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Forty years ago, the might of the Indian Army was used to crush the spirit of Sikhs, alleges Sikh Assembly of America member

Connecticut is the only US state to officially recognize the Sikh genocide, the organization said at an exhibition held on June.6.

Gurtej Singh at the exhibition held on June.6. / Instagram/@sikhassemblyofamerica

Gurtej Singh, a member of the Sikh Assembly of America, alleged that the Indian Army was used to “crush the spirit of the Sikhs” 40 years ago. Singh was speaking at the first Sikh Genocide Exhibition held on June.6 at the US Capitol in Washington DC to honor the “shaheeds of 1984 and onward”.

“On June.6, 40 years ago, the might of the Indian Army was used to crush the spirit of the Sikhs…in a very systematic way,” alleged Gurtej Singh at the exhibition.

The 1984 anti-Sikh riots broke out in India after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards. Operation Blue Star was an Indian Armed Forces mission to remove Sikh militants from the buildings of the Golden Temple that same year.

Referring to Jarnail Singh, a Sikh leader who was killed during Operation Blue Star in 1984, Gurtej said, “He had the courage to call a spade a spade. He brought to our attention back then, 40 years ago, that Sikhs are being treated as second-class citizens in India. We want to remain part and parcel of India, but only as equal citizens. We have contributed more than 90 heads as a sacrifice to bring Independence to India from the British. But why are we being treated the way we are being treated?”

A collage of the 1984 massacre at the exhibition. / Instagram @sikhassemblyofamerica

The Sikh Assembly of America is a US-based religious organization committed to fostering unity and safeguarding the rights and values of the Sikh Nation. The organization was founded in response to the deployment of 80,000 paramilitary troops to Punjab on March.17, 2023, to apprehend Bhaiyama Pal Singh.

This event raised questions reminiscent of the 1980s. Despite nearly four decades passing, the sense of apathy and denial of justice persisted, members of the Sikh Assembly of America alleged during the June.6 exhibition.

In a social media post, the Sikh Assembly of America shared that events like the Sikh Genocide Exhibition are being utilized by the community now to express themselves.

“We thank all the members of the United States Congress and law enforcement who attended this educational exhibit to learn about the Sikh Nation and Sikh history,” the post added.

Other speakers at the exhibition. / Instagram @sikhassemblyofamerica

Connecticut only American state to recognize Sikh genocide

One of the speakers at the exhibition noted that Connecticut is the only state in America to officially recognize the Sikh genocide by passing legislation and designating Nov.1 as Sikh Genocide Remembrance Day. 

The speakers also highlighted the recognition from the Connecticut General Assembly reading out a citation that said, “Be it hereby known to all that the Connecticut General Assembly offers its sincerest congratulations to the World Sikh Parliament in recognition of the 36th anniversary of the declaration of Sikh independence. We join with you, your friends and family, in commemorating the historic resolution passed on Apr.29, 1986, by the collective Sikh Nation gathering known as Sarpath Khalsa at Sikh's political center in Amritsar, Punjab.”

Sikhs as pioneers

One of the speakers pointed out that while the halls of Congress are not new to the Sikh community, Sikhs have been pioneers in various aspects of life. “When it comes to being the first Asian, being the first South Asian, and being the first Sikh, Dilip Singh Sohan was the first Congressman to walk these halls of Congress in the 50s,” a speaker said.

“But what took us so long to recognize where the power resides? To a certain degree, we could blame the Indian government for giving us all the trauma and the aftermath of the trauma. Because whenever we say a violent incident, this is not an incident. This is an ongoing story,” he added.



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