Lest we forget!
Three simple words that I read every day, when I get out of the metro station to go to my office, which is a block away from where World Trade Center used to be in the heart of New York. 11 years ago on September 11, almost 3000 innocent Americans lost their life to a terrorist attack that shook not only United States of America, but the whole world.
The memorial was built immediately afterwards. Names of people who died in the attacks have been ingrained in the memorial stone, lest they are forgotten. Since the last few years,USgovernment has been creating another monument in the form ofFreedomTower, a skyscraper that would be one of the tallest buildings in the world. The message is clear: to tell the Americans who lost their near and dears in the attack that we value the lives of people who died and we will not forget them. We will do everything to make sure that our citizens feel safe in their own country. We will make sure that they get justice for their loss.
This is a clear contradiction to how Indian government treats its own citizens. 28 years ago, Indian government attacked the holiest shrines of Sikhs, Golden Temple under the pretext that terrorists are hiding inside. They chose a very special day for this attack: June 3rd, the martyrdom day of the fifth Guru of Sikhs. They were aware that thousands of pilgrims would be visiting the temple on this holy day, including women and children who have nothing to do with political agendas or activities of either any political party or militant groups. Still, Indian Government chose the occasion of martyrdom day of Guru Arjan to launch its horrific attack against Darbar Sahib with army tanks, guns and grenades.
For 3 days, the army attack continued. To make the matters worse, food and supply was completely cut off. Thousands of innocent Sikhs lost their life in this genocide. Many died not only from army bullets, but also from thirst and hunger.GoldenTempleSarovar (sacred pool) was filled with dead bodies of innocents. According to eye witness accounts, children’s eyes were popping out with thirst and their mothers tried to moist their lips with sweat. The hands of young boys were tied behind their backs with their own turbans, and then they were shot dead by the army at point blank range on their foreheads.
28 years have passed since the genocide. No justice has been given to the victims of Operation Bluestar or to the victims of the November 1984, Sikh Genocide. A couple of years ago, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a very apathetic and casual apology to the Sikh community, and told them to forget about 1984 and move on. Sikhs have certainly moved on. Many have chosen to immigrate out ofIndiato other countries, where they feel safe. But the wounds are still raw. They might have moved on, but they have not forgotten. Hence, they want to build a memorial to remember the people, who lost their lives.
However, what pains me deeply is the negative coverage being given by newspapers to the issue especially after the commencement of kar sewa to build the memorial. Their biased reporting reminds me of the quote by the famous American revolutionary Malcolm X: If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.
The memorial for ‘Operation Bluestar’ martyrs and victims was long due. If we can have a Jallianwala Bagh memorial inAmritsarto remember the innocent people who were killed by British officer, Brigadier General E.H. Dyer, then why are Sikhs being criticized for building a memorial. Almost 70 years have passed since the holocaust of Jewish community, still they remember it every year on April 19th, by calling it Holocaust Remembrance Day. Then how can Sikhs forget about their genocide. And to those who say forget about 1984 Sikh Genocide, remember the saying, “those who forget their past are bound to repeat it”.
By Jasleen KaurShare This Article on Facebook