LONDON, UK—Thousands of Sikhs from various cities across the country gathered in London to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 1984 Sikh ghallughara, or holocaust.
The annual march from London’s Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square marks the anniversary of the systematic attack on Harmandir Sahib (the Golden Temple) under the instruction of Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India. The attack saw masses of innocent Sikhs massacred by the Indian Army.
The event was to lead the way for a series of anti-Sikh abductions, Gurdwara stormings, and massacres, during which the Indian authorities showed a high degree of involvement, as well as incitement and complicity. However, 30 years on, those responsible for the brutal human rights violations enjoy impunity and many have been rewarded with higher governmental positions.
The London rally aimed to shed light on the hidden genocide of the ‘world’s largest democracy’ and press for due justice.
This year’s event was perhaps tinged with a greater painful discontent, not only due to the passing of 30 years without due justice for the atrocities, but also as the result of the revelation of the British involvement in the massacre. In February, Sir Jeremy Heywood concluded that British military advice was given to India ahead of the violent event.
Sikhs continue to protest for the recognition of India’s harrowing human rights record and justice for the Sikh genocide, gathering in their thousands to make the world aware, and demonstrating that memories of 1984 are deeply entrenched in the minds of Sikhs everywhere.
Many sat on the grass listening to speeches before beginning the march to Trafalgar Square, led by five Sikhs in ceremonial dress. During the march, Sikhs chanted and took every opportunity to raise awareness through the handing out of informative leaflets and procession of bold displays. This year was unique in that it included impressive floats and the holding of coffins, clearly demonstrating to onlookers the magnitude of the issue for which Sikhs have been protesting for many years.
Such floats and demonstrations were organized by the Sikh Organisation for Prisoner Welfare (SOPW), an organization active in providing fair trials and basic needs to those Sikhs who are today languishing in Indian jails under false charges.
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