15,000 Sikhs march through London to remember the 1984 Golden Temple massacre, Amritsar, India.
Over 15,000 Sikhs travelled from their Gudwaras (Temples) the length and breadth of the United Kingdom today to march and rally in memory of the massacre on the 6th of June 1994 of over 7,000 Sikh worshippers by the Indian Army, ordered by ex-Prime Minister Indira Ghandi, as they celebrated a Sikh holy day at the Golden Temple complex. Simultaneously many other Sikh temples were attacked, leaving thousands of Sikhs dead and many more homeless.
Four months later Indira Ghandi was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards as Sikh tradition demands, and this unleashed further brutal attacks on this ancient, once-respected and feared Warrior Caste.
Congregating in Hyde Park, the Sikhs listened to speeches and took part in prayers before the procession set off, led all the way by five Sikh high priests, barefooted and holding aloft their curved swords. Acolytes sprinkled holy water in their path to purify the ground in front of the priests the entire route of the march, which moved down Park Lane, Green Park, Piccadilly, ending in Trafalgar Square where there were many inspirational speeches by members of the Sikh community calling for accountability with the Indian government for the massacre, and also calling for their right to self-determination in their own state, Khalistan. Sikhs are not Hindus, and as such they have been discriminated against by the dominant ruling Hindu parties for over 50 years, treated, they say, as second class citizens in their own country and facing frequent attacks for daring to ask for Self-Rule.
All photos © 2011 Pete Riches
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