Amnesty paints ‘Wall of Hope’ for 1984 riots’ survivors

Chandigarh, Jan 25 (IANS) Activists of Amnesty International on Wednesday painted a ‘Wall of Hope’ here to express solidarity with survivors of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and elsewhere in the country to immortalise their struggle and 32-year wait for justice.

Some survivors of the riots joined Amnesty members and Bengaluru-based artist Ullas Hydoor to paint the ‘Wall of Hope’ in Sector 28 here in the presence of chief guest and TV and theatre personality Savita Bhatti.

“The event was held as part of an Amnesty International India campaign to demand justice for the brutal killings of hundreds of Sikh men, women and children in 1984,” Sanam Sutirath Wazir, campaigner at the Amnesty International India said.

“Less than three weeks from now, the deadline for the Special Investigation Team set up to reinvestigate closed cases related to the massacre will end. While the SIT has said it will reopen 58 cases, it has not filed charges in a single case so far; its functioning has not been transparent. It has already been given two extensions,” Wazir said.

He said after the February 4 Punjab assembly elections, “it is imperative the new state government supports the efforts of the survivors to get justice”.

Since November 2014, over 600,000 people, mainly from Punjab, have extended support to Amnesty International’s campaign to demand justice for the 1984 victims.

“We hope this wall will stand as a reminder that the victims of the riots have not lost hope for justice,” said Wazir.

Darshan Kaur, 54, whose husband and 12 other family members were killed in Delhi, said: ‘It has been so many years; all we want is justice, nothing else.”

Nearly 3,000 Sikh men, women and children were killed, in 1984 following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

“Only a tiny fraction of those responsible have been brought to justice till date. The Delhi Police closed investigations into hundreds of cases, citing lack of evidence. Only a handful of police personnel charged with neglecting duty and offering protection to the attackers have been punished,” an Amnesty spokesperson said.