Indian Sikh Community: The Victim of Hindu Oppression
Indian Sikh Community: The Victim of Hindu Oppression
SHARE: READ: 157     10:32     18 June 2022    
S ikhism, is the world's fifth-largest religion with nearly 309 million believers around the globe. Sikhism is a religion following the teachings of Guru Nanak. The basic-typical ideology of this religion is based on equality in all humankind and engaging in selflessness throughout one’s life. Despite this ideology, the Sikh Community is stigmatized as a ‘minority’ and is strongly victimized by the Indian Government’s biasness, and unjust. Operation Blue Star: The Sikh Riot is not a new problem it dates to the time when Operation Blue-Star was carried out between June 1 and 8, 1984. Today, 36 years have passed since ‘Operation Blue Star’, when in June 1984 Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India ordered an attack on the Sikh Golden Temple. The basic agenda behind the attack was to hush and suppress the demands and requirements of Sikhs. The Sikh Community was raising voices for their religious as well as political autonomy. As a result, around 492 civilians lost their lives during the attack. In retaliation and revenge, the then PM Indira Gandhi got assassinated by two of her Sikh guards. The brutality and bloodshed didn’t stop there, the assassination of Indira Gandhi whom the Indian nation called ‘the mother of Indians’ led to the avenging 1984 Sikh Genocide. Within a time of three days, nearly 3,000 Sikhs in New Delhi and approximately 8,000-17,000 Sikhs were murdered, raped, and tortured mercilessly, whereas around 50,000 Sikhs got displaced around Indian Territory. It is indicated by Barbara Crossette, a former New York Times bureau chief in New Delhi, in a report for World Policy Journal that: “Almost as many Sikhs died in a few days in India in 1984 than all the deaths and disappearances in Chile during the 17-year military rule of Gen. Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990.” The Nanavati commission of 2005 expressed the ‘systematic’ nature of the attacks, which proved that the Sikhs were purposefully targeted and attacked in a strategic and coordinated manner. The reason that led to Operation Blue Star: It all began when Harchand Singh Longowal, the then-president of the Sikh political party known as ‘Akali Dal’ in July 1983, invited a militant religious leader named Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale to shelter inside the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar to elude the arrest. The aggression, brutality, and hostility persisted in Punjab during the 1980s because of the armed separatist Khalistan movement, which wanted independence from India. Soon after, Bhindranwale turned the holy complex ‘the Golden Temple’ into an armory and headquarters of the Khalistani militants. As a result, Operation Blue Star was initiated on the orders of PM Indira Gandhi because the militants supported by Bhindranwale killed 165 Hindus in India. The main agenda behind the instigation of the military operation,’ Operation Blue Star’ was to eradicate Bhindranwale and other armed militants from the Golden Temple. During the operation, Bhindranwale died, and the militants were removed from Golden Temple. The military action taken by the government was highly criticized by the Sikh community globally and they understood and construed it as an offensive attack on the Sikh religion and the entire Sikh Community. The Biasness Continues: The events that followed represent one of the darkest periods of modern Indian history and still in the contemporary the unfairness and biasness of Hindus towards the Sikh community and other minority communities have not decreased rather it has paced up and Sikhs and other minorities are treated with immense biasness and brutality by the majority Hindu community as well as the Contemporary Government of BJP in India. The following are the few significant events when Hindus stigmatized and victimized the Sikh Community and other minority communities of India as a ‘Minority’ or ‘them & us’: A rise in Cases of vandalism has been witnessed in India within the past few years. With new statues being assembled and raised, and the old ones being vandalized and demolished. These sculptures have played a larger role in the shaping of political discourses over the years. The vandalism has resulted in protests from several groups and a demand for justice. In a few cases, it has also resulted in riots and communal violence. There are many incidents that can be highlighted in the context of vandalization, for instance: • The Vandalization of Gandhi Statue in Odisha. • Periyar statue, Coimbatore. • The Jesus Christ Statue, Ambala. Etc. The brutal treatment of the Indian Government towards the minorities can be understood from the situation of poor Sikh farmers. The Sikhs protested for a year because they challenged Modi’s laws passed in September 2020 that abated the government’s role in agriculture and open more space for private investors. But farmers feared that the removal of state protections, which were already insufficient, would have them at the mercy of greedy corporations. And then the government finally bowed down to fulfill their demands and Modi agreed his government would revoke the farm laws that his government had enacted fo4 refurbishment and renovation of the state’s agricultural sector. Recently Pakistan rejected the ‘malicious’ Indian propaganda about the so-called use of the Kartarpur Corridor for business meetings. The ministry claimed that it was “obvious” that this was part of India’s “deliberate smear campaign” seeking to undermine Pakistan’s historic initiative of opening the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor for Sikh pilgrims from India and all over the globe. According to the ministry’s statement, there was nothing “new about India’s desperate bid to malign the 'Corridor of Peace' and divert the world’s attention away from the grave injustices being done to its own minorities, especially Muslims, who are being targeted with impunity by Hindu zealots in utter disregard of all tenets of law and justice”. Way Forward: Even though Sikhism is the 5th largest religion in the world, the gravity of the atrocities committed against Sikhism is extreme. In order to lessen the gravity of the mass-scale of violation of Human rights of the Sikh Community, the Governmental reform should be devised in such a manner that they play a vital role to ensure that those in positions of power can be held accountable for being complicit in enabling such brutalities and atrocities in order to ensure that nobody is exempted from the rule of law and to prevent further fundamental abuses of political power and to develop the sense of lawfulness and protection in the Minority groups of India such as the Sikh Community. Sahibzade M Saeed is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.
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