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1984: The Anti-Sikh Riots and After

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A chilling eyewitness account of the anti-Sikh violence Sanjay Suri was a young crime reporter with The Indian Express newspaper in New Delhi when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards on 31 October 1984. He was among the few journalists to experience the full horror of the anti-Sikh violence that followed and carried on unchecked for the next coup A chilling eyewitness account of the anti-Sikh violence Sanjay Suri was a young crime reporter with The Indian Express newspaper in New Delhi when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards on 31 October 1984. He was among the few journalists to experience the full horror of the anti-Sikh violence that followed and carried on unchecked for the next couple of days, while the police looked the other way. He saw a Congress MP demanding the release of party workers who had been arrested for loot. He had a narrow escape from a gang of killers while out reporting. He later filed affidavits that included eyewitness accounts relating to two Congress MPs, and confronted former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at an election rally. Suri also testified before several commissions of inquiry set up to investigate the massacres---though very little came of these. In this book, he brings together a wealth of fresh revelations, arising from his own experiences, and from extensive interviews with police officers then in the front line of facing the violence. Humane but chilling, Suri's account is backed by a thorough examination of existing records and the provisions of the Indian legal system. Taking a close look at the question of the Congress hand behind the brutalities and why the survivors continue to wait for justice even thirty years later, 1984: The Anti-Sikh Violence and After remains urgent even today. It combines expert reportage with gripping recollections to tell a riveting story, leaving us disturbed and moved in equal measure.


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A chilling eyewitness account of the anti-Sikh violence Sanjay Suri was a young crime reporter with The Indian Express newspaper in New Delhi when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards on 31 October 1984. He was among the few journalists to experience the full horror of the anti-Sikh violence that followed and carried on unchecked for the next coup A chilling eyewitness account of the anti-Sikh violence Sanjay Suri was a young crime reporter with The Indian Express newspaper in New Delhi when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards on 31 October 1984. He was among the few journalists to experience the full horror of the anti-Sikh violence that followed and carried on unchecked for the next couple of days, while the police looked the other way. He saw a Congress MP demanding the release of party workers who had been arrested for loot. He had a narrow escape from a gang of killers while out reporting. He later filed affidavits that included eyewitness accounts relating to two Congress MPs, and confronted former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at an election rally. Suri also testified before several commissions of inquiry set up to investigate the massacres---though very little came of these. In this book, he brings together a wealth of fresh revelations, arising from his own experiences, and from extensive interviews with police officers then in the front line of facing the violence. Humane but chilling, Suri's account is backed by a thorough examination of existing records and the provisions of the Indian legal system. Taking a close look at the question of the Congress hand behind the brutalities and why the survivors continue to wait for justice even thirty years later, 1984: The Anti-Sikh Violence and After remains urgent even today. It combines expert reportage with gripping recollections to tell a riveting story, leaving us disturbed and moved in equal measure.

30 review for 1984: The Anti-Sikh Riots and After

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sankarshan

    If the reader would like to pick up the book for material new information you'd be disappointed. There isn't any. What it does have is a journalist's perspective from around three decades away of a couple of days that are somewhat of a snapshot of times to come. The prose is often a bit turgid, as if Sanjay was not convinced of the word to select or, not convinced about the impact of his selection. The best aspect about the text is the element of "deconstruction" - use the available narrative ar If the reader would like to pick up the book for material new information you'd be disappointed. There isn't any. What it does have is a journalist's perspective from around three decades away of a couple of days that are somewhat of a snapshot of times to come. The prose is often a bit turgid, as if Sanjay was not convinced of the word to select or, not convinced about the impact of his selection. The best aspect about the text is the element of "deconstruction" - use the available narrative around statements made and positions taken and then turn them around to suggest the linear and non-linear connections between the actors. The most important drawback is that this book does not present an additional companion website as a digital presence. If Sanjay was able to put up his notes, references and secondary reading material, this book would be more complete and well put together than most. Without that, this is merely a set of musings from a distance well cushioned by time and fate.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rohan R

    Sanjay Suri's perspective and experiences on the 1984 violence against the Sikh's in Delhi. With only a few rare exceptions, the author makes a sound logical case to highlight the failure and complicity of both the Delhi police and the Congress government in preventing the violence, and by their inactions, help in propagating it. There are some points that the author repeats a number of times, and while that does get a bit annoying, I would still highly recommend this book. Sanjay Suri's perspective and experiences on the 1984 violence against the Sikh's in Delhi. With only a few rare exceptions, the author makes a sound logical case to highlight the failure and complicity of both the Delhi police and the Congress government in preventing the violence, and by their inactions, help in propagating it. There are some points that the author repeats a number of times, and while that does get a bit annoying, I would still highly recommend this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rupinder

    A rare eye-witness account of 1984 Anti-Sikh genocide which led to killing of upwards of 3,000 people in a span of 3 days after Indira Gandhi, India's Prime Minister was gunned down by her own security guards. This is the first account of the mass killings I have read, so I cannot compare it with others, like HS Phoolka and Manoj Mitta's "When a Tree shook Delhi" (I have heard from several friends and websites that it is an informative read). I will just mention a few areas where this book excels A rare eye-witness account of 1984 Anti-Sikh genocide which led to killing of upwards of 3,000 people in a span of 3 days after Indira Gandhi, India's Prime Minister was gunned down by her own security guards. This is the first account of the mass killings I have read, so I cannot compare it with others, like HS Phoolka and Manoj Mitta's "When a Tree shook Delhi" (I have heard from several friends and websites that it is an informative read). I will just mention a few areas where this book excels: 1. It is a gripping eye-witness account of killings during those days. 2. The author describes some (not all) of the political underpinnings of the events leading upto and after the killings, which can be useful for someone new to this (I was). So this book definitely can serve as a primer, laying bare several of the key facts and people involved in the killings. 3. The book makes the case for bringing these atrocities to a closure by providing justice to the survivors and the family members of those killed. 4. The book recounts the institutional failures - Police, Politicians, and Media - in fact, it was both inaction on the part of agencies supposed to protect us, as well as instigation by some political leaders (Congress - I) which fuelled this carnage. Many of these are deeply disturbing and shocking. For anyone interested in exploring this terrible phase of India's post-independence history, I would highly recommend this work.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Akshay Narayanan

    A pathetically written book. First off let me say that its not entirely the author's fault. I read this book with great expectations. As a book that has been released 30 years after the event, I kind of expected to book to have a broad coverage of the events and given that the book is written by a journalist, I expected a certain quality from the reporting as well as the reasoning. And on both these fronts, the book was a heavy letdown. The book's coverage of the events are really fragmented and A pathetically written book. First off let me say that its not entirely the author's fault. I read this book with great expectations. As a book that has been released 30 years after the event, I kind of expected to book to have a broad coverage of the events and given that the book is written by a journalist, I expected a certain quality from the reporting as well as the reasoning. And on both these fronts, the book was a heavy letdown. The book's coverage of the events are really fragmented and without any kind of structure. The book is filled with anecdotes and stories through which the author tries to portray the failings of the government as well as the police. I have no doubt that there were failings on both the sides. And the entire book feels like an attempt by the author to bring out these failings. Unfortunately, the author fails in even that, failing to prove or to even strongly implicate either party.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gokul Gr

    It's a first person account of the 1984 killings of Sikhs in delhi. The factual matters are only given towards the end. Could have structured better. Readers can use this as a introductory reading on the killings. It's a first person account of the 1984 killings of Sikhs in delhi. The factual matters are only given towards the end. Could have structured better. Readers can use this as a introductory reading on the killings.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shefali Gairola

    Very informative with detailed personal accounts of the author. However, the language was repetitive.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hitesh

    Not a great book to read if you want to know about the riots in detail. Although books talk about in detail as to what happened in Delhi after the riots.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gunjan Gupta

    Horrors of the riots as described by the eyewitnesses. Writer has researched enough to write a book about the gruesome incident.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hemant Rao

    there are very few direct observations. it's mostly subjective analysis of the commission and ommission on the part of delhi police. Most of the incidents are already known. there are very few direct observations. it's mostly subjective analysis of the commission and ommission on the part of delhi police. Most of the incidents are already known.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hardik

  11. 5 out of 5

    Siddharth Kumar

  12. 4 out of 5

    Himanshu Godara

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jose Joseph

  14. 4 out of 5

    Devyani

  15. 5 out of 5

    Totoro

  16. 4 out of 5

    Arunpreet

  17. 4 out of 5

    Preet

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anantika

  19. 5 out of 5

    Varunkumar

  20. 4 out of 5

    Xandie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sukhdeep Singh

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anunay Sahay

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sajan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Daljit

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rahul Chakraborty

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ankita Chakraborty

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gurleen Kaur

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ritika

  29. 4 out of 5

    Khyati

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pankhuri

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