June 1984-Glummest Month of Sikh Community
By Zaheerul Hassan
Responsible welfare states irrespective of religion, language, casts, sects, and culture certainly need to protect the rights of its inhabitants whether they belong to majority or majority segments of society. Failing which can stimulate irrecoverable differences, widening the gaps among the society and ultimately let the suppressed people to adopt their own course of action for obtaining their basic rights.
Unfortunately, India though claims the world largest democratic but practically being rule by the undemocratic extremists class of the country. She not only keeps on interfering in neighbouring countries, Pakistan, Sir Lanka and Bangladesh but also earning bad name due to her brutal actions against minorities settled there. The ruling party under Moddi government has is promoting fascism and using force to eliminate Kashmiris, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Maoists. As result of brutality since inception almost 123 independence movements are in progress in various parts of India. In 1947, Sikh community opted for India but just after few years of independence minorities including Sikh realized that their rights are being suppressed by the majority. Attractive jobs and lucrative appointments are only being offered to a particular class. Even in some cases Hindus from low casts are no being considered at power with the Hindus of upper casts.
Anyhow, Sikh community organizes its moments, initially demanded for their right but started peaceful struggle for independent “Khalistan” when felt now impossible to live together under extremists Hindu in India. However, in 1984 Prime Minister Indira Gandhi government planned an Operation Blue Star to forcefully crush Sikh peaceful movement .It was launched exactly 31 years ago on 1 June, 1984 and continued for more than one week but precisely speaking from June 1-6 more than 20,000 Sikhs were gun downed and many injured . Indian government at that time claimed that the action was against militant but factually speaking it was against innocent Sikhs community that includes women, children and women. During this operation soldiers of Indian Army with their boot on went into the Harmandir Sahib complex Golden Temple.
At the time of the operation, nearly 100,000 Army troops were deployed throughout Punjab.
One of my friend published 10 interesting facts about the Operation Blue Star. These facts are really very very essential to understand the operation. These facts are:
The root can be traced from the Khalistan Movement, started in the early 1940’s and 50’s. It was a political Sikh separatist movement that wanted to create an independent state for Sikh people. The movement was at its peak in the 1970s and 1980s.
Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was the leader of the Damdami Taksal, was another important factor which led towards Operation Blue Star. At that time, Bhindranwale had influenced Sikh youth in the state. He used religion to persuaded people to join the movement for Khalistan. He and Khalistan supporters occupied the Akal Takht complex, including the Golden Temple, in Amritsar.
The operation was carried out by Indian Army, using tanks, artillery, helicopters and armoured vehicles. The main motive was to eliminate Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, along with other Sikh militants and regain control over the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar.
Operation Blue Star comprised of two operations: Operation Shop – keeping the curfew orders in check and Operation Metal – concerned to Harmandir Sahib complex.
The Army first entered ‘Guru Ram Das Langar’ building inside the temple.
The state faced a complete curfew as the army and para-military forces were patrolling 24 hours. The entries and exists of Harmindar Sahib were completely sealed.
Media faced a blackout and transportation also suffered a major setback during that time.
Gurcharan Singh Tohra, former head of SGPC, was appointed to negiotate with Bindrawale. However, the negotiations failed completely.
Army used tanks to neutralise militants who had captured the Akal Takhat. After a week-long operation, on June 7, the army gained control over Harmandir Sahib complex.
Four months later, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh. 33 rounds of bullets were fired on here. The primary reason for this killing was the Operation Blue Star, which she had ordered.
On April 18, US Federal Judge Robert Sweet heard on submission a motion filed by November 1984 Victims’ requesting the court to vacate its earlier order dismissing the case against Kamal Nath and re-instating the same.
The victims motion to reinstate the case argues that survivors of November 1984 Sikh Genocide, as a matter of law, has a right to conduct jurisdictional discovery to uncover Kamal Nath’s contacts with New York to establish court’s personal jurisdiction in this class action lawsuit filed under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA). The case against Minister Nath was filed by “Sikhs For Justice” (SFJ) a US based human rights group for his role in leading an armed mob which attacked Gurdawara Rakab Ganj Delhi on November 01, 1984 in which many Sikhs were burnt alive.
On March 06, Judge Sweet dismissed the complaint against Congress Leader Kamal Nath on the grounds that summons were not properly served upon Minister Nath and that plaintiffs failed to show that Minister Nath had “minimum contacts” with New York sufficient to support court’s personal jurisdiction over the case.
The SFJ’s’ motion to reinstate the case against Kamal Nath is based on the evidence that Minister Nath entered into a book deal with New York City publishing giant McGraw-Hill Inc. which published Nath’s book “India’s Century” in the United States in 2007. Additionally motion also points to news reports about Nath publically acknowledged the receipt of summons on April 06, 2010 while he was in New York to attend a construction conference organized by McGraw Hill Inc. The motion contends that the court abused its discretion by ordering dismissal of complaint against Nath without first affording victims of November 1984 a jurisdictional discovery and an evidentiary hearing in order to prove the court that personal jurisdiction exists over Minister Nath.
In opposition to plaintiffs’ motion, Kamal Nath through his attorney David Lindley, states that plaintiffs have “failed to state a prima facie case for personal jurisdiction, such as might warrant jurisdictional discovery, particularly considering Minister Nath’s multiple immunity defenses.”
According to Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ, since service of summons and personal jurisdiction are issues in this case, plaintiffs will again serve Kamal Nath in India through the procedure provided under “Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters” (Hague Service Convention 1965″). The Hague Service Convention is a multilateral treaty which allows service of process of judicial documents from one signatory state to another without use of consular and diplomatic channels. India signed the Hague Service Convention on November 23, 2006 and established a Central Authority for receiving and serving judicial documents from courts in foreign countries, added attorney Pannun.
The Sikhs community is facing brutality from extremists. Most of the Sikh are in the opinion that they should speed up their moments for separate independent state. For this purpose they are going to launch a campaign for liberation of Sikhs territory peacefully. In case of its failure they will go for an armed.
Concluding, I would say that first week of June of 1984 would be consider and remember as gloomiest week of Sikh history.
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