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1984 anti-Sikh riots: MP to petition Australian parliament

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Mon, Oct 29, 2012 05:44 hrs

Sydney: A lawmaker will present a 'genocide petition' in parliament calling the Australian government to recognise the horrific violence that took place against the Sikh community in November 1984 in India following the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi.

At least 3,000 Sikhs were killed in three days in the Indian capital New Delhi following the killing of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on Oct 31, 1984.

Warren Entsch, an Australian federal member of parliament, will present the 'genocide petition' before the Australian parliament. It will be tabled before the House of Representatives during adjournment debate Nov 1, said a press communique from the Supreme Sikh Council of Australia.

The petition will call upon Australian government to recognise that an organized campaign of horrific violence took place against the Sikh community in November 1984, and that these killings were "genocide" as per the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Warren Enstch, who is currently serving as the Chief Opponent Whip for the Liberal Party of Australia, said he decided to support the petition as he was "horrified" at the way Sikhs had been treated and at what is still going on today.

"What drove me to act in particular was that the United Nations and world leaders, including the Australian parliament in February this year - have recognised an act of genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia, in 1995, when 7,000 men and boys were massacred due to their Muslim faith," the North Queensland MP explained.

"I thought to myself, if something of that nature could be recognised so quickly by the world community, it seems unreasonable that the Sikh community has had to wait for so long."

Official records show that a total of 35,000 claims of deaths and serious injuries were filed by Sikhs who sustained attacks during November 1984. Out of which more than 20,000 claims were from attacks that took place outside Delhi and in the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir; Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, said the press note.

According to Harkirat Singh, general secretary, Supreme Sikh Council of Australia, the "Genocide Petition" has been signed by thousands of community members across Australia.

The Sikh community in Australia has been a vibrant part of the Australian cultural mosaic since 1897.

Hundreds of Sikhs will travel to Canberra from across Australia and will be present in the public gallery in the House of Representatives during the tabling of the petition by Warren Entsch, the press note added.




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