Statement of the Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, 26 October, 2021
The 1st of November marks the 37th anniversary of the genocide of Sikhs in 1984. From early morning on that day, for three days and nights, a systematic and gruesome mass murder of Sikhs was carried out in Delhi, Kanpur and other towns. It was carried out by gangs who had voters’ lists to identify Sikh homes, and were armed with sticks, kerosene canisters and rubber tyres. With prominent politicians of the Congress Party directing them, they pulled out men and boys from their homes and burnt them alive.
Sikhs travelling in trains and buses were pulled out, brutally beaten and set on fire. Women and girls were raped. Homes, shops and factories belonging to Sikhs were set on fire. Gurudwaras were set ablaze. There were several places where the police disarmed the Sikhs and then stood by as mute spectators while the armed gangs carried out the massacre.
The official position of the Indian state has been to justify the massacre of Sikhs as a “spontaneous reaction” of people to the assassination of Indira Gandhi. It is to falsely blame the people at large and cover up the hand of the powerful vested interests who organised the crime. This position is reflected in the fact that official records continue to call it “riots”, which is a complete distortion of the truth.
The genocide of Sikhs was pre-planned and organised at the highest levels of the Indian state. The assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 31 October, 1984, was the trigger to unleash the violence. It was reported that the Prime Minister had been shot dead by one of her own personal bodyguards, in front of her house. Two Sikh bodyguards were immediately arrested and disarmed. Then one of them was killed in captivity. The motive for such an act was obviously to cover up the truth.
There are unofficial reports that the bullet which killed Indira Gandhi entered her body from behind and not from the front, where the two bodyguards were standing. Is it possible that one of the security men saw who actually shot her? Could that be the reason why he was killed after having been arrested? There are no answers to any of these questions. The assassination of Indira Gandhi is shrouded in mystery, as is the killing of her bodyguard in captivity.
Even before any serious investigation was conducted to find out who really was behind the conspiracy to kill the Prime Minister, those in power started spreading the word that “Sikhs have killed Indira Gandhi”. They openly called for revenge, blood for blood, against the entire Sikh community.
The assassination of Indira Gandhi and the genocide of Sikhs that followed were both crimes committed with an ulterior political motive. The motive can be understood only on the basis of analysing the context in which these crimes were committed and who benefited from them.
International and Indian Context
The 1980s was a decade when the Anglo-American imperialists started preparing the ground for an all-sided offensive against the working class, against the movement for socialism and against the rights of nations and peoples, all under the signboard of “free market reform”. They extended support to Gorbachev who launched such reforms in the Soviet Union, under the banner of glasnost and perestroika, the Russian versions of liberalisation and privatisation. The American CIA and the British intelligence agency MI5 collaborated with Pakistan’s ISI to covertly sponsor and arm terrorist groups to fight against the Soviet occupation troops in Afghanistan.
It was a time when mass protests were spreading in India. Workers were fighting against closure of factories and against draconian laws such as ESMA, which banned strikes. Kisans in numerous regions of the country were demanding access to irrigation and remunerative prices for their produce. Demands for national rights were being raised in Punjab, Kashmir, Assam, Manipur and other parts of the Indian Union.
Indian intelligence agencies secretly sponsored armed groups within the mass movements in Punjab. As has been revealed by retired officers, the security forces used to organise the killing of Hindus in buses and market places, for which “Sikh terrorists” would be blamed. Portraying “Sikh terrorism” as the main threat to peace, and “Sikh separatism” as a major threat to the unity and integrity of India served to justify the unleashing of state terrorism to crush legitimate struggles of the people.
The Indira Gandhi government collaborated with the Margaret Thatcher government in Britain to organise the army assault on the Golden Temple in June 1984.
The genocide of Sikhs in November 1984 was aimed at spreading terror among the people and at sowing suspicion between Hindus and Sikhs. It was aimed at diverting public attention from the dangerous course along which the country was being dragged by the ruling capitalist class in collaboration with Anglo-American imperialism. It served to justify the use of force to suppress mass movements for political and economic demands,
The Anglo-American imperialists were looking for ways to make India break its ties with the Soviet Union, abandon the pretense of building a socialistic pattern of society, embrace the program of liberalisation and privatisation and open up the domestic market for foreign capital. Given the role of the Nehru family in the development of Indo-Soviet friendship, the possibility of Anglo-American involvement in the assassination of Indira Gandhi, which many political analysts have suspected, cannot be ruled out.
Demand for Justice
For the past 37 years, the families of the victims of the 1984 genocide have been demanding justice. People who are enraged by this monstrous crime have persistently raised the demand: “Punish the Guilty!”
The leadership of the Congress Party, which was in charge of the Central Government, the acting Prime Minister, Home Minister and senior officials responsible for law and order in Delhi are all guilty. The court cases, however, have only focused on individual politicians who were seen directing the armed gangs on the streets and on some of the gangsters they hired. It is not enough to punish a few foot soldiers. The organisers, the masterminds, need to be punished.
The numbers of these criminals have only increased over time. By now, those guilty of organising communal massacres for achieving political motives include those responsible for the communal violence in many parts of the country following the demolition of Babri Masjid in December 1992, the Gujarat genocide in February 2002 and the communal violence that engulfed North East Delhi in February 2020.
Such acts of state organized communal violence serve to divert and divide the people and impose the anti-people agenda of the monopoly capitalists of India and imperialists of the world. That is why the truth remains hidden and the guilty are not punished, leaving the field open for communal violence to be unleashed again and again.
The past 37 years have repeatedly witnessed the replacement of one party by another in charge of the Central Government. However, there has been no change in the program being implemented. None of the organisers of communal killings have been punished. It shows that spreading communal hatred and organising communal violence has become an unwritten policy of the ruling class.
The governments formed by the Congress Party and BJP are only different management teams of the same ruling class. The struggle to end communalism and communal violence is a struggle against the ruling class. The aim is not to replace one management team by another. The struggle has to continue until the entire machinery of state-organised communal violence, fake encounters and other forms of state terrorism is completely dismantled.
The Struggle Today
The terrible conditions created by the Corona Virus pandemic and repeated lockdowns have been used by the Central Government to accelerate the implementation of the privatisation and liberalisation program. This has led to widespread and growing mass opposition on the streets. There is a growing trend of united struggles by workers’ unions and kisan unions all over the country. In such conditions, there is a real danger of the ruling class once again unleashing communalism and communal violence. The so-called threat of “Sikh terrorism” is once again being highlighted in TV news channels and social media. People need to be vigilant and thwart these diabolical plans of the ruling class.
In order to take forward the struggle to end communalism and communal violence, it is necessary to build and strengthen the political unity of all the exploited and oppressed people, and of all progressive and democratic forces, in defence of the rights of all.
Every human being has the right to his or her beliefs. There is no justification for those in power to violate anyone’s right to conscience, no matter what that person’s belief may be. It is necessary to uphold and implement the principle that an attack on one is an attack on all.
The official propaganda that blames so-called fundamentalists of this or that religion for communalism and communal violence must be rejected and exposed. The ruling class is to blame, not any section of the people.
There must be no conciliation with the official propaganda that identifies different sections of the people, on the basis of their religion or national identity, as posing a threat to the unity and integrity of India. It is the monopoly capitalists and their self-serving imperialist drive, their collaboration with the Anglo-American imperialists and their use of communal violence as a method of rule, which is the real threat to the unity of the peoples and peace in this region.
The struggle to put an end to communal violence and state terror will be crowned with victory only when monopoly capitalist rule is replaced by workers’ and peasants’ rule. The present oppressive state will then be replaced by a state which protects everyone’s right to life, right to conscience and all other human rights and democratic rights. It will ensure that no one is discriminated against on account of her or his beliefs, and anyone who carries out such discrimination is promptly and severely punished, regardless of her or his official position.
On the occasion of the 37th anniversary of the gruesome state-organised massacre of Sikhs, let us pledge to escalate the struggle for truth and justice, with the perspective of establishing a civilised society and state committed to ensure prosperity and protection for all.