New Jersey Senate condemns 1984 Sikh genocide in new resolution

NJ Resolution Sikh Massacre
  • On Jan. 10th, the New Jersey Senate passed Resolution 142, officially condemning the anti-Sikh violence that took place in India.
  • The resolution lists a higher death toll than is officially recognized by the Indian government.
  • Sikh American communities across the United States are recognized as having been formed by many refugees from the massacre.

The New Jersey Senate has passed a resolution formally recognizing and condemning the 1984 massacre against Sikhs in India as a genocide as well as acknowledging the subsequent migration of Sikhs from India to the United States.

Resolution 142 was introduced on Jan. 7th by Senator Stephen M. Sweeney and was passed unanimously three days later. 

The bill recognizes how many survivors of the massacre left India for the United States and established communities in cities like Fremont, Fresno, New York City, Philadelphia and Yuba City, among others. Around 100,000 Sikhs reside in New Jersey itself, making up around an estimated one fifth of the Sikh population in the United States.

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“Recognizing the state-sponsored violence that targeted Sikhs across India in 1984 is an important and historic step towards justice, accountability, and reconciliation, which should be an example to other governments,” the resolution reads, while also noting that the Indian government and police themselves have not done enough to make amends.

Sweeney’s bill lists the death toll of the 1984 massacre as over 30,000 deaths, a figure far greater than the approximately 3,000 claimed by the Indian government. The resolution also recognizes the mass rape of Sikh women that occurred during the riots.

The resolution also passed amidst currently increasing threats against Sikhs in India, including some directly invoking the 1984 genocide. Sikh Americans have also been frequent targets of hate crimes in the United States and Canada.

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New Jersey now joins California, Connecticut and Pennsylvania in officially recognizing the violence of the 1984 riots. The Canadian province of Ontario, which is home to many Sikhs, has also recognized the genocide.

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons / Rob Croes / Anefo

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