Islamabad, Pakistan: Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (Pipfpd) has said in a statement that horrors since Operation Blue Star have never come to an end in India.
Hereunder is statement of PIPFPD:
“The first week of June this year marked the 36th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, the chilling military operation of 1984 when the Indian armed force, under instructions of Indian PM Indira Gandhi, launched an attack to take control of the Golden Temple’s Harmandir Saheb from the hands of the militant group of Sikhs led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Telephone lines were cut, foreign and Indian journalists expelled and an indefinite curfew imposed across the state of Punjab, with the shoot at sight orders given to the police. Punjab was held in a state of seize. Tanks were ordered to move into a place of worship and explosives were used that eventually broke the entire front of the Akal Takht, the temporal seat of the Sikhs. This was an unprecedented moment in independent India’s history.
The horrors that followed, 36 years since still lurk in the shadows. Eye witness accounts recount deaths of hundreds of innocent pilgrims, including elderly, women and children, as they were lined up, hands behind their heads and shot at by soldiers. But to this day we have no accurate numbers and identity of people who lost their lives in the Golden Temple or of those in the rest of the state who set out to oppose the military action on their holy shrine.
Since independence from the colonial regime and the violent partition, the idea of unified India has been challenged by many communities who had negotiated their futures with the British Raj. While the early ones were the Nagas with their own unique history, they were soon joined by many peoples – the Tamils, the Mizos, the hill tribes of other North-Eastern region, the mainland Assamese, the Sikhs, and the peoples of Adivasi homelands in Central-Eastern India. They challenged the hegemony of the Indian state and the claim to historic unity. And every story containing such uprisings is a violent one of brutal repression and human rights violations; disappearances, sexual violence by armed forces, draconian laws, secret killings, mass graves and a broken and grieving society.
While Brahmanical Hinduism always looked at Sikhism as a ‘reformist movement’ that emanated from the parent religion, Sikhism defined itself as a way of life (Khalsa) with traditions of worship far apart from caste Hinduism. The Khalistan conflict was hence not just about geographical separation, but also one of cultural, political and religious independence.
When the library in the Golden Temple containing religious scriptures and historical documents of the Guru Granth Sahib was destroyed in the military operation, it proved to many that a partisan Indian state was antagonistic to the minority community’s religious and cultural legacy. Eight years after 1984, the Indian state would play bystander as a Sangh Parivar mob tore down the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, yet again exposing a Hindu supremacist core.
This past week in June 2020, it was reported that few prominent social media platforms had blocked the hashtag #Sikh.
In the same week the Sikh Siyasat website could not be accessed, and Akaal Channel, KTV and TV84 also reported of an “unofficial blocking”.
The timing pointed to social media companies coming under pressure from authorities in New Delhi for fear of such platforms witnessing a genuine flash of anti-India rage, depicting Indian nationalism and government of the day in a bad light.
While the current government of India may have inherited many of these conflicts, the political ideology of the RSS, has always strongly advocated for the violent repression of such struggles because they challenged their narrative of India – the Hindu Rashtra!
It is hard to speak about the atrocities in Kashmir (read as Occupied Kashmir), without remembering and speaking about the painful history of 80’s when another state and another minority community were singled out for attack. The frontier states of modern India have lost lives, loved ones, peace of mind, and faith in humanity so that mainlanders can enjoy artificial concepts like nationalism and nationhood. Every single time, the government of India has sent guns to answer separatist movements. As though, bullets can wish away aspirations and for perpetuity proof a people against dissent.
This is clearly a tacit acknowledgment that Indian democracy as practiced is nearly incapable of responding differently to the complex problems posed by its polity. Meeting political demands with military action throughout Indian political history shows that the Hindutva rulers, both the avowed and the un-avowed, will not and cannot lead India to a future that won’t replicate past traumas. The historical fault lines continue to bleed seething in anger every day. And they are never mended.
Sikhs, Kashmiris, Nagas, Assamese, Tamils and many other communities across the Indian sub-continent stand together with questions of political aspirations and self-determination, till today.
It is for the Indian state and people to determine if we want to continue to deal with those questions and dissent in a militarized manner, or through political dialogue”.