The Anti-Sikh Pogroms in Delhi and across India – November 1984

Five months after the attack, on the 31 October 1984, Indira Gandhi was shot dead in a retaliatory act by her Sikh security guards. Retribution for Mrs Gandhi’s assassination was swift and deadly. Whilst the world’s dignitaries gathered in the capital for her funeral, thousands of Sikhs were brutally massacred in Delhi and in other parts of the country, with Sikh homes and business destroyed. Sikhs were dragged from their homes and trains they were travelling in and butchered, their property, businesses and vehicles were set alight and destroyed. There are contemporaneous accounts of systematic sexual violence and gang rapes of Sikh women by the mobs.


The official number of killings in Delhi alone is 2,733. However, human rights groups and other sources cite numbers of 4,000 to 6,000. An official inquiry into the attacks estimates that approximately 50,000 people were displaced but the figure given by the government was only 20,000. PDAP’s research has shown that under-reporting of incidents was an inherent feature of government response to fatalities and casualties in Punjab as well as in Delhi. It is impossible to ascertain accurate figures given that even official figures are contradictory.