In Oh, That Other Hindu Riot Of Passage, Khushwant Singh recounts the horrors of the 1984 anti-sikh riots. Unfortunately, the bitterness has gotten the better of him, for he argues:
Four years later, Mrs Gandhi’s assassins Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh paid the penalty for their crime by being hanged to death in Tihar jail.Twenty years later, the killers of 10,000 Sikhs remain unpunished. The conclusion is clear: in secular India there is one law for the Hindu majority, another for Muslims, Christians and Sikhs who are in minority
There is one gross non-sequitur here. For he is comparing apples with oranges. Ordinary Hindu majority has to deal with the same system of justice and its inadequacies that ordinary sikhs or Muslims have to deal with, and Khushwant Singh is doing a great disservice to the cause of justice for ordinary citizens in this country by communalising this issue. Okay, the hurt explains part of it, but Khushwant Singh is much too bujurg to let it blind his perceptions.
I’m not denying Hindu rioting — quite the opposite. Neither do I want to justify it. Let us be clear about that, because it’s easy to pick up things out of context and shoot the messenger. But the point is, in India, victims of any riots do not get justice. It’s as much true about the Muslims in Gujarat, as it is true about Brahmins in Maharashthra (post Gandhi assassination), … And not only riots, Kashmiri pandits got a raw a deal in the independent India; so have dalits and tribals (mostly Hindu) in many parts of the country, and the denotified (as if that’s not an insult enough) tribes (again Hindu) in the supposedly modern India… Ask a common man about justice in India and he will ask you back what the hell do you mean? Where does one buy it?
If Khushwant Singh has problems with the justice system that we have in place, I’m with him. But excuse me, sir, if you want to paint the issue with a blatently communal brush. For instance, a large part of victims of the terrorism in Punjab were sikhs too. Have they got justice in the sikh land? India has lots of follies, we don’t need to invent more. How about building some bridges for god’s sake?