Amnesty International seeks justice for victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots

Chandigarh (PTI): Global human rights body Amnesty International on Tuesday said it was “shameful” that thousands of victims and survivors of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots were still awaiting justice and that there would be “no closure” for them until those responsible were punished.

To mark the 33rd anniversary of the carnage, Amnesty International India organised a discussion on ‘Chauraasi Ki Nainsaafi: The Continuing Injustice for the 1984 Sikh Massacre’ here.

The discussion gave a glimpse into the lives of the families of 15 victims and survivors, and their struggle for justice for over three decades.

“It is shameful that thousands of victims and survivors are still waiting for justice. If the government wants to revive the faith of these people in the justice system, it must end the impunity around the massacre and bring closure to those who have suffered,” said Asmita Basu, Program Director of Amnesty International India.

Referring to various probe panels set up by the government to look into the riots cases, the Program Manager of Amnesty International India, Sanam Sutirath Wazir, said that the “failure” of the committees raised questions about whether the authorities “are genuinely committed to deliver justice”.

“Until those responsible are punished, there will be no closure for the victims of 1984,” Wazir said.

Addressing the gathering, Lt. Gen (retired) H S Panag said that innocent people were attacked during the riots when “the state looked the other way”.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, said it was not just “a massacre of Sikhs but of humanity”.

Amnesty International India appealed to the authorities to conduct effective investigation into the matter.

It urged the central government to ensure comprehensive reparations for the victims and the survivors, enact a law to respond to communal violence, establish adequate victim and witness protection programs and undertake police reforms.