A solemn candlelight march was organised on 5th November 2016 at the Jantar Mantar area, New Delhi, to demand justice for the victims of the state-organised genocide of Sikhs in 1984.
Several hundred men and women of all ages, older people who had seen the untold brutalities of November 1984 with their own eyes, as well as many young people who have learnt of the carnage from others, took part in the march. It is significant that even 32 years after one of the most gruesome massacres in which over 3,000 people were killed in Delhi alone and several thousand more in other parts of the country, none of the main organisers behind the carnage have been punished by the courts.
Nevertheless, the mood of the people who participated in the candlelight march was anything but despondent. At the beginning of the march, a few speakers addressed those gathered. They declared that they would continue to fight for justice for those killed, and for punishing those guilty, till they succeeded or passed on – but even if they were to pass on, they would ensure that there would be others to take their place to continue the struggle. It is a matter of principle; had the guilty of 1984 been punished promptly, it is possible that several other carnages which followed such as the Babri Masjid demolition, the Mumbai riots of 1993, the Gujarat carnage of 2002 etc would not have taken place. Com Birju Nayak of Lok Raj Sangathan was one of those who addressed the gathering. He pointed out that state terrorism and the targeting of members of a particular community continues even today. While it was the Sikhs who were targeted in the 1980s, in the last 15 years or more it is the Muslims who are targeted. Earlier Sikhs used to be painted as extremists and killed by policemen in cold blood; today it is Muslim youth who are gunned down in encounters and painted as terrorists.
The protestors then marched around the area, carrying candles and posters and raising slogans “Down with state terrorism!”, “Punish the guilty of 1984!”, “An attack on one is an attack on all!” etc. Several candles were lit on the sidewalk, and a large “1984” figure was formed with many candles, signifying that the genocide of 1984 would never be forgotten. Before dispersing, the protestors vowed to carry forward the fight for justice.