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Sikhs fought their own battle,

Muslims want others to do so

Friday April 17, 2009, Soroor Ahmed




Mehmood Madni Addressing the press after visiting Malegaon that was rocked by a bomb blast on September 29, 2008 two days before Eid Al Fitr


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Malegaon, a town in India with more than 70% Muslim population has always been considered as a communally sensitive place. However, there is a place in Malegaon where a Mosque and a Mandir exist side by side with Muslims and Hindus, both living there in peace since last many years. Same is the case with the whole town. Except for the selected few who always try to create trouble, the whole town comprises the peace loving people . Still, the tag of being a communally sensitive place is attributed with the town...Full Story


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Twenty-five years is no small period for keeping an issue alive. But the Sikhs have succeeded in doing so. They have forced the Congress on the backfoot a quarter century later for the involvement of some of its leaders in their massacre. A senior reporter of Dainik Jagaran, Jarnail Singh,  even went on to lob a shoe on the Union home minister, P Chidambaram at a Press Conference early this week.


Though a miniscule minority the Sikhs fought their own battle, almost all alone, without the support of secularists or Communist friends. Ironically, they got some support from the Bharatiya Janata Party and some Punjabi journalists and social activists of Delhi.


Delhi burnt for over three days after the killing of the then Prime Minster, Indira Gandhi, by her own Sikh security guard, Satwant Singh, on October 31, 1984. A large number of Sikhs on way to Delhi or other places were thrown from the trains by furious mobs of Hindus. In places like Kanpur, Bokaro and many other cities they were targeted by the local population. However, almost two decades later the Sikhs managed to get special compensation package from the government and now in the 25th year they forced the Congress party to drop Jagdish Tytler from the contest.


While the Sikhs still remember those ugly days of massacre and the attack on Golden Temple by the Indian army on June 6, 1984 a large number of Muslims seem to have forgotten that Babri Masjid was ever demolished on December 6, 1992 by the state-sponsored machinery in league with the Sangh Parivar hooligans and criminals led by none else but Lal Krishna Advani, the Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP. If a quarter century later the young generation of Sikhs fully know the atrocities perpetrated on them in India many school and college going Muslim boys and girls are not even aware as to what had happened to them in as late as 1992 or in 2002––not to speak of hundreds of other communal holocausts in the last six decades all over the country.


While Sikhs largely fought alone Muslims had to rely heavily on the secularist elements of the other communities to carry on their struggle in Gujarat or anywhere else. The Dainik Jagaran journalist, Jarnail Singh, is certainly not the first Sikh elite to protest. Khushwant Singh, a renowned columnist, returned the highest award of the country after the Golden Temple was stormed by the army. Gurtej Singh, an IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre and Samranjit Singh Mann, a senior IPS officer, quit their respective posts. Jasjit Singh Arora, the hero of 1971 battle with Pakistan, which led to the creation of Bangladesh, publicly ired his anger against the country whose army he led so proudly.


Times without number the Sikh elites, cutting across the party lines, took to streets even though there is no denying the fact that militants from their own community led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale were no less responsible for what happened to the Golden Temple. These terrorists got holed up in this holiest of the holy places of Sikhs and after months of repeated warning failed to heed. They would kill people and return to take shelter in the Golden Temple. This gave an excuse to the government to send army in which hundreds, even thousands of people died from both sides.


Babri Masjid was demolished in a totally one-sided and highly unprovoked action of the Sangh Parivar. There was no Muslim militants taking shelter in the mosque. In fact till then no Muslim in the country ever took any part in any terrorist activites in the country though hundreds of big and small riots had taken place. The Muslims never killed any Prime Minister yet they were hunted to death all over the country after December 6, 1992. Hundreds of mosques all over the country were targeted, burnt and systematically demolished in those heydays of the Ramjanambhoomi movement.


No Muslim minister, bureaucrat, judge etc ever bothered to resign after the demolition of mosque built in the 16th century. Yes an IAS officer did resigu after the Gujarat riots of 2002. But it was Harsh Mandar and not any Muslim. As to how many times the former Union minister, MPs, Chier Justices, top bureaucrats (including one cabinet secretary of the country) belonging to the Muslim community has paraded on the streets of Ahmedabad, Godhra, Baroda etc in the last seven years to restore the confidence of the Muslims.


They have now even stopped protesting against the apartheid like treatment meted out to the Muslims of Gujarat in the last seven years. Harsh Mandar told me only last month that what the Narendra Modi government had done to the Muslims in the last seven years is much worst than what was done in those days of riots in February-March-April 2002. There is complete economic, social and political boycott of the Muslims in that state, yet our community leaders can never dare to speak out against it.


We just do not need to throw shoes on anyone to register protest, but how many Muslim journalists of the national and international repute took the issue of Gujarat or Babri Masjid or of any such riots in the past to the streets.


Jagdish Tytler or Sajjan Kumar are paying the price today for just three days of madness in Delhi in 1984. Whether they were actually involved or not is a different matter, but after that incident they never spoke anything against the Sikhs. In contrast what happened to the Babar ki Aulad in India. They are still mocked and ridiculed by the same Sangh Parivar bigwigs who still boast for what they have done. There is every evidence available against them, yet they are roaming about freely. Is it that the Muslims lack courage to seek justice?






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