November 1984: The mob dragged him out by his hair

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Darshan Kaur – Photo: Shome Basu in Photo from Chauraasi Ki Nainsaafi: The continuing injustice for the 1984 Sikh massacre (Amnesty International India briefing released in 2017)

DARSHAN KAUR

Migrated from Trilokpuri to Raghubir Nagar (Delhi). She lost her husband and 11 other family members.

“My husband tried to hide in the kitchen of our house in Trilokpuri. But the mob dragged him out by his hair, and wrapped a quilt around him and put a tyre on him. They then poured oil on him and set him on fire. He was severely burnt, and died later.

The mob mercilessly stripped all the women, who were still in shock and disbelief at the deaths of their husbands and relatives. They were raped by several men countless times.’’

– Source: Chauraasi Ki Nainsaafi: The continuing injustice for the 1984 Sikh massacre (Amnesty International India briefing released in 2017)

Cover page of Chauraasi Ki Nainsaafi: The continuing injustice for the 1984 Sikh massacre

From 31 October to 3 November 1984, over 3,000 Sikh men, women and children were slaughtered by violent mobs, following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Sikh men had their necks ringed with tyres which were set on fire, while others were shot or hacked to death; women were raped and assaulted. Eyewitnesses told official commissions of inquiry that police personnel did nothing to prevent the killings; and some actively participated in the massacre. Several witnesses reported seeing members of the ruling Congress party instigating mobs and taking part in the attacks.

A government-appointed judicial commission described the killings as “organized carnage”.

The massacre of 1984 was a national shame, and it was followed by another: over three decades of impunity for perpetrators of these crimes.

Survivors reported that the police refused to register complaints in many cases, and in others they registered vague ‘omnibus FIRs’ covering all the offences in a neighborhood. In Delhi, 587 First Information Reports (FIRs) related to the massacre were registered, of which the Delhi police closed 247 as ‘untraced’, meaning that they had been unable to trace any evidence. Over 33 years later, only a handful of police personnel charged with neglecting their duty and protecting the attackers have been punished.

The agony of the survivors of the 1984 massacre have not ended. Their children continue to live with the pain and injustice that followed the violence.

This photo digest presents a glimpse into the lives of these forgotten people. The screams of the victims still echo in the narrow lanes of neighbourhoods where thousands were butchered. It is time for India to ensure that the injustice for massacre of 1984 does not remain a festering sore.

– Source: Chauraasi Ki Nainsaafi: The continuing injustice for the 1984 Sikh massacre (Amnesty International India briefing released in 2017)

 

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