Construction of 1984 riots memorial starts Nov 1

The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee will start construction for the 1984 Sikh Memorial on the premises of Gurdwara Rakabganj on November 1, the 30th anniversary of the anti-Sikh riots.

The memorial wall will bear names of around 4,000 Sikh victims who were killed in the riots following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

The DSGMC said a ceremony in the central Delhi gurdwara is likely to be attended by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and community heads of various Sikh groups.
Earlier, the committee’s decision to build a Sikh memorial had sparked controversy with the New Delhi Municipal Council calling it ‘illegal’.

Despite objections from the Sheila Dixit-led NDMC, the DSGMC had gone ahead with laying down the foundation stone in June 2013. After which, the NDMC issued a notice to the committee. The committee in its reply to the notice had insisted that they were not violating the rules.

“It is meant to be a symbolic structure in memory of all those who were killed in the riots. We are not going to build a new building on the gurdwara premises,” Parminder Pal Singh of DSGMC said, while claiming that permission from the NDMC is not required.
“There are memorials on World Wars, Hiroshima bombing and killing of Jews. Why can’t we have memorial for victims of Sikh riots?” Singh said.

The decision to go ahead with construction was taken at the committee’s general house meeting.Besides a wall with the name of riot victims, a small water body and some stonework will also be there in the memorial. Its design, however, is yet to be finalised. It is likely to be constructed in about two years.

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