Thursday, November 5, 2020

A Singhnee's Plight: 1984 Delhi Carnage

A Singhnee's Plight: 1984 Delhi Carnage

The atmosphere was silent like a city falls silent after a major storm. All the young men were staring with eyes wide. The Singh began, "First brothers, let us tell our story" He was hanging his head, trying to hide the tears in his eyes from the other Singhs.

"We both were originally from village Kamaalpura in Ludhiana. My name is Hari Singh and his name is Bhaag Singh. We both had a Transport company in Delhi. From childhood we were both amritdhari. Because of the parchaar of Master Gurbakhsh Singh of our village, we all took amrit from Bhai Sahib's Jatha. Master jee had a lot of kamaiee and had a very high jeevan. He was drenched in naam and his life story is written in Bhai Randheer Singh's book Ranglae Sajjan. So with the influence of Master jee, we joined the Akhand Kirtani Jatha.

We were both married to dastaar-wearing bibis. In about 1970, due to circumstances, we went to live in Delhi's Karol Bagh. Our business grew with Guru Sahib's blessings and the unity between us two (brothers). We had about 250 trucks with National Permits. We were happy and had all our needs met.

My wife liked doing keertan in the Jatha and always went to Ran Sabaiee Smagams. Once, when my Singhnee and my niece, my brother's ten-year-old daughter, were going to the Gurdwara in the evening, some Hindu boys began to make fun of the dastaar on her head and her Sikh baaNaa. My wife and my niece both began to beat those Hindu youths on the street. Maybe that youth was a worker with the Shiv Sena (Hindu militant group).

On October 31st when Indira was killed, that same youth brought a mob of 150 other young men and attacked our house. We both were in Transport Nagar at our office. Our home only had our wives and children. The mob tried to light the house on fire, but they fired from my licensed revolver and the crowd ran off. The goons had broken the phone lines so our family could not call and inform us.

After the mob had run off, the head of the local police station along with a police party came and took away my revolver from my Singhnee saying that he would control the situation and to maintain the peace she should hand over the revolver.

My Singhnee believed him and gave him the revolver. Right away the waiting mob began to enter the house. My Singhnee asked the police to stop the thugs from coming in but they tore the keskee from her head and tied her arms behind her back. All the children and my brother's Singhee were soaked with kerosene and lit on fire in front of my Singhnee. They all died, writhing in pain in front of her.

Then, that same Hindu Brahmin boy from our neighborhood, whom my wife had beat came forward. He stripped my Singhnee naked and then..." After this, the Singh from Delhi could not speak any further and began to sob.

Sitting nearby, a young Singh by the name of Babbar Ganga Singh was shaking his head violently and repeating "" and then he too began to sob loudly "I'll burn Delhi. I'll drink the bastards' blood" Ganga Singh was hitting the ground with his fist like he was mad. Bhai Anokh Singh and another barely managed to control him.

...All the Singhs were suffering like a fish out of water...

Bhai Anokh Singh with his hand indicated for the Singh from the Delhi to continue his story. He again started,

"When we both arrived home that night, barely saving our own lives, it was like a cremation ground. In the courtyard, the bodies of our family were lying scattered. My four year old nephews hands were together, as if it was some plea for mercy. My Singhnee, still naked, was tied to a grill. Her mouth was stuffed shut with cloth. Her whole body was covered with scratches from nails and bite marks. I took off my dastaar and put it on top of her and then put her in a rickshaw so we could take her to the hospital. But on the way she died" Saying this, that Singh could not finish and again began to sob.

Hearing the story, all the Singhs' eyes were glowing with pain and fury. The Singhs were clutching their weapons very tightly. Whatever little sympathy I had left for the Indian state was now smashed.


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