Survivors of the 1984 Sikh massacre and their supporters came together to paint a ‘Wall of Hope’ in Chandigarh today to memorialize their struggle and 32 year-long wait for justice.
The event was held as part of an Amnesty International India campaign demanding justice for the brutal killings of Sikh men, women and children in 1984. Savita Bhatti was the chief guest on the occasion.
“Less than three weeks from now, the deadline for the Special Investigation Team set up to reinvestigate closed cases related to the Sikh massacre will pass,” said Sanam Sutirath Wazir, Campaigner at Amnesty International India.
“While the SIT has said it will reopen 58 cases, it has not filed charges in a single case so far, and its functioning has not been transparent. It has already received two extensions.”
State legislative assembly elections will be held in Punjab on 4 February. “It is imperative that the new state government supports the efforts of the survivors to finally get justice. Candidates must keep their promises to the survivors,” said Sanam Wazir.
Since November 2014, over 600,000 people, mainly from Punjab, have supported Amnesty International India’s campaign to demand justice for the 1984 Sikh massacre. Some survivors of the massacre joined Amnesty International India members and artist Ullas Hydoor to paint the “Wall of Hope” at Sector 28A, Chandigarh.
“We hope this wall will stand as a reminder that the victims of the 1984 Sikh massacre have not lost their hope for justice,” said Sanam Wazir.
Darshan Kaur, 54, whose husband along with other 12 members of the family were killed in massacre told Amnesty International India, ‘’It has been so many years all we want is justice, nothing else’’.
Amnesty International India is organizing a youth conference on 31 January in Delhi, where young people from Delhi and Punjab will discuss the 1984 Sikh massacre with members of civil society. In March, representatives from Amnesty International India and a youth delegation will meet the newly elected government of Punjab.
At least 3000 Sikh men, women and children were killed, mainly in Delhi, in 1984 over the course of four days of killing and looting that followed the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Yet only a tiny fraction of those responsible have been brought to justice. The Delhi Police closed investigations into hundreds of cases after the massacres, citing lack of evidence. Only a handful of police personnel charged with neglecting their duty and offering protection to the attackers have been punished.