Even as opinion is divided among Sikh organisations on whether the community should celebrate Diwali, which coincides this year with the 29th anniversary of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Akali member of Parliament Harsimrat Kaur Badal is troubled by her own memories of the carnage.
"It's Diwali and people are wishing me. But I am really very sorry I cannot wish you 'Happy Diwali' from the heart as there is too much pain inside me," the Bathinda MP told HT.
Harsimrat was studying in a college in New Delhi when the violence broke out after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination. "The mob came to our house in Panchsheel Nagar. On November 2, 1984, my maternal uncle took us to his residence in Greater Kailash," she recalled.
"My cousin and me remained hidden in a store room of that house to escape what happened with thousands during those three days," said Harsimrat.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) parliamentarian, who has repeatedly raised the issue (1984 riots) in the Lok Sabha, further said, "Another year has been added to the calendar and still no responsibility has been fixed for the riots. We all know who were the people behind the violence, but the victims are still awaiting justice."
When asked about her Diwali plans, she said, "We are all extremely happy to celebrate this festival with our friends and relatives. But personally, these first three days of November give me so much pain that I can never forget them all my life. I can still hear the cries of the innocent victims."