The AntiSikh Violence of 1984
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‘If people have lost their lives in a storm, it is a different matter; but how can a massacre be forgotten? Especially when there’s been no justice?’ The three days of 1984, when over 3000 Sikhs were slaughtered, have indelibly marked the lives of thousands more who continue to exist in a twilight of bitterness and despair. It was outrage at this state of affairs that led Jarnail Singh—an unassuming, law-abiding journalist—to throw his shoe at Home Minister P. Chidambaram during a press conference in New Delhi. He readily acknowledges that this was not an appropriate means of protest, but asks why, twenty-seven years after the massacres, so little has been done to address the issues that are still unresolved and a source of anguish to the whole community. I Accuse . . . is a powerful and passionate indictment of the state’s response to the killings of 1984. By exploring the chain of events, the survivors’ stories and the continuing shadow it casts over their lives, Singh seeks answers to some relevant questions. Who initiated the pogrom and why? Why did the state apparatus allow it to happen? Why, despite the many commissions and committees set up to investigate the events, have the perpetrators not been brought to book? Because, finally, 1984 was not an attack on the Sikh community alone; it was an attack on the idea at the very core of democracy—that every citizen, irrespective of faith and community, has a right to life, security and justice.
- Penguin Books Ltd, October 2011
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