Poshan

photos

1984 Anti-Sikh Riots

Sikh community members during a protest at Vijay Chowk against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/ Kamal Singh

Sikhs block the Rajpath at Vijay Chowk during a protest against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, who was acquitted by a Delhi court in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot case, in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/ Atul Yadav

JD-U President Sharad Yadav has to walk to reach Parliament as his vehicle was stopped at the Vijay Chowk due to a protest by Sikh community members against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/ Atul Yadav

Sikhs shout slogans from inside a police bus as they are detained during a protest against former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, who was acquitted by a Delhi court in a case related to 1984 anti-Sikh riot, near the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi.

AP Photo/ Tsering Topgyal

Sikhs shout slogans from a police bus as they are detained during a protest against Sajjan Kumar near the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi.

AP Photo/ Tsering Topgyal

Sikh community members protest at Rajpath against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, who was acquitted by a Delhi court in a case related to 1984 anti-Sikh riot, in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/ Atul Yadav

Sikhs shouts slogans from inside a bus after being detained by the police during a protest against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar near the Rashtrapati Bhawan, in New Delhi.

AP Photo/ Tsering Topgyal

Security personnel at Vijay Chowk during the Sikh community members' protest against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, who was acquitted by a Delhi court in a case related to 1984 anti-Sikh riot, in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/ Kamal Singh

A member of Sikh community being assisted by a policeman after he fell on the ground during a protest demanding justice for the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan

Sikh community members during a protest demanding justice for the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan

Sikh community members during a protest demanding justice for the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan

Kashmiri Sikhs shout slogans as they protest the acquittal of Congress party leader Sajjan Kumar of charges of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, in Srinagar.

AP Photo/ Dar Yasin

Sikh community shout slogans during a protest demanding capital punishment for Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in Kolkata.

PTI Photo/ Swapan Mahapatra

Sikh community people shouting slogans during a protest demanding capital punishment for Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in Kolkata. Kumar was recently acquitted in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

PTI Photo/ Swapan Mahapatra

Jagdish Kaur (in picture) says she first named Sajjan Kumar in 1984, but police say records of that complaint are missing.

No hope? Sikhs protest the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar

Jitender Gupta

Sikh community members during a protest against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, who was acquitted by a Delhi court in a case related to 1984 anti-Sikh riot, in front of Congress president Sonia Gandhi's residence, New Delhi.

PTI Photo/ Manvender Vashist

Sikhs protest outside the residence of Sonia Gandhi against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar's acquittal in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in New Delhi.

AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal

Sikhs burn an effigy and photographs of Sajjan Kumar, as they protest against his acquittal in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, in Kolkata.

AP Photo/Bikas Das

A Sikh shouts at policemen who try to detain him during a protest outside the residence of Sonia Gandhi against acquittal of Sajjan Kumar in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in New Delhi.

AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal

A man being arrested by police after he crosses the barricades in front of Congress President Sonia Gandhi's residence during protest against Sajjan Kumar's acquittal in 1984 riots in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist

Sikhs in front of Congress President Sonia Gandhi's residence during a protest against Sajjan Kumar's acquittal in 1984 riots.

PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist

Sikh people stop a Metro train at Subhash Nagar in New Delhi during a protest demanding justice for the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

PTI Photo

Sikhs hold placards as they protest against Sajjan Kumar's acquittal in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, in Jammu.

AP Photo/Channi Anand

Sikhs hold placards and shout slogans as they protest against Sajjan Kumar's acquittal in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, in Amritsar.

AP Photo/Sanjeev Syal

Sikh people stop a metro train at Subhash Nagar Metro Station in New Delhi over Sajjan Kumar's acquittal in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. A special CBI court yesterday Apri 30l acquitted Mr Kumar of all charges in one of three 1984 riots cases against him.

PTI Photo

Members of Sikh community protest against the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a case relating to 1984 Sikh riots by a Delhi court, in Jammu.

PTI Photo

Members of Sikh community protest against the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a case relating to 1984 Sikh riots by a Delhi court, in Jammu.

PTI Photo

One of the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots shouts slogans at a protest outside Karkardooma court after a hearing in the case, in New Delhi. The court acquitted Sajjan Kumar in a case related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist

Victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots protest against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar outside Karkardooma court during a hearing in the case, in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/ Manvender Vashist

Police stop victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots who were protesting outside Karkardooma court after a hearing in the case, in New Delhi. The court acquitted Sajjan Kumar in a case related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

PTI Photo/ Manvender Vashist

File: 1984 anti-Sikh riots case accused Congress leader Sajjan Kumar. According to sources, Kumar has been acquitted of all charges by special CBI court in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

PTI File Photo

Relatives of victims of 1984 Anti-Sikh riots protest against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, outside the Karkardoom Court in New Delhi.

PTI Photo

Relatives of victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots shout slogans to demand the arrest of culprits, including senior Congress leaders, during a protest in New Delhi.

AP Photo/Altaf Qadri

Relatives of victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots participate in a protest demanding the arrest of culprits, including senior Congress leaders, during a protest in New Delhi.

AP Photo/Altaf Qadri

Ranjit Singh Gill alias Kuki spent 18 years in jail for gunning down Congress politician Lalit Maken, allegedly responsible for orchestrating the killing of Sikhs in 1984.

Ekta Sharma

Victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots chant slogans to urge U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take up their cause with the government at the Jamia Millia Islamia University, where he was conferred honorary degree of Doctor of Letters, in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/Atul Yadav

Victims and families of victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots chant slogans to urge U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take up their cause with the Indian government as he was conferred the degree of Doctor of Letters, or Honoris Causa, at the Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi. Ban is on a three-day official visit to India.

AP Photo/Saurabh Das

Sikh women during a protest demonstration demanding justice for the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/ Atul Yadav

Sikh women during a protest demonstration demanding justice for the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/ Kamal Kishore

Anti-Sikh Riots Society activists beat the effigy of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar during a protest demonstration in New Delhi.

PTI Photo

Mahesh, sentenced to life term in 1984 anti-Sikh riots, being taken to Tihar Jail from Karkardooma Court in New Delhi.

PTI Photo

Members of All India Sikh Conference arrive at the Rashtrapati Bhawan to submit a memorandum of 1984 anti-Sikh riots to President Pratibha Patil, in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/ Shahbaz Khan

Justice Ranganath Mishra
CJI: 1990-91 Allegation: Gave a clean chit to the Congress in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. He was an SC judge when he headed the inquiry commission. He was later given a Rajya Sabha nomination by the Congress.

Jitender Gupta

1984 anti-Sikh riots

Ashok Vahie

Illustration By Sandeep Adhwaryu

New York: Sikhs rally to protest a speech by India's road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath who has been summoned by a US federal district court for his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots based on a case filed by a Sikh outfit.

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Sandeep Adhwaryu

Relatives of victims of 1984 Anti-Sikh riots protest against Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, outside the Karkardoom Court in New Delhi.

PTI Photo

Congress leader Sajjan Kumar leaves after appearing in Karkardoom Court in connection with 1984 Anti-Sikh riots case, in New Delhi.

PTI Phot

Sajjan Kumar, the congress leader accused in the 1984 anti-sikh riots, leaves after appearing in Karkardooma court in New Delhi. Former Congress MP Sajjan Kumar will face trial in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases as a Delhi Court today referred the cases to a Special CBI Court, rejecting a plea of his.

PTI Photo

1984 anti-Sikh riots case accused Congress leader Sajjan Kumar leaves after appearing in Karkardooma court in New Delhi. The court granted him bail.

PTI Photo

Victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots protest against Sajjan Kumar at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

PTI Photo/Kamal Singh

Victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots protest for justice, outside Karkardooma Court in New Delhi.

PTI Photo

Relatives of 1984 anti-Sikh riots' victims talking to the media regarding Congress leader Sajjan Kumar’s anticipatory bail plea in the case, after a hearing at Delhi High Court in New Delhi. The court refused to restrain the CBI from arresting Kumar till Monday as pleaded by the former MP's counsel.

PTI Photo/Manvender

Sikh community members protest against Sajjan Kumar, one of the accused in '84 anti-Sikh riots case, during a hearing at Kakardooma court in New Delhi. The court issued a non-bailable warrant against Kumar for not appearing before the court.

PTI Photo/Atul Yadav

Victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots protest against Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar outside Karkardooma Court in East Delhi.

PTI Photo

Indira Gandhi's assassination by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984 and the anti-Sikh riots that followed

That’s Not My Size
Home minister P. Chidambaram, cool and stoic in the face of anger over the ’84 riots

Reuters

Sikh activists hold a placard as they sit on a railway track during a protest to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1984 riots against Sikhs, in Amritsar.

AP Photo

Members of various hardline Sikh groups hold their swords as they patrol the city on motorbikes calling for a complete shutdown to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1984 riots against Sikhs, in Amritsar. About 2,000 people were killed in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots after the murder of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards.

AP Photo/Davinder Luther

1984 communal riots' victims shout slogans during a demonstration outside the Karkardooma Court in New Delhi.

PTI Photo

Houses in Tilak Vihar are all packed together in a manner that induces a pressing claustrophobia. Doors are often left open, letting passers-by such as us peek inside the Widow Colony’s small rooms where the paint is peeling and walls are thin.

Gauri Gill

Nineteen eighty-four (The Storming of the Golden Temple)
A 1998 painting in the miniature tradition by London-born twin sisters Amrit and Rabindra Singh

Copyright: The Singh Twins; www.singhtwins.co.uk

October 31, 1984: Operation Bluestar's gory after-effects

Courtesy: GETTY IMAGES

The grandchildren of 1984 victims living in the west Delhi colony of Tilak Vihar survive under the shadow of a past they have not witnessed. But the school bottles that hang around their necks and the cell phone they hide in their pockets are perhaps evidence enough of the hope that their futures will help bring needed emancipation.

Gauri Gill

Surjit Singh, 34, says, “I remember it clearly. As Indira Gandhi’s body burnt on TV, my father was being burnt after he had been put on fire by an angry mob. My father would give his old clothes to needy people in the colony. One of his killers was wearing something that he once used to.” For the longest time, Surjit says that he would feel petrified when he heard a loud noise in the distance. As his daughter Mahima Singh, 4, now plays in his lap, Surjit adds, “I run a small taxi company and have limited means, but I am going to make sure that her childhood is much happier than mine.”

Gauri Gill

Harminder says, “For 22 years, I travelled alone to the Karkardooma court, fighting to get justice for my husband. I also testified against Congress leader HKL Bhagat. Even though he was acquitted, I am glad that those three men got their due.” As one of the few 1984 victims who had the tenacity to fight a long protracted legal battle, she adds, “Truth by its own virtue is sacred. The courts finally saw that. I would like my struggle to be an example.”

Gauri Gill

On November 1, 1984, the house of Harminder Kaur was attacked by a mob which had been led by Harprasad Bhardwaj, P Tiwari and Jagdish Giri. They had lynched and killed three members of Harminder’s family, including her husband, police constable Niranjan Singh (next photograph). An Additional Sessions Judge finally convicted the accused in March 2007.

Gauri Gill

Gurmeet Kaur (left) had lost her husband Gyan Singh on November 5, 1984. Her voice chokes as she remembers the hour when her husband left the Durga Puri gurudwara where they had taken shelter: “I remember that he was bare-footed when he had gone back to see what was left of our house, thinking the violence was over. The next thing I saw was his dead body.” For Gurmeet, the seven lakh rupees that she has been given in compensation since, is far from enough to make up for a loss which, she says, made her life unbearable forever.

Gauri Gill

The walls of Bhaggi Kaur’s house have been covered with her grandchildren’s graffiti. The scribbles and doodles help provide a contrast to the framed pictures of Kaur’s husband and son that hang nearby. The 53-year-old Bhaggi had lost her husband in ’84, while her son committed suicide by overdosing on painkillers three years ago.

Gauri Gill

After having driven his auto-rickshaw all night, Gurdayal Singh (left) arrives outside his home in Tilak Vihar, only to repair parts of his three-wheeler. He says, “My father and two brothers were both killed in the ’84 riots, and here I am, uneducated, trying my level best to make ends meet.” Pointing to the houses around him, Gurdayal goes on to draw this comparison: “When there’s a train accident, passengers are given Rs. 15 lakhs in compensation. All we get are these houses that will fall apart any day. And we had lost everything, our families, our money, our property, everything.”

Gauri Gill

Nirpreet Kaur, then 16, saw her father being burned alive on Nov 2 even as the same mob hit her with iron rods. Intent on revenge, she joined the Khalistan movement, and married a militant. Her husband was picked up 12 days after their marriage, never to return; her mother was arrested on charges of “sheltering a terrorist”; she herself was arrested in 1988 and released in 1996. Now running the NGO Justice for Victims, she testified this January against Sajjan Kumar, whom she saw inciting a mob to violence.

Gauri Gill

Her neighbours describe her as ‘ever-smiling’, but tears roll off Pappi Kaur’s eyes easily as she tells you how she had to hide under a heap of corpses to escape the rampaging mobs. “I was only 15 when 11 members of my family were killed. We were told some had survived, but we have waited 25 years, and no one has returned.” Now she works in a one-room factory making electrical sockets. “I kept waiting for justice and a better future,” says Pappi, “now I’m working to make one for myself.”

Gauri Gill

Trilokpuri, the middle-class east Delhi colony, was witness to the largest massacre of Sikhs in November 1984. Ajit Singh, now 70, was playing cards when he heard that Indira Gandhi had been assassinated. He woke up next morning to find that his house had been set on fire. “People were throwing stones at the rising flames,” he says. Now living in a bleak two-room house with his grandson (right) and others, he asks, “We are Indian citizens, aren’t we? Why haven’t we been given justice?”

Gauri Gill

Born on October 1, 1984, Manjit Singh was just a month old when their house in Mangolpuri, his father, grandfather and three uncles were all burned, their bodies never found. Fate dealt other cruel blows: his mother died of a brain tumour. “I stopped going to school when in Class 9, someone had to run the house.” He took up work driving a school van and is now a driver with a family in New Delhi. “Nothing can make me forget the fate of my family,” he says, but he has learnt to move on. The community of 1984 victims is his one unfailing source of succour and comradeship.

Gauri Gill

Tilak Vihar in west Delhi acquired an unenviable title after the ’84 survivors were given tenements here: Widows Colony. When not packed in unventilated rooms, children here spend the day playing in a brown park outside. Malkit Singh (left), though, is allowed to stay in—”It is important for future generations to know”—when his grandmother Bhaggi Kaur recounts the horrors: of how she found her husband’s body in a canal, of how her brother’s head was put in a TV carton and a knife put through it.

Gauri Gill

"...and before he could reach a safe house in Pandav Nagar, they knifed him and left him to die on the rail tracks," recounts Taranjeet's grandmother Surjit, crying uncontrollably. It hasn’t been easy since. “I have spent my life struggling, but I want my granddaughter to study hard,” says Surjit, as the schoolgirl sits poring over her books.

Gauri Gill

Taranjeet Kaur's grandfather Jeevan Singh (next photograph) was killed on Nov 1, 1984. "A mob of 400-500 people followed my husband..."

Gauri Gill

Jagdish Tytler seen after he was granted bail by a Delhi court in a case of making alleged derogatory remarks against, Harvinder Singh Phoolka, the lawyer of 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims, in TV news programmes. Phoolka had in 2004 filed a case at the Ludhiana court against Tytler accusing him of making defamatory remarks in programmes telecast on a private news channel on September 7 in the same year.

PTI Photo/Vijay Kumar Joshi

Jarnail Singh, poses with a photo of the Golden temple, one of the oldest Sikh gurdwaras, presented to him by Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee President Avtar Singh Makkar, in Amritsar. The Dainik Jagran reporter shot to fame when he threw a shoe at India's Home Minister P Chidambaram as a protest against the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

AP Photo

Protestors shout slogans as they burn an effigy representing Congress party leader Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar outside a court in New Delhi.

AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi

Shooed Out. Congress party leader Jagdish Tytler reacts as he holds a press conference to announce his decision to not contest in the upcoming elections in New Delhi. There have been huge protests from the Sikh community, the latest being a shoe thrown at the Home Minister P Chidambaram by a Sikh journalist, after Congress party fielded Tytler and Sajjan Kumar as candidates. Both Tytler and Kumar are accused of their alleged role in the 1984 riots that left more than 3,000 people dead, after former PM Indira Gandhi's assasination.

AP Photo/Saurabh Das

Activists of Sikh Student Federation protest against Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, at Amritsar-Delhi rail track, in Amritsar.

PTI Photo

Sikhs in Punjab protesting against CBI's clean chit to senior Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, an accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, that left more than 3,000 people dead. Members of radical Sikh organisations have blocked rail traffic in several places.

AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi

Jarnail Singh, a journalist, throws shoe at Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram during a press conference at AICC headquarters in New Delhi.

PTI/ Courtesy Times Now

Jarnail Singh (wearing a turban), a journalist, who threw a shoe at Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram, center left, is escorted away by officials during a press conference in New Delhi. The journalist threw a shoe after a confrontational exchange over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that left thousands dead. The shoe missed Chidambaram, who continued taking questions as officials escorted the journalist away.

AP Photo

Victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots protest against Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar outside Karkardooma Court in New Delhi. The CBI gave Tytler a clean chit, saying that it had found no evidence against the former Union Minister in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case and that the statements of two of the witnesses were "inconsistent, unreliable and unworthy of credit".

PTI Photo

Monday 8 August Over 20 years after nearly 3,000 Sikhs were killed in Delhi after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the Nanavati Commission on 1984 riots was finally tabled in Parliament. The report says there is "credible evidence" against now Union Minister Jagdish Tytler and that he "very probably" had a hand in organising attacks on Sikhs and recommended the government to take further action as may be found necessary. The Commission, in its report tabled in both Houses of Parliament along with the government's Action [NOT -- ed] Taken Report (ATR), also noted that "there is credible material" against Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar (now MP) and Balwan Khokhar that they were "probably involved as alleged by witnesses" . But significantly, the report gives the central government headed by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi a clean chit. The one- man Justice G.T. Nanavati Commission was constituted by the previous NDA government in 1999 and had submitted its 339-page report to the government of 9 February this year. The report was finally tabled on the last day of the expiry of the six-month deadline for its presentation in Parliament.

File

Thursday 11 AugustSikh protestors burn an effigy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a demonstration against Congress leaders indicted in the Nanavati Commission report, in New Delhi. Seeking to assuage sentiments of the Sikh community, the Prime Minister apologised for the 1984 anti-Sikh violence, saying he was not standing on any "false prestige" and "bowed his head in shame".

AP Photo/Gurinder Osan

Riots in the city following her death

'This was something I have only two words for Justice G.T. Nanavati's inquiry report on the butchery of Sikhs 21 years ago: utter garbage.' So said Khushwant Singh. But the outrage was over the fact that the government had not only sat on the report for full six months before finally putting it up in Parliament on the last permissible day, the little that the report had asked for was sought to be swept under the carpet. The report said clearly that there was "credible evidence" against Jagdish Tytler, but the government's (not) Action Taken Report fudged the issue by brazenly saying, "In criminal cases, a person cannot be prosecuted simply on the basis of probability". There was instant shock and public rage, which continues to simmer despite the PM stepping in, saying he was forced to "bow his head in shame" and that he had "no hesitation in apologising not only to the Sikh community but the whole Indian nation because what took place in 1984 is the negation of the concept of nationhood and what enshrined in our Constitution." Indeed. But the promised action is still awaited.

The assassins of Mrs Gandhi were hanged within four years, while 20 years later, the killers of 10,000 Sikhs remain unpunished. Are there two sets of laws in the country? The nation mourned and marked the 20th anniversary with the aftermath of Gujarat 2002 trauma still fresh in its consciousness.

October 31, 1984.
A prime minister was assassinated. Delhi witnessed what has come to be called 'anti-Sikh riots' of 1984. Except, these were no riots. It was a carnage. The state and its machinery colluded. The photo shows a camp in Shahdara. The writing on the wall was stark. In 2002, a different community asked the same question in the state of Gujarat.

Prashant Panjiar

Advertisement