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Sikhs in Canada hold vigil to mark 36th anniversary of 1984 Sikh riots

Members of the Sikh community held a vigil to mark the 36th anniversary of the 1984 Sikh riots at Holland Park in Surrey in Canada on Sunday.

A participant at the demonstration said that they had come together to raise their voices for justice to the survivors of the violence against Sikhs in the first week of November 1984.

They carried placards with slogans “1984 Never Forget”, “1984 Yes It’s Genocide”, with several others holding candles in their hands.

A placard said: “5th Nov, 1984, Sikhs burnt alive Nathu chowk, this is the last reported killing. During the past six days as estimated 15,000- 30,000 sikhs were massacred across India in an organized genocide. The widows and orphans will struggle to get justice, which still evades them”.

The vigil was organised by the Indians Abroad for Pluralist India and the demonstration was inaugurated by an indigenous activist Jenifer Allen.

Among those who addressed the gathering were Member of Parliament Randeep Singh Sarai, Sikh activists Tejinder Kaur, Gian Singh Gill, Inderjit Singh Bains, Harbans Singh Aujla, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Charanjit Singh Sujjon, Dr. Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal and Gurmukh Singh Deol.

The participants raised slogans against ongoing state repression in India against minorities and political dissidents. Preet Manpreet and Parminder Swaich recited poems in memory of the victims of 1984 pogrom.

While addressing the participants, one of the speakers said: “Large numbers of innocent Sikhs were slaughtered all across India by the political goons following the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards seeking revenge for the military attack on their holiest shrine in June that year”.

Further, they also state that many senior politicians and police officers who were complicit in the massacre remain unpunished.

Punjabi-origin MP from United Kingdom (UK) Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi also has tweeted “Even after 36 years, memories of the 1984Sikh Genocide in India are painful and traumatic for the Sikh community. Many victims and their families are still struggling for justice after thousands were killed with state complicity, looted and lost so much”.