Delhi Riots: a woman's account

Issues, Problems, Society, Share your views

Delhi Riots: a woman's account

Postby admin » Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:47 pm

received an email about a female's account of 1984:

Poonam Muttreja
> The Justice Nanavati Commission submitted its report
> on the anti-Sikh riots that followed Indira Gandhi's
> assassination to Home Minister Shivraj Patil last
> week. Poonam Muttreja is one of the founders of
> Dastkar, the movement of Indian craftspeople. She
> co-founded the Nagrik Ekta Manch to help Sikhs
> victimised by the 1984 violence.
> This is the first of a three-part series in which
> she recalls one of the most shameful phases in
> Independent India.
> When I (Poonam Muttreja) heard about Mrs Indira
> Gandhi's assassination (on October 31, 1984), I
> switched on the radio. I heard one sentence
> repeatedly: her Sikh security guards had killed her.
> It bothered me. I feared that if the radio
> announcers kept repeating 'Sikh,' it would add to
> the tension. As it is, the insurgency was prevalent
> in Punjab at the time. Saying the guards were Sikh
> would aggravate the tense atmosphere, I felt.
> I was shocked by the attack on Mrs Gandhi. A friend,
> Ravi Chopra, a well-known social activist, and I
> went to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences
> where Mrs Gandhi had been rushed. We were told she
> is either dead or may soon die. We then went to
> Connaught Place where, outside a newspaper office,
> we heard her death being confirmed. A huge crowd had
> gathered. Someone in the crowd said, "The Sardars
> are distributing sweets."
> Rumours create havoc in the mass psyche. Another
> rumour that started going around was that Sikhs had
> poisoned Delhi's water supply.
> I was afraid that such rumours would spread and lead
> to violence. About four hours after Mrs Gandhi's
> death, we saw some people on the Safdarjung flyover
> in south Delhi stopping vehicles with Sikh
> occupants. I was living in the Munirka area, which
> is on the way to the airport. I alerted my Sikh
> neighbours. I told them to remain indoors.
> The next day, November 1, my maid, who lived in
> Munirka Village, told me that the night before she
> had heard local goons and Congress workers talking
> about ways to take revenge. A little later, I saw a
> gang of hoodlums coming in our direction from
> Munirka Village. I asked them where they were going.
> They replied they were going to the Sikh-managed
> Guru Harikrishna Public School to avenge Mrs
> Gandhi's death.
> I called a police officer from nearby Vasant Vihar
> and informed him about a gang on its way to burn a
> public school. I told him to rush to the spot and
> said I would stop the gang from damaging any
> property until the police arrived. The police came.
> But after talking to the gang leaders, they told me,
> "You are not assigned to maintain law and order."
> They asked me to go home.
> Ten minutes later, I could see the police had left
> and the gang was marching on towards the school. I
> called Nandita Haksar, a well-known lawyer-activist,
> who lived in my area. Before we could reach the
> school, the mob had set the building on fire.
> We brought the people from the building to my home.
> Because the Vasant Vihar police station officers
> were not cooperative, we went to the Hauz Khas
> police station. They said they were busy with
> security arrangements for Mrs Gandhi's funeral where
> many international dignitaries were expected.
> Then the officer on duty asked me, "Are you a Hindu
> or not?" I was shocked. I could not believe the
> police could behave like that. I noted the name and
> designation of all the police officers.
> Soon, Delhi was in flames. We learnt that a lot of
> looting was going on. We saw mobs on the streets,
> many of them harassing women.
> The killing and looting had to be stopped. We
> desperately needed volunteers to express solidarity
> with the Sikh community.
> We used to support the Opposition and fight the
> ruling Congress over many social issues. So we did
> not know anyone well in the Congress. We went to
> meet George Fernandes (later, defence minister in
> the Vajpayee government), who was then leader of
> many labour unions. He was not around. His party
> workers were not helpful. We also went to the Left
> unions' office. They were unable to spare their
> cadre. They were busy debating the political impact
> of the assassination and the political future of the
> country.
> We needed people to stop the violence. We were not
> afraid of confronting the rioters but we needed many
> more hands. Then we went to Swami Agnivesh, a
> prominent social activist. He came with us.
> In the Lajpat Nagar area, large-scale looting was
> spreading. We were surrounded by the mob at one
> corner. Swami Agnivesh stood on a stool and asked
> people to exercise restraint precisely because they
> were Hindu. He said as true followers of Hinduism,
> which teaches tolerance, we should not loot or kill.
> The impact of a saffron-clad sadhu on that crowd was
> magical. Tempers cooled.
> But by then the riots had spread wide. There was no
> way the police could handle it alone. As human
> rights activists, normally, we are against army
> action. But we hoped for the Indian Army to arrive
> that day. Many of us -- designer Rajeev Sethi, my
> husband Shiv Kumar, Ravi Chopra and numerous others
> -- were out on the streets of Delhi that day in
> 1984. We could not see anything but smoke.
> Late at night on November 1, we got a call from
> Jahangirpuri. We witnessed a ghastly scene when we
> reached the area. Burnt hair of Sikhs, burnt bodies
> in their homes in the basti (slum). The magnitude
> and tragedy of the event hit us straight, in the
> face.
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa!
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!!!
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 224
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 4:10 pm
Location: Punjab

Re: Delhi Riots: a woman's account

Postby Ekonkar » Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:04 pm

Why such things happen?
If anyone can tell solution to this thing so that this never happens with
any community,any religion.

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa
Waheguru ji ki Fateh
Guru Da Pyara
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:43 pm

Re: Delhi Riots: a woman's account

Postby Ekonkar » Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:07 pm

How it can be stopped?
So that it will never happen to
any Sikh,Hindu,Muslim,Chirstan(human)
Guru Da Pyara
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:43 pm

Re: Delhi Riots: a woman's account

Postby sushilti » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:49 pm

This happen when people stop listening to their heart and act on misinformed anger and fear. Wisconsin massacre was another example of a Person acted on misinformed anger. Ghodra and Gujrat riots, recent Assam violence, Exodus of NE people from southern India based on crafted violent MMS by anti social elements. This happen when good people take back seats and stop leading against bad.

This can be stopped when good people raise to lead.

"Satnaam Shri Waheguru"

Ekonkar wrote:Why such things happen?
If anyone can tell solution to this thing so that this never happens with
any community,any religion.

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa
Waheguru ji ki Fateh
Guru Da Pyara
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:36 pm

Return to Discussions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest