Earlier this month, the California Legislature unanimously passed a resolution declaring the November 1984 anti-Sikh violence in India as genocide and urging Congress to also recognize the ethnic killing of thousands of Sikhs as genocide.
“Recognizing the state-sponsored genocide that targeted Sikhs across India is an important and historic step toward justice, accountability, and reconciliation.” — Assemblymember Dr. Jasmeet Bains (D-Delano)
Dr. Jasmeet Bains (D-Delano) is the first Sikh of Indian origin elected to the Assembly, winning her seat in November 2022. She authored Assembly Joint Resolution 2.
“In 1984, over just three days, over 30,000 Sikhs in India were persecuted, murdered, raped, and imprisoned without cause. … People were killed simply for being Sikh,” said Baines after introducing the resolution this spring.
“Government officials permitted and even encouraged bloodshed and issued orders to prevent law enforcement from intervening. … And nobody did anything to stop it. Recognizing the state-sponsored genocide that targeted Sikhs across India is an important and historic step toward justice, accountability, and reconciliation.”
California Cities Previously Recognized Sikh Genocide
Numerous California cities previously recognized the Sikh genocide, including Fresno, Fowler, Kerman, Selma, Turlock, Lathrop, and Stockton.
The massacre of Sikhs marks one of the darkest periods of sectarian violence in recent Indian history. After violently suppressing a Sikh insurgency and an army attack on the holiest Sikh site, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984.
Gandhi’s killing prompted anti-Sikh rioting across northern states that left thousands dead, some hacked to death, and others burned alive. Government officials were accused of inciting and then ignoring the violence.