Punish the Guilty of 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots NOW

    Narendra Modi government on October 30 announced compensation of INR 500,000 each to be given to the kin of 3325 people killed during anti-Sikh riots in the national capital in 1984. What Modi seems to be forgetting is that no compensation amount will satisfy the community. What the community has been demanding is punishment for those who were guilty of instigating and conducting violence against the Sikhs. It is a matter of national shame that 30 years have gone by since the worst massacre took place in 1984 and despite some being found to be responsible for the heinous crimes, they still manage to roam around freely.

    It hurts the community that those who deserved to be hanged for their crimes are given positions of power. The community feels it is being mocked at. It is natural for it to fume. One had thought the new BJP government will do justice to the Sikhs but it has given the community a rude shock and the community is terribly disappointed. The announcement of compensation of INR 500,000 is not likely to make the community happy. Money is important for survival, no doubt. But then money is not all. A proud community like the Sikhs will prefer honor and dignity to material gains.

    I am reminded of a journalist’s recent comment on delay in bringing the culprits to book and the community’s disillusionment with the successive governments. Mr. Mohinder Singh says, “Thirty years after the anti-Sikh riots that raged in Delhi, there are no easy answers to these questions: What should the Sikhs do? Should they forget the past? Should they live in the past? Or should they live with the past?” One would only hope, a sensible approach to the issue would be adopted by Modi government to remove the grievance of the community, or else, the community’s alienation will deepen and may pose a formidable challenge to the unity and sovereignty of the Indian nation. Punish the guilty NOW, without any further delay.

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