New York Sikhs Organize Run to Commemorate 1984

Harbani Kaur Ahuja | Staten Island, New York

On Sunday night, more than 30 New Yorkers gathered to commemorate the 29th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, a military operation led by the Indian government that resulted in the massacre of Sikhs and the destruction of Darbar Sahib, their most historical and highly venerated Sikh place of worship (gurdwara), in Amritsar. The Surat Fauj Running Club, a national Sikh running team focused on social justice issues, organized and led a one-mile run in Central Park in remembrance of all those who lost their lives during this attack in 1984. “If all the families of the victims that were affected by the ‘84 massacre are still going through their pain and suffering everyday waiting for justice, surely I can harness their strength and pay tribute to those lives lost,” said Ramneet Kaur, a member of the Surat Fauj in Long Island. The event opened with a moment of silence and was followed by a brief recounting of the government-led assault. Community members briefly narrated the sequence of events and highlighted the fact that the Indian Army’s assault resulted in thousands of casualties, as well as the destruction of the central most community center for Sikhs. The 1984 Remembrance Run took place simultaneously in cities all over the country, including New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles, as well as in Canada and England. The Surat Fauj Running Club, which is inspired by the world’s oldest marathoner - Fauja Singh - has committed itself to raising awareness for social justice issues. This is the second multinational run they have organized in as many months. In April, the Surat Fauj organized a one-mile run in solidarity with Boston Marathon victims that took place in more than 15 cities across the world. Gurbani Suri, a student at Columbia University and member of the Surat Fauj, expressed the importance of the Remembrance Run as a way to honor those who lost their lives, and to spread awareness about human rights violations in Punjab. “Together, thousands of miles away from Amritsar, we stood strong and remembered the Sikhs who were unjustly massacred,” she said. “We ran for those who fought so valiantly for the values we hold so close to our hearts. We were stopped by a few people to whom we briefly explained our mission. Although they had never heard about the 1984 attack, they were curious to learn more and support our cause.” For more information on The Surat Fauj Running Club and The Surat Initiative, visit www.thesuratinitiative.org. _________________________ Harbani Kaur has a bachelors degree in business administration from Macaulay Honors College at Baruch College. Pursuing her passion for international human rights and law, she has been involved in multiple NGO efforts in the United States and abroad. A life-long New Yorker, the author is an avid blogger, graphic designer, and cake decorator. She will begin law school at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in the fall. Commentaries are the opinions of the authors, and not necessarily that of Sikh News Network.

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