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Declare 1984 riots as genocide: Sikh group to US

world Updated: Feb 08, 2013 11:35 IST

A US Sikh rights group has met state department officials in support of its petition to the Obama administration to recognise the violence against Sikhs in India in November 1984 as "genocide".

"Contrary to what is commonly portrayed, November 1984 was not the result of a spontaneous reaction of the masses on the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi," Sikh for Justice (SFJ) legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said.

"It was rather an organised, deliberate and politically engineered action by Congress (party) leaders," he said.

In a media release Thursday, SFJ said to secure support for its "genocide" petition, it had met various officials of the US Department of State.

It had also submitted a legal brief, statements of survivors and evidence relating to the 2011 discovery of mass graves in Hondh-Chillar, Haryana, and other states of India.

The group also presented official Indian government records showing that a total of 35,000 claims of deaths and serious injuries were filed by Sikhs who suffered attacks during November 1984.

More than 20,000 of these claims were from attacks that took place in the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, it said.

On Dec 15, a petition with more than 46,000 signatures was submitted to the Obama Administration urging it to recognise the violence against Sikhs during November 1984 as "genocide".