An eyewitness of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by sasi, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. sasi

    sasi Senior Member Senior Member

    Nov 18, 2012
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    By Col (retd) Bhupinder Malhi
    A young Bhupinder MalhiWe, a group of young Army Officers of Armoured Corps were on board Jhelum Express to attend Young Officers Course at Armoured Corps Centre and School (ACCS) at Ahmednagar and happen to witness anti Sikh riots from very close quarters.
    I boarded AC 2 Tier of Jhelum Express at Ambala Cantt early morning on 01 Nov 1984 along with few other course mates of mine. By the time our train reached outer Delhi near Sabji Mandi area around 1000h we spotted that Delhi was burning. Lots of trucks were on fire and smoke could be seen rising from the buildings owned by Sikhs . When the train reached New Delhi Railway Station , we got down to enquire about the situation. We spotted many Sikhs lying injured on the platform and no one was willing to provide any first aid or help. We tried to help few of the injured but our train was immediately moved out of railway station. The train was forcibly stopped near Nizammudin Railway Station by an unruly mob. They started pulling out Sikhs from the train and there was a chaos all around. We all quickly put on our uniforms and got down to help the Sikhs. We managed to save a few but could not save majority of Sikhs as the mob was huge. We tried our best to douse the fire of many Sikhs who had been set on fire by putting cycle rubber tyres around them.
    Some of us tried calling police using railway phone but there was no response. We also tried calling Army headquarters Duty Officer but could not reach them. We spotted a an injured Sikh who was thrown on the railway track and two of us rushed to help him but by the time we reached him, an approaching train overran him and we saw his body cut into pieces. We collected his body parts in a bed sheet and brought it to railway platform to be handed over to police .
    The train moved a bit and was again stopped near Okhla slums . Another group of mob entered our AC 2 Tier compartment by breaking the window glass as there are no iron grills in AC compartment. The mob systematically started searching the compartment and started pulling out Sikhs out of the train. We tried to reason out with rioters and managed to save few fellow Sikhs. Unfortunately we could not save all. Capt Gill of 89 Armoured Regiment was stabbed at a distance of 1 ft from me in spite ofour best efforts we could not save him from the rioters. We requested rioters to spare his life as he was a soldier but the rioters argued that the person who killed Mrs Indira Gandhi was also a soldier.
    We carried the dead body of Capt Gill along with us and handed over to Army authorities at Mathura Raliway station at night. Another Sikh officer named Sahota from GREF (General Reserve Engineer Force) was made to hide under the berth in our compartment . He was spotted by the mob and was killed there itself by hitting him with iron rods.
    We were lucky to save my course mate Harinder (86 Armoured Regiment) who was being pulled out of the train but some of us held on to him and managed to free him from the clutches of death.
    Another young officer from Artillery who was travelling with his newly wedded wife was saved by us by shaving his beard and shorning his hair.
    We repeatedly requested railways authorities for help but no one was willing to oblige. On the contrary, one TTE was seen indicating to the mob about the location of Sikhs hiding in the compartments.
    Two officers Yadav (75 Armoured Regiment) and AP Singh(9 Horse) managed to get hold of a 12 bore rifle which was being carried by a soldier proceeding on leave. They fired few rounds at the mob and mob retreated. They were awarded subsequently for this bravery.
    TrueSpirit1 likes this.
  3. Waffen SS

    Waffen SS New Member

    Apr 28, 2013
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    Third Reich
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
    TrueSpirit1 likes this.
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    Yes, army personnel were also attacked,

    Mostly those who were in transit and in trains.
    TrueSpirit1 and Waffen SS like this.
  5. nitz19arg

    nitz19arg New Member

    Feb 14, 2014
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    Makes my heart bleed to see that we humans can be so insensitive to fellow human's pain. To kill innocent people consisting children, women, earning men, elders just because they belong to a specific community!!!!!! How do these murderers sleep at night. What amazes me is that these murderers very conveniently convert to sainthood when it comes to their own community, their own family and their own self. Mob mentality makes a sane mind go crazy.

    And if this all trauma is not enough, the Sikh riots did not end after the killings. To not give justice to the victims is a bigger crime, bigger than the irrational killings. For a family, loss of family members is one difficulty, but the sense of helplessness due to lack of justice for years is a much bigger difficulty.
    Still after 30 years, the govt has failed to work towards their proper rehabilitation. This makes me ashamed of my own country and countrymen.

    All of us should come together and first as a country, apologise to the victims and their families. Then should work towards their rehabilitation.

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