Sikhs Call for Indian Genocide Perpetrators to be Punished by International Criminal Tribunal

London: As Sikhs around the world commemorate the 36th anniversary of the genocide of the first week in November 1984, during which some 30,000 unarmed Sikh civilians were butchered by state sponsored mobs across India, numerous calls have again been made for an international criminal tribunal to punish the perpetrators. The Indian establishment has cruelly demonstrated that it will not even admit the genocidal nature of the killings, far less deliver justice, despite India’s obligations under the Genocide Convention 1948.

“Sikh men were dragged out of their homes by mobs and shot dead. Others were hacked to death, or doused with petrol and burned alive. Many Sikh women were raped. Commissions of inquiry reported that political leaders were involved in instigating perpetrators, and the police simply turned a blind eye to the carnage.”  –   Amnesty International

Sikhs will never forget the carnage and their leaders and organisations across the globe have reaffirmed their commitment to ensure those who planned and directed the pogroms are punished. India’s continuing narrative that the violence was a case of ‘riots’ – without state involvement – has been undermined even by its own commissions of enquiry and courts, but the Government and even the mainstream media refuses to  acknowledge that cowardly crime against humanity for what it was.

“The Indian government’s failure to take even rudimentary steps to bring to justice the authors of the 1984 violence has perpetuated a climate of lawlessness that demands a renewed commitment to ending state complicity in such attacks.” –  Human Rights Watch

The failure of the global community to tackle Indian leaders for such criminal behaviour has encouraged successive Indian governments, including the current fascist Modi led BJP regime, to increasingly ignore the most basic human rights standards as they continue to target minorities. The atrocities carried out in Punjab and Kashmir to crush legitimate self-determination struggles over recent decades have been complemented by a wider majoritarian onslaught against religious minorities, as well as other target groups – such as Punjab’s farmers. Discriminatory laws, mob lynching, extrajudicial killings and torture by security forces, desecration of scriptures and places of worship, arbitrary detention, criminalisation of dissent, shutting down of media and human rights organisations; all of this has become the norm in a chauvinistic, rogue state. Just today, hundreds of Sikh social media accounts and websites were shut down in order to silence those who highlight the abuses.

Genocide and other systematic, massive rights abuses have become tools of the Indian state because the world has allowed that to happen. It is time that the international community addressed this grotesque situation – and there is no more obvious crime to tackle than the November 1984 genocide of Sikhs. The tribunals established to punish similar crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia are recent precedents for such action. The World Sikh Parliament will take this call up with the international community and calls on civil society and human rights organisations across the world to support a demand that, if heeded, may be the only realistic way to stop the next genocide in Indian-controlled territory.

The unforgiveable crimes of 1984 gave the Sikh nation no choice but to pursue its right of self-determination, in accordance with international law, in the form of an independent sovereign state of Khalistan. As in the case of neighbouring Kashmir and the conflicts in the North East, self-determination is the only peaceful means of conflict resolution, but India’s ruling elite seem determined to prevent that outcome by illegal military force. India ultimately faces disintegration as a direct result of its crimes and its arrogance. It will however take wisdom and leadership from others around the globe to bring this serial violator of humanity and international law to account, before that process leads to a further holocaust.

Ranjit Singh Srai, Coordinator of the Self-Determination Council, The World Sikh Parliament

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