Akali Dal dubs anti-Sikh riots genocide

Indo Asian News Service

Chandigarh, April 10 (IANS) Punjab's opposition party Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday said the killing of Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere in November 1984 was "most certainly a genocide".

SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal, former Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, urged the government of India to "formally acknowledge this shameful massacre of Sikhs as a brutal genocide".

Reacting to Canada's Ontario Provincial Parliament's decision to treat the 1984 killings as a 'genocide', Sukhbir Singh Badal said the party is grateful to authorities and people of Ontario for this "very touching gesture" of compassion and solidarity.

"They have called this shameful chapter by its right name and they deserve our thanks. Every Indian, except those guilty of this tragedy, regards it as a genocide," he said.

"There is no doubt that the Congress planned and executed a genocide of the Sikhs in 1984. Senior party leaders, holding top positions in the then government of India, actively facilitated, directed and even participated in this gruesome genocide. Orders for the genocide came from the very top in the then government," the Akali leader said in a statement here.

Nearly 3,000 Sikhs were killed in the riots in Delhi and some other places after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards in New Delhi on October 31, 1984.

Harinder Malhi, member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament, moved a private member's motion in the 107-member house on Thursday last, which was passed by 34 votes in favour and five against.

India on Friday rejected the Canadian provincial assembly's motion that described the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as a "genocide".

"We have noted the passage of a private member's motion in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on April 6," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said.

"We reject this misguided motion based on a limited understanding of India, its Constitution, society, ethos, rule of law and the judicial process," he said.

"Our views have been conveyed to the government and political leadership in Canada."

There are around 1.2 million people of Indian origin settled in Canada and around 500,000 of them are from Punjab.