The ‘falling tree’ of 1984 Sikh Riot


New Delhi: At a time when 1984 Sikh riot is still haunting the Congress party and creating quite a flutter in the capital, political majors have pounced on the issue of riots to garner political mileage out of it.

The political parties don’t appear to ever miss an opportunity to use riots for channelizing support in their favor. For instance, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently lamented that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a victim of political intolerance since the Gujarat riots.

In order to silence the opposition chorus on the intolerance tune, Modi took a swipe at Sonia Gandhi for her party’s role in the Sikh riots. The Congress too, in order to gain some lost ground, lambasted the government’s inability in containing the ongoing unbridled religious intolerance across India.

Amid the furore, the Delhi government on Sunday initiated the process of disbursing compensation cheques to the victims of the 1984 Sikh riots. Around 3200 victimized families would be compensated. This too appears to be a political move rather than humanitarian, given the present situation where every media house and political party is engaged in making the other look communal.

But have the moves or mud throwing among the political parties provided any solace to the riot victims?

“When a big tree falls, earth around it shakes a bit.” The historic comment by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi still revitalises horrendous memories among the victims. While the victims of violence are still waiting for justice, the political parties seem to rake up the issue for their personal vendetta. Victims of the massacre have obvious reasons to consider Rajiv’s statement as a prophecy that Sikhs would not get justice. Indeed, 30 years have passed and Sikhs continue to await justice.

Despite Rajiv Gandhi’s statement drawing flak, a faction still considers the statement as a natural reaction of a son who lost a mother who was a colossal leader. But isn’t it the time to forget and forgive?

No! For the riot-ravaged Sikhs, it was a strategic speech that nearly wiped out the Sikh community from the capital.

The “falling tree” legitimized violence against the religious minorities by a government who asserts the claims of being secular.

It is difficult to comment on whether the candle light marches, the sit-in protests, the fiery speeches of the ministers will wipe the tears of the victims. But yes, these incidents and their justifications would definitely remind the world that India has always been a Hindu state under the mask of a secular nation.

The pangs of violence and sufferings of riots will always haunt the Indian psyche despite the relentless efforts by the power-hungry politicians to hush up things.

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