Sikh Community Comes To The Aid of Muslim Victims of Delhi's Communal Violence
Syed Khalique Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, MARCH 6—When five Muslim members of a family, three women and two men, fled their home in Sonia Vihar during anti-Muslim riots in northeast Delhi between February 23 and 25, they had no where to go. Tired of walking under threat of being killed, they reached near Nanaksar Gurudwara on February 23 evening when a Sikh man wearing turban and a flowing beard asked them what had happened to them. They narrated their tale how their house was burnt by a marauding mob and they ran away with two daughters and a son just to save their life and did not know where to go.
Taranjit Singh, a ‘langari’(cook) offered them shelter at the Gurudwara and told them they can stay there as long as they want. He immediately arranged food for them and also allotted a room for their stay in the Gurudwara’s guest house.
Speaking to India Tomorrow, Taranjit Singh said that the Muslim family, meanwhile, called up one of their relatives who came with a four-wheeler and took them to their place. “I offered them shelter as a part of my commitment to humanity, irrespective of religion. Everybody is welcome, be it a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or belonging to any other faith. Gurudwara is open for everybody”, he said. Taranjit Singh said that nobody else came to his Gurudwara as it is far from the riot-affected areas.
When the state government in Delhi had become completely paralysed and failed to provide food and medical services to the Muslim riot victims of northeast Delhi between February 23 and 26, it were the volunteers of the Sikh community who came to their aid.
The Sikh community known for its humanitarian services opened its purses and provided food and medical services at different places in riot-hit areas that was immediately needed as most of the riots victims had no relatives in the city or any other acquaintances who could provide these services.
Sikh volunteers distributing relief packages among riot victims in Mustafabad, Delhi on March 03, 2020 (Photo - India Tomorrow)
The Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) immediately sprang into action and deployed its volunteers to provide relief to the riot hit persons. DSGMC launched ‘langar’(meal) services and provided food to the affected people in Ghonda, Maujpur, Brahmpuri and other areas from February 23 itself.
अव्वल अल्लाह नूर उपाया कुदरत के सब बंदे,— Manjinder S Sirsa (@mssirsa) February 27, 2020
एक नूर ते सब जग उपजिआ कौन भले को मंदे
दिल्ली गुरुद्वारा कमेटी दंगा पीड़ितों को लंगर सेवा प्रदान कर रही है। लंगर छकने वाले ये लोग हिंदू भी हैं, मुस्लिम भी और सिख भी!
Video of Shri Ram Colony, Karawal Nagar@republic @ANI @thetribunechd pic.twitter.com/ZS5033xWkH
DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa told India Tomorrow that they were supplying food for 10,000 people daily in the riot-hit areas from February 23 to march 3. “We reduced it to 5,000 from March 4 as the demand went down as many people shifted to their relatives or went to other places like relief camps”, he said. He said the food for riot victims was cooked centrally at Rakabganj Gurudwara in New Delhi and it was supplied from there.
Sirsa said that his organization had also pressed four ambulances, each having a doctor and a nurse, along with life-saving medicines to shift the injured to hospitals.
He said his organization carried out its activities with the help of Delhi police and local administration because it was not possible to work independently in such a charged atmosphere.
“But we did it for ‘insaniyat’(humanity). We never ask religion of needy people. It may be Hindu, Muslim or anybody else. We believe in service only. And we have been doing such services for years. This is nothing new”, he said.
Sikh volunteers from Shiromani Akali Dal, Delhi
Navtej Singh, a manager at Majnu ka Tila Gurudwara, near Wazirabad bridge, said he had been asked by DSGMC to provide shelter to riot victims if they came there. “But nobody came to us”, he said.
Apart from DSGMC, many individuals and Sikh groups also supplied food materials and other things among the riot victims. Prominent among them is Paramjit Singh Sarna, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Delhi. He is also former president of DSGMC. Sarna group distributed as many as 4800 packets of food material, with each packet containing 10 kg of wheat flour, 2 kg dal(pulses), 2 kg sugar and 250 gm tea leaves to victims of Shiv Vihar, Karawal Nagar, Brajpuri and other areas. While distributing the packets, they gave preference to women.
Sarna’s representative, MPS Sehgal, who was overseeing the distribution, said, “What has happened is the murder of ‘insaniyat’ (humanity) for political purpose-to convert India into a Hindu Rashtra. But these killers of ‘insaniyat’ don’t know that India belongs to everybody, not only to Hindus. Sikh ‘Gurus’ sacrificed their life for ‘insaniyat’ and we have come here to serve people in the high traditions of our Sikh ‘gurus’. It is our duty to serve the needy people and the people in crisis”.
“When the Sikhs were killed in 1984 in Delhi, it were the human beings that were killed. Let’s all work to establish peace and harmony and finish hate and violence which is the enemy of insaniyat”, said Sehgal.
Sikh community’s service to the Delhi riot victims has earned praise from several quarters. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind(JIH) vice-president Mohammed Salim Engineer appreciated the services rendered by the Sikh community and their institutions towards the riot victims. “When even the government had failed to come to the aid of people, the Sikh community took the initiative to feed the hungry and treat the injured people. We will never forget it”, said Mr Salim.
The riots in northeast Delhi had taken place after BJP leader Kapil Mishra threatened to remove anti-CAA protesters from roads in Jafrabad, Chand Bagh and other areas. But the way the attacks were carried out, indicated it was pre-planned. So far, 53 persons, including 13 Hindus, have reported to have lost their lives. Many injured are still under treatment in hospitals, some of them in serious condition.
Many countries, including Iran, Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia have criticized the Government of India for failing to protect the life and property of Muslims from extremist Hindu elements.
In an unprecedented move, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has filed an intervention plea in the Supreme Court against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). However, the Government of India, has protested it. But the CAA passed by the BJP government, which is considered to be discriminatory against Muslims, has tarnished the image of India as a democracy in global community.