Two images. October 31, 1984: Former Mrs. Indian Airlines pilot rushing out in a nightgown on hearing the gunshots that killed her mother-in-law.

November 1, 1984: Riots break out against the Sikhs. A woman in khaki wielding a lathi is trying to control a mob.

Today, Sonia Gandhi rules what has become tantamount to Indian monarchy. Kiran Bedi has been denied the top-cop post that she richly deserved.

Over 3000 Sikhs were killed and it was not restricted to New Delhi but spilled over into almost 80 localities. This is on par with Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, since the ministers who were responsible continued holding top posts and Rajiv Gandhi, despite making the infamous comment “When a big tree falls, the earth will shake”, became prime minister.

I can only quote Harbans Singh, a taxi driver, on a visit a couple of years ago. One evening, as we were passing by Indira Gandhi’s house, where her bloodstains have been marked out, he said, “Inki wajah se hum hero ban gaye.” I did not understand, so he pointed to his turbanless head and trimmed hair. Was that a smile of cynicism or helpless acceptance? How can you accept yourself as part of a criminal conspiracy, which most Sikhs were looked upon as? “No, you can’t. Nathuram Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi, so were all Maharashtrians seen as killers? I will not let anybody point a finger at me. I refuse to take the blame upon myself.”

He should not. They should not. But someone has to answer the questions. In these days of fast-track justice, there are still 1984 widows living in refugee camps.

Aware that the Hindu-Muslim conflict gets people more interested – and having concentrated on the Muslim problem myself – one cannot ignore this longer standing one. I can only say that I have written on the subject a few times and that is where Harbans Singh came in.

Many like him are still around. Waiting…lest we forget

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