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BC refuses to proclaim Sikh Remembrance week in commemoration of 1984 massacre Featured

 

The BC government headed by New Democrats has declined an application seeking proclamation of the Sikh Remembrance Week.

Moved by Radical Desi, the application had urged the provincial government to declare the first week of November, 2019 as "Sikh Remembrance Week" in recognition of the Sikh massacre.

Thousands of Sikhs were murdered across India in the first week of November, 1984 following the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. The pogroms were orchestrated by the slain leader’s ruling Congress party activists in connivance with the police. Among the dead were 50 Sikh soldiers, some of them in uniforms travelling by trains. Their killings coincided with Remembrance Day commemorative events taking place in different parts of the world.

For the past 35 years, Sikhs have been fighting for justice and closure. In Canada, the Sikhs have saved close to 150,000 human lives through  an annual blood drive organized every year since 1999, in memory of the dead.

The draft proclamation mentions that the Sikhs have contributed to the growth and progress of British Columbia. Yet the government refused to support the request, despite the fact the Federal New Democrats issued a statement in recognition of the tragedy on November 1.

No reason has been given, but an email from Legal Services Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General says that after careful consideration, the ministry has advised that “they are unable to support the proclamation request.”

The Indian authorities and their diplomats have repeatedly tried to prevent foreign governments from raising the issue of the Sikh massacre. 

Federal New Democratic leader Jagmeet Singh was denied an Indian visa for raising this issue in the Ontario legislature in the past. Singh, who was an MPP back then, had brought a motion asking for the massacre to be recognized as Sikh Genocide.

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