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DELHI ANTI-SIKH POGROMS:

After 1984 Pogroms they are now fighting drugs

Widows walk down the narrow steps to a gurdwara basement gallery where walls are crammed with pictures of their loved ones lynched in 1984 as young men wander outside in clusters with zombie, glassy looks.
Blazes of colour flashed into the sky as neighbourhoods marked Divali but it was a day of mourning for women at Tilak Vihar as they remembered the dead in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms.
At Gurdwara Shahidan, they prayed not just for the lost ones but for many of the second-generation survivors driven to drugs and crime.
Narcotics, they say, have swamped the rehabilitation colony, home to thousands of young unschooled, jobless men.
"We lost people from our generation in 1984, and are losing our children to drugs," said Bhagi Kaur as she knelt down at Gurdwara Shahidan during a special service to mark the 21st anniversary of the carnage.
On November, 2, 1984, mobs burnt Bhagi's husband Lachchman Singh alive a day after they lynched her three brothers in their Tirlokpuri home.
Her son Balwant Singh committed suicide last year because of depression from being jobless.
Colony elders say they are struggling with a second battle - drugs - after a "failed" legal quest for justice.
"For these young drug addicts, supply is not an issue. You can find them all time popping red and blue pills or sniffing smack outside Gurdwara Shahidan," Gurdwara vice-president Hakam Singh said.
One of the addicts, who requested not to be named, said most of the fellow addicts would buy large quantities of painkillers from local pharmacies. "It's just an overdose for a kick," he said.
Residents say many young addicts have also taken to petty crimes to make up for drug costs.
"They steal cables, car stereos and even outdoor water pumps. Many of them are pickpockets," Surjit Singh, a Tilak Vihar resident, said. - PTI