Anti Sikh Riots 1984

31st October 1984 was the day Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards, after her death approximately 8000 innocent Sikhs were directed to their deaths. Indira Gandhi was assassinated because in June 1984, she ordered the Indian army to attack the Golden Temple, which is the most holiest place for Sikhs around the world. The attack on the Golden temple was the most shocking event that had occurred for Sikhs and today many Sikh families effected by the attacks have still not overcome the trauma they had to face.

After the assassination of Indira Gandhi, Anti Sikh riots had begun. Later that day Rajiv Gandhi stated, “”when a big tree falls, the earth shakes” in other words after his mother was assassinated the people of India would seek revenge as a result this was what actually happened. Organized gangs set out in contrasting directions, their aim was find Sikhs and ruin their property eventually this aim turned more violent and radical. On 1st November 1984, the first set of Sikh killings had begun, gangs had  targeted Gurdwaras. Sikhs were beaten by mobs, publicly humiliated and were burnt alive with tyres around them. The Army and police units worked together to reduce  the violence however many argue that the acts of violence were organized with the support from the Delhi police and government officials, Delhi was the worst effected with 3000 deaths. 8000 Sikhs had to die because ONE politician died. The Sikh Massacre ended on 4th November, and till this day people are fighting for justice.

A picture showing a ruined property committed by organised gangs                                                                                           P23 - Home-HL - 1984 - Anti-Sikh riots-291x218-BT15092 - Property damage

Brutally beaten by angry mobs, these Sikhs were innocent yet still had to suffer 


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This picture above shows how mobs came together to burn Sikhs, they watched them burn and left them to die. The events of 1984 were horrific, disgusting and it just shows how inhuman and barbaric people can be towards each other.

The forgotten figure in Indian history.

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When we speak of Indian independence from the British, people are quick to suggest that Gandhi was a leader figure towards Indian independence. Today he is labelled as the “father of the nation” but would it be right to say that he was the only key figure to independence? For me its a No. As there is one individual that has been forgotten, Bhagat Singh.

Bhagat Singh, born September 1907 and died in March 1931. Bhagat Singh was a leading figure for the fight of independence and was the biggest threat towards the British as he had a very nationalist and socialist approach. He can be considered as one of the most greatest influential revolutionaries for Indian independence. Bhagat Singh revolutionary ideas started when he had attended college, whilst growing up he saw how the British treated the natives with disrespect , slowly this was increasing the anger of Bhagat singh. He joined the Hindustan Republican Association, a radical group, later known as the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.

The Simon commission. The commission was a group British Members from the UK Parliament that had been dispatched to India in 1928 to study constitutional reform in Britain’s most important colonial dependency. When the commission arrived to Lahore Lala Lajpat Rai led a silent march in protest against the Commission. Police attempted to stamp out the large crowds which resulted in violence. The police chief, James A. Scott, ordered the police to attack Rai leading to his death. Rai died of a heart attack, a consequence of James A Scott order. Bhagat Singh did not witness the event yet vowed to take revenge. Along with others they had plotted to kill James A Scott. On December 1928 he was shot by Rajguru and Bhagat Singh while leaving the District Police Headquarters. The events of the Simon Commission in Lahore was found as a threat towards the British. The British actions showed a clear message that democratisation was not a key factor however imperialism and using the natives was a key factor.

Bhagat Singh had also taken part in other revolutionary movements for example; the 1929 Assembly Bomb throwing incident. Many of these acts have been labelled as terrorism. To label these acts as terrorism would be wrong, Why do revolutionary movements get labelled as terrorism? The acts of the British such as imposing Martial Law, Amritsar Massacre and the White man’s Burden are all forms of terrorism yet aren’t portrayed or labelled as terrorism. Bhagat Singh is definitely a key figure in Indian history but nowadays he isn’t given enough recognition for his work for independence other figures such as Gandhi are given more importance. Gandhi’s methods of peaceful protests to gain independence weren’t effective as some of the movements had caused violence not very “peaceful”.  On the other hand  Bhagat Singh movements were effective as they can be seen to threaten British occupation. Therefore Bhagat Singh should be given just as much importance as Gandhi probably more.