June 1, 2023 (New York, NY) — Today, the Sikh Coalition stands united with Sikhs worldwide as we commemorate the 39-year anniversary of Operation Blue Star. On this fateful day, June 1, 1984, the Indian Army launched a coordinated assault on Darbar Sahib, commonly known as the Golden Temple, and numerous other gurdwaras across Punjab.
This tragic event not only claimed the lives of thousands of Sikh individuals but also marked the beginning of a prolonged period of genocidal violence. The Indian state, through targeted killings, orchestrated mob violence, disappearances, and systemic repression, subjected Sikhs to unimaginable suffering. We firmly believe that this coordinated operation, designed to devastate our community, became a pivotal moment in Sikh history. However, those responsible for these heinous acts, as well as those who perpetuate discrimination in various forms today, have largely evaded accountability for their actions.
To honor the impact of Operation Blue Star and the broader events of 1984, we recognize the importance of preserving our history through honest narratives of our community’s trauma. The Sikh Coalition commends the 1984 Living History Project for their invaluable documentation of eyewitness accounts and interviews with family members. Additionally, Ensaaf’s extensive research on extrajudicial killings and disappearances in the years following 1984 has shed crucial light on this dark chapter. As we observe this solemn anniversary, we invite you to explore their work along with other available resources:
Hate, whether manifested through rhetoric, institutional discrimination, or violence, remains a pressing issue for our communities today. Moreover, the rise of aggressive nationalism in the United States, India, and countries worldwide has exacerbated this threat. Drawing from our lived experiences of 1984, the Sikh community understands the perils faced by marginalized communities when political tensions intersect with the normalization of bigotry and hostility towards those perceived as different. We remain steadfast in our belief that we are engaged in a collective struggle for civil rights, working alongside a diverse range of communities to pursue justice for the past and equity for the future.
As always, the Sikh Coalition encourages you to practice your faith fearlessly and to honor the memory of those who lost their lives while doing so.