Anti-Sikh Riots or 1984 Sikh Massacre was a series of organized pogroms against the Sikhs in India after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh Bodyguards, Sarwant Singh and Beant Singh. The massacre started on 31st October 1984 to 3rd November 1984 in which many innocent Sikhs were killed by the anti-Sikh hordes avenging the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Official Indian Government reports claimed that the death number was 2,800 while the independent sources claimed that the number of deaths were nearly 8,000.
The anti-Sikh riot is known as one of the deadliest riots in history. It lasted for three days when many Sikhs were murdered, their women were raped and killed, and their businesses and homes were also incinerated. New Delhi faced huge violence where people were dragged from their homes and burned alive. Official Indian reports claimed that 2,100 were killed in New Delhi while Independent reports claimed that the number was 3,000.
What was the reason for Indira Gandhi’s murder?
Indira Gandhi was shot dead after she commanded her troops to storm down the Golden Temple in the Northern State of Punjab just to flush out the separatist. The Golden Temple is meant as the holiest shrine to Sikhs. The violence started early in July 1983, when the Sikh political party, Akal Dal’s President Harchand Singh invited Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who was the leader of the Sikh organization.
He invited Bhindranwale and his armed militants to take up the resident in Golden temple Complex in order to evade arrest. However, later the sacred temple complex was turned into an armory and headquarters by Bhindranwale. This led to operation “Blue star” that was an Indian army operation carried out between June 1 to 8, 1984 in order to remove Bhindranwale and his militants from the temple.
This military action on their sacred Golden Temple, the holiest shrine was criticized by Sikh people worldwide and it led to anger the Sikh. They interpreted it as an assault on their religion. 4 months after this operation, the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi was killed by her two body Guards.
First death Sentence since 1984:
This Tuesday, the relatives of the victims and Sikhs rejoiced in New Delhi after the Indian court released the first death sentence over 1984 Sikh massacre. This is said to be the first sentence released by the Indian court since the Special Investigation team took over the probe in 2015.
In 1984, the Sikh leaders blamed and accused the leaders of Gandhi’s Congress party of fanning the violence whereas India’s top Investigation agency blamed senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar for inflaming the mobs for creating violence in the country. Sajjan Kumar was acquitted by the court in 2013.