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Chhillar—REVISITING A Carnage
SGPC renews demand for judicial probe
Perneet Singh/TNS

Amritsar, February 24
The SGPC today shot off a missive to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, renewing its demand for a judicial probe into the Chhillar massacre in Rewari (Haryana) in November 1984 during anti-Sikh rioting after Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

In his letter, the SGPC Chief Avtar Singh Makkar said that ever since the incident was reported in the media a week ago, the SGPC has been flooded with representations and calls, condemning the heinous incident and seeking a probe into it. “We, therefore, request you to kindly order a detailed and time-bound probe of the genocide at Hond-Chhillar village by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to deliver justice to the victims without further delay,” he stated.

The DSGMC chief Paramjeet Singh Sarna, who also visited Hond-Chhillar village on Wednesday, urged the Haryana CM to personally intervene in the matter, ensure identification of the culprits and punish them. He said that an Akhand Path will be held at Gurdwara Bangla Sahib in New Delhi on March 4-6 for the peace of the departed souls.

Meanwhile, eight Sikh outfits led by the Khalsa Action Committee also submitted a memorandum to Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, seeking a judicial probe into the carnage.

Meanwhile, one of the survivors, Prem Singh, currently living in Ludhiana, explained the two and a half decade long silence and told a delegation from the SGPC, “We were appalled by the enormity of the anti-Sikh riots in New Delhi and when we noticed that even Delhi Sikhs were being denied justice, we wondered who would listen to us? Therefore we didn’t make much effort to pursue the case further. However, we narrated our tale whenever somebody questioned us about our past.”

For instance, he said, they got their red cards made in Ludhiana, for which a proper inquiry was carried out and Hond-Chhillar sarpanch verified their antecedents. Kesar Singh, another survivor living in Bathinda, said, “We were so terrified that let alone pursuing the case we did not visit the village for almost a year. Later, we went there and sold off our agricultural land at throwaway prices as we had no intention to return.”

Noted lawyer HS Phoolka, who is contesting the case against senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar on behalf of the survivors of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, said, “it is not the responsibility of the victim to take the case to its logical end. The onus is on the government to see that the guilty are punished.”




Hooda govt open to Commission of Inquiry
Geetanjali Gayatri/TNS

Chandigarh, February 24
Even as investigation into the Chhillar massacre of November 1984 began with the Gurgaon Divisional Commissioner, TK Sharma, visiting the site in Rewari today, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda told The Tribune that records hold that compensation was paid to the victims.

“The state government gave Rs 3.5 lakh in 2002 and then again in 2006 for every deceased while Rs 1 lakh (Rs 10,000 in 2002 and Rs 90,000 in 2006) was given to compensate the families for the loss of their material goods,” he said.

Maintaining that investigations are still on in the case, which has hogged headlines in recent weeks, the CM said the government would wait for the findings of the Divisional Commissioner before weighing other options. “We are open to a Commission of Inquiry if the findings of the report so indicate,” he stated.

Meanwhile, at the time of the carnage in 1984, Rewari was a part of Mahendergarh district. Sources in the government recalled that following former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination, senior officials of the district, the then Deputy Commissioner SC Chaudhary, presently posted as Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary, Public Health, and the then Superintendent of Police, Sateynder Kumar, holding the charge of Additional DG, Home Guards, were camping at Rewari itself.

A number of trucks were being set on fire by the mob on the national highway and necessitated their camping in Rewari and it was only two days later that information of the massacre at Chhillar had trickled in.

Sources maintain that at that time there was some contradiction in the number of victims of the carnage with the police claiming that the actual number of the dead was less than what was being claimed.





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