BBC Details Incidents. London BBC World Service 0015 2 Nov 84
[From “Radio Newsreel” program]
The outburst of anger against the Sikh community in India following the assassination of Mrs Gandhi by two Sikhs of her bodyguards has claimed about 150 lives and left more than 1,000 people injured. Mob vengeance took its tool in a number of centres and curfews have been imposed, including one in the capital, Delhi. Tim Llewelyn saw the violence there.
It was the worst day of violence in Delhi’s recent history. No area was spared – rich, poor, residential, commercial. Angry youths acting without apparent organisation gathered on the streets attacking Sikh stores, taxis, homes, and Sikhs themselves. Usually, they burned or looted whatever they could lay their hand on, twice Sikhs themselves and in one case, lynching two adults near a Sikh temple, then setting the corpses alight. Cars were attacked and burned because the mob in India identifies the Sikhs with the car and the taxi. Sometimes – but not always – the police intervened, and I watched the security forces with bayonets fixed rescue the man whose house was being put to the torch by the angry crowds of youths. A number of Sikh temples were surrounded and threatened but mostly escaped damage. They were often defended by Sikhs themselves brandishing their medieval weapons – swords and staves and spears. The prime minster, Rajiv Gandhi, has ordered that the violence must not be repeated. There are indefinite curfews in 30 towns and cities, including Delhi and parts of Calcutta.
52 Killed in Bihar. Paris AFP 0759 2 Nov 84
At least 52 people were today reported killed in Bihar state, bringing the nationwide death toll in the anti-Sikh violence sparked by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s murder by two Sikh bodyguards to about 200.
The PTI said the 52 deaths took place in Bokaro, in the northeastern state of Bihar, where police fired on rioters. Security forces were under order to shoot on sight anyone committing violence.
PTI said another 50 people were wounded in Bokaro.
Meanwhile in New Delhi, a dozen bodies were found in an express train which arrived from Ludhiana in the predominantly Sikh of Punjab early today, station officials reported. They gave no further details.
Death Toll Reaches 227. Paris AFP 1005 GMT 2 Nov 84
Fresh outbreak of sectarian violence rocked New Delhi and other Indian towns today as the death toll in the anti-Sikh backlash sparked by the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi soared to 227.
In East Delhi, Hindu mobs defied shoot-on-sight orders and Army and paramilitary troops to set fire to a cinema, police said. They also reported mob violence in two localities in south Delhi.
Police confirmed that 70 people had been killed in the capital since Mrs Gandhi was gunned down outside her home on Wednesday by two Sikh members of her bodyguard.
Bihar in the north-east, Uttar Pradesh in the north and Madhya Pradesh in central India were reported to be the worst hit among a dozen states reeling under the wave of violence, despite repeated calls by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi over the radio for calm.
The reports said that 92 people had so far been killed in Bihar, with 35 dead in Uttar Pradesh and 30 dead in Madhya Pradesh. Other casualties were reported in the western coastal state of Maharashtra.
The worst incidents occurred in Bihar state, where at least 52 people were killed as Hindus sought to revenge Mrs. Gandhi’s murder, the PTI reported.
The incidents took place in the steel town of Bokaro, PTI said, adding that the state authorities had issued security forces with shoot-on-sight orders to quell further violence. PTI said another 50 people were wounded.
Police Deputy Inspector-General Y.N. Srivastava told PTI that police in Bokaro opened fire on rival Sikh and Hindu mobs, killing one person and injuring two. Riot police were patrolling the streets.
Newspapers earlier reported other slayings in the industrial town of Ranchi as well as Hazaribagh, Arrah and Daltongaj, also in Bihar state.
An indefinite curfew was reportedly imposed on Ujjain in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh following a number of cases of arson and looting, while angry mobs violated curfew restrictions in nearby [words indistinct].
Trains arriving here from the Punjab reportedly carried bodies of people believed to have been lynched by crowds en route to the capital for Mrs Gandhi’s funeral tomorrow,
Eye witnesses and railway officials said they saw six bodies lying on New Delhi railway platform.
Other eye witnesses said that as many as 18 bodies were found in a train that ran between two Punjabi towns of Bhatinda and Ferozepur.
Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi broadcast repeated radio calls for an end to the orgy of violence, but with little effect.
Death Toll Climbs. Paris AFP 1308 2 Nov 84
Thirty more people were killed in inter communal violence in New Delhi today, officials said, as the [word indistinct] nationwide death toll in violence sparked by the murder of Indira Gandhi climbed past 300.
A total of 100 people, including some reportedly burned alive in [word indistinct] New Delhi, have been killed in the capital since the prime minister was gunned down by Sikh bodyguards on Wednesday.
Police reportedly opened fire to separate Hindus and Sikhs clashing in a village in west Delhi. The groups exchanged fire, leaving some people dead before police intervened.
A toll compiled from official and unofficial sources and quoted by Indian news agencies put the dead at more than 300 nationwide.
Source: all daily reports are from the Foreign Broadcast Information Service Archive.
What is the purpose of publishing these cuttings of BBC detailed incidents of Nov. 1984 and of Paris reports death tolls when these figures are not correct.
You are quite right, these are not accurate numbers and in fact we may never know the exact numbers. However, I found the reports of the foreign press quite illuminating and suggestive of the impending horrors which were unfolding at the time. These were reports sent back to London and Paris as the massacres were taking place and show the enormity of what was happening, including the complicity of State authorities.