Delhi - 31st October 1984
Posted by: tapoban
Date: October 31, 2009 08:18AM
The day of 31st October 1984 is a day of mixed emotions for Sikhs. It is a day that will never be forgotten. It began with a sense of pride with the actions of Bhai Satwant Singh and Bhai Beant Singh delivering such a blow that not only India but the whole World took notice. Then came anger as the mobs took to rioting and killing of Sikhs.
Below are a few posts from our archives depicting the events surrounding that fateful day.
Bhai Satwant Singh and Bhai Beant Singh were two bodyguards in Indira’s security force. This is the story of how they restored the honour of the Sikh Nation:
“So my Gurdaspuri-wrestler how was your vacation?” asked Sardar Beant Singh, himself a resident of village Maloa in Ropar. Sardar Satwant Singh had been on vacation and had just returned. The two were both employed in the Delhi police and were both assigned to Indira Gandhi’s security duty.
Satwant Singh, hearing the question, replied with tears forming in his eyes, “Bhaoo, Punjab is in bad shape. That Brahmin’s daughter has been very cruel…”
Beant Singh who was very close to Satwant Singh, was shocked to see tears streaming down his face and asked, “What has happened?”
Satwant Singh managed to reply, “These Hindustanis have completely destroyed Darbar Sahib…” and then began to cry. He had seen with his own eyes the destruction in Amritsar during his trip.
Beant Singh replied, “But there were terrorists hiding there…that’s why all this happened.” Beant Singh’s entire family was amritdhari but during his time in College, Beant Singh had been influenced by Marxist ideology.
Satwant Singh replied, “There were terrorists hiding there, but hwat about the the other 31 Gurdwaras that were destroyed. Who was there? Now they’re wiping out all the young men in Majha, why is that? Couldn’t they have just caught Bhindranwale and his men alone? Were all the pilgrims and children there terrorists as well? The children they snatched from their mothers’ laps and smashed on to the ground? Were the women the soldiers raped also terrorists?” Satwant Singh was asking question after question and his eyes were glowing red.
Beant Singh heard all this and asked furiously, “What? They raped women in Darbar Sahib??” He could not believe that the so-called “Secular” army could be so cruel to the citizens of its own country.
Bhai Beant Singh and Bhai Satwant Singh showed the world that anyone who attacks Sri Darbar Sahib can expect only one thing: death.
Indira Gandhi attacked Darbar Sahib in June 1984 and ordered the massacre of thousands of innocent Sikh men, women and children. She ordered to blowing up of Sri Akal Takhat. Her plans had not ended yet. The next phase in Indira's war on the Sikhs was Operation Woodrose in July 1984 which involved the rounding up and slaughter of young Sikhs in the villages of Punjab. The final phase was yet to come: Operation Shanti.
Operation Shanti was scheduled to proceed on November 8, 1984 when Sikhs had gathered to celebrate Guru Nanak Dev jee's Gurpurab. According to Sangat Singh, "large scale skirmishes virtually amounting to a war were to take place all along the India-Pakistan borders. And it was to be given out that the Sikhs had risen in revolt in Punjab and joined hands with the Pakistani armed forces which had made considerable advances into the Indian territory" (The Sikhs in History, 415).
Sikhs were to be bombarded from the air and slaughtered by the army. India-wide attacks on the "collaborator" Sikhs would also occur.
Bhai Beant Singh, Indira's body guard learned of these plans from an insider. He decided that he would do all he could to stop her. Bhai Beant Singh approached Bhai Satwant Singh to help him. Both visited Sree Amritsar Sahib and in the weeks preceding October 31, both became amritdhari.
At 9AM on October 31,1984 as Indira walked down the pathway from her house, Bhai Beant Singh pumped five bullets into her stomach. Bhai Satwant Singh then emptied his carbine into her. Both Singhs then dropped their weapons and before beginning paath, Bhai Beant Singh exclaimed "I have done what I had to do. You do what you want to do."
Both Singhs were taken into a shed and were shot at by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. Bhai Beant Singh succumbed to his injuries, while Bhai Satwant Singh would live only to be excecuted by the Indian state on January 6, 1989. Bhai Satwant Singh's final words were, "There is no greater privilege for a Sikh than to lay down his life for the protection of Harimandir and the Akal Takhat. I wish to be born again and again and each time be able to die for it".
Bhai Beant Singh and Satwant Singh foiled Indira's plans for Operation Shanti, but the bloodthirsty mobs across India still hunted and killed Sikhs for the next three days. However, instead of a death toll in the hundreds of thousands, the loss was not on as grand a scale as was intended.
Let's remember these two great heros of the Sikh panth and take the lessons they left us with to heart.
Re: Delhi - 31st October 1984
Posted by: tapoban
Date: October 31, 2009 08:36AM
Delhi 1984 is not only a tragic chapter in Sikh history due to the thousands of Sikhs who were butchered, but also because it was one of the first times Sikhs weren't able to defend themselves and in large numbers even cut their hair to save their lives. This happened to some extent in 1947 but the 1984 riots saw it on a mass scale. Why? Because Sikhs have abandoned their Khalsa traditions and roots. If we were Guru's Khalsa, Delhi 1984 might have been a shaheedee saakaa still, but it would not have been a shameful one.
Delhi 1984 however also highlighted the difference it makes if a Khalsa is attacked and s/he has a kirpaan [and most importantly Khalsa spirit]. Here is one example of where Sikhs had no kirpaan [and were'nt tyaar bar tyaar Khalsa] vs. ones where they did:
1) Trilokpuri; A woman told of her terrifying experiences. She and her husband had come to Rajasthan in 1947 where for a better future they decided to move to Delhi. It was here that their hope, an 18 year old son was tortured to death on Nov 1. The crowd was composed of some locals of the Block and some outsiders and they were led by the Block President. The Block President was identifying Sikh homes and inciting the mob to loot and burn property and kill the Sikhs....All the women were put in a room. Some tried to escape but were caught at the water pump and gang-raped. Their screams for help echoed against deaf ears. The goons told each other to pick their woman of choice. All the Sikh women were disrobed...even this middle aged woman was attacked by 10 individuals...after the attack the mob ordered the disrobed women out and in that state they all ran to save their lives. Some merciful neighbours gave them clothing and refuge in their homes. ("Terror in Delhi" quoted in HuDee(n) Hundaaiyaa ik Khoonee Dahaakaa by Baljeet Singh Khalsa, p.9)
And if the Sikhs had kirpans and shaster:
2) One individual took his family to the Gurdvara after hearing of the assassination of Indira Gandhi. He saw other Sikh families had gathered there as well. Leaving women and children behind, the men got on top of the roof where 200 yards away they saw a mob forming at the local Congress (I) offices. This mob had come at 8.30AM on November 1st by truck.
Then, this mob moved towards the Gurdvara and began to throw rocks at the Sikhs on the roof. The Sikhs took the bricks they had accumulated and threw them back at the mob. When the bricks were finished, the mob's confidence grew and they moved forward. They torched one store, which was rented out by the Gurdvara.
The Sikhs, 12 in number, took all the kirpaans in the Gurdvara and came out into the open. With this little show of strength, the mob ran back. When the police arrived at 3.30PM, the fire had been extinguished...200 Sikhs from surrounding areas had come into the Gurdvara...and the Gurdvara was saved from being burnt.("Terror in Delhi" quoted in HuDee(n) Hundaaiyaa ik Khoonee Dahaakaa by Baljeet Singh Khalsa, p.10)
3) (Taken from naamnet vol. 1).
Bhai S. Singh jee, a sevadar from Gurdrawa Nanaksar, told me this saakhi:
"It was during the anti-sikh riots. I was at that time living in Gurudrawa Nanaksar in Haryana. There were 7 other sewadars in the gurudrawa. Trouble started brewing early in the morning. We noticed about 50 young men gathering outside a few hundred metres away from the gurudwara sahib. We didn't really pay too much attention to them.
By noon, the group had turned into a rowdy crowd of about 300. We became quite concerned at that point. Our telephone wires had been cut, so there really was not much we could do. But we were still in chardi kala.
At about 3 pm, a truck driven by a Singh was driving by the crowd when the crowd attacked it. The Singh gave up the truck and ran to the gurudwara. Some gundas overtook him and injured him but he, being a strong man, managed to escape. Still, he was quite bloody when he came in. That increased our number to 9. The number outside had increased to about 500 by evening. They were very loud and obnoxious by now.
We tried to ignore them and began our evening diwan at 6 pm. But as the darkness approached, the rabble become more and more bold. In fact, soon they started stoning the gurdwara. We stopped the evening programme and placed all the Guru Granth Sahib jees in the safest place possible.
At 7.30 pm it was very dark and the rabble became so bold that they put fire to the gurdwara's gate. It hit us then how serious the situation was. We soon would be killed!
Our jathedar gathered us and said, "Khalsa jee, the Khalsa has faced worse situations then this. The Khalsa has gone through two holocasts but the Khalsa lives and will live in freedom forever! Khalsa jee, the Khalsa has never given up and will never give up. The enemy stands outside. There are 500 hundred, we are 9 but remember Guru Gobind Singh jee has made each of us equivalent to sava-lakh (125,000)! Khalsa jee, get prepared to fight!"
He said this with so much josh and bir ras that our body hair stood on their ends. Even though I had been seriously ill for the past 3 months, I too was ready to fight. The jathedar then told us that we must make two groups. The first group of five will go out first and fight the enemy. The the rest (4) can go later. Everybody agreed. Jathedar Sahib then chose 4 other pyares. I was not chosen, most probably due to my illness.
The five put on the uniform of the Khalsa. Then the jathedar sahib did ardas to Guru Gobind Singh jee saying, "Pita jee, dear father,, we are coming to your land. Please prepare for us!"
Then five then took out their kirpans and with BOLE SO NEHAAL! SAT SRI AKAL! BOLE SO NEHAAL! SAT SRI AKAL! filling the air, came out the face the enemy. You will not believe what happened then. Seeing 5 Khalsa in the uniform of Guru Gobind Singh jee, the rabble of 500 ran away
It was as if 5 lions were chasing 500 hyenas away!
One of the Singhs managed to cut off a running man’s ear. The Khalsa's victory was sweet."
waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru...
Just as an epilogue, some police officers had the gall to come a few days later to investigate the ear injury!!!! But this was so ridiculous and the Singhs were in such high spirits that the police had to leave without even a bribe.
4) A well known Doctor who was a member of the Hindu extremist group "Hindu Surukhiyaa Samatee" or "Hindu Defence Force" was taking part in a demonstration to protest the arrest of Pavan Kumar, a Hindu fanatic. The Hindus took out a procession in Ludhiana and were yelling slogans in Pavan Kumar's favour. When their spirits were up a bit, they began to forcefully yell "Pavan Kumar Zindabad" and "Bhindraanvala Murdaabaad". They got near Gill Chownk and near the Sikhs' iron stores. When the Sikhs heard these slogans, they came roaring out with their kirpaans. Someone had yet to say "Sat Sree Akaal" in response to the "Bolay So Nihaal" when all of the Hindu brothers' "Defence Force" ran away. The Doctor was most farsighted and jumped in a rickshaw. When asked "Where to?" he replied "Anywhere! Just go!" (Baljeet Singh, 9)
5) Here's another example: In Panjokharaa Sahib, Bhai Sahib's old companion Bhai Atma Singh jee was in the Guru Harkrishan Sahib Gurdvara there. A mob decided that it would attack the gurdvara and disrespect Guru jee. Bhai Atma Singh did ardaas and said that he would die first but would not let anyone near. He ran out with a kirpaan: one Singh. The mob ran away. When the embarrassed Hindu goons asked each other why they ran, each said Bhai Atma Singh was chasing him. This was Guru Sahib himself who made the one Bhai Atma Singh into a whole army (savaa lakh) and himself gave the Khalsa victory.
If we are Khalsa, no force can hold us down or oppress us. Even if we die, it won't be a humiliating death, it will be the death of a proud lion. A true Shaheedee.
Khalsa jee, let us return to our heritage and become the lions the Gurus made us. This is only possible by taking up full rehit, shastars and BaNa. In such a state, just by seeing a tyaar-bar-tyaar Khalsa the enemy will flee in terror.
Re: Delhi - 31st October 1984
Posted by: tapoban
Date: October 31, 2009 08:39AM
Shahidi For the Guru: Shahid Bhai Darshan Singh, Delhi 1984
By Bhai Preet Singh in Soora August 1985
Bhai Darshan Singh jee was a very skilled and fast Akhand Pathi Singh. He also did wonderful kirtan. Bhai Darshan Singh was a nitnemi, amrithdari Singh who was always in Chardi Kala. Bhai Sahibs wife and children were all amritdhari.
Bhai Darshan Singh was an employee in the Indian Intelligence Bureau and worked there all day, but all night he would spend doing rauls in Akhand Paaths.
On October 31, 1984 Bhai Beant Singh and Bhai Satwant Singh assassinated Indra Gandhi and took revenge for the attack on Sri Darbar Sahib Amritsar. The anti-Sikh massacre began shortly after.
Bhai Darshan Singh was in Uttam Nagar Delhi at the home of Bhai Preet Singh doing seva in Akhand Paath Sahib when news reached that Sikhs were being killed across Delhi. It was 10.30am when someone called out from outside that the local Gurdwara was being attacked. Bhai Sahib motioned with his hands tat he wished to be relieved from his raul at Akhand Paath Sahib. Bhai Preet Singh sent a young child to sit at taabiya to read the Paath.
Bhai Darshan Singh rose and Bhai Preet Singh said, “Bhai Sahib, please keep doing seva in the Akhand Paath Sahib. It is not safe to go out at this time.” Bhai Darshan Singh would not hear it and he got on his cycle. As he was leaving, Bhai Sahib said, “The Gurdwara has been attacked and I am going to receive Shahidi.”
Bhai Darshan Singh himself lived in Uttam Nagar. When he reached home, he threw his cycle aside and ran to get his big kirpan. 4-5 other Singhs also joined him. Bhai Sahib told the Singhs that the Gurdwara Sahib was under attack and they should do anything in their power to stop it. If they became Shahid in this seva, it would be their great fortune.
Fighting the Mob & Shahidi
A young girl grabbed a nishaan sahib and the other Singhs with their kirpans began to walk towards the attacking mob. The mob began to throw rocks and bricks from afar and tried to make the Singhs run away but the Singhs charged forward and sent the mob running. The Singhs with Bhai Darshan Singh were injured badly however and fell to the ground.
The mob returned with twice their original strength and fell upon Bhai Darshan Singh. Bhai Sahib fought back in a way that is perhaps impossible to match. In the end however, Bhai Darshan Singh too fell to the ground and the mob smashed his head with iron bars.
Bhai Darshan Singh’s father Bhai Rakha Singh and 3 others took the body home and began to do paath. The family sat by the body for two days reciting baani and after that, Bhai Sahib’s body was cremated.
Re: Delhi - 31st October 1984
Posted by: tapoban
Date: October 31, 2009 08:49AM
This tragic excerpt is based on a true story. It is taken mid-story. The Singhs are in a Babbar training camp in Pakistan. Some Singhs have arrived from India and along with them are two survivors of the 1984 carnage in Delhi. This is their story:
A Singhnee’s Plight: 1984 Delhi Carnage
From Amardeep Singh Amar’s “Tay Deeva Jagda Rahaegaa”
Translated by Admin www.tapoban.org
The atmosphere was silent like a city falls silent after a major storm. All the young men were staring with eyes wide. The Singh began, “First brothers, let us tell our story…” He was hanging his head, trying to hide the tears in his eyes from the other Singhs.
“We both were originally from village Kamaalpura in Ludhiana. My name is Hari Singh and his name is Bhaag Singh. We both had a Transport company in Delhi. From childhood we were both amritdhari. Because of the parchaar of Master Gurbakhsh Singh of our village, we all took amrit from Bhai Sahib’s Jatha. Master jee had a lot of kamaiee and had a very high jeevan. He was drenched in naam and his life story is written in Bhai Randheer Singh’s book Ranglae Sajjan. So with the influence of Master jee, we joined the Akhand Kirtani Jatha.
We were both married to dastaar-wearing bibis. In about 1970, due to circumstances, we went to live in Delhi’s Karol Bagh. Our business grew with Guru Sahib’s blessings and the unity between us two (brothers). We had about 250 trucks with National Permits. We were happy and had all our needs met.
My wife liked doing keertan in the Jatha and always went to Ran Sabaiee Smagams. Once, when my Singhnee and my niece, my brother’s ten-year-old daughter, were going to the Gurdwara in the evening, some Hindu boys began to make fun of the dastaar on her head and her Sikh baaNaa. My wife and my niece both began to beat those Hindu youths on the street. Maybe that youth was a worker with the Shiv Sena (Hindu militant group).
On October 31st when Indira was killed, that same youth brought a mob of 150 other young men and attacked our house. We both were in Transport Nagar at our office. Our home only had our wives and children. The mob tried to light the house on fire, but they fired from my licensed revolver and the crowd ran off. The goons had broken the phone lines so our family could not call and inform us.
After the mob had run off, the head of the local police station along with a police party came and took away my revolver from my Singhnee saying that he would control the situation and to maintain the peace she should hand over the revolver. My Singhnee believed him and gave him the revolver. Right away the waiting mob began to enter the house. My Singhnee asked the police to stop the thugs from coming in but they tore the keskee from her head and tied her arms behind her back. All the children and my brother’s Singhee were soaked with kerosene and lit on fire in front of my Singhnee. They all died, writhing in pain in front of her. Then, that same Hindu Brahmin boy from our neighborhood, whom my wife had beat came forward. He stripped my Singhnee naked and then…” After this, the Singh from Delhi could not speak any further and began to sob.
Sitting nearby, a young Singh by the name of Babbar Ganga Singh was shaking his head violently and repeating “no…no…” and then he too began to sob loudly…”I’ll burn Delhi. I’ll drink the bastards’ blood…” Ganga Singh was hitting the ground with his fist like he was mad. Bhai Anokh Singh and another barely managed to control him. All the Singhs were suffering like a fish out of water.
Bhai Anokh Singh with his hand indicated for the Singh from the Delhi to continue his story. He again started,
“When we both arrived home that night, barely saving our own lives, it was like a cremation ground. In the courtyard, the bodies of our family were lying scattered. My four year old nephews hands were together, as if it was some plea for mercy…My Singhnee…still naked….was tied to a grill…Her mouth was stuffed shut with cloth. Her whole body was covered with scratches from nails and bite marks. I took off my dastaar and put it on top of her and then put her in a rickshaw so we could take her to the hospital. But on the way…she died…” Saying this, that Singh could not finish and again began to sob.
Hearing the story, all the Singhs’ eyes were glowing with pain and fury. The Singhs were clutching their weapons very tightly. Whatever little sympathy I had for the Indian state was smashed.
Re: Delhi - 31st October 1984
Posted by: 13khalsa
Date: November 03, 2009 05:22AM
Eyewitness account of 1984 Sikh Riots
Can we expalin these? Should we call ourselves Humans?
Few eyewitness accounts of what happned during the 1984 Sikh Riots. Nothing can be done to undo what these and many more people faced. The people behind don't even feel guilty of what they did.
Case 1 This widow, a former resident of Kartarnagar (trans-Yamuna area), related that their house was looted and burnt by a mob on 2 November 1984. Her husband and two sons, one married only four months ago, were dragged out of the house and mercilessly beaten. Thereafter, kerosene was poured over the three men and they were set alight. No police or army was in evidence at the time. She could, she said, identify the person who killed her husband. Though she did not know his name. She was definite about the name of his father: a weaver of the area. She had originally come from Rawalpindi at the time of Partition. This was her second nightmarish experience of mob fury during which she had lost everything, including three male members of her family. She was accompanied by a completely dazed girl, hardly 16 years old, widow of her recently-married and recently-butchered son. This young girl sat through her mother-in-law's harrowing testimony shedding silent tears of grief and despair.
Case 2 According to this widow, mobs came to her neighborhood at about 9 am on 1 November and began stoning Sikh houses in the vicinity. Sikhs who happened to be out were advised by the police to return home and stay indoors. They followed this advice and locked themselves inside their homes. Soon after, the crowds returned and started breaking into individual Sikh homes. The men were dragged out, beaten badly and burnt alive. Then the houses were systematically looted and most of them set on fire. The Sikh residents of the area owned their homes. According to this woman's estimate there were approximately 35 to 40 Sikh homes in the area, almost all of which had been destroyed and 55 men brutally murdered. Only five men from the area survive, owing their escape to their absence from home for one reason or another.
Case 3 Burning of Khalsa Middle School Sarojini Nagar. On the afternoon of 1 November, at about 3.30 or 4 pm, a mob of about 250-300 men came to the school which has 525 pupils of whom 65% are non-Sikhs. The mob first set fire to the tents and the school desks. Thereafter, they demolished the boundary wall of the school. They then entered the building and broke open the steel cupboards and looted them. They stole the school typewriter, instruments belonging to the school band, utensils, etc. Two desks and seven steel cupboards were seen being taken away. They destroyed the library and scientific equipment in the laboratory. The school building was burnt as also the Headmaster's scooter.
There were seven or eight policemen standing by who witnessed the mob's activities but did nothing to stop them. When asked to prevent the mob from damaging the school, they said that they could do nothing. No arrests are reported to have been made nor has any other action been taken. The FIR was lodged on 7 or 8 November. The Sikh SHO of the police station, located within sight of the school, is understood to be a relative of a Congress-I leader. He is said to have been beaten up on 31 October while in uniform, and was not to be seen (he was either in hiding or under orders--the witness could not say) from 31 October to 2 November. It was further conveyed to the Commission that even though-the school imparts free education and is in receipt of a Government grant, no repairs of any nature had begun as on 18 December 1984. Neither was any furniture nor other equipment--not even books and stationery--provided.
Case 4 A social worker informed the Commission that he had been associated with the Shakkarpur Camp as a voluntary relief worker since 6 November. The camp had been set up on 3 November and the administration had forcibly closed it on 13 November. When asked how it had been 'forcibly closed' down, he replied that the water supply had been cut off. He then asked the authorities how they would assist the inmates to return to their original homes and was told that they would be returned in the same way by which they had been brought to the camp!
Case 5 A survivor from Mangolpuri, who had been operating his own scooter-rickshaw in shifts jointly with his brother, had been brought to a relief camp on 3 November by the army or CRP, he was not sure which. He related that there was increasing tension on 31 October after the news of the attack became known. He went to his neighbor for shelter and was given protection but told to cut his hair, which he refused to do. The following morning when a crowd came around, his neighbors asked him to leave their house. Sikhs emerging on the street were seized and their hair and beards were forcibly cut. The mob, who, he said, was from the same locality, thereafter indulged in violence and looted individual homes. However, the damage done was mainly to the woodwork. Some movable property was stolen.
Very early on the following morning, at about 4 am, the crowd returned, dragged the men out of their homes and beat them up. The neighbors pleaded for their lives and they were thus saved but only for the time being. In the evening the neighbors were also threatened with violence and that silenced them. Then five persons of his family--his brother, brother-in-law, uncle and two cousins--were belaboured with sticks and rods and burnt alive. Attempts to rape some of the women were, however, thwarted. The witness himself managed to escape by obtaining refuge in the house of a Harijan woman. On 3 November he was removed along with other survivors to a refugee camp. He named seven persons amongst the perpetrators of the crimes, one of whom was a local Congress-I worker identified as a supporter of a former MP.
Case 6 A woman from Trilokpuri described her harrowing experience. She and her husband, a Labana Sikh, originally from Sind, had migrated to Rajasthan in 1947. About fifteen years ago they had moved to Delhi in search of better prospects. During the slum clearance drive of 1974-75, they had been resettled in Trilokpuri.
She and her husband and three of their children survive but the eldest son aged 18 was killed on 1 November. She described the mob led by the Congress-I block pradhan as consisting of some people from the same block and others from neighboring blocks and nearby villages. While the block pradhan identified Sikh houses and urged the mobs to loot, burn and kill, the women were herded together into one room. Some of them ran away but were pursued to the nearby nallah where they were raped. Their shrieks and cries for help fell on deaf ears. From among the women held in the room, the hoodlums asked each other to select whomsoever they chose. All the women were stripped and many dishonoured. She herself was raped by ten men. Their lust satisfied, they told the women to get out, naked as they were. For fear of their lives they did so, hiding their shame as best as possible. Each begged or borrowed a garment from relenting neighbors and sought shelter wherever they could.
Case 7 The Commission gathered the following facts at the Sadar Bazar gurdwara (Delhi Cantonment).
Having heard of the news of the assassination, one witness feared trouble and brought his family to the gurdwara. He found that some other families had already collected there. Leaving the women and children downstairs, the men went up to the roof from where they saw a crowd collecting at the local Congress-I office about 200 yards away. They had come by truck at 8.30 on morning of 1 November.
This mob then advanced towards the gurdwara and started stoning the people they saw on the roof. The Sikhs had also collected some bricks which they threw at the crowd. When their supply was exhausted, the mob became emboldened and set fire to a shop which the gurdwara had rented out. The group of Sikhs, about twelve in number, collected all the swords available with them in the gurdwara and came out. The mob retreated in the face of this puny show of force. The police, who had been informed, came at about 3.30 pm. By that time, the fire had been put out. The police surprisingly expressed their inability to do anything further to help them. Consequently the Sikhs went back inside and locked the iron gates of the gurdwara. On 2 November, the army brought refugees from other colonies in the area surrounding Palam until there were 2,000 refugees in the gurdwara. They were housed, clothed and fed entirely by voluntary effort. The gurdwara itself fortunately escaped damage.
Case 8 This victim's family consisted of his father, four brothers, mother, two sisters-in-law, his wife and children. The family owned a bakery, a confectionery, a kirana shop and a small chemical industry.
On 1 November at about 11 am, a mob of some four hundred attacked the shop and the factory. The father and the four brothers came out and pleaded with them. Some local Congress-I workers arranged a compromise and asked them all to go back. Eight persons from the mob, who were looting inside the shops, also came out and went away. Fifteen minutes later a bigger mob of about two thousand came and burnt the shops and the factory. One of the local Congress-l workers had a fair price shop in his name which, because of the complaints of the residents, had been canceled and allotted to this family. That seemed to be the bone of contention. The victim's house had the symbol 'Om' on the front and could not be identified as Sikh house unless it had been pointed out as such by a local person.
The victim's father, three brothers and sister-in-law were beaten and set on fire. Some liquid chemical and a powder were used as incendiary material. The victim himself escaped by hiding in the neighboring house of a Jat friend. He cut his hair and went to Palam airport from where he returned to the gurdwara on the 4th. There was no help from the police. There was no electricity in the locality (Sadh Nagar) for 72 hours. Army rescue work started on 3 November. The victim, who is a young man, is left with his widowed mother, widowed sister-in-law, brother's children and his own family to look after. He is not prepared to go back to his original home, which he considers unsafe, but is ready to settle down in Delhi in a safe area and to reestablish his bakery. He has already applied for a bank loan. The mob leader has been identified as a local Congress-l worker, who is said to be the right hand man of a former MP.
Case 9 What follows is a summary of an eye-witness account sent to the Commission by a practicing Chartered Accountant (a non-Sikh) living in New Friends' Colony. His account begins:
"Delhi had been considered by us to be a civilized city. The news of rioting coming from different parts of the country from time to time had always carried an aura of remoteness--something which could not happen in Delhi. Or so it seemed up to 30 October recently."
He continues to relate that after the announcement of Smt. Gandhi's death over the AIR, they began receiving telephone calls from friends informing them of incidents in various parts of the city--from lorbagh, from Ring Road, from Safdarjung Enclave—of Sikhs being badly beaten up and otherwise harassed. In view of the trouble, he and a friend decided to go to the airport later that night to receive a Sikh friend arriving in Delhi. On their way back they saw a car burning near the IIT on outer Ring Road. Then they saw a bus on fire. A little further on, they saw five taxis ablaze at a taxi stand. It was about midnight by now and, after dropping their friend at Panchsheel Enclave, they encountered several more burning vehicles and shards of glass from broken wind-screens littering the road. They saw only two policemen on the way home. Both of them were unarmed. One of them was hurling stones at the Sikhs along with the crowd. The other was urging people in the crowd to join in the attacks.
The crowd was armed with lathis, crow-bars and iron rods. They did not see any firearms, either with the crowd or with the beleaguered Sikhs. In New Friends' Colony, they saw several Sikh-owned shops which had been set on fire. Intervening shops belonging to Hindus had not been touched. Two trucks parked nearby were set on fire. The crowd then invaded the gurdwara opposite the shops. They ransacked the rooms in the gurdwara compound and set fire to the buildings. Efforts to contact the police on the telephone were infructuous. He saw no signs of a police presence, much less intervention. The absence of the police, according to him, emboldened the mob. He felt that the 'scenes of wild mourning and mass popular anger on the television were not helping in calming the fury of the mob'.
That afternoon he saw another mob looting a house in a cool and unhurried manner, without any dispute or competition among the looters. Within half-an-hour, the house had been completely ransacked and then set on fire. At about 4 pm, while the looting was going on, the siren of an approaching police vehicle was heard. This alarmed the mob who began to disperse but the vehicle just drove by and the crowd re-assembled.
Case 10 A 75 year old army officer, having retired in 1958, narrated that a mob consisting mostly of some DTC bus drivers from Hari Nagar Depot accompanied by anti-social elements attacked some shops and nearby houses in 'G' Block of Hari Nagar. Arson followed the looting. Cars, private buses, trucks and scooters parked in that area were also burnt. The Sikh residents, assisted by Hindu neighbors of Fateh Nagar and Shiv Nagar, came out and succeeded in challenging the miscreants and driving them away.
On 3 November, at midday, the SHO of Tilak Nagar Police Station turned up in a jeep and asked the people to go indoors. Given the previous dab's experience, the residents did not trust the police and some of them continued to maintain a vigil in the streets. Seeing this, the police officer sent some constables to the army officer's house. They began abusing and beating his family members and even threatened one of them with a gun. They also beat this 75-year old man and confiscated his unloaded licensed revolver which he had owned since 1944. They dragged him by his hair to the jeep and took him to the Police Station, continuing to hit him with the butts of their guns. He was told to kill two Sikhs if he wanted to be freed.
At the Police Station he was locked up and again beaten to the point of bleeding and becoming unconscious. He was beaten by a Sub-inspector (whom he named) who shouted that no Sikh would be able to live in the area with his hair and beard. Among the four police personnel who had beaten him, he named two--an Sl and an ASI. The following day, the police took him to Court where a case under Section 307 of the IPC was registered against him. He was locked up in Tihar Jail along with some criminals and was able to secure his release on bail only on 12 November.
Re: Delhi - 31st October 1984
Posted by: admin
Date: June 02, 2010 08:04AM