Contemporary India has been witness to gruesome incidents of mass violence, which has targeted the lives of men, women and children because of their religious identity. While the Indian Constitution unequivocally guarantees equal legal rights and ensures protection to its minorities: for most affected areas constitutional guarantees remain merely words. Episodes of mass violence continue to haunt us and cause tremendous suffering, damage infrastructure and hamper economic and social development. In the light of new and recurring incidents of communal violence that plague many communities in the country, there is an immediate need to foster dialogue, respect and understanding between conflicting parties along with initiatives to promote post-conflict peace building and development.
Under the banner of Idea of India, Aman Biradari in collaboration with Anhad, Centre for Policy Research and other organizations organized a day-long event on 8th November to observe 30 years since the anti Sikh violence. A book on mass violence, titled ‘On their Watch: Mass violence and state apathy in India’, was also released which was followed by day long conversation and talks with people who worked with the victims on different thematic areas.
Informing Lifewatch/RNI about objectives behind the event, a spokesperson of ANHAD said: “In 1984, Delhi witnessed one of the worst communal rioting post independent India. People from the minority Sikh community were butchered on the streets by the right wing forces, a regressive political force, which remains a threat to the plurality and integrity of this country even till date. The political establishment in Delhi remained a mute spectator and allowed the merciless killing of people from the Sikh community. Even after thirty years have passed, the wounds of these victims have not been healed. The victims of the violence are still struggling socially and economically.”