Nirpreet Kaur, then 16-years-old, is an eyewitness against some of the direct perpetrators of violence in Delhi in 1984. She recounts the nexus between local politicians and the police and how Sikhs in her neighborhood, surrounded on all 4 sides, organized to fight against the marauders for 4 hours.
She explains that while Sikhs bravely put up a fight, the police finally arrived on scene. At the behest of the police, Nirpreet Kaur’s father left with the police. Then, she heard the police inspector shouting to the crowd: “tumse ek sardar nahin martaa?” (You are unable to kill even this one Sikh?)
The crowd set fire to her father, caught him as he ran, tied him to a pole and burned him to death. Kaur narrates the complicity of those around: shop owners, neighbors and the head of the local mandir/temple who aided the police and leaders in killing her father.
In this poignant and spirited account, Kaur recounts the interaction between Sajjan Kumar’s nephew and her father and names other perpetrators such as ex-MLA Mahinder Yadav, who yelled about her 9-year-old brother, “isse bhi maaro, yeh saap ka bachaa hai.” (Kill him too, he is an offspring of the same snake).
Kaur’s surviving family was taken by a neighbor to the local Air Force station. She describes what she saw there and the witness harassment and intimidation that followed the horror of the first few days of November.
Moving away from her abruptly destroyed childhood, Kaur later went to Punjab, joined the Sikh Youth Federation and married a militant, who she witnessed being killed in a police encounter. She herself was also jailed for 9 years and later tortured by Sumedh Saini (currently promoted to Director General of Police, Punjab) for a week. Following release from jail, she was forcibly re-married by her family and suffered an abusive relationship. Kaur also bravely continues to speak of the abuse of the judicial processes.
She has opened some businesses for some of the women survivors of 1984 and is providing education for second and third generation children in her ongoing attempts to assist them out of poverty.
This article first appeared at 1984 Living History on 28 June 2014. See here.