to the British. First, that the Sikhs don’t want a separate state and secondly, to create a rift between Sikhs and Muslims. Islam does not allow one to stay angry with another for more than three days. As such there is no enmity or anger between the Muslim nation and any other nation, especially the Sikhs.  
 
Aurangzeb Alamgir (ramatullah elaha) the emperor of Hindustan knew that theTenth Master Janab Guru Gobind Sahib was a noble man but he was never able to meet him. Although he wanted to visit the Tenth Master, he had died. However, his son Bahadur Shah treated him very well even providing him with medical care when the Tenth Master was injured.
 
When Hindus who have never ruled a unified India are eligible to receive freedom and their own sovereign state; why not the Sikhs? Therefore I strongly demand that the Sikhs be given the freedom to practice their religion in their own sovereign state.  
 
Regards,
 
Habib Yousafzai
 

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SIKH WAR HERO : GENERAL SHABEG SINGH MOWED DOWN BY INDIAN ARMY IN OPERATION BLUESTAR

General Shabeg Singh

 

General Shabeg Singh

General Shabeg Singh- the great general of modern times belonged to village Khiala, about nine miles from Am Chogwan Road. The eldest son of Sardar Bhagwan Singh and Pritam Kaur. He had three brothers and a sister. The General traced its lineage to great Sikh warrior, Bhai Mehtab Singh who along with Bhai Sukha Singh slew the notorious Massa Rangar in 1740 and thus avenged the desecration of the Golden Temple. The family was was well-to-do and prosperous and had good size of land holding of over 100 acres. The village Khiala was earlier known as Khiala Nand Singhwala. Nand Singh was the great grandfather of Shabeg Singh. Later on the name got shortened. Mother of Shaheg Singh was devout lady but she was very practical and a great disciplinarian. She never forgot to remind her children and grand children that they were the descendents of Baba Mehtab Singh and must live up to the family name. Sardar Bhagwan Singh was the village Lambardar and remained quite occupied with the problems of the village folk who always looked to him for guidance and depended greatly upon his advice .

In 1952, the younger brothers Sardar Shamsher Singh, Sardar Jaswant Singh along with their brother-in-law shifted to Haidwani in the Terrai area of UP after having bought farmlands there. In 1957, Jaswant Singh died. From his early childhood Shabeg Singh displayed qualifies of leadership and intelligence much above that of the average village child. He was quick witted and often pontaneously composed extemporaneous verses to caricature interesting village personalities

He displayed a keen interest in history and literature and his village teachers were impressed with his intellectual ability. They advised Sardar Bhagwan Singh and Pritam Kaur to send him to a school. He was sent to Khalsa College Amritsar for secondary education and from there to a Govt. College Lahore for higher education. He was an outstanding foot ball and hockey player and excelled in athletics. At the age of 18 years he had equaled the India records in 100 meters sprint and was the District Broad jump champion. However, even though he had a natural ability for sports he did not wish to pursue that as a career, his mind was on the army, which was considered a noble profession. He excelled in studies and generally topped his class.

In 1940, an officers selection team visiting Lahore colleges were looking for fresh recruits to the Indian Army officers cadre. Out of a large number of students, who applied, Shabeg Singh was the only one to he selected from Government College and sent for training in the officer training school. After training he was commissioned in the second Punjab Regiment as a Second Lieutenant. Within a few days the Regiment moved to Burma and joined the war against the Japanese, which was then in progress. In 1944 when the war ended he was in Malaya with his unit. After partition, when reorganization of the regiments took place, he joined the Parachute brigade as a Paratrooper. He was posted in the 1st para battalion in which he remained till 1959.

By nature Gen Shabeg was a voracious reader, he had read about every military campaign and knew the biography of every military general of consequence. He had a natural flair for history and loved reading. He could fluently speak Punjabi, Persian, Urda, Gorkhali besides English and Hindi. He was an instructor in the Military Academy at Dehra Dun and held a number of important staff appointments in various ranks In the army he had a reputation of being fearless officer and one who did not tolerate any nonsense. People either loved him or dreaded him because of his frank and forthright approach. During the course of his service in the Indian army, Shaheg Singh fought in every war that India participated in.

Shabeg Singh Getting a Wartime medal from President of IndiaIn 1947, he was at Naushera in Jammu and Kashmir fighting against the Pakistan Army. While at Staff College, in addition to the academic work, he set a record in winning three, point to point and five flat races on horse back a record never equaled. Because of his knowledge of military science and excellent grasp of military operations he was appointed a Brigade Major after the staff course. As Brigade Major of 166 Infantry Brigade- a crack formation, he feit most at home when the formation was out on military exercises.

In 1962 during the India-China war, he was in NorthEast Frontier Agency as a Lt Col in HQ four Corps where he was GSO-J (Intelligence). In the 196S operations against Pakistan, he was in the Haji Pir Sector in Jammu and Kashmir, commanding a battalion of Gorkha troops. He commanded 3/11 Gorkha Rifles with distinction and was mentioned in dispatches for the capture of important enemy positions on the Haji Pir front.

A few days before the battalion was to he launched into attack, the Commanding Officer (that time Lieutenant Colonel) Shabeg Singh received a telegram from his mother informing him that his father had expired. Being the eldest he quietly put the telegram in his pocket and no one in his battalion even knew that the commanding officer had lost his father on the eve of battle, Only when the operations were over, did he apply for leave and perform his duty of consoling his mother and family. His mother, Pritam Kaur, never asked why he had not been reached for performing the last rites. Everything was understood the call of duty to defend the nation’s frontiers was of primary importance.

Soon after the 1965 operations, Shabeg became Col G.S. of an infantry division, after which he was given command of the crack 19 Infantry brigade in Jammu Sector. In 1%9 when the Eastern sector of India was becoming deeply involved in Naga anti-insurgency operations he was posted as Deputy GOC of the largest Indian Division – eight Mountain Division which had nearly 50 thousand troops under command. With his leadership qualities and employment of dare~devil tactics he was greatly successful in handling the counter-insurgency operations in that region. Mukhti Bahini In 1971, when the political turmoil in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) started and the Bengalis declared their intentions to separate, the Yahya Khan Govt cracked down on the Bengalis, forcing them to flee to neighboring Indian States. India decided to intervene and in 1971 started the clandestine insurgency operations in East Pakistan.Shabeg Singh in BangladeshThe Indian Army Chief Field Marshal Manekshaw specially selected Shabeg Singh, then a brigadier, and made him in-charge of Delta Sector with lead Quarters at Aggartala. He was given the responsibility of planning, organizing and directing insurgency operations in the whole of Central and East Bangladesh. Under his command were placed all the Bangladesh officers that had deserted from the Pakistan Army. These included Col Osmani, as adviser, Maj Zia-Ur-Rehman and Mohammad Mustaq. Zia Ur Rehman later became the President of Bangladesh while Mustaq Mohammed became Bangladesh army chief. Starting from about January to October 1971, the insurgency operations gradually grew to such an intensity that by the time war started, the Pakistan army in East Bengal had completely lost their will to resist. The Indian Govt did not want the world to know that the Indian Army was training and directing the Bengali insurgents so all activities were very secret. Shabeg was so thoroughly involved in these clandestine operations that for five months from December 70 to April 71, his family had no news about his whereabouts. They believed he was till in Nagaland and wondered why he did not write because he had always been regular in writing home to his wife. In April 1970, the first letter was received from the Civilian address of a Merchant shop in Aggartala and his name was written as S.Baigh, such was the nature of secrecy maintained of the Army’s involvement in the insurgency movement. The wife was quite confused and the family wondered what was going on because the letter was very brief and just said, “don’t worry I am ok.”.

Meanwhile as the Mukti Bahini got bolder, the Pak Army in the East began to grow demoralized due to the onslaught. It got so widely dispersed in trying to contain the ‘Mukti Bahini’ that when the Indian Army launched its operations in Nov.1971 they were able to walk through to Dacca, virtually unopposed. Over one hundred thousand enemy troops with the complete general staff surrendered,leading to the emergence of Bangladesh. The credit of this great achievement was mainly due to the efforts of Shabeg Singh, who spent day and night organizing, motivating and training young Bengali youth to fight for their land. Such was the motivation of a Bengali youth force known as Mukti Bahini and so perfect the direction of their operation that no senior administrative officer felt safe in Bengal. Guerilia strikes were launched on five star hotels and on ships in Chittagong harbor to show the extent of power which the Mukti Bahini wielded. Strategic bridges were destroyed, factories closed and movement within Bangladesh restricted resulting in a paralysis of the economy. No doubt it was a cakewalk for the Indian Army when the actual operations were launched. The Indian government promoted Shaheg Singh to the post of Major General and awarded him the Param Vashist Sewa Medal in recognition of his services. He had earlier been awarded the Ati Vashist Sewa Medal also. He was made General Officer Command of MP Bihar and Orissa. The Jaya Pyakash Narayan movement had started during 1972-73 and became a serious threat to the Indira Govt. Police were sympathetic with JP and his followers, so the Government decided to use the Army. Gen Shabeg was asked to arrest JP and take some harsh measure against his followers but he refused saying this was not his job. The result was that the Congress Govt later instituted a CBI inquiry to harass him on cooked-up charges and he was out posted of the area. After the Indo-Pak wall, all the Pakistani POWs were under his jurisdiction and senior General Staff were kept at Jabalpur which was also the HQs of MP.Bihar and Orissa area. Due to jealousy of certain senior army officers , he was not given the command of a Division which was a move of the Army for denying him promotion. Here was a field commander with so much war experience-denied command of a combat formation. Why so? Only to do deny him promotion when his name came up. While he was posted as GOC of the UP Area HQs in whose jurisdiction the Kumaon Regimental Center is placed, it was found that the commander of the Kumaon Military Farm had given a large sum money to the Chief, Gen Raina, who was himself from the same regiment. A court of inquiry discovered that General Raina (a Kashmiri Brahmin), Army received over two hundred thousand rupees from the Kumaon farm to meet expenses for his daughter’s marriage. When this information was brought to the notice of the General Office Commanding, Shabeg Singh; he told Gen Raina about the findings of the Court of Inquiry and requested the chief to return the amount as the Military farm of the Kumaon Regt was already running a loss. The result was that Gen Shabeg was promptly posted out of the this indiscretion and the inquiry hushed up.

The forthwith posting was an unprecedented action because peacetime postings are never conducted on such emergency basis. Soon after that the Army instituted a court of inquiry against Gen Shabeg Singh which dragged on for one year till the date of his retirement on May, 1 1976. The main charge against the General had accepted a plaque costing Rs 2500 as a gift on his positing out of Jabalpur area HQs. -Even though a similar present had been predecessor and it is common for senior officers to accept such gifts. However, in the case of Gen Shabeg it became an offense. Some other flimsy charges were also made like allowing his official house land to be used for cultivation purposes and permitting sale of goods purchased from customs in the area HQs Canteen. These practices had been in vogue even before Gen had taken command of the area in 1972. The vindictiveness of Indian Government and the Army Chief was made obvious, when one day prior of Gen Shabeg’s retirement, on April 30, 1976 the hero of Mukti Bahini, a highly decorated general with PVSM & AVSM, who had been actively involved in every operation that Indian Army fought since his joining service and who spent the major portion of his life in field areas separated from the cost of his wife’s health and the education of his children was dismissed from the Army. Such was the treatment meted out to a brave soldier and an outstanding General, a leader of men, whom the Indian government and some senior Army officers in 1984 after Operation Blue Star dubbed as ‘disgruntled’ and frustrated because he was loyal to his community and fought for its honor and to protect the Golden Temple against the Army attack.

Gen Shabeg Singh was convinced, even while he was still serving in the Army, that the Government of India was curbing the freedom of Sikhs all over India. He was aware of the discrimination against Sikhs in denying them promotions and the general hostility of the Govt. who were set to weed out the Sikhs from the Army. The general reduction in the strength of Sikhs in the Army and the policy of the Govt. towards Sikhs in Punjab by denying them capital industry, restricting the Sikh peasant to farming of wheat and crops whose prices were also controlled to deny them full reward. The denial of full and fare shares of river waters were apart of an overall conspiracy to deny Sikhs their legitimate due. At the same time the propaganda of the Indian Government against the Sikhs, painting them as communal. Their demand for autonomy was treated as treachery and anti-patriotic by the Govt, and the “free” press vociferously branded the Sikh demands as secessionist. The beleaguered Sikhs had no way to voice their grievances, they were not properly organized, they had no press which commanded international attention. The Akali party as painted as party of uneducated, unlettered, obscurantists Sikhs so that belonging to intelligentsia, shied away from it.The Akalis in turn were suspicious of these former Government servants and doubted their loyalties. This resulted in growing gap between the Sikh Intelligentsia and Sikh politicians. Retired Sikh Army officers as well as Civil Administration preferred to join the Congress rather than a Sikh political party.

In 1977, Gen Shabeg Singh decided to throw-in his lot with the Akali Party as it was the only party in Punjab which was Sikhism oriented instead of Congress which was more of a secular party. He met Sardar Gurcharan Singh Tohra and offered to work as a soldier of Panth. The shrewd SGPC president was initially hesitant and distant but gradually was won over by the sincerity of the general and started seeking his advice important matters like associating Sikh Intelligentsia and ex servicemen with the Aakli Morcha. It was the way of Shaheg Singh thatt once he took a decision, he stuck to it and refused to be shaken from his resolve. His brother, who was progressive and well -to- do farmer and an active political worker in the Terrai (state of UP in North India)at Bazpur became the first victim of the Government’s oppression on the family. The local Congress leader along with the police connived to finish him and he was killed by the Congress leader in 1978. The same congressman has ever since been terrifying the Sikhs in that area. The loss of his younger brother, was a big blow to Shabeg Singh but his resolve not weaken. The general and his family members were harassed, the CBI tried to implicate the general in a case of alleged misappropriation of wealth and dragged on the case till 1983 Dec., to embarrass and harass him. Eventually the case fell through due to its flimsiness and the acquitted general said to his son, “These CBI official knowing too well the weakness of their case and feeling ashamed of their vain attempts to slander me could not bear to look me in the face.” For five years he had to bear with this govt. sponsored harassment only because he had opted to politics and not taken repressive means against Jaya Prakash Narain’s movement a few years earlier.

Gen Shabeg Singh was very active during the Akali’s peaceful agitation against Government policies of “seeing Sikhs as terrorists” and “river waters and transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab” of 1980 to 84. He courted arrest a number of times and won the hearts of the agitationist who saw that here was one leader who did not accept any preferential treatment in prison. He slept on the floor on a single rug and gave his cot to any old or infirm co-prisoner. He cared for their wants and protested to jail authorities for better conditions for the old and weak agitationists. He won the respect of his colleagues and other leaders like Prakash Singh Badal, Balwant Singh, H.S. Dhindsa and Vice Chancellor B.S.Samundri. Most Akali leaders liked and appreciated his work and sense of dedication. All those who associated with him were enthused by his Spirit He became popular with the people in Punjab and was soon fully engrossed in his service to the “‘Panth”. During the periods when he was out of jail he spent a major portion of his time in the village at Khiala where his mother lived He did not care for the old age comforts that he had planned for by constructing a comfortable house at Dehra Dun. His wife too came to stay in the village where he spent most of the time. This was inspite of her ill health due to a defective kidney and hypertension and the neglect of their house at Dehra Dun.

Punjab had become a leaderless state in 1982- or perhaps there were two many leaders. The people of Punjab were confused. There was Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Parkash Singh Badal, Sant Longowal, Jagdev Singh Talwandi and a host of other big and small leaders. But everyone was suspect in the eyes of the people thanks to the Govt. propaganda and machination of Congress led by Gandhi.

Now stepped another leader, a charismatic personality. A saint and leader of the renowned ‘Damdami Taksal’ Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. A selfless, dedicated leader who was frank, forthright and outspoken. He had but one interest only – the interest of the Sikh community – the Khalsa. He did not mince words when he attacked the deceitful politics of the Congress. He spoke out plainly on how the Sikhs had been exploited, and how the Akalis’, inspite of their assertions, had fallen prey to the politics of deceit and disruption. They were accused of neglecting Sikh interest when in power to appease the Central Congress Government. People flocked to him. He soon emerged as the undisputed leader of the Sikhs. His following grew at an alarming rate to the discomfort of the Indira’s congress Government. When Gen Shabeg Singh met Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, he felt naturally attracted to this out spoken, plain and bold man who was a natural leader and whose word, all Sikhs, specially in rural Punjab, The two became closer and closer with passing time. In 1983 Gen Shabeg Singh and other leaders suggested to Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and Sardar Gurcharan Singh Tohra to get together the Sikh intellectuals and discuss the dangerous situation that was being created by the Government,which was bent upon exploiting the Sikhs to win popular Hindu support and how it could lead to a breaking point. Gen Shabeg Singh worked ceaselessly in drafting letters and inviting eminent Sikhs and ex-Army officers to attend the meeting. which was eventually held and all shades of Sikh leadership felt convinced of the need of unity at this critical juncture. A very large number of retired army personnel attended this meeting and this frightened the Govt. A resolution was made that if need be, Sikhs would sacrifice their lives for the cause. A line was drawn and all who agreed were asked to step across it. Gen Shabeg Singh led the way. With passing time, the only way the Sikhs could escape from the conflagrant situation that was developing was to remain united, but the Govt was steadily working toward eroding any such moves because it had already made up its mind to teach the Sikhs a lesson.

Indira Gandhi, developed a new strategy in dealing with the unwelcome emergence of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. She cleverly planned to use the phenomenon to finish Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrranwale and also win the support of Hindu majority at the cost of the Sikhs. A massive smear campaign was launched to denigrate the new leader who she knew would never compromise on principles. The story of what followed is well known. With each passing day the Governments shameless tirade against the Sikhs grew and grew. There was no way for the Sikhs to respond bul only by getting stuck deeper in the quagmire. Eventually Sant Bhindranwale and his loyalist were forced to seek shelter in the apparent safety of Akal Takhat. The only hope of Sikhs was unity of leadership but that was not to be. They were not strong enough to repel an all out Govt attack, though they had the power to hold the police and allied security forces at bay, perhaps for many months. Now Sant Jarnail Singh needed Gen Shabeg Singh’s help. The General was away at Dehra Dun trying to recuperate from a serious heart attack that he had suffered a few months before, while on one of his “Sikh Prachar” meetings.

A special messenger reached the house at Dehra Dun in the middle of March 1984, with a message from Sant Jarnail Singh Bhandranwale that he was needed at Amritsar. After convalescence at Dehra Dun, Shabeg Singh and his wife had planned on a visit to Hajur Sahib where his wife had pledged to offer prayers once his CBI case was decided In Dec 1983 he had been acquitted of all charges. But this visit was not to be. Without second thought and still not fully recovered he left for Amritsar and that was last he saw his Dehra Dun home which he had planned to spend a peaceful retirement in pursuit prayer and meditation. At Amritsar, he got fully involved in setting up the defenses against Government attack on the Golden Temple complex. He had to plan his defenses such that they were inconspicuous because the pilgrims’ movement to the Golden Temple and around it had to remain unhindered. At the Same time, the defenses had to be very effective. He was in his element now. In the service of his community he did not mind giving up his life. He had always had a love for warfare and thought of death in battle a privilege. Perhaps he had a hidden desire to die fighting and in the holy presence of our Gurus. What better place then, than the Akal Takhat and the close proximity of Harmandir Sahib and in the service of his community. Tirelessly he worked against time with the prayer of Guru Gobind Singh on lips “Deh Shiva Var Mohe��.” In the past, whenever in war, he always offered this prayer. Being an Army General he must have been very well aware of the odd against him. Re had less than 200 young Khalsa youth to help him. Though these were no ordinary youth. They were highly motivated, dedicated to the cause and each one resolved to fight to the last when the time came Yet he knew that with this small band, and hardly any resources with which to resist the might of the Indian Army, he might surely be overwhelmed.

In the interest of the Sikh cause, he did suggest to Sant Jamail Singh Bhindranwale to leave the Akal Takhat and seek refuge outside the country to carry on the struggle. But how could the head of Damdami Taksal accept such a suggestion however practical it may have appeared. Perhaps Indira to knew and had calculated on this. When the time came, he would prefer sacrifice and martyrdom in the footsteps of Baba Deep Singh. Here was combination of two great traditions. One, the head of the great Daindami Takhsal and another a descendent of Bhai Mehtab Singh who had at this very place slashed off the head of vile Massa Rangar and carried it on his spear charging through the bewildered soldiers of the Nawab 250 years earlier. In the meanwhile, the political situation grew worse Indira Gandhi was playing her cards as per the game plan. Hindu feelings against Sikh throughout the country had been sufficiently aroused to condone any action against Sikhs including an assault on the Golden Temple.Commandos had been rehearsed for months at Chakkratta. Come June 1984 and it was time to call in the army and administer the ‘coupe de grace’. The army leader had been carefully selected, Lt Gen R.S. Dayal though the Chief of Staff to Gen Sunderji the Army Commander in charge of the operation was yet given greater coverage by the Govt. dominated media to show that the Army Sikh officers even at the highest level approved on the Golden Temple. Major Gen K.S.Brar, a Sikh only in name, clean shaven, married to an anglo-Indian who smoked and drank and cared not for Sikhism, these two were orchestrated as the leaders of the attack. Giani Zail Singh who signed the papers for army action was the President of the country. He later denied that he knew about army action.

On June 1 and June 2 Gen Brar himself went to asses the defenses of the temple dressed as a pilgrim and convinced his superiors the operation would take only six hours. On June 3 at 9:30 a.m. Punjab, Amritsar was sealed off and no movement of people allowed into the Golden Temple or out of it. At 8:30 a.m. that day Gen Shabeg Singh had literally forced his mother, wife, sister-in-law and nephew to leave the complex and go to the village. They had come there to offer prayers on the Shaheedi Gurupurub of Guru Arjun Dev which fell on June 4 and make arrangements for the annual ‘Chownki’ which pro ceeds from Harmandir Sahib to Gurusar the Gurdwara of guru Hargobind Sahib. The Chownki (party carrying the Guru Granth Sahib) halts at village Khiala which is on the way. Soft drinks, tea and snacks are served to everyone and this duty had been performed by Pritam Kaur, General Shabeg Singh’s mother since many, many years. Even if she was alone, she made sure arrangements for the Chowmki’s were made by the village folks At Harmandir Sahib, thousands of pilgrims who had come for the annual occasion could not leave before 9:30 a.m. and were trapped, many thousands would lose their lives in the massacre that was about to be unleashed by the power-hungry Indira and her stooges. Sikhs would be presented with another group of martyrs. The last chapter in the lives of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Bhai Amrik Singh and Gen Shaheg Singh along with those valiant youth who fought for the honor of Golden Temple and the Sikhs was about to close. So too would be lost the lives of thousands of innocent pilgrims while those spared would rot in camps and prisons of the Indian Govt. for many years. Yet a new chapter in the history of the Sikhs was about to begin. Ever since Blue Star, tens of thousands of Sikh youth have lost their lives in the struggle to achieve an autonomous state, a land which the Sikhs can call their own.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Copyright © J.S. Grewal

 

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BOOK REVIEW : Diary of Anti- Sikh massacre by Hindu Fanatics in India

Diary of anti- Sikh massacre

 

 

I Accuse: The Anti-Sikh Violence of 1984
By Jarnail Singh
Penguin/Viking | 165 pages | Rs 350

Public memory is short but what happened in October-November,1984 with Sikh in Delhi and other parts of India is not only unfortunate and shameful but is a scar that we as a nation, or society at the least, projected to be civilized and humane , should not and must not, be so hasty to wipe out of our collective memories.

The book under discussion is a detail account of not only what happened after assassination of Indira Gandhi by her body guards in terms of massacre but also its aftermath, long-term impact on Sikhs especially youth and pattern of denial of justice. Written by Jarnail Singh, the Journalist who hurled the shoe on P. Chidambaram to make the deaf hear and act is a book, which will take on a journey beyond mere numbers and facts and tell you the spine chilling stories.

Unlike When A Tree Shook Delhi, a book on the same topic, which basically talks about the legal battle for justice. This book talks about the sufferings of the victims, survivors and also explores, what has transpired in these 25 years. Basically, “nothing has happened in 25 years. There have been 11 commissions and committees. Hearings are still going on. Witnesses are dying. It has become a mockery of justice”, he insists.

Memories of an adolescence: The book starts with personal experience of the author as 11 year old boy, residing in Lajpat Nagar of South Delhi. “When the noise of the mob began to get louder, Mother told us to climb up to the oltee, the small space at the head of staircase, and hide there. Usually we only went up there while playing hide-and-seek – and we were always scolded for it; but today we were actually being told to do so. For a longtime my two brothers and I- we were… It was suffocating up in the attic. Mother had been too distracted to give us any food and we had not even had our breakfast that morning… “, he recalls. (p. 9-10) “The Park was our life. All three of us went to play and we found the other kids in the park were in the middle of the game of touch ball- where you have to hit the other players with the ball. The ball used to cost just fifty paise but the hits really hurt. The three of us took a while to realize that we were being hit hardest and most often. It dawned on us that the other boys were making us targets. It was not a game; it was a form of making us scapegoats. None other children were being treated that way.”, he notes. (p. 16)

Massacre not Riots: “The events following Indira Gandhi’s assassination were not riots, though that is what they are commonly called. Riots break out between two factions in confrontation with each other and both suffer the damage in greater or lesser degree. This violence was well organized. An estimated 5000 Sikh died across the country, but there is no record of even member of the mob being killed or charged.” he explains. (p. 25) He further notes, “The pattern in which the violence occurred, forced the Nanavati Commission to say, ‘The massacre was organized and carried out with precision’.” (p. 28)

Poisoning Generation Next: It is really heart rending to learn that, how deliberately children of widows were trapped in to drug addiction. The books notes, “…more than 200 young men have lost their lives to drugs.” (p. 120) The book further notes,” With fathers dead in riots brothers lost to the drug habit and helpless mothers, some girls have been forced to take prostitution. These innocent are being taken advantage of. Jagdish Singh admits that he knows that five to ten girls from their colony are fully in to this trade and there are probably at least fifty to sixty more.” (p. 124)

 

 

 

Protector or Partners in Crime: On the role of Police and other forces, which are considered to be protectors, Singh documents, how these forces worked hand in hand with mob and the planners of the massacre. “The job of the police during the three days of violence that gripped Delhi was, one, to scatter the Sikhs wherever they were collecting and two, to give the mob orders to attack, after seizing the Sikhs’ weapons. As so many of the affidavits recorded by the commissions of enquiry set up to investigate the violence of 1984 have note, this pattern was followed all over Delhi. First a crowd would gather and attack a gurdwara. If there was any resistance, the police would come to the help of attackers.” he sites. (p. 27-28)

Media Bias: The author was shocked and got disappointed to learn the role of Media during the days of massacre as he writes, “…(I)t was saddening to note that the newspapers of those critical days seemed as if they were asleep. Except for the Indian Express and the Hindi language Jansatta, owned by the same group, there was nothing on the violence in other major publications. One could not make out from these newspapers that on 31 October and 1, 2 and 3 November, 3000 Sikhs had been killed in national capital”. (p. 143) And he raise some unanswered questions, “Why was this so? Why did the national print media, which independent, do this? Murders in Delhi are widely covered, why not such a big massacre was reported. … (D)id some bias exist against the Sikhs in the media or was it because the media did not understand them ” ? (p. 144)

Lucid in language, packed with arguments and documents and full of emotions. With a short foreword from Khuswant Singh, in which he concludes, “It is a must read for all those who wish that such horrendous crimes do not take place again”.

 

 

By Mahtab Alam for TwoCircles.net

I Accuse: The Anti-Sikh Violence of 1984
By Jarnail Singh
Penguin/Viking | 165 pages | Rs 350

Public memory is short but what happened in October-November,1984 with Sikh in Delhi and other parts of India is not only unfortunate and shameful but is a scar that we as a nation, or society at the least, projected to be civilized and humane , should not and must not, be so hasty to wipe out of our collective memories.

The book under discussion is a detail account of not only what happened after assassination of Indira Gandhi by her body guards in terms of massacre but also its aftermath, long-term impact on Sikhs especially youth and pattern of denial of justice. Written by Jarnail Singh, the Journalist who hurled the shoe on P. Chidambaram to make the deaf hear and act is a book, which will take on a journey beyond mere numbers and facts and tell you the spine chilling stories.

Unlike When A Tree Shook Delhi, a book on the same topic, which basically talks about the legal battle for justice. This book talks about the sufferings of the victims, survivors and also explores, what has transpired in these 25 years. Basically, “nothing has happened in 25 years. There have been 11 commissions and committees. Hearings are still going on. Witnesses are dying. It has become a mockery of justice”, he insists.

Memories of an adolescence: The book starts with personal experience of the author as 11 year old boy, residing in Lajpat Nagar of South Delhi. “When the noise of the mob began to get louder, Mother told us to climb up to the oltee, the small space at the head of staircase, and hide there. Usually we only went up there while playing hide-and-seek – and we were always scolded for it; but today we were actually being told to do so. For a longtime my two brothers and I- we were… It was suffocating up in the attic. Mother had been too distracted to give us any food and we had not even had our breakfast that morning… “, he recalls. (p. 9-10) “The Park was our life. All three of us went to play and we found the other kids in the park were in the middle of the game of touch ball- where you have to hit the other players with the ball. The ball used to cost just fifty paise but the hits really hurt. The three of us took a while to realize that we were being hit hardest and most often. It dawned on us that the other boys were making us targets. It was not a game; it was a form of making us scapegoats. None other children were being treated that way.”, he notes. (p. 16)

Massacre not Riots: “The events following Indira Gandhi’s assassination were not riots, though that is what they are commonly called. Riots break out between two factions in confrontation with each other and both suffer the damage in greater or lesser degree. This violence was well organized. An estimated 5000 Sikh died across the country, but there is no record of even member of the mob being killed or charged.” he explains. (p. 25) He further notes, “The pattern in which the violence occurred, forced the Nanavati Commission to say, ‘The massacre was organized and carried out with precision’.” (p. 28)

Poisoning Generation Next: It is really heart rending to learn that, how deliberately children of widows were trapped in to drug addiction. The books notes, “…more than 200 young men have lost their lives to drugs.” (p. 120) The book further notes,” With fathers dead in riots brothers lost to the drug habit and helpless mothers, some girls have been forced to take prostitution. These innocent are being taken advantage of. Jagdish Singh admits that he knows that five to ten girls from their colony are fully in to this trade and there are probably at least fifty to sixty more.” (p. 124)

 

 

 

Protector or Partners in Crime: On the role of Police and other forces, which are considered to be protectors, Singh documents, how these forces worked hand in hand with mob and the planners of the massacre. “The job of the police during the three days of violence that gripped Delhi was, one, to scatter the Sikhs wherever they were collecting and two, to give the mob orders to attack, after seizing the Sikhs’ weapons. As so many of the affidavits recorded by the commissions of enquiry set up to investigate the violence of 1984 have note, this pattern was followed all over Delhi. First a crowd would gather and attack a gurdwara. If there was any resistance, the police would come to the help of attackers.” he sites. (p. 27-28)

Media Bias: The author was shocked and got disappointed to learn the role of Media during the days of massacre as he writes, “…(I)t was saddening to note that the newspapers of those critical days seemed as if they were asleep. Except for the Indian Express and the Hindi language Jansatta, owned by the same group, there was nothing on the violence in other major publications. One could not make out from these newspapers that on 31 October and 1, 2 and 3 November, 3000 Sikhs had been killed in national capital”. (p. 143) And he raise some unanswered questions, “Why was this so? Why did the national print media, which independent, do this? Murders in Delhi are widely covered, why not such a big massacre was reported. … (D)id some bias exist against the Sikhs in the media or was it because the media did not understand them ” ? (p. 144)

Lucid in language, packed with arguments and documents and full of emotions. With a short foreword from Khuswant Singh, in which he concludes, “It is a must read for all those who wish that such horrendous crimes do not take place again”.

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