Rights Group to Seek ‘Sikh Genocide Resolution’ in 2015 UN General Assembly Session

Sikh GenocideNEW YORK, USA—Union home minister Rajnath Singh’s terming of the November 1984 violence against Sikhs as “genocide” has given fresh ammunition to Sikh groups trying to internationalize the issue. Instantly taking a cue from his statement, US-based rights group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) has said that it will use this “admission” by the Indian home minister for getting a resolution moved in the 70th UN General Assembly Session to declare 1984 anti-Sikh violence as genocide.

While starting the disbursement of enhanced compensation to the victim families of the 1984 massacre in Delhi on December 26, Rajnath had called the violence “genocide.” It is for the first time that the Indian government, and that too at the level of home minister, has used the term genocide for the massacre in the last 30 years.

Earlier political and official machinery had always referred to the violence as “riots” even as some Sikh groups and activists had been referring to these as massacre or genocide. The home minister had also said that justice was yet to be delivered to the victims.

SFJ said that it would lobby with the member countries that have signed the UN Convention on Genocide to move the resolution. “Now that the Indian home minister has labeled the violence as genocide, it has become much easier for us to push the issue further. His statement has opened new doors for us,” said SFJ legal adviser Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.

“SFJ will approach Israel, Armenia, Bosnia and Rwanda, which have been victims of genocide for moving a resolution in the United Nations during the 2015 General Assembly Session to recognize the 1984 Sikh genocide,” he added.

“Recognizing the genocide as an international crime, which entails the national and international responsibility of individual persons and states, the UN Convention on Genocide was adopted in 1948 which has been signed by 146 countries, including India. Article 2 of the Genocide Convention states that any killing or attack on members of a religious group with intent to wholly or partially destroy that community is ‘genocide’,” he pointed out.

For the first time in 30 years, the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York recorded testimonies of the survivors of the 1984 anti-Sikh Pogroms on November 7. SFJ submitted a 30-page report titled “November 1984 Sikh Genocide” that carried details of the killings of the community members in 19 states of India, role of Congress party leaders, alleged eyewash investigations by successive governments, few convictions and the failure of courts to take cognizance of deaths in the first week of November 1984.


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