The construction of the November 1984 Sikh Genocide Memorial will start on the premises of Gurdwara Rakabganj in central Delhi on November 1, the 30th anniversary of the anti-Sikh riots.
Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Manjit Singh GK said the ceremony in this regard was likely to be attended by Union home minister Rajnath Singh, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and senior leaders and community heads of various Sikh groups. The memorial is likely to be completed in about two years.
It will have the names of more than 12,000 Sikhs who, as per the DSGMC, were killed in the riots which took place after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
GK said the DSGMC had earlier approached the government for a piece of land to build a memorial.
“There is a memorial for every carnage that has happened in the world. We approached the government to allot us a piece of land somewhere and later we tried to rename a park in west Delhi’s Punjabi Bagh area by following a laid-down procedure, but the (then Congress) government did not let us do that.
Subsequently, the DSGMC general house approved the construction of a memorial at Gurdwara Rakabganj,” GK said.
The memorial will have a wall with the names of all riot victims inscribed on it, a small water body and some stonework. Its design was selected through an open competition where hundreds of people from across the world had participated.
The New Delhi Municipal Council had served a notice on the DSGMC when it laid the foundation for the memorial in June 2013. DSGMC members said a rival Sikh group (led by former DSGMC chief Paramjit Singh Sarna) had also moved court against the memorial. While the DSGMC had replied to the NDMC notice, arguing that no new ‘structure’ was going to be built, it claimed the rival group had withdrawn the case following a diktat from the Akal Takht.
“We are not going to build a new building on the gurdwara premises, so permission from the NDMC is not required. In case a new structure is raised, we will definitely take necessary approval from the municipal body,” GK said.