Sikhs vow to avenge killings

Toronto Sun
June 11, 1984

By JOE KONECNY
Staff Writer

About 4,000 Sikhs and Muslims from across Ontario vowed yesterday to get revenge for Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's "gross genocidal slaughter" of their compatriots in India.

The protesters formed a three quarter mile long procession that filled two lanes as it moved south on University Ave. from Queens' Park to Nathan Phillips Square.

The marchers chanted and proclaimed their allegiance to a new sovereign Sikh state in India — Khalistan — and called for Canadian support.

Several effigies of Gandhi were burned and beaten with swords, sticks and shoes at City Hall.

"We are scared our friends and relatives in India are being butchered by Gandhi, and as citizens of Canada, we have a right to know how and why our people are being killed," said Gurnam Singh, chairman of Siri Guru Singh Sabha, the Sikh society of Toronto.

"We hope the Canadian government will send a committee — working in conjunction with the Sikhs — to review the situation in India," said Singh.

Singh said the protest was in response to Indian troops' advance last week on the Golden Temple of Amritar.

While initial media reports said Sikh extremists' leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and 300 supporters were killed, Singh said the death toll was in the thousands.

"Up until then (the attack on the Golden Temple), we weren't terrorists, as Gandhi called us," said Darshan Singh, the Sikh society's secretary. "But now we are — just in India, nowhere else.

"They attacked us and we're the enemies now, simple as that," he said. "We are separate from India now. We are a sovereign state."

The society's secretary general, Dr. Gurcharan Singh Jauhal said that Ontario's Sikh community can do a lot to aid their peoples' struggle.

"We will try to stop aid to India," said Singhjauhal, adding there are 300,000 taxpaying Sikhs in Canada who will put pressure on the government.

"Sikhs are awakened now and we're all one," he said. "We'll die to the last drop of blood . . ."

About 200 Sikhs at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Temple on Old Weston Rd. vowed to boycott Air India and threa­tened reprisals against anyone who violated it.

In Vancouver, some 10,000 Sikhs marched to the Indian consulate, denouncing Gandhi and mourning the loss of their leader in the Punjab.

In Montreal, about 700 Sikhs marched five kilometres (3.2 miles, through the downtown core

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