NEW DELHI: India on Friday was put in a spot as the Government of Ontario province in Canada on Friday passed a motion in Legislative Assembly terming the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 as ‘genocide’. The Indian Government rejected the ‘misguided’ motion while conveying its views to the Canadian Government.
The Private Members’ bill was introduced by Liberal Member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly Harinder Kaur Malhi and was supported by all three provincial parties.
The motion read: “That, in the opinion of this House, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, should reaffirm our commitment to the values we cherish–justice, human rights and fairness–and condemn all forms of communal violence, hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance in India and anywhere else in the world, including the 1984 genocide perpetrated against the Sikhs throughout India, and call on all sides to embrace truth and reconciliation.”
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Gopal Baglay rejected the Motion in a statement here. “We have noted the passage of a private members’ motion in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on April 6. We reject this misguided Motion which is based on a limited understanding of India, its constitution, society, ethos, rule of law and the judicial process,” Baglay said in a statement. It added that the Government of India’s views have been conveyed to “the Government and political leadership in Canada”.
Over 3,000 Sikhs were killed in the violence that followed the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984. According to the Justice Nanavati Commission, set up to probe the riots, for the next two days “fierce violence” was let loose on the Sikhs and their properties.
As per the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) figures 2,146 Sikhs were killed in Delhi and 586 in other parts of the country during this violence.
“These anti-Sikh riots not only hurt the feelings of Sikhs but also shocked the conscience of all right-minded persons throughout the country,” the Nanavati Commission said in its report.