Civil Society, religious communities protest together seeking justice for anti-Sikh riot victims
Ghazanfar Abbas, IndiaTomorrow.net
New Delhi, Nov 1: To keep alive the voices for justice on yet another anniversary of anti-Sikh rights, people belonging to different communities held a joint protest on Wednesday. Besides punishment to the culprits of Sikh massacre, they also demanded justice for the 1992 (Babri Masjid demolition and riot), 2008 (anti-Christian riot in Kandhmal and 2002 (Gujarat riots).
Speaking to IndiaTomorrow.net, Srinivasan Raghwan, President, Lok Raj Sangathan said, "We have been marking this protest every year so people don't forget (the massacre) and it remains in their consciousness."
"We are not asking government to take any action as government itself involved in communal violence. How it will punish itself?" he asked.
The protesters were upset as this year they are not allowed to take out a march like previous years due to an order of National Green Tribunal (NGT) barring protest gathering at Jantar Mantar citing pollution and asking to hold protests at Ramlila ground. But since Ramlila ground is unaffordable for them, they held protest outside India Law Institute here in New Delhi.
Expressing displeasure on NGT's order Raghwan said, "Every year we used to take out protest march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar demanding justice in anti-Sikh riots but this year we have been told that we can't protest at Jantar Mantar and must go to Ramlila ground which is chargeable at Rs 50,000/-. How we can afford that?"
A month ago in response to a petition, NGT had barred protest gathering citing pollution due to protests at Jantar Mantar. Implementing the NGT order, NDMC evicted all protest camps from the site on 31st October.
"Basically government is using NGT order to shrink democratic space. Though pollution is everywhere in Delhi," he averred.
Besides him, Mohammad Salim Engineer, Secretary General, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and Adv. N.D. Pancholi were among those who addressed the public gathering.
"It is shameful that even after 33 years since the anti-Sikh riots no justice has been delivered yet. This was the outcome of same mentality that killed Mahatma Gandhi and triggered several riots in the name of religion," said Salim Engineer.
JIH secretary general Salim Engineer addressing at the protest gathering (Photo - IndiaTomorrow.net)
"After anti-Sikh riots in 1984, Babri mosque was demolished in 1992 and thereafter Muslims were killed in large number then Christians faced persecution in Kandhmal in 2008. We also can't forget 2002 Gujarat riots, in which culprits have not punished yet. And the conspirators are on high positions in government today. But we still believe in our constitution for justice," he said.
Adv. N D Pancholi said, "Students should be told what happened in 1984, so it may not happen further. If the guilty are not punished, we will see the same violence again as is happening in other countries."
A dozen of organizations had jointly organized the protest included Lok Raj Sangathan, Sikh Forum, United Sikh Mission, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Association for Protection of Civil Rights, Citizens for Democracy, Hind Noujawan Ekta Sabha, United Muslim Front, ACHRO, Hindustan Communist Ghadar Party and Mazdoor Ekta Committee.