Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday promised to consult Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to decide what could be done to punish the guilty in the anti-Sikh violence of 1984.
Mr. Mukherjee, who is also leader of the Lok Sabha, made the intervention in the wake of an emotional appeal by Shiromani Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur during Zero Hour.
She wanted to know what the government had done over the past 25 years to punish those who killed innocent Sikhs in the wake of the October 1984 assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
“I will talk to the Prime Minister and other colleagues and see what can be done in the given situation,” Mr. Mukherjee said.
The entire opposition supported the Akali MP’s demand.
Mr. Mukherjee said he was present in the capital when the riots took place.
“Every one of us is ashamed” of what happened those days, he said.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Ms. Kaur said no charge sheet has been filed against the culprits even after setting up 10 Commissions including the Justice Nanavati Commission.
She said the government was sitting on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) request to file chargesheet against those accused of violence, which claimed some 2,700 lives.
In August 2005, the Nanavati Commission recommended that cases be filed against the guilty. But no case has been registered, Ms. Kaur said.
“How long we have to wait for justice? Why is the government not giving us an answer?” Ms. Kaur asked.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani said: “This is a very serious situation and the Leader of the House should respond.”
Opposition parties including the Janata Dal-United, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, Biju Janata Dal and Left parties supported Ms. Kaur’s demand.
Earlier, the issue was raised during question hour by Akali Dal MPs.
Raising slogans against the Government, they walked towards Speaker Meira Kumar’s chair. She pacified them by assuring them that they could raise the matter during Zero Hour.
Keywords: anti-sikh riots, 1984 riots, former Prime Minister, late Indira Gandhi, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, promises action, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, CBI, Nanavati Commission, zero hour, Lok Sabha, guilty