India’s Anti-Sikh Pogrom: Who Are the Guilty?

Written by Shamsul Islam | Published on: October 15, 2015

Courtesy: Ram Rahman

Thirty-one years down, the Indian state is still searching for the criminals behind 1984 massacre of Sikhs though three decades have elapsed This culture of immunity perpetuates inaction against perpetrators of pogroms against minorities ---be it the Nellie massacre (1983), Sikh massacre (1984), massacre of Muslims before and after the Babri mosque demolition period (1980-1992/1993), the Kandhmal violence against Christians (2008). The exception, in a sense was the Gujarat genocide (2002) wherein 126 perpetrators have, to date, been punished. In nation-wide cases of horrible killing of Dalits since Independence the reality is as bad. The best that the Indian State has done is to establish Commissions of inquiry and more Commissions of inquiry.
 
In the case of the 1984 massacre of Sikhs, it is generally believed that the Congress cadres were behind this genocide. While this may be true to a large extent, but there were other forces, too, who actively participated in this massacre and whose role has never been interrogated.
 
Many of us who were witness to the genocide of 1984 were stunned by the swiftness and military precision of the killer squads in 198, who went on an attacking and burning spree of innocent Sikhs, in Delhi. (Such precision was also later witnessed during the Babri mosque demolition violence, the burning alive of Dr. Graham Steins with his two sons in January 1999, the 2002 pogrom against Muslims in Gujarat and the cleansing of Christians in parts of Orissa in 2008)  Such precision was beyond the capacity of the thugs led by many Congress leaders at the time.
 
This document circulated by a prominent ideologue and luminary of RSS, Nana Deshmukh on November 8, 1984 may be of some help in unmasking the whole truth behind the massacres of innocent Sikhs, the motive behind which, had little to do with the killing of Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. This document may also throw light on where the cadres came from, who meticulously organized the killing of Sikhs.
 
Mr. Nana Deshmukh in this document is seen outlining the justification of the massacre of the Sikh community in 1984. According to him the massacre of Sikhs was not the handiwork of any group or anti-social elements but the result of a genuine feeling of anger among the Hindus of India.
 
This document also reveals the attitude of the RSS towards all the minorities of India, reflective of a supremacist and fascist mindset. The RSS has, often and regularly been arguing that their ideological mistrust –and therefore anti-democratic argument against equality of citizenship of all Indians -- against Muslims and Christians is because they are the followers of ‘foreign religions.’  In this document, however, we find them justifying the butchering of Sikhs who according to their own categorization happened to be the followers of an indigenous religion.
Worse, the document argues that the massacre of innocent Sikhs was justified.
This document was published in the Hindi Weekly Pratipaksh edited by George Fernandes in its edition of November 25, 1984 titled 'Indira Congress-RSS collusion'. Fernandes, later became Defence Minister of India in the first NDA regime. Editorial Comment in Pratipaksh:

 
“The author of the following document is known as an ideologue and policy formulator of the RSS. After the killing of Prime Minister (Indira Gandhi) he distributed this document among prominent politicians. It has a historical significance that is why we have decided to publish it, violating policy of our Weekly. This document highlights the new affinities developing between the Indira Congress and the RSS. We produce here the Hindi translation of the document.”
 
[The Deshmukh document is reproduced below. It is translated here from Hindi by Shamsul Islam [parts of the document have been underlined for emphasis]
 
MOMENTS OF SOUL SEARCHING
Indira Gandhi ultimately did secure a permanent place at the doorstep of history as a great martyr. With her dynamism borne out of her fearlessness and dexterity, she was able to take the country forward like a colossus for over a decade and was able to build an opinion that she alone understood the realities of the country, that she