A blood donation drive started by a Canada-based Sikh group to commemorate the anti-Sikh massacre in 1984 in India was recognised in the British Columbia (BC) state legislative assembly on Nov 2.
The campaign that began in 1999 has saved more than 130,000 lives todate.
“This is fighting hatred and injustice with love and giving, we thank them for restoring our confidence in humanity in the face of bigotry and brutality,” BC member of the legislative assembly (MLA) Rachna Singh told the assembly.
“I was honoured to stand in the house and speak about the Annual Blood Donation campaign hosted by Sikh Nation, in commemoration for the anti-Sikh massacre in 1984.
“Despite the blatant absence of justice for all these years, Sikh Nation comes together to organise a campaign to save lives through blood donation. This is fighting hatred and injustice with love and giving, we thank them for restoring our confidence in humanity in the face of bigotry and brutality,” she said.
The first blood donation clinics organised by Sikh Nation took place in the lower mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It has now grown to include clinics across Canada, the USA, Australia and other locations worldwide.
The blood donation campaign is part of an effort to raise awareness of the events of 1984 and at the same time unite humanity. The campaign expresses peace and invites people around the world to participate in this humanitarian campaign, according to the promoter’s website.
In her speech in the BC assembly, Rachna said despite the blatant absence of justice for all these years, Sikh Nation came together to organise a campaign to save lives through blood donation.
“These drives are organised in commemoration of the victims of the anti-Sikh massacre that rocked the Indian nation in the first week of November 1984 following the assassination of the then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.
“Innocent Sikhs were killed across the country by the mobs to punish the entire community for the murder of the prime minister.
“I was in India back then, Mr Speaker, and I still remember the atmosphere of hatred and dread created by the violence directed at a single community. And when the bloodshed started, Mr Speaker, we lived in constant fear for the lives and security of aunts and uncles living in New Delhi, the national capital, that was worst hit by the pogrom.
“Though I was fortunate enough to be far from the epicentre of the mayhem, that wasn’t the case for many others who got killed and molested only because of their identity,” she said.
Now, years after the event, she said the families and those affected are still having to deal with trauma and waiting for justice.
Rachna, who was elected as the MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers in 2017, moved from India to Canada in 2001.
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