Delhi is not just a city. It is a mirror in which float-mixed images of cultural elegance, courtly splendor, Villainous betrayals, blood-baths, massacres and the rise and fall of empires. It is a city which chronicles the most tempestuous events in Indian history. Ahmed Shah Abdali’s arrogantly barbaric order of general massacre still rings in and around Chandni Chowk. But the recent holocaust unleashed against innocent Sikhs has no parallel in the annals of history. Every other event admits historical rationale. The communal frenzy of 1947 can also be explained in such terms as revenge or reaction or reprisals. The argument that the continued atmosphere of violence prevailing in Punjab for over two years had generated an undercurrent of anger in the Hindu minds outside Punjab betrays not only deep-seated animosity against Sikhs but also points to the inherent wickedness in the mind. Knowing that the violence in Punjab was mostly the handiwork of the ruling party and the victims were overwhelmingly Sikhs and not Hindus, the impression of Hindu minority in Punjab being oppressed by the Sikh majority was deliberately and relentlessly carved out on unsuspecting minds through well manipulated propaganda machinery. The image of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was distorted to such an extent that Hindus danced and distributed sweets on learning that he was killed by the army. The contention that the assassination of Indra Gandhi flared up this already smouldering fire into a spontaneous orgy of death and destruction is also untenable. The crowds ransacking through the victim colonies were grinning like revellers in a fiesta. The eyewitnesses to the foulest massacre in history record the macabre happenings as follows:

“A couple of policemen with just batons in their hands loitered with amused expressions outside the area that had ‘evidently been witness. To ghastly sights. The twisted angle-irons of a number of burnt buses were serving as an eloquent commentary over the tragic happenings. A demolished Gurdwara stood as a sardonic warning to the re-emergence of Aurangzebian State of fundamentalism. As we walked through the area, the local crowd looked at us suspiciously and wanted to know as to why we had gone there. We tried to explain that our only purpose was to restore a sense of sanity and calm and impress upon them the nobility of peaceful existence. The pre-dominantly Hindu crowd informed us that they were protecting the colony from violence, which had been forced upon them the previous evening, when wild groups of goondas and hired hoodlums had invaded the locality to register unspeakable horror and destruction.

Evidently the violence was the work of outsiders who had been manipulated to flex their physical strength and their potential for destroying the Sikhs who had the misfortune of residing in that area. The Hindu residents of the area appeared concerned with the safety of their Sikh neighbors. But the police was playing a strange role. We desired to know why they had not protected the vehicles from being burnt. We were told that they were not provided with means or arms by the Govt. to combat the dangerous situation. Naturally they could not be of much help.

In Panday Nagar there was an uneasy truce between the Hindu & Sikh residents. The Hindu residents had been _ sufficiently provoked by the Congress (I) functionaries to a frenzy of resentment and suspicion against their Sikh Neighbors. Violence had not as yet vitiated the colony but there was potential danger of igniting the tension into a holocaust of hate and revenge by unscrupulous elements. The Hindu residents were visibly afraid of the Sikhs who had taken refuge in the unconstructed Gurdwara. There: were about 60 Sikhs in the Gurdwara who looked terrorized at the prospect of reprisals. The S.H.O. disarmed the Sikhs in the Gurdwara inorder to reassure the Hindu residents of this area that they need not fear the defenseless Sikhs. Across Pandav Nagar in a Gurdwara, charred bodies of Sikhs were visible. On receiving information that the worst genocide of Sikhs was going on in Vinod Nagar, we went there and saw an unidentified body lying beside the road. We were told that the body was of a Sikh from Vinod Nagar who had been burnt alive after his hair was cut and his beard was shaved off. In the Kachha lanes of Vinod Nagar charred bodies of Sikhs were lying scattered and all around the bodies were laying long hair that had been cut, the bodies were pierced by iron rods. Almost before every house was laying a male body while the women and children were weeping, bewildered at the violence that had so suddenly descended upon them with such fury and savagery.

“A grief stricken woman with a child narrated the harrowing tale of how the blood-thirsty mob had entered their house, killed and burnt her husband, disregarding all her pleas for compassion and snatched away her gold earrings bangles and other possessions like utensils, and radios. There was repetition of the same story in every Sikh house of Vinod Nagar Sultanpuri, Mangolpuri & Trilokpuri and we were told by the residents that the crowds had come from the resettlement colonies and were identified to be Gujjars. The Sikhs consigned alive to flames were mainly drivers, mechanics, artisans and daily wage labourers. A woman was found in a state of shock as she had failed to find the body of her husband. We took her to the body that we had seen lying beside the road on the outskirts of Vinod Nagar. She identified the body to be that of her husband.

Some women were also badly wounded and they were bleeding. They were put in a car and taken first to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. Despite the terrible violence to which the women had been subjected, and despite the irreparable loss in their lives, they looked a picture of fortitude and courage. We learned later that doctor on duty there refused to treat the women and they were finally taken to the private clinic of Dr. Jain in South Extension. Their men-folk in Vinod Nagar were brutally murdered after inflicting humiliation and degradation upon them. The mobs jeered at them as their hair were cut and laughed wildly as the burning Sikhs shrieked in pain.

Prof. Ashwini Ray, Head of Political Science Department, JNU reports: ‘“‘Policemen were reading newspapers and drinking tea inside the car while the arson was going on all around. I went to the police car to ask why they were not stopping the arson and was told to mind my own business. Already 70-80 trucks were burning in Bhogal and the smoke billowing out . . . I saw the ghastly sight of about 80 Sikhs of all ages from toddlers to 80 years old, including women and children, crowded on the back verandah of the second floor of a corner house, some of whom were attempting to jump out. I found to my horror that many of the houses in this row had been set on fire, with mob waiting in front with sticks and weapons for the occupants to emerge out of the houses.

” Sudip Mazumdar, Journalist has this to report, “The Police Commissioner, S. C. Tandon was briefing the press in his office on November 6, 5 p.m. A reporter asked him to comment on the large number of complaints about local congress (I) M.P.s and light weights trying to pressure the police to get their men released. The Police Commissioner totally denied the allegation and when questioned further he categorically stated that he has never received any calls or visits by any congress for that matter any political leader trying to influence him or his force. Just as he finished uttering these words, Jagdish Tytler, congress M.P. from Sadar constituency barged into the PC’s. Office along with three other followers and on the top of his voice demanded from the Police Commissioner “What is this Mr. Tandon? You still have not done what I asked you to do?’’ The reporters were amused, the Police Commissioner embarrassed. The incident left the PC speechless and the reporters convinced about the congress (I) interference in police work.

“The role of the police during the holocaust was informally the same as reflected in the following narration:

“The SHO reached Trilokpuri at about 2:30 p.m. on November 1 when the plunder and killings were taking place. The first thing he did was to remove the head constable and another constable from the spot, allowing the criminals to escape whatever little detection there was possible. It was a continuous spree of arson, rape and murders after that. Later inquiries conducted by a senior police official revealed that at least four women, their ages ranging from 14 to 50 were gang raped. Later seven cases of rape from Trilokpuri were officially reported by the J. P. Narayan Hospital, Delhi.

During the height of the killings, there was little effort on the part of the police either to stop the orgy or to check the figures of casualties.”’ (Who Are The Guilty? Page 22)

‘The reporters revisited Trilokpuri in the evening of the same day and found the remains of the carnage, burnt houses, dead bodies and the SHO with two constables walking around. The SHO told him that he did not have any knowledge of what had happened. When later in the evening the reporter visited the police headquarters he was told by another Assistant Police Commissioner that according to the latter’s information there was “peace’”” in  Trilokpuri. The reporter pointed out that at least 300 people had been burnt and the police were only counting dead bodies that were still recognizable ignoring those which had been reduced to ciders. As soon as we entered Block 32, we were greeted by a strong

Stench of burnt bodies which were still rotting inside some of the houses. The entire lane was littered with burnt pieces of furniture, papers, scooters and piles of ash in the shape of human bodies the unmistakable signs of burnt bodies. Dogs were on the prowl. Rats were nibbling at the still recognizable remains of a few bodies.

“Describing the situation on the previous day November 2 when the carnage was continuing at Trilokpuri the Lt. Governor Mr. Gavai had said that the situation in the Capital was ‘under control.” From what we witnessed at Trilokpuri, it was evident that the situation there on November 2 was indeed ‘‘under control,” but the ‘‘control’’ was wielded by a powerful group of influential persons who could mobilize the local police to help them in the mayhem and immobilize the entire administration for more than 48 hours to enable them to carry out meticulously their plans of murder and destruction.”’

(Who Are The Guilty? Page 23)

After these shocking revelations only a naive or a Sold out Sikh will exonerate the central government from its direct complicity with the degrading and dehumanized holocaust against the Sikhs. The real authors of the violence in Delhi on proper analysis indisputably turn out to be the same who had been injecting measured doses of violence in Punjab for more than two years and conveniently passing on the blame to the Sikhs through official misreporting and media manipulation.

Article extracted from this publication >> January 25, 1985