The Sikh Genocide of 1984 &
The Universal Human Struggle For Justice
A Human Rights Conference Open To All
When: Saturday, November 7, 2009 from 9AM to 5PM
Where: Kimmel E&L Auditorium (4th Floor)
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
-Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963
Online Registration **(REQUIRED)**
The mission of this conference is to raise awareness about the injustices committed against the Sikh community during the events of 1984 by engaging people of various backgrounds in a dialogue that will help us learn about the past, understand the present, and strive towards a better future as a global community.
In a world where democracy, civility and humanity are praised – fear, abuse, and oppression continue to be used as weapons against minority communities.
As the world’s largest democracy, India’s status remains tainted by the government sponsored Sikh massacres of 1984. In June of 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi launched a military operation on the Sikh’s holiest shrine, the Golden Temple, in Punjab, India. The attack was justified as an attempt to remove Sikh separatists who were taking refuge in the Golden Temple.With a blatant disregard for the value of human life, the attack coincidentally took place on one of the holiest Sikh holidays which led to the tragic deaths of hundreds of innocent men, women and children. The military attack put the nation on edge and resulted in over 4,000 Sikh civilian deaths, a number that does not account for bodies illegally cremated by police forces. Are these actions characteristic of a truly democratic nation?
The Operation led to an estrangement between the Indian Central government and large portions of the Sikh community. That feeling of betrayal resulted in the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her two body guards. This set off a chain reaction of government sponsored riots that led to the deaths of over 20,000 innocent Sikhs over a span of 4 days. Mobs armed by the government burned thousands of Sikh men, publicly raped and killed Sikh women, and murdered young Sikh children.
Twenty five years later, justice for this massacre has still not been served despite documented evidence, confessions, and eye-witness reports. The mob leaders responsible for the killings and the politicians that financially supported them still roam the streets of India freely. In a report issued by Amnesty International, the organization states that “virtually none of the police officers responsible for a range of human rights violations - including torture, deaths in custody, extra-judicial executions and 'disappearances' during the militancy period - were brought to justice, creating an atmosphere in which state officials appear to believe that they can violate people’s fundamental rights with impunity...”
How then does the world’s largest democracy hold true to its constitutional promise to “secure to all its citizens:justice, social, economic and political; liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; and equality of status…”?
With this in mind, the United Sikh Association at NYU is hosting a conference to holistically discuss the historical facts surrounding the 1984 Sikh Genocide in India. More importantly, we seek to foster discussion on what steps can be taken now to help achieve justice. With your help and ideas we can shed light on these issues.
The conference will feature an expert panel of scholars, activists, and victims that will provide insight into the events of 1984. Following the panel presentations, there will be break-out groups and opportunities for discussion and debate.
|8:45 - 9:00 AM||Registration & Breakfast|
|9:30 - 9:45 AM||Opening Remarks|
|9:45 - 10:30 AM||Introduction & Pre-1984 Events|
|10:20 - 11:10 AM||1984 & Operation Bluestar|
|11:20 - 11:35 AM||Eyewitness Account|
|11:35 - 12:15 PM||Post-1984 Evenuts & Early 1990s|
|1:00 - 1:30 PM||Short Film|
|1:30 - 3:00 PM||Looking Forward: Expert Panel|
|3:00 - 4:00 PM||Break-Out Discussion Groups|
|4:00 - 4:30 PM||Conclusions from Break-Out Groups|
|4:30 - 5:00 PM||Closing Remarks|