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World

Sikh 'genocide' petition tabled in Aus parliament
IANS
Canberra, November 02, 2012
First Published: 11:08 IST(2/11/2012)
Last Updated: 11:10 IST(2/11/2012)

An Australian lawmaker has tabled in parliament a petition seeking that the horrific violence that took place in November 1984 in India following the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi be recognised as genocide against the Sikh community.

At least 3,000 Sikhs were killed in three days in the Indian capital New Delhi following the killing of Indira Gandhi on Oct 31, 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards.

Warren Enstch, the chief opposition whip for the Liberal Party, Thursday tabled the 1984 Sikh "genocide" petition before the House of Representatives. A number of Sikhs were present in the parliament galleries when Enstch read the petition, said a press release from the Supreme Council of Australia.

"It is important to note that today, Nov 1, is 28 years to the day that these attacks took place," he said.

"And as long as they continue to be referred to as 'anti-Sikh riots' there can be no closure for the Sikh community. Discussions around mass violence and genocide will always be controversial but the continued denial of such historical injustices can only encourage modern day crimes against humanity."

The petition urged the Australian parliament to recognize that an organised campaign of horrific violence took place against the Sikh community in November 1984, and that these killings were "genocide" as per the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The petition argues that the "the intentional and deliberate nature of the attacks on Sikh lives, properties and places of worship during November 1984 makes them crime of `genocide'..."

Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), an international human rights group that is lobbying to get the violence of November 1984 against Sikhs recognized as "genocide", supported the tabling of the petition in the parliament of Australia.

According to Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a human rights lawyer, SFJ will now provide documents, witnesses and evidence related to November 1984 Sikh genocide to the Australian ministry of foreign affairs.


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