Delhi 1984: India’s Congress birthday celebration still struggling to escape the past

Image of inside Trilokpuri gurdwara taken by the BBC's Andrew North Image caption Santok Singh’s gurdwara in Trilokpuri is still empty all over his evening prayer consultation

Santok Singh’s melancholy tones dangle in the air as he reads from the Granth, the Sikh holy book.

However his gurdwara or temple is empty, despite the fact that his evening prayer consultation within the Delhi suburb of Trilokpuri is well underway.

It’s been like this each and every evening for years, he says, a logo of a once thriving Sikh neighbourhood decimated by way of the scourge of unexpected communal violence, which plagues India to this day.

The narrow lanes of Trilokpuri noticed the worst bloodshed throughout the anti-Sikh riots that swept the capital in November 1984 sparked by the assassination of Top Minister Indira Gandhi by means of two of her Sikh bodyguards.

These Days, Singh’s gurdwara is understood as the Temple of Martyrs.

Image copyright AP Image caption Sikh women cling pictures of insurrection victims during a protest in Delhi

“Other People thought they would be protected throughout the gurdwara” says Santok Singh. The temple is among blocks 30 and 32 in Trilokpuri, the epicentre of the violence.

“however the wall wasn’t very top then and the mob came from either side.

“They killed someone they could lay their fingers on – men, girls and children. This courtyard was stuffed with bodies.”

Delhi police were accused not just of failing to forestall the violence but assisting it.

Electoral records were reportedly utilized in some cases to identify the place Sikh families lived.

When the Indian army finally restored order four days later, at least FOUR HUNDRED Sikhs lay useless in Trilokpuri, with loads more injured.

The November 1984 riots have been the nadir of a cycle of violence that had observed Sikh separatists occupying the Golden Temple in Amritsar, followed through Mrs Gandhi ordering the disastrous Operation Bluestar assault on the complex leaving masses useless.

A British different forces officer recommended the Indian executive within the early planning ranges, it has lately emerged.

It was the attack on the Golden Temple that provoked Mrs Gandhi’s Sikh bodyguards to show on her on 31 October 1984.


What used to be one of Delhi’s biggest Sikh neighbourhoods emptied out. These Days there may be only a handful of Sikh households left – with Santok Singh’s kids serving to him in his lonely task of protecting the gurdwara going.

They appear almost thankful to have visitors to supply sweets to whilst the prayer session is over.

Tens of hundreds of Sikhs become refugees of their own town and lots of ended up in the run-down district of Tilak Nagar, at the far western aspect of Delhi.

Symbol caption many people dwelling within the run-down space of Tilak Nagar misplaced loved ones in the bloodbath

Like dense tree creepers, a couple of illegal electrical connections lead from the lamp-posts to the crumbling condo block where Attar Kaur has lived with many different Trilokpuri Sikhs given that 1984.

Image copyright Getty Photographs Symbol caption A court docket in Delhi has ordered the reopening of the case in opposition to Jagdish Tytler

One shows him chatting amiably in a group that comes with Indira Gandhi simply days ahead of her death, alongside a younger Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul – the leaders of present day Congress celebration.

Image copyright AP Symbol caption Rioting by means of Hindus within the state of Gujarat in 2002 left greater than a 1,000 other folks – mostly Muslims – lifeless

the problem has additionally transform highly politicised, with 1984 one entrance in a macabre fight with the competition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over whose riot was worse.

In Spite Of additionally receiving a ‘clean chit’, the BJP’s leader Narendra Modi – and frontrunner to be India’s next PM – still faces questions over his position within the 2002 riots in his home state of Gujarat, by which at least 1,000 other folks died, most of them Muslims.

It has led to a kind of stalemate, with neither aspect prepared to push too exhausting in case more skeletons fall from their own closets.

However, says Mr Phoolka, “no huge-scale violence happens in India without the patronage of individuals in energy”.

And in a blistering piece, journalist Siddharth Varadarajan lately accused the Indian status quo of colluding in a cover-up, making sure that inquiries into previous riots by no means uncovered the responsible and jeopardised “the edifice of a state that rests on pillars of impunity”.

‘Violence will proceed’

In her cramped flat, Attar Kaur says she’s contemplating vote casting for Arvind Kejriwal, leader of the new anti-corruption Aam Admi celebration (AAP) that swept to power after remaining year’s Delhi local elections, as a result of his demand for a new inquiry into 1984.

Whether Mr Kejriwal will stay urgent for this now he is resigned as Delhi’s chief minister isn’t clear. However “he has given us hope,” says Mrs Kaur.

Until there may be duty, communal violence will proceed, warns HS Phoolka – who has not too long ago announced he is standing as an AAP candidate.

“If the responsible of 1984 had been punished, we don’t have observed the riots in Mumbai in 1993 and the riots in Gujarat in 2002. Be ready for it to keep taking place.”

no less than 50 other people died and heaps were made homeless final December, after every other eruption of communal violence just a few hours drive from Delhi within the the city of Muzaffarnagar.

So far, no one has been held responsible there either.

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