NEW DELHI, India: Retired Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora, member of the Indian Parliament and head of the Sikh Forum has called for punishment of those guilty of the “slaughter of Sikhs” in post Indira Gandhi assassination riots in November, 1984.

Addressing the Rotary Club of Delhi midtown last night, he said the Government, ought not to underestimate the effect of the nonbanking of the culprits of the riots. How one expects the Sikhs outside Punjab to have any confidence in the state when the later first allowed a massacre to happen over days and then does nothing to punish anyone, he added.

Mr. Aurora also pleaded for an end to the often justified perception that Sikh violence was being met by state terrorism. He said that he made no excuses for the freedom fighters. They put themselves beyond the pale of law. They should be caught, tried and punished. But he remarked, the impression being given was that the policy was simply one of killing as many as possible and the problem would go away. He pointed out that other democrats had faced and tackled the problem of violence in recent years without throwing away the law book. In this context the retired General said that the 370 odd persons rounded up from the Amritsar Golden Temple in the operation Bluestar in June, 1984, had ‘yet to be charged) let alone tried, of any offences, nor does there seem to be any plan in this regard with the center.

He said, “try to remove the hurt feelings of Sikhs even if you think the reasons are imaginary”.

The Punjab problem, he warned should not be seen as a we versus them issue. The Sikh today was being effectively told that he was a freedom fighter till he proved himself otherwise. No nation had tackled terrorism that way.

Article extracted from this publication >>  January 9, 1987