1984 Anti Sikh Riots: India’s shame?

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1984 Anti Sikh Riots: India’s shame?


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Today team Explicit History will take up another controversial issue of the 1984 Anti Sikh Riots, which shook the Nation’s soul from the core.

In the history of this country, this was the first time a massacre was done in New Delhi, the Capital city, right under the silent nose of the President and Prime Minister, for three days!

Let’s dive into the topic, “1984 Anti Sikh Riots: India’s shame?” without wasting any time.

Trigger Point

On 31 Oct 1984, Late Mrs Indira Gandhi, then PM of India, was murdered by her Sikh bodyguards.


As the Prime Minister of India, she ordered the Indian Army to storm inside Golden Temple, Amritsar, as “Operation Blue Star” to flush out so-called terrorists, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, and his associates, between 01 to 08 Jun 1984.


This incident had hurt the sentiments of her Sikh community to the core, whose temple of worship was disrespected and destroyed.Sikh

The assassination of Prime Minister. As revenge, her two Sikh Bodyguards, Satwant Singh, and Beant Singh gunned her down at 09:29 AM on 31 Oct 1984, at her residence.


An outstanding documentary on the 1984 Anti Sikh Riots was anchored by renowned Filmmaker Mr Shekhar Kapur and produced by ABP News. 

Do watch it! 


Because before moving towards the Explicit Facts of the 1984 Anti Sikh Riots, we need to understand how the incident unfolded.


On the same day, her elder son Late Mr Rajiv Gandhi was elected as India’s youngest Prime Minister at 45 years.

His elevation as Prime Minister of the World’s most prominent democracy had raised a few unanswered questions: –


What was his political qualification to lead the biggest democracy of the World as Prime Minister? 

On what basis he was offered that prestigious designation? Only God knows!

Was being a son of then Prime Minister a reason good enough to be elevated as Prime Minister of India? Does politics work on sympathy?

In Mrs Indira Gandhi’s absence, was there no other political leader who could replace her and lead this country?


Immediately after Mr Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as the World’s youngest Prime Minister, Congress activists started Anti Sikh Riots, killing thousands of innocent Sikhs, with effect from 01 Nov 1984, and the massacre continued till 04 Nov 1984.


Then, newly appointed Prime Minister Mr Rajiv Gandhi, President Mr Gyani Zail Singh, Police Force, Armed Forces, and the whole nation just silently watched.

Unofficial sources confirm the death of a total of 8000 to 17000 Sikhs residing a New Delhi. But, official sources confirm 2800 deaths.

How were Sikhs Identified?

On 31 October, Congress Party officials provided assailants with voter lists, school registration forms, and ration lists. 

The lists were used to find Sikh homes and business, an otherwise-impossible task because they were in unmarked, diverse neighbourhoods.

During the night of 31 October 1984, before the actual massacres began, assailants used the lists to mark Sikh houses with an “S”. Because most mob members were illiterate, Congress Party officials provided help reading the agenda and leading the mobs to Sikh homes and businesses in other neighbourhoods. 

With the lists, the mobs could pinpoint the location of Sikhs they otherwise would have missed.

Sikh men, who were not at home, were easily identified by their turbans and beards, and their dress identified Sikh women. 

In some cases, the mobs returned to locations where they knew Sikhs were hiding because of the lists. 

Amar Singh escaped the initial attack on his house by having a Hindu neighbour drag him into the neighbour’s house and announce that he was dead. 

A group of 18 assailants later came looking for his body; when his neighbour said that his body had been taken away, an assailant showed him a list and said: “Look, Amar Singh’s name has not been struck off from the list, so his body has not been taken away.” 


Total Silence. No one came forward. 

No opposition from the Police Force or other security forces was initiated.

Not a single Non-Sikh was killed. 

Only Sikhs were dragged on roads. 

Anyone who was wearing a turban was targeted.

2018: 34 Year Later!!

A Verdict after 34 Years! On 18 December 2018, Times of India printed headlines mentioning the Delhi High Court’s verdicts on Monday, which held Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 Anti-Sikh riot case and sentenced him to life imprisonment for criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity and acts against communal harmony.


The verdict was announced against Mr Sajjan Kumar for his role during riots on 01 Nov 1984, when innocent Sikhs were butchered and killed.

The high court also upheld the conviction of five other former Congress councilor Balwan Khokhar, retired Naval Officer Captain Bhagmal, Girdhari Lal, former MLAs Mahender Yadav Kishan Khokhar–. 

A bench of Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel overturned a trial court judgment that had acquitted the Congress leader (Why was he acquitted previously? The only that Judge knows!).

Burning tyres were kept around their necks, as if every Sikh residing at Delhi had conspired and murdered Mrs Indira Gandhi on 31 Oct 1984.

Unanswered Questions

With this verdict, few questions are still unanswered even after 34 years of this massacre: –

1. Who was more Powerful? Mr Rajiv Gandhi was made Prime Minister of India on 31 Oct 1984, the same day when Mrs Indira Gandhi was assassinated. 

Was Mr Sajjan Kumar (as mere Councillor then), more potent than PM of India, and could alone steer the riots and massacred without knowing Mr Rajiv Gandhi?

2. Gandhi & Sajjan Relations? Was Mr Sajjan Kumar more traumatized than Mr Rajiv Gandhi for the murder of Mrs Indira Gandhi? 

3. Was Sajjan Kumar related to Mrs Indira Gandhi in any way?

4. Was PM Unaware? Are we trying to say that Mr Rajiv Gandhi, as PM or Mr Gyani Zail Singh as President, was not aware of riots and, therefore, not at all responsible for such a large-scale massacre?

5. Blind Eye. As per existing laws, when any wrongdoings occur, then the silence of the person witnessing it makes that person equally responsible for the crime. 

So how come Mr Rajiv Gandhi, Mr Gyani Zail Singh, other sitting MPs/ MLA’s of Delhi, and Govt Officials are not equal culprits as compared to Mr Sajjan Kumar?

6. No Names, PLEASE! We all know within our hearts that Mr Rajiv Gandhi was directly involved in the 1984 Riots, then why we all hesitate in naming him as the culprit for the crime even after 34 years from the massacre? 

7. Awarded after the Riots, Sajjan Kumar’s first election victory was as a municipal councilor in 1977. He won his first Lok Sabha election from the Outer Delhi constituency and retained it in two subsequent elections. 

How come Mr Sajjan Kumar was elevated from Councillor to Member of Parliament? 

8. Example of Future? Are we trying to set an example for our future politicians and generations to do whatever they feel like and somehow get away “Clean” due to their elevated positions in Indian Politics or blessings from a powerful politician?

9. Where is Justice for Common Man? The murder of Ms Jessica Lal and the Nirbhaya rape case created with such a revolution in the whole country brought influential culprits to books, and justice was awarded to victims’ families. 

What happened to this country in the case of the 1984 riots?

Don’t families of 1984 riot victims need any justice?

10. Genocide? During the 1993 and 2002 Riots, both sides of rioters got killed. But in this case, only Sikhs were massacred, and not a single Hindu was killed. 

So, will it be wrong to call this Genocide?

11. Insects’ Life. Why it took 34 years to give a verdict for the 1984 Anti Sikh Riots? Is there no value left for human life? 

12. Awaiting? Mr Rajiv Gandhi died in 1990. Were we waiting for Mr Sajjan Kumar and other culprits to die due to their natural death?

13. Afraid of Names. However, Mr Rajiv Gandhi and Mr Gyani Zail Singh are no more. But what stops the judicial system from naming them as true culprits concerning their exact role as office bearers?

14. History Repeats? What is the guarantee that Congress will not repeat such incidents if any other member of the Gandhi family is assassinated by any member of a particular community or religion in the future?

15. The Aim of Riots? The security guards who assassinated Mrs Indira Gandhi were killed on the spot. 

What exactly did Congress sympathizers achieve by killing other innocent Sikhs who were not involved in the conspiracy?

16. No Challenge! All Govt officials are supposed to take orders from seniors. But when any wrong orders are given to them, there are provisions for handling such situations. 

How come not a single official from police and paramilitary forces present at the scene of the incident protested senior Congress politicians’ orders when hundreds of Sikhs were killed right in front of their eyes? 

Is this not a perfect case of dereliction of duty?

17. Sleepy Judiciary. When courts take so many years to give the verdict on one case, how come judges go on leave in June and December every year? Why cannot they give away those leaves and work overtime to finish off pending cases? Why cannot judges work beyond official working hours daily? Are they not responsible for delivering the required results?

18. Silent Media. How come the media was quiet over this issue? They can work overtime to undertake all types of investigations on cases about which Bollywood celebrity dating whom! When exactly and how many time Taimur Ali Khan (son of actress Kareena Kapoor) cried or smile? But what stopped or stops them to investigate this case of mass Genocide too?

19. Councillor’s Powers? With Prime Minister and President, who had been mere spectators when a politician equivalent to Councillor could conduct a massacre on the whole community? 


20. Present Punjab? If Congress workers victimized Sikhs in 1984, why are they electing the Congress party in Punjab state elections?

21. Actual Fault Line. Why was Late Mrs Indira Gandhi murdered? Was she not at the fault of hurting the religious sentiments of Sikhs by directing the Army to flush out militants? 

22. Operation Blue Star. Was storming of Army inside Golden Temple to kill militants the only option? When the Indian Army surrounded the temple from all sides, then could they had not waited for them to finish off their ration and surrender?

23. Intelligence Inputs? Was Late Mrs Indira Gandhi not advised regarding a threat to her life due to Operation Blue Star? She was aware of the dangers.

24. Actual Logic. What was the logic of killing innocent Sikhs residing in Delhi and nowhere connected to the incident? 

25. Was the killing of culprits not enough and required mass killing?

26. PM’s Intentions. What was Late Mr Rajiv Gandhi trying to prove by silently watching or managing this killing of innocent Sikhs?

27. Return Gift? We all know about the sacrifices of the Sikh community for this country. Sikhs are supposed to be bravest of all. One Army regiment has been named this community called “Sikh Regiment”. 

Is this the way we reward the brave but silent community?

28. Best Community. Sikhs are a very hard-working community, and because of this in the agriculture industry, the Punjab state has been called the “Wheat Bowl” of India. Is this how we acknowledged their contribution?


The Sikhs who were massacred in the 1984 riots didn’t vote for Congress then to get killed for someone’s grudges against a community. 

They paid taxes to get late, and half a portion of the protection/ justice they deserve from the Govt officials, who got their monthly salaries from their hard-earned money, paid as taxes.

Instead of pushing uncomfortable questions under the carpet, someone should answer the family members of the Anti Sikh Riots.

Lastly, one fundamental question arises.

Are we proud citizens of an Impotent Country? 

A country where the highest office-bearers and people silently watch massacre against one whole community!

Courtesy – Youtube

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