The human history is marred with recurrent cases of violence, deceits and cover-ups. But still there are some dates, and especially some events, which are impossible to forget. As some of the most inhumane acts were committed, in broad daylight, on these dates while the civil society silently and helpless watched all this from a distance.
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.- John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Like any other year, 1984 probably started on a happy note. We Indians were thrilled on the 2nd of April when Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma was launched into space, aboard the Soyuz T-11.
The terrorism in the North-Western Indian state of Punjab and the demand for Khalistan prompted the then Indian government to launch Operation Blue Star on the 1st of June. On the 4th of June Indian troops stormed the Golden Temple at Amritsar to capture and kill the terrorists hiding inside it.
The aftermath of Operation Blue Star
On 31st of October the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her two Sikh security guards. Her son Rajiv Gandhi succeeded her as the Prime Minister of India.
“When a big tree falls, earth shakes.” – Rajiv Gandhi
Between 31st October and 3rd November an estimated 2,700 to 10,000 Sikhs were killed during the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and other areas. The mobs looted and damaged several Sikh homes, businesses and Gurdwaras in response to the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
An Industrial disaster, of epic proportions
On 3rd December one of the worst industrial disasters took place in Bhopal. A methyl isocyanate leak from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, killed more than 2,000 people outright and injures anywhere from 15,000 to 22,000 others (some 6,000 of whom later die from their injuries).
The winter of 1984 was a period of mass genocide and massive government cover-ups. These were some of the darkest months in the history of Independent India. Probably the only expectation that the Indian people had from 1985 was a hope, that their country still remains democratic and that their fundamental rights aren’t violated once again.
It has been decades, yet the victims of the anti-Sikh riots and Bhopal gas tragedy still haven’t received any justice – but they still haven’t lost hope.