“My wife, Amrit, and 3-year old daughter, Simran were in Kalka Ji city when the riots broke out on the first morning of November 1984.” Manmohan Singh, now a music teacher at San Jose Khalsa School, recalls this part of his story with immense relief. Being isolated and unaware of his family’s safety for more than three days, the easing of tension is to be expected—he could have lost his family, his world, during the three days of uncontrolled communal violence. Sagarpur, the town in which one of his five sisters lived, had no Sikh survivors. All Sikhs, their houses, businesses, and belongings were burned by unruly mobs. Not a single Sikh was spared. A peon from Singh’s local bank, Harbhajan Singh, was burned alive in Sagarpur while Singh’s sister sneaked out with her family after having her husband cut his hair, shave his beard, and don the guise of a woman.
After making their escape, Singh’s sister lived in a refugee camp in Delhi’s Sadhar Bazaar for three months with her husband and their two daughters, six and three years old. There were 3000 campers in that single cantonment, all of whom had their houses burned to the ground by governmentally-supplied rioters.
According to Rajinder Mangar, a resident of California since 1976, there is no doubt about the fact that the Anti-Sikh Pogroms of Delhi in 1984 were directed by and funded for by the central government of India.
“After Indira Gandhi’s assassination on October 31, 1984 by two of her Sikh bodyguards, Indira’s son, Rajiv Gandhi, was sworn in as the succeeding Prime Minister overnight. Rajiv Gandhi and other leaders of the Delhi Congress Part started a well-planned attack on innocent Sikh families in Delhi and other states throughout the country.” Mangar supports the idea that the majority of mob participants were from poverty stricken communities and were given tools and instruction to murder and loot as many Sikh households as they could. It is a logical conclusion for many—for people who do not have fuel to light a fire for cooking their daily meals, coming across endless supplies of kerosene, patrol, and gasoline is highly unlikely and directs suspicion towards the ruling Congress Party of the time.
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