New Jersey, a state in the US, passed a resolution condemning the 1984 Sikh massacre in India, calling it genocide. The New Jersey Senate will present the resolution to President Joe Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris, and other top govt officials.
To clarify, in 1984, then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi ordered the Indian Army to attack the Harmandir Sahib complex in Amritsar, Punjab. Sikhs worldwide criticized the army action and many saw it as an assault on their religion and identity. As a result, clashes erupted between the Sikh community and the Indian government.
Moreover, Indira Gandhi’s Sikh bodyguards assassinated her in retaliation to her orders. The assassination led to anti-Sikh riots across India, killing over 17000 Sikhs, and displacing around 50,000.
As a result of the mass murders, many Sikhs began immigrating to the United States. Taking note of this, the resolution, sponsored by Senator Stephen M Sweeney, states that the Sikh community “played an important role in developing the United States and New Jersey.”
The first step toward reconciliation is recognition 🙏🏽
1984 Sikh Genocide Resolution was Passed in New Jersey State Senate with the efforts of Sikh Coordination Committee East Coast, Sikh Caucus and With the help of Gurudwara Committees of New Jersey. pic.twitter.com/W8pRNnrw1S
— Learn Punjabi (@learnpunjabi) January 11, 2022
Pertinent to mention, the Sikhs also actively campaign for a separate homeland called Khalistan. Khalistan will comprise Punjab in India where Sikhs are in majority. Therefore, they seek Punjab’s secession from India. The United Kingdom also allowed pro-Khalistan organization Sikhs for Justice to hold a referendum on the secession of Punjab on October 31.
Atrocities against Sikhs
As per the resolution, “Sikhism is the world’s fifth-largest religion with nearly 309 million adherents, including roughly 1,000,000 in the United States.”
The resolution highlighted the brutal massacre of over 30,000 Sikhs. Indian forces hunted them in their homes and hacked and burned them alive.
Moreover, thousands of women were raped. They were also forced to witness the hacking, burning, and murder of the men in their families.
Important to note, Indian citizens, journalists, and eyewitnesses testified with evidence against the Indian government. They stated that India’s law enforcement organized and participated in the mass killings. They also failed to intervene to prevent the killings through direct and indirect means.
Owing to the mass murders of Sikh men, a neighborhood in Delhi even got the name “Widow colony.”
Till this day, thousands of Sikh women await justice.