The 1984 anti-Sikh riots should never have happened, a concerned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday but at the same time appealed to the Sikh community to “move on” to let the wounds of the tragedy heal.

Speaking to the community members here after paying homage to the victims of the 1985 Kanishka bombing at the Air India Memorial here, Dr. Singh reminded them that he had apologised to the nation for the carnage that followed the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Dr. Singh, the first Sikh to become Prime Minister, said “by constantly reminding [yourself] of the 1984 riots, sometimes you unwittingly vitiate the creative thinking of the Sikh community.” “We need to move on.” he said.

The Prime Minister said Sikhs in India were no longer restricted to Punjab but were actively participating in all spheres of public life, referring to his own example. “There is a Prime Minister, there was an Army chief, you have governors and ambassadors,” he said.

The Prime Minister's remarks came at the Air India Memorial where a lawmaker of Indian origin spoke about growing pro-Khalistan feelings in Canada.