June 1, 2024 (Nationwide) — Today, Sikhs around the world mark the 40 year anniversary of the devastating events of 1984, which represent an inflection point in modern Sikh history.

On June 1, 1984, the Indian government launched Operation Blue Star, a coordinated assault on Darbar Sahib (also known as the Golden Temple) and dozens of other gurdwaras throughout Punjab that claimed the lives of thousands of Sikhs. This atrocity was a prelude to the Sikh Genocide of 1984, which began on Ocotber 31 of the same year, and marked the start of a years-long campaign of state-sponsored repression that included targeted killings, coordinated mass mob violence, disappearances, and more.

Despite the fact that these coordinated efforts were intended to devastate the Sikh community, those who planned and executed this violence and discrimination have largely yet to experience any accountability for their actions. Indeed, some of the same government actors continue to perpetrate violence against Sikhs today, in the form of Indian transnational repression against Sikh disaporic communities in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere around the globe.

Commemorating the lasting consequences of Operation Blue Star, the Sikh Genocide of 1984, and the “decade of disappearances” requires sustained and deliberate effort. Earlier this year, the Sikh Coalition published an advocacy toolkit allowing local sangat members across the nation to seek proclamations at the state or local level to raise awareness and honor the experiences of our community. We also continue to applaud and elevate work like that of the 1984 Living History Project, which collects interviews of eyewitnesses and family members, and Ensaaf, which has researched extrajudicial killings and disappearances in the ten years after 1984. Some of these resources are as follows:

Videos and Personal Accounts 

Reports 

The panth’s lived experiences in 1984 inform much of the Sikh Coalition’s work today. Our community knows what it means to be targeted by a government. Our community knows that already-marginalized groups can suffer the violent consequences of political tensions, incendiary rhetoric, or leaders engaged in demagoguery. And our community knows that the fight to defend and expand our rights is a sangarsh shared across both generations and peoples. For these reasons and more, we remain committed to pushing for both accountability for the past and a brighter future for all. 

As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly, and to remember and honor those who died doing so.