Veterans representing different segments of defence community on Saturday converged at Pankaj Hotel, Chandigarh, to highlight the genocide of Sikhs on October 31, 1984 and on subsequent days, as a result of which, thousands of Sikhs lost their lives while several other were injured and their properties destroyed.
"The worst stigma is that those defence personnel, who upheld the honour, unity and integrity of the country while returning to duty were pulled out of the train and brutally murdered. It appeared that the past commissioners and committees had not been able to pay adequate attention to the armed forces. In fact, the government in succession have always ignored the interest and welfare of the forces on many fronts and continue to do so," said Brig KS Kahlon, president, All Indian Defence Brotherhood (AIDB), Punjab, while addressing a press conference.
He further stated that he had been working for the last couple of years to gather data pertaining to the issue related to the defence personnel who became victim of the violence. Information obtained by him under RTI Act has many anomalies. Quoting an example, he said that as per the information furnished by the services headquarters, a total of 15 defence personnel were killed during the riots (Army 5, AF 8, Navy 2). Surprisingly, the ministry of home affairs records reveal only five JCOS and other ranks lost their lives.
But the ground report, which they have prepared in conjunction with Karnail Singh, President, All Indian Sikh Student Federation, more that 55 defence personnel were massacred and there could be many more cases which remained unregistered which is apparent from the FIRs No 354, 355, 356, 357 etc," he said.
AIDB demanded that a newly constituted Special Investigation Team (SIT) to ab initio investigate the issue of massacre of Sikhs from the armed forces. Also, there is a need to inquire into the related aspects of violence such as late requisitioning of the Army, abuse of authority, remissness and apathy of law enforcements, agencies, political leaders and all those who were in a position to exercise control over the excesses committed by the mobs.