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In Pictures: Delhi's 'Widow Colony'
Residents of neighbourhood in India's capital are back in focus, as anti-Sikh riots of 1984 become political fodder.
Last updated: 04 Feb 2014 08:46
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Tilak Vihar in New Delhi is a neighbourhood no different from other middle-class localities of the Indian capital: narrow lanes, lined with small dilapidated houses on either side, that slice through the colony with children scampering about in joyful abandonment, unmindful of the garbage piles on some street corners.

But beneath the veneer of normalcy lie hidden collective scars of a carnage that bled parts of the nation about 30 years ago.

It is here in Tilak Vihar that the government provided shelter to thousands of families affected by the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 that followed the assassination of the then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Today, Tilak Vihar is known to much of the outside world and the media as the "Widow Colony".

And every now and then - be it an anniversary or a new controversy over the riots - the spotlight returns to the colony where women widowed in the violence are silently rebuilding their shattered lives.

The last one week was one such when the 'Widow Colony" returned to the mainstream of national discourse. Rahul Gandhi, Congress' chief campaigner and grand-son of Indira Gandhi, refused to apologise for the riots that took place under the watch of his late father, Rajiv Gandhi. Rajiv had been chosen the prime minister following Indira Gandhi's killing by two Sikh bodyguards.

Angry demonstrations by members of the Sikh community followed and widows of Tilak Vihar found themselves once again in the news.

Rahul Gandhi's refusal once again reignited a debate over the reasons behind the riots and who was to blame. For long since, the Congress has battled accusations that some of its leaders orchestrated the violence. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party is also using it to deflect criticism over its own perceived role in the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat.

Three decades later, many of the widows are still seeking closure. Some of them stepped out of their relative obscurity to share their hopes, despair and desire with Al Jazeera.


/ Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Surinder Kaur, 72, lost her husband Anoop Singh in the riots, apart from son Jaspal, brother Sukhdev and a brother-in law.



/ Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

About 3,000 Sikhs were killed - many in the narrow lanes of Tilak Vihar - as marauding mobs took over much of the capital New Delhi in the immediate aftermath of Indira Gandhi's killing.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Rawel Kaur, 70, lost her husband and two sons in the violence. Her daughter suffered a fatal heart attack as rioters went berserk.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Surjeet Kaur, 85, lost her husband, Tara Singh, 57, and son Joginder Singh, 30. The riots shook the nation and some of the worst massacres took place in Delhi.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Manjeet Kaur, 65, who lost her husband Surinder Singh, is still awaiting justice. Victims say many of those guilty - including several leaders of the ruling Congress party - have gone unpunished.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Prakash Kaur, 63, lost her husband Ravinder Singh in the violence. She says nothing can compensate her loss.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Meera Kaur was just 20 years old when her husband Ather Singh and his three brothers were lynched by a mob.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Jamna Kaur, 70, lost her husband Ranjha Singh, and son Jaggu Singh, in the riots. Official figures show that 2,773 people were killed, 2,996 injured, 10,987 residential property pillaged and 3,415 commercial property and vehicles destroyed in the three days of violence.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Harbhai Kaur, 65, lost her husband Inder Singh and his three brothers. The riots followed Indira Gandhi's killing by two Sikh bodyguards.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Majeet Kaur, 66, lost her husband Mehar Singh. Anyone who sported a turban and had beard like a Sikh were targeted during the riots.



/Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Prakash Kaur, 60, lost her husband Mahender Singh. Predominantly Sikh neighbourhoods of New Delhi bore the brunt of the violence.



/ Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera

Years have gone by, but scars of the carnage are still etched in the memories of Widow Colony residents.




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images:
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captions:

Surinder Kaur, 72, lost her husband Anoop Singh in the riots, apart from son Jaspal, brother Sukhdev and a brother-in law.

;*;

About 3,000 Sikhs were killed - many in the narrow lanes of Tilak Vihar - as marauding mobs took over much of the capital New Delhi in the immediate aftermath of Indira Gandhi(***)s killing.

;*;

Rawel Kaur, 70, lost her husband and two sons in the violence. Her daughter suffered a fatal heart attack as rioters went berserk.

;*;

Surjeet Kaur, 85, lost her husband, Tara Singh, 57, and son Joginder Singh, 30. The riots shook the nation and some of the worst massacres took place in Delhi.

;*;

Manjeet Kaur, 65, who lost her husband Surinder Singh, is still awaiting justice. Victims say many of those guilty - including several leaders of the ruling Congress party - have gone unpunished.

;*;

Prakash Kaur, 63, lost her husband Ravinder Singh in the violence. She says nothing can compensate her loss.

;*;

Meera Kaur was just 20 years old when her husband Ather Singh and his three brothers were lynched by a mob.

;*;

Jamna Kaur, 70, lost her husband Ranjha Singh, and son Jaggu Singh, in the riots. Official figures show that 2,773 people were killed, 2,996 injured, 10,987 residential property pillaged and 3,415 commercial property and vehicles destroyed in the three days of violence.

;*;

Harbhai Kaur, 65, lost her husband Inder Singh and his three brothers. The riots followed Indira Gandhi(***)s killing by two Sikh bodyguards.

;*;

Majeet Kaur, 66, lost her husband Mehar Singh. Anyone who sported a turban and had beard like a Sikh were targeted during the riots.

;*;

Prakash Kaur, 60, lost her husband Mahender Singh. Predominantly Sikh neighbourhoods of New Delhi bore the brunt of the violence.

;*;

Years have gone by, but scars of the carnage are still etched in the memories of Widow Colony residents.

Daylife ID:
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Photographer:
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Image Source:
Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*; Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera ;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*;Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera;*; Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
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