By T Sher Singh | Opinion |
There is a concept in law called “Accessory After The Fact”. It constitutes a criminal offense in India, UK, USA, Canada, and much of the rest of the world, if
“someone assists 1) another person or persons who have committed a crime, ) after the person has committed the crime, 3) with knowledge that the person committed the crime, and 4) with the intent to help the person avoid accountability. Such an Accessory After The Fact may be held liable for, among other things, Obstruction of Justice.” [Courtesy: Cornell Law School]
In this context, I have stumbled across a poignant piece of writing by Dr Apoorvanand Jha, Professor of Hindi at the University of Delhi. It was published in the eminent online journal, The Wire.in. The article is titled: “Why is the Anniversary of the 1984 Massacre of Sikhs Not a Time of Remembrance For Us All?”
Let me reproduce for you here a few choice excerpts from it.
“Today is October 31. Since we are turning into a community of memory, it is not out of place to ask ourselves how we should remember this day … Sardar Patel’s birthday? Or the day of the beginning of the massacre of Sikhs in India in 1984? How would we like to tell the story of this day to those who have not lived it?
“… This government … does not want to remember October 31 as the day of the massacre of the Sikhs…
“I glanced through the newspapers today. On this date, it was not felt necessary to remind readers of this horror. The omission is odd because it is a day which one community in India remembers as the day when it was threatened with elimination. A day of the beginning of genocidal violence against it. Why do we not want to share this memory? The violence was committed by ordinary Hindus against a religious community they had been calling their ‘protector’ for ages. It is not only the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh that claims Sikhism to be a branch of Hinduism [sic], but most Hindus have also grown up believing this. Then why the violence against ‘our own people’?
“Some Hindus are quick to rationalise violence against Muslims by saying ‘they divided India and created Pakistan, they ruled over us, oppressed us, destroyed our temples’. [Which is not true. It was Hindus themselves who forced the creation of Pakistan.] Such arguments are cited to justify any ‘punishment’ Muslims in India are subjected to from generation to generation. Sadly, many also accept this reason as valid and thus anti-Muslim violence is also accepted as natural. But what is the justification for the mass killing of Sikhs in 1984, and for our collective refusal to hold fast to that memory?”
“I want to understand how a city can go on living peacefully even after the killing of nearly 3,000 Sikhs. How does it explain the massacre to itself? How many people would it have taken to kill 3,000? All those who were involved in that massacre or knew those who did went on living their lives as if nothing had happened. Even after participating in this mass murder and violence … imagine a city in which thousands of murderers and their relatives and friends live with the intimacies of their relationships as father, mother, brother, sister and grandparent intact after destroying the possibility of such relationships among their neighbours.
“What kind of society is that, what kind of family is that which is a safe haven for murderers? Which society just moves on, as if the mass murder committed by it was a ‘natural accident’? Who gets angry when reminded of this collective injustice?
“ … It is now a firmly established fact that leaders and members of the party were involved in the killings. The unwillingness of the then Congress government to intervene and stop the violence, and punish the guilty, is well recorded … But let us ask this question: didn’t a large part of the city’s Hindu population actively participate in this violence against the Sikhs? Has there been any discussion about it in the Hindu samaj?
“This is why I believe October 31 and the days which followed should be a time of introspection for Hindus in India and abroad. A day should come when ordinary Hindus achieve the ability to recognise the reality of this violence and take responsibility for it. That would be a far more important day for the Hindu community – and India – than the consecration of a temple or the celebration of some abstract notion of national unity.”
As if to prove Apoorvanand’s point, a note was posted on one of my articles on 1984 on LinkedIn yesterday by a certain Flt Lt Promila Dhaka who describes herself as founder of Topgun Image Consulting Pvt Ltd. It read: “Why dig the past sir”
Obviously, she is aware of what transpired in 1984 against the Sikhs and its ramifications, but wants it all buried under silence.
I replied to her note by pointing out that Hindus celebrate Dussehra now, year after year, even though thousands of years have gone by since the event involving Sita and Ravan supposedly took place.
But Sikhs are to forget the pogroms that were carried out a mere 38 years ago?
Flt Lt Promila Dhaka’s response to my reply is a classic example of cowardice: she promptly changed her name on her posting to “Pammi Singh”!
TO BE CONTINUED (The next part will be added here once it appears at T Sher Singh’s LinkedIn)
THE BOOK: Who, Why, How, Where, When … of India’s 1984. If you want to learn more about the Who, Why, How, Where and When pertaining to the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom in India, I request you to read “INDIA’S 1984”. The first part of the book has the events of 1984 divided into four sections: a) Before, b) June, c) November, and d) After. It also lays out the goings-on in India after it was newly carved out in 1947 and how they led to the genocide in 1984 and the decade that followed. Finally, it describes how India’s disinformation machinery operated across the diaspora in 1984 with the sole purpose of silencing the Sikhs who lived in free and democratic societies and beyond the reach of Indian propaganda. The book (print and ebook) can be purchased online at www.MacauliffeBooks.com
T. Sher Singh, born September 11, 1949, at Patna, Bihar, India. Have worn various hats (actually, turbans), including as Police Commissioner, Lawyer/Attorney, Speaker, TV Host, Radio commentator, Newspaper Columnist on current affairs for Toronto Star et al, World Traveler, and travel writer. Canadian citizen, and resident of Canada since 1971. He was also the editor and publisher at sikhchic.com. This article was adapted from his LinkedIn posting. Go here for more of such entries.
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