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1984 Amritsar Massacre: Sikhs march in London to mark 36th anniversary

1984-amritsar-massacre:-sikhs-march-in-london-to-mark-36th-anniversary
A protest rally takes place annually without fail since June 1984 to commemorate the victims of Indian authorities’ attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib — popularly known as the Golden Temple — in Amritsar. The News/Murtaza Ali Shah

LONDON: Members of the Sikh community on Sunday marched from the Hyde Park in the British capital to Trafalgar Square to commemorate the 1984 massacre of thousands of Sikhs by India.

Tens of thousands of members of the Sikh community gather every year in London on the anniversary of the June 1984 Amritsar massacre, with hundreds of buses bringing protesters from across the UK to Hyde Park, followed by a large rally in Trafalgar Square.

However, the march this year was symbolic and participants were told not to come to central London.

A protest rally takes place annually without fail since June 1984 to commemorate the victims of Indian authorities’ attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib — popularly known as the Golden Temple — in Amritsar. The march has become an important date for Sikhs in Britain.

This year, however, the coronavirus pandemic and its related restrictions prevented a mass gathering. The organisers said they had, therefore, closely liaised with the authorities and agreed on a much smaller event for Sunday, June 7, with social distancing and everyone’s safety in mind.

Since June 1, six people have been able to meet in public spaces as long as those from different households stayed two metres apart.

The Sikhs assembled in groups of five, each two metres apart, carrying banners and flags demanding justice, punishments for those who killed Sikhs, and the establishment of an independent Khalistan state.

Last week in Parliament, Labour MP for Slough Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi once again raised the need for an independent judge-led public inquiry into the United Kingdom’s involvement in the 1984 Sikh massacre.

Dhesi is hoping for a 90-minute adjournment debate in Parliament later this month.

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