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Michael Ignatieff Says Systemic And Organized Killings Of Sikhs, Rape Of Women In 1984 In New Delhi Is Not A Genocide!


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Mr. Ignatieff, I am very upset by your irresponsible statement in response to the motion being presented in the Canadian Parliament on the 1984 genocide of the Sikhs in India.

You stated:

“The circumstances of 1984 were undoubtedly tragic; many innocent people died violently in a highly-charged atmosphere of religious tensions...”

Mr. Ignatieff, can you explain what kind of religious tensions existed between the Sikh and Hindu communities of New Delhi before or after the assassination of Indira Gandhi? For your information these two communities were coexisting in relative peace in Delhi since 1947. There were no religious tensions. In fact it was not uncommon for Hindus to pay visits to the prominent Sikh temples in Delhi and for Sikhs to attend functions in the Hindu temples. Due to the cordial relations between Hindus and Sikhs the pogroms beginning the nights of October 31st 1984 caught the Sikhs of New Delhi completely off guard. Your lame explanation of the pogroms of 1984 being due to religious tensions is completely unfounded and untrue. Don`t you think that if there were tensions that the Sikhs of Delhi would have had an idea of what fate had in store for them from starting from October 1st , 1984? You need to explain to the Canadian public the sources from which you obtained the information or evidence that lead you to conclude that the targeted and systematic killing of innocent Sikhs in New Delhi between October 31st 1984 and November 3 1984 were due to religious tensions. By blaming the targeted and systematic killing of Sikhs in New Delhi in 1984 on religious tensions you are guilty of hiding the truth of genocide from the Canadian public.

You further state:

“...describing these events as genocide is not accurate or appropriate, particularly in view of genuine contemporary instances such as Rwanda”

Mr. Ignatieff can you offer the Canadian public an explanation as to why the systematic and organized killing of Sikhs, rape of their womanhood and the destruction of their property is not an accurate or appropriate portrayal of genocide? Are you even aware of the legal definition of genocide as defined by the United Nations Genocide Convention? According to the United Nations Genocide Convention, genocide is defined as

“any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(B) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

© Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Mr. Ignatieff, between October 31st 1984 and November 3rd 1984 the killing of members of one group – the Sikh community – continued unabated. The heinous acts of violence by organized mobs included the gang rape of women of all ages, severe beatings with chains, men being burnt alive with tires placed around their necks and the destruction of property of Sikh families. The mental harm and pain inflicted on those who were forced to helplessly watch cannot even be imagined. According to eye witness accounts these mobs were lead by elected members of the Indian parliament.

Over 50,000 Sikhs were displaced and made refugees avoiding persecution in their own country. Further to this Sikh owned businesses, homes and Sikh temples were burnt to the ground in an organized and calculated attempt to bring about the physical and emotional destruction of the Sikh community.

Mr. Ignatieff are you aware of the role of the Indian state in all this?

The Police:

According to eye witness accounts the uniform pattern of behaviour of the Delhi police was characteristic of state sponsored genocide. The police behaviour was marked by:

1. Complete absence from the place(s) where the genocide was occurring

2. If they were present they were acting as bystanders observing the organized and systematic killing of Sikhs, infliction of severe bodily and mental harm to Sikhs and the destruction of Sikh businesses, places of worship and their homes

3. Direct involvement / abetment in the brutal violence against the Sikhs

The Administration:

Warnings from several VIP’s and opposition leaders in the Indian government started coming in to the Administration on the evening of October 31st. The administration completely failed in calling in the army to control the deteriorating situation. In fact, the killing mobs were allowed to flourish and swell in numbers until November 2nd. It is evident that the government administration was complicit in the systematic and organized killing of the Sikhs in New Delhi. By not taking action they allowed the mobs to inflict utmost violence upon innocent Sikh families. Rajiv Gandhi the Prime Minister of India stated that "...when a mighty tree falls, it’s only but natural that the earth around it does shake a little." Really? Killings, rape, destruction of property, orphaning children, destroying religious places – is this really just a little shake?

The 15th Sikh Light Infantry consisting of 1600 soldiers and officers were in Delhi during the evening of October 31st, 1984. The military was given official orders and confined to their barracks just as the genocide was escalating. They were confined there throughout the duration of the organized murder of the Sikhs in New Delhi. If this is not state sponsored genocide then what would you call it Mr. Ignatieff? Lets call a spade a spade – this is genocide and you, Mr. Ignatieff seem to be ignoring this fact. By denying that genocide took place, what special interests are you intending to serve Mr. Ignatieff? Are there any interest groups that have influenced your stance? Is there a hidden agenda? By clearing the Indian government of being complicit in Genocide what messages have you sent to Canadians who treasure the value of government accountability and its responsibility to protect its citizens?

The Politicians:

Mr. Ignatieff, I need not say much more than the fact that at least 16 politicians were identified by survivors to have instigated the violence. They also protected the criminals involved in the genocide of the Sikhs in Delhi in November, 1984.

Mr. Ignatieff, you elude to the fact that this is not a “genuine” genocide. What is your definition of genocide? Would you have liked to see tens of thousands more Sikhs murdered on the streets of Delhi? Would you have liked to see thousands more Sikh women raped? Would it be a genuine genocide if thousands more Sikh businesses were looted and burnt contributing to the physical destruction of the Sikhs? Or would the tragic events of 1984 have been a genuine genocide if thousands more Sikhs were burnt alive with tires around their necks?

Mr. Ignatieff by stating that the events of Delhi were not genocide are you not complicit in covering up the mass killings of the Sikhs? Are you not indirectly supporting individuals who are guilty of crimes against humanity? By stating that the events of Delhi in 1984 were not genocide are you not protecting the Indian state and politicians guilty of crimes against humanity from being tried in the International Court of Justice?

Mr. Ignatieff I am at a complete loss to understand what you mean when you say that the petition to be presented in parliament this month calling the events of 1984 a genocide will “...not bring Canadians closer to mutual understanding and closure in regard to these tragic events.” Supporting the November 1984 genocide petition will not “...tear the threads of mutual respect and common citizenship we share as Canadians” as you seem to believe. Mr. Ignatieff you are out of touch with reality. Addressing past injustices and holding perpetrators responsible for their crimes against humanity are matters that bring us closer together as Canadians. If your idea of closure and mutual understanding is to support perpetrators of crimes against humanity and help them to live with impunity, you are not in tune with Canadians and our values.

I am ashamed that you are the official leader of the opposition of Canada; a country that prides itself on being a leader in human rights protection around the world.

Mr. Ignatieff, turning a blind eye to the reality of what happened in New Delhi in 1984 for – what seems like - petty political gains characterizes you as nothing more than a weak, selfish and arrogant leader.

Satnam Singh Sangra

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It's all about business trades at the end of day these days. Corporations makes government and knocks government. I don't expect anything from my spineless government in Canada or its opposition party. I am just waiting for wikileaks release stuff on Indian "democracy". Wikileaks have gained immense of credibility in Canada and abroad. If they can release stuff on India as they did on kashmir, people will listen.

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I had this thought just across my mind, wanted to post on this thread before i forget, how about sikhs in UK trying to push organized killing of innocent sikhs back in 1984 as genocide. I understand there is quite bit of influence of Sikhs in British Parliament..if motion can be declared that killing of innocent sikhs were genocide in UK, there would be much more pressure on Canadian Gov't to declare it here too as then all of sudden it will be an question of prestige or else we be laughing stock in International Human Rights standpoint.

Am i the only one who is dreaming this could come true? or i am being un-realistic, living in la la land?

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I honestly think NDP is good options for Sikhs. They may not have too many Sikhs as mp in the party..but they deliver on promises in BC for Sikhs. But I honestly believe, if we start showing support for ndp, things may change for us, off course for the good.

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I honestly think NDP is good options for Sikhs. They may not have too many Sikhs as mp in the party..but they deliver on promises in BC for Sikhs. But I honestly believe, if we start showing support for ndp, things may change for us, off course for the good.

Totally agree. Liberals under the leadership of wimp Ignatief has shown that they do not deserve Sikh votes. Sikhs should seriously think about NDP. At least they stand for something even if it will not get them a lot of votes. Conservatives are a party of Goras and support the Gora agenda. The NDP are the party who stand by the minorities when push comes to shove.

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