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Misra Commission Report :Delhi Riots 1984


DELHI CHAPTER - 4

DAMAGE TO GURUDWARAS & EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS LOCATED AT DELHI

In answer to interrogatory no. 48 of Application no. 43 of 1985 put to the Delhi Development Authority, its Director (Works) has disclosed that 131 Gurudwaras located in different areas of Delhi were repaired by the Authority. This position has also been accepted by the Delhi Administration . It has in answer to interrogatory no. 46 (a) given the total number of Gurudwaras affected by arson, looting and burning to be 180. Obviously 49 of the damaged Gurudwaras were not repaired by the Authority and that explains the figures of 180 and 131. The details of these Gurudwaras are available from the answer and the list is found in Vol.II, Appendix 6 at pp. 19 - 21. Reference to the list would show that the Gurudwaras were spread over different areas of the city. There is also a disclosure that 11 educational institutions, each one founded and run by the Sikh community, had been damaged and were repaired. These educational institutions as the particulars (Vol. II Appendix 7 p. 34) would show, are also spread over different parts of the city. From the fact that so many Gurudwaras and educational institutions had been damaged, it is reasonable to hold that the rioters not only had the Sikh population as their target but also kept an eye on their religious institutions. Perhaps for the first time in recent history such a large scale mobilization against religious institutions of one particular community has been done. Gurudwaras as places of worship are sacred. The scriptures kept there are holy and held in the greatest esteem by Sikhs. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, as detailed elsewhere, was a Hindu and he preached a religion and stood for a philosophy equally holy, sacred and acceptable to the Hindus. Gurudwaras as places of worship of Sikh brothers deserved to be looked upon as holy and sacred and great reverence should have been shown to those. The fact that Gurudwaras were made the target of widespread attack is an exhibition of conduct lacking faith, devoid of respect for religion and the rejection of the traditional approach. Mob frenzy and lust for stolen articles tempted the crowd to direct its attention towards holy places. There is evidence before the Commission that many of the Gurudwaras were looted.

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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