I twice visited the main city crematory on 9 and 11 June to check the fatality toll in the Golden Temple assault. Strangely, while there were troops everywhere in the city, there were none at the crematory. “The army probably thinks that the ghosts would take care of intruders,” said the man on duty at the crematorium. He and police officials, who were given charge of removing the dead from the temple complex, said bodies were being brought in municipal garbage truck round-the-clock since early 6 June. “We have been really busy. To add to our woes, we don’t have enough wood to burn the dead, and so we are cremating them in heaps of twenty or more,” said the crematory official.

Near the Golden Temple, I saw estimated 50 corpses in a large rubbish lorry that had sewage still smeared on its outer body. From the back of the grey truck, at least two masculine legs were sticking out and from the left side one could see hanging the forehead and the long flowing hair of an apparently unturned Sikh. As I peeped into the truck from the back, I could see dead bodies of at least two women and a child. That night it was difficult to sleep; I kept thinking of the dead bodies.

The doctor corroborated what I had been told by a deputy police superintendent in Amritsar that several of the slain Sikh militants were shot at by troops with their hands tied at their backs. The doctor, whose team examined four hundred corpses, including a hundred women and fifteen to twenty children, said he conducted postmortems of several Sikhs whose hands were tied at their back with their turban cloth.

Article extracted from this publication >>  October 25, 1985