Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s recent remarks on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in his interview to a television news channel sparked off protests with a large number of people belonging to the Sikh community demonstrating outside the All-India Congress Committee office here on Thursday.
Mr. Gandhi during a television interview on Monday had said that ‘some Congress men were probably involved’ in the anti-Sikh riots.
The riots followed the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.
Members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) gathered outside the All-India Congress Committee office demanding that the names of the party leaders involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots should be revealed.
The protestors were seen flashing placards with the message: “The CBI should question Rahul Gandhi”. They also showed black flags and shouted slogans against the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and president Sonia Gandhi. As they marched ahead to go towards the AICC office, they broke two police barricades and when they reached the third one, the policemen used water canons to stop them.
Hundred of them were later detained by the police. “We detained around hundred protestors in front of the AICC office. They were released later in the evening,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police New Delhi S.B.S. Tyagi. Though welcoming Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's demand to hold a SIT probe, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi), Manjeet Singh G.K questioned Kejriwal taking support from the Congress “which was behind '84 riots”.
Reacting to the protest Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Prakash Javdekar said: “The anger and protests that have erupted over Rahul Gandhi's comments over the killing of Sikhs in 1984 is understandable. After 30 years of the Sikh massacre not even three people have been punished.”
“Mr. Gandhi keeps lying that the then government tried to stop the killings, but the truth is unlike in Gujarat where the police fired 10,000 rounds to contain the 2002 riots, not a single shot was fired in 1984.What happened in Gujarat were riots, because there were two communities against each other, in 1984 it was one sided and it was a massacre,” said Mr. Javdekar.
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on January 28 had said that the courts should take suo motu notice of Rahul's remarks on the anti-Sikh riots, asking the Punjab Congress leaders to quit the party after such a "confession".