One day before British remembrance day, Birmingham Sikhs commemorated their dead killed in 1984 in India. The Sikh Temple Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick gathered the community for a candle light vigil, speeches, witness accounts and documentaries.
Sikh Volunteers recreate the refugees experience of the people who fled in the midst of the 1984 genocide in India
A 24 Hour refugee camp sleep out event took place in remembrance of the people who became refugees in India 32 years ago, due to the killings.
Between October 31 and November 4, 1984, over 3,000 Sikhs fell victims of the genocide targeted at the community in 18 states across India. Men, women and children were randomly massacred, with terrifying accounts of being butchered or burnt alive. Different sources account for tens or even hundreds of thousands of victims.
The BOSS (British Organisation of Sikh Students) representative present commented on the now traditional commemorations:
“We have been doing this event every year, for 15 years, in Birmingham town centre, to inform the wider community, about the remembrance of what has happened. The Sikh youth started this event to bring the wider community together to keep the memory never forgotten. The whole purpose of the event is to never forget what was hidden, and to stop it from happening again, because by knowing what happened, it can teach everyone to ensure that nothing like this repeats itself.”
Banners and photography displays presented the history of the 1984 massacres.
Another participant, Mandeep Singh, University of Birmingham Sikh society member, talks about different organisations present at the event:
“Sikh societies from UOB, BCU, Wolverhampton and Aston, are all coming together to take part in the event. We are taking part in Kirtan (singing of devotional hymns), Seva (selfless service) and Parchaar (spreading the message), to show that Sikhs can unite to show our respects and awareness of the events that occurred in 1984.”