July 7, 1987: Sikh terrorists massacre Hindus on Indian bus

On July 7, 1987 Sikh terrorists stopped a bus traveling in the Punjab and systematically killed 38 Hindu passengers and wounded another 33

LALRU, INDIA – It sadly never ceases to amaze and sadden us how low terrorists will go to ‘make a point’.

OK, OK, I get it. Independence is a big thing. For a ‘nation’ to have an actual nation to call its own, to run (or mis-run) and to direct however it sees fit means a lot to some people. That is why it is fought – and died – for.

It is interesting, nonetheless, how differently this goal is sought and gained. In some cases it is through struggle and war, violence that lasts years if not decades. Lots of people die and heroes/martyrs are created in the process. Think of the US War of Independence from Britain in the late 1700s (Patrick Henry: “Give me liberty or give me death” – how dramatic).

Or there is Canada which did not kill and be killed to find itself with its own nation but gained such through an act of the British parliament (the British North America Act of 1867). We Canadians prefer ‘peace, order and good government’ to the much more quotable US version (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’).

Hey, we’re sorry for wanting to be independent eh! (Photo: Kevin Timothy on flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Alas, in the struggle for independence a lot of innocent people have to die horribly. Take the situation in the Indian state of Punjab, the scene of efforts to establish a Sikh homeland for many, many years.

On this day in 1987

Sikh terrorists stopped a bus traveling from Chandigarh to Rishikesh in the Punjab and systematically killed 38 Hindu passengers and wounded another 33. The only Sikh on board, who happened to be the driver, was spared. Women and children were among the dead.

They made everyone get into the middle and started shooting from both ends.

Survivor statement

A note was later found in the bus signed by the Khalistan Commando Force stating that “the flower of Sikh youth was being killed in Punjab and therefore a hundred Hindus would now be killed for every Sikh.” Some price for independence.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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