Several hundred Canadian Sikhs stood strong together outside the Parliament of Canada today to remember the victims of November 1984 and were greeted warmly by Canadian lawmakers, who acknowledged the need to pursue justice by bringing the perpetrators of such violence to trial.
The demand for justice outside the Parliament of Canada also echoed in the chambers of the House of Commons when Conservative MP Parm Gill (Brampton-Springdale) stood to raise the issue of denial of justice and to advocate for perseverance until justice is fully served to the victims of November 1984. “Mr. Speaker 27 years ago today following the assassination of Indira Ghandi thousands of innocent Sikh men, women and children were mercilessly killed in the streets of Delhi and other parts of India.
During this violence at great risk to themselves, Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others sheltered and rescued their Sikh neighbors from the mobs. As Prime Minister Singh stated in his apology on behalf of the nation in 2005, what took place in 1984 is the negation of the concept of nationhood enshrined in our constitution. He also said ‘I bow my head in shame that such a thing took place.’ Last year, during his trip to Canada Prime Minister Singh also indicated that the perpetrators of these crimes need to be brought to justice and I agree Mr. Speaker.” Stated MP Parm Gill.
The Honorable Jim Karygiannis, MP (Scarborough-Agincourt) and former law maker Sheila Copps, who is currently running to become the President of the Liberal Party of Canada, while addressing the justice rally, emphasized the need for accountability and the denial of justice to the victims of November 1984.
Navkiran Singh, Advocate Supreme Court of India and Chief Legal Counsel for Sikhs for Justice in India stated “The recognition that justice has been denied is a huge step forward. For too long, it has been easy for the people behind these crimes to hide behind the political machine in India to skirt justice. Today, Canadian lawmakers are helping us publicly and behind the scenes to raise the issue in India.”
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a human rights lawyer and Legal Advisor for Sikhs for Justice stated that “The Genocide that took place in November 1984 will never be forgotten, nor will we stop in our pursuit of justice. Families were destroyed and the impact transcends generations. It’s not just the older generation, but our young people feel the impact too. Over the past few months, there have been startling discoveries of new evidence relating to the events of November 1984, which clearly show that Sikhs, a religious minority, were intentionally, deliberately and systematically attacked and killed.”
Jatinder Singh Grewal, Sikhs for Justice Youth Coordinator while addressing the rally stated “Today’s rally was another step in the right direction for our community. Our emotions run deep during this time of year. It feels like we’re making headway with politicians in Canada and internationally, who recognize that justice must prevail. I’m truly proud to be Sikh and I’m proud to be a Canadian.”
Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) a human rights advocacy group with the support of Gurudwaras across the country is spearheading the justice campaign for the victims of November 1984, pleading with Members of Parliament to take up their cause. The goal is to introduce a motion in Parliament to debate whether organized killing of Sikhs in India during November 1984 was “Genocide” as defined in Article 2 of the UN Convention on Genocide.
“Canadian Sikhs have launched a signature campaign to press on the newly elected Parliament to stand with the victims of November 1984 by conducting a debate on the issue of Sikh Genocide. SFJ aims to collect 100,000 signatures in support of the community’s demand to bring forward a Genocide Motion in Parliament” added attorney Pannun. In June 2010, a petition sponsored by former MPs Sukh Dhaliwal and Andrew Kania asking the Canadian government to recognize the Sikh Massacre of November 1984 as “Genocide” was presented in Parliament.