Sikhs in US petition White House to recognize 1984 genocide

The group Sikhs for Justice is currently collecting signatures to petition the President of the United States to recognize the organized pogroms against Sikhs in India in 1984 as a genocide:

During November 1984 the Congress Party of India organized and perpetrated violence with intent to destroy the Sikh community, resulting in more than 30,000 killed; women raped; Gurudwaras burnt and more than 300,000 displaced. The systematic violence against Sikhs was concealed and portrayed by the Indian governments as Anti-Sikh Riots.

The intentional and deliberate nature of the attacks on Sikh lives, properties and places of worship during November 1984 makes them crime of GENOCIDE as defined in 18 USC 1091 and as per Article 2 of the U.N. Convention on Genocide.

In 2011-12 mass graves of Sikhs killed during November 1984 were discovered throughout India, which is the most specific and convincing evidence that violence against Sikhs in 1984 was GENOCIDE.

In the decades since, despite the frustrations by Sikhs around the world, human rights organizations, and even those in the Indian media, the Government of India has both denied justice and protected within its ranks those accused of organizing the targeted massacre of the thousands of innocent Sikhs killed that year. Recent cables released by WikiLeaks shows that there was international recognition that Indian officials not only organized the killing but that there has been obfuscation in the judicial process to prevent holding any of those responsible to account.

In 2005, author/director Shonali Bose created Amu, a fictional film that shed light on the massacre:

Amu is the story of Kaju, a twenty-one-year-old Indian American woman who returns to India to visit her family and discover the place where she was born. The film takes a dark turn as Kaju stumbles against secrets and lies from her past. A horrifying genocide that took place twenty years ago turns out to hold the key to her mysterious origins.

The film was censored in India, but is available on DVD in the United States (and on YouTube).

The effort by Sikhs for Justice in the United States follows attempts made in the past several years in Canada, at the United Nations and most recently in Australia to recognize the genocide.

While the outcome of the successful petition may be symbolic, it is important that Sikhs around the world ensure that this massacre is never forgotten. As we approach three decades since the genocide, the potential for justice for the surviving victims is diminishing. Yet, it behooves all of us to not abandon this issue for any justice that can still be achieved, and to ensure that such an event does not happen again.

The deadline for the non-binding petition is December 15. In order to receive an official response from the White House, the petition must reach the threshold level of 25,000 signatures by the deadline date.

You can sign the petition here.


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