The Massacre of November 1984 Shall Never be Forgotten!

Statement by the Central Committee of Communist Ghadar Party of India, October 22, 2011

Twenty seven years ago, on November 1-3, 1984, the rulers of India carried out the cold blooded slaughter of thousands of innocent people belonging to the Sikh faith, in Delhi, Kanpur and other places, following the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

Statement by the Central Committee of Communist Ghadar Party of India, October 22, 2011

Twenty seven years ago, on November 1-3, 1984, the rulers of India carried out the cold blooded slaughter of thousands of innocent people belonging to the Sikh faith, in Delhi, Kanpur and other places, following the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Well-known leaders of the ruling Congress Party led armed gangs to loot and plunder the property of the Sikhs, with the backing of the police, for three full days. They burnt men alive, raped and mutilated women. And this inhuman crime was justified by the then new Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who said, "When a big tree falls, the earth will shake"!

For full twenty seven years, the people have been demanding justice – that the guilty of November 1984 must be punished. Yet none of the main leaders of the Congress Party who masterminded this genocide have been punished. The courts have dealt with the genocide not as an organised pre-planned act, but as "crimes of passion" committed on the spur of the moment in response to Indira Gandhi's assassination. This is in spite of convincing evidence that confirms the meticulous planning that was involved, including voters’ lists with houses of Sikhs marked, arson material and weapons stashed away in party offices for distribution.

During and after the carnage of 1984, ordinary people from all faiths came forward to defend the victims and to assist the survivors staying in miserable relief camps. The people of our country showed through their actions that they are opposed to state organized communal violence. Their fearless work in conditions wherein the entire state machinery and official media was baying for the blood of Sikhs established the unity of the toilers and oppressed against the communal state and the Congress party.

The Congress Party under Rajiv Gandhi's leadership swept to power with a massive majority in 1985, under the slogan "Hindu, Hindi, Hindustan!"  The Congress and BJP organized the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 and the subsequent communal massacres in Surat, Mumbai and other towns. The BJP organized the genocide of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. This genocide too was pre-planned, following on and improving on the preparations made by the Congress during the 1984 genocide. Imitating late Rajiv Gandhi's call for the genocide, Narender Modi talked about Newton's Laws of "action and reaction" to justify the state-organized genocide of Muslims.

The first lesson from the 1984 massacre, which the people drew right at the time it happened, is that it is the state and not the people who are communal.  The rulers are responsible for communal violence, not the people or their religious beliefs.

Second, although the Constitution declares India to be a "secular" Republic, the Indian State permits political parties to organise communal violence and the police acts to facilitate such criminal acts. The Indian Republic is a communal state.

Third, the fact that not a single individual leader, not to speak of the party as a whole, has been convicted for his crimes has confirmed that there is no justice under the existing political system. Far from being convicted or punished, the leading organisers of communal violence can continue to contest elections and become “people’s representatives”. What exists in the name of the “rule of law” is in fact the rule of arbitrariness, a system where power is concentrated exclusively in the hands of a small minority in society which enjoys unlimited powers to do what it pleases.

Fourth, the developments since 1984 have revealed that this was the beginning of a dark period in our history, which continues till today, in which state terrorism, including state-organised communal violence, has become the preferred method of the ruling class to suppress, divert and divide the opposition to its rule.  People have been continually slaughtered in the name of “law and order”, “war against terrorism”, “crushing secessionism and separatism”, and in the name of defending “unity and integrity”. State terrorism has become the principal weapon to smash the unity of the people and push through the anti-worker, anti-peasant and anti-national program of “modernization” and “globalization through liberalization and privatization”, a program aimed at establishing Indian big capitalists as a world class power.

The fifth lesson is that we cannot expect those who are the organizers of communal genocide to either ensure justice or prevent future genocides. We cannot expect the Indian state, and political parties like Congress or BJP to do so.

The BJP has raised the issue of 1984 merely to score points over the Congress Party.  In the six years of NDA rule, the guilty of 1984 were not punished. Instead, BJP and NDA leaders justified the Gujarat genocide citing 1984 as a precedent.

The Congress Party led UPA came to power in 2004 on a "secular" platform promising to punish those responsible for the Gujarat genocide.

Activists including respected jurists who have worked for past 27 years dealing with state organized genocides have demanded a law that would ensure that organizers of communal genocide would be punished. Any law dealing with communal violence must deal with the issue of the state and the ruling party being the organizer of such a genocide. It must ensure that the organisers of 1984, 1993, and 2002 amongst other genocides, must be punished. State terror including state organized communal violence should be treated as organised genocide and not as a set of individual criminal acts.  Only then is it even conceivable that the party or parties that organised the crime can be convicted, and not merely the thugs used to execute it.  None of the versions of the bill on communal violence that the Congress Party has presented thus far addresses these issues. Neither has the BJP or the other opposition parties raised these issues. This shows that the intention of all these parties is not to ensure justice, but to prepare for future genocides.

Drawing all of these lessons together, it is clear that only when people have political power in their hands can they ensure an end to state organized communal violence and state terrorism of all forms and punishment of the guilty. We cannot expect that the organizers and perpetrators of the crime will punish themselves for it. However, with political power in their hands, people can ensure that those in positions of command be accountable for their responsibility of preventing communal massacres and violence, that mechanisms be put in place to ensure that those guilty of such heinous crimes are punished, regardless of their social position.

On the 27th anniversary of the genocide of November 1984, the Communist Ghadar Party of India calls on all the working and oppressed masses of Indian people to step up the struggle for justice. Let all those who desire justice unite and demand punishment for the guilty!  Let us work to reconstitute the Indian Union so as to respect the national rights of all the constituents!  Let us affirm the human rights of all members of society and the rights of all minorities, thereby putting an end to national and caste-based oppression, religious persecution and discrimination of all kinds!  Let us build non-partisan committees among the people to assert and affirm the rights of all! Let us work to ensure renewal of democracy in our country so that political power is in the hands of the people, who are then empowered to put in place mechanisms to ensure the implementation of all these.

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