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Voices of Deoli

2017 – Demonstration in front of the India High Commission, Ottawa, Canada

On August of 2017, members of AIDCI (Association of India Deoli Camp Internees) in Toronto, Canada had a mission. Our mission was to take a road trip from Toronto to Ottawa and demonstrate in front of the India High Commission to make public awareness of what happened to Chinese Indians in the aftermath of the 1962 Border War between India and China. We especially chose this time given the new escalation of border tension, and we did not want history to repeat itself.
 
Yes, it took a long time for us to finally get up the courage to do so. We, the Deoli Internment Camp survivors decided, however, that fifty-five years of staying silent was enough. It was fifty-five years of buried emotions: first it was the betrayal, then the shock, then came fear, shame and humiliation which turned to hate, resentment and mistrust. Time has passed and most of us are no longer consumed by these sentiments, but still, mistrust and resentment are still there.
 
We carried placards and shouted slogans asking the Indian government to at least acknowledge, if not apologize, for what they did to us. We even tried to deliver a letter to the Modi government for an acknowledgement. The guards at the gate refused to take it in so three members of the board delivered it to the Consulate in Toronto the following day. To date, we have received not a single word from the India High Commission or from the government of India. We realistically realized nothing would come of it, but we felt good taking that first public stand. For many, a lot of the pent-up emotions were released. I think an apology would go a long way to lessen the resentment and mistrust the Chinese Indians have of the government of India.
 

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