The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) on Wednesday announced to build a memorial to victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the national capital. The memorial would come up in the sanctum sanctorum of Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib, adjacent to Parliament House.
Subsequent to the approval from the general house of the DSGMC, its president Manjit Singh GK made a formal announcement. "It's a historic day for Sikhs as we have reached a decision to permanently establish a memorial in memory of 14,000-plus Sikhs who were killed in the November 1984 riots across the country," said GK, addressing a media conference.
A committee comprising Sikh scholars, historians and architects would be constituted soon to finalise the design of the memorial, said GK. "The monument would pay homage to the innocent people killed in the riots. It would also show respect to all religions and be a symbol of humanity, compassion and universal brotherhood," he added.
"They (government) are not giving us justice, they are not giving us space to build the memorial, so we were forced to take a decision to build it on the premises of Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib," the DSGMC president said.
"As per government figures, 2,733 Sikhs were killed during the riots in the Capital alone. Actually, more than 4,000 Sikhs were massacred in Delhi," GK claimed.
Talking about the proceedings of the general house meeting, DSGMC general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa said the entire general house was unanimous on building the memorial, except three members belonging to Paramjit Singh Sarna-led Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Delhi.
Sirsa said the memorial's blueprint would be ready in two months. He announced that the structure would be ready before the 30th anniversary of the riots in November 2014.
Officer-bearers of the DSGMC and Akali leaders Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and Avtar Singh Hit were present on the occasion. Former Rajya Sabha member Tarlochan Singh also attended the general house meeting as a special invitee.
In November 2012, Sirsa, then the councillor from Punjabi Bagh area in west Delhi, had proposed in the general house of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to rename a park as '1984 riot victims commemorative park'. The proposal was passed, but the move was allegedly scuttled at the last moment by the Congress government in Delhi, led by chief minister Sheila Dikshit.