There is a general clamour for judicial enquiry into the diabolic holocaust November 1984 against Sikhs in 84 Indian towns. Opposition leaders and leading newspapers of India are one in pointing out the absolute necessity for such a probe in order to strengthen the secular fabric of India. Despite all this Rajiv Gandhi continues to obstinately dismiss all pleas, advancing the most ridiculous and indefensible argument that such a probe would not be in the interest of the Sikhs. The argument defies all logic and transcends the weirdest metaphysical, but the intention and the strategy behind this apparent stubbornness is crystal clear. He would watch the clamour gather momentum to a point where Sikhs would be duped into considering it their most prestigious demand and Rajiv would, then, in a dramatic and magnanimous gesture give in before the mounting pressure. Rajiv’s magnanimity would be widely and loudly applauded even by the opposition. Sikhs would be flattered for their sacrifices and ‘‘nationalistic’’ outlook and in the process made to forget about the army attack, the holocaust and even the demands. The situation would Once again revert to square one where Mrs. Gandhi left it.

Judicial probe is irrelevant to the Sikh problem as it exists today. Who does not know the manipulators, instigators and perpetrators of the outrageous crimes against Sikhs? What can be expected of a judiciary manned by Rajeshwar Dayals? Will any Supreme Court judge show guts enough to punish publically indicted heavyweights like H. K. L. Bhagat or Tytler or Shastri or the ‘bereaved son” who in a revengeful outburst at the airport reportedly exhorted his partymen to teach a bitter lesson to the Sikhs? Let us not expect divine feats from mere mortals who love their chairs and are more than anxious to retain them.

Sikhs in India are not just hurt, sad or angry, that they need to be pleased or pacified through eyewash judicial enquiries. Sikhs have lost all faith in the secular character of the country. They can no more trust the majority community. They can never feel safe in the present set up. The Sikh problem can be solved by creating a set up where their shrines will not be blown up, where their lusty youths will not fall in false police encounters, where they will not be burnt alive — a set up in which rabidly chauvinistic Hindispeaking majority will have only as much say as enjoyed by Punjabi, Bengali, Gujrati, Marathi, Tamil and Telegu speaking minorities; in which Sikhs, Muslims, Christians and Parsees will not be at the mercy of the ‘“Brahminvad.” All other issues including that of judicial probe are secondary. Any move or proposal that does not first address itself to the question of setup is nothing but dilatory, evasive and insincere, hence a ruse to mislead the Sikhs. The correct and only lasting solution lies in honorably giving to the Sikhs what Jawahar Lal Nehru in a contractual promise had outlined, that is, ‘‘an area and a set up in the North where Sikhs can also enjoy the glow of freedom.” Without this basic formulation, every other proposal or arrangement will be considered as extraneous and irrelevant by the Sikhs.


Article extracted from this publication >> March 22, 1985