From whom is Akali Dal demanding justice for November 1984 Sikh carnage?

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, November 3: Sukhbir Singh Badal, his wife and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and his brother-in-law and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia led the protest march today in New Delhi demanding justice to the victims of November 1984 planned massacre of Sikhs in which some senior Congress leaders were involved.

It is appreciable that the party leaders continue to realise the pain of the victims who are waiting endlessly for justice. Those who joined the march were Akali workers from Delhi and Punjab, besides families of the victims.

But then one can’t recall as to when did the Akali Dal undertook such exercise last time.

One of the questions that a TV journalist covering the march live for the news channel owned by Badals asked was as to from whom were they seeking justice. It is evident from this question that was repeatedly put to all the leaders Sukhbir downwards that they fully realised the futility of staging protest march that otherwise was part of the desperate bid for the revival of the party in Punjab that has been hit hard following the humiliating defeat in the 2017 Assembly election and the continuing revolt by senior leaders, besides the Bargari  Morcha demanding action against those involved in the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in 2015. This is the question that is in every one’s mind.

Neither Sukhbir nor Harsimrat had any convincing answer.

While Sukhbir talked of SIT having been formed by the Supreme Court,  his wife talked of building pressure.

If SIT is already on the job, then there was no need for this protest march.

Harsimrat talked of building pressure but then the very pertinent question that arises is as to pressure on whom.

She is part of the Narendra Modi cabinet. The police  in Delhi and other investigating agencies are under the Union government  in which she is a minister.

Did she ever take up this issue in any of the cabinet meetings? Only she can tell.

The Congress against whom the march was taken out is in opposition.

The Akali Dal is not part of the government at the centre for the first time after the 1984 carnage. The Akali Dal was part of the BJP led government headed by A B Vajpayee and Sukhbir himself was minister of state in that government beginning 1996.  What was the Akali Dal doing then? Did the party build any pressure on the Vajpayee government at that time?

This issue has lost its political relevance in the electoral domain. A major section of the Sikhs in Delhi has been voting for the Congress. In Punjab, the Congress was not wiped out even in 1985 Assembly election when the Akali Dal had been facilitated into power as hidden clause of the now un-implemented Rajiv-Longowal accord. Leave aside 1992 when the election was boycotted by the Akali Dal under pressure from the militants. The Congress formed the government in 2002 and the party won again in 2017 with the highest ever mandate with 77 seats while the Akali Dal was reduced to the lowest ever of 15 seats.

Of course, justice must be delivered.

Committed pursuit of cases of 2002 Gujrat riots by lawyers dedicated to the cause led to conviction even of a sitting minister from the BJP. That commitment has been lacking in case of November 1984 Sikh carnage. The Akali Dal has only exploited this issue politically.

Ironically, while Sukhbir was leading the protest in Delhi,  senior leader Ujagar Singh Sekhwan announced his resignation from the office of the senior vice-president and the core committee. He is the third leader to quit all party posts. In reaction, he was expelled from the party within no time.

Sekhwan’s resignation was to build pressure on Sukhbir to quit presidency.


Jagtar Singh


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