Sukhbir Badal slams Rahul Gandhi over remarks on 1984 anti-Sikh riots

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal. File photo

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal. File photo  

P. Chidambaram backs Rahul Gandhi saying that ‘he has not absolved anyone’

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday hit out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi over his remarks on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, saying by disagreeing with the view his party was involved in the “genocide”, he had “rubbed the salt into the wounds” of the Sikh community.

Hitting out at the Congress president, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged that Mr. Gandhi was trying to protect those Congress leaders who were involved in the “genocide”.

“Rahul Gandhi has rubbed salt into the wounds of Sikh ‘quom’ (community) by saying that Congress was not involved in 1984 anti-Sikh riots,” Mr. Badal told reporters here today, adding, “It shows the thinking of Gandhi towards Sikh community.”

Describing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots a “very painful tragedy”, Mr. Gandhi, who is on a two-day visit to the UK, said, “I have no confusion in my mind about that. It was a tragedy, it was a painful experience. You say that the Congress party was involved in that, I don’t agree with that. Certainly there was violence, certainly there was tragedy.”

Nearly 3,000 Sikhs were killed in the riots in 1984 following the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards when the Congress government was in power at the Centre.

“I want to ask Rahul if Congress leaders were not involved in anti-Sikh riots then why it withdrew tickets given to Congress leaders HKL Bhagat, Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar. Why was Jagdish Tytler removed from the ministry in the Manmohan Singh-led government,” Mr. Badal asked.

Asserting that then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also apologised for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, he said the fight to bring justice for the victims of the riots will continue.

Chidambaram backs Rahul Gandhi

However, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Saturday came out in support of his party president, saying that Mr. Gandhi cannot be held responsible for something that took place when he was 13-14 years.

Mr. Chidambaram, who is on a visit to Kolkata, said Manmohan Singh had apologised in Parliament as had former party chief Sonia Gandhi for the “terrible thing” (anti-Sikh riots) that took place when the Congress was in power.

Mr. Chidambaram said, “Congress was in office in 1984, nobody is denying that. A very terrible thing happened in 1984 for which Dr. Manmohan Singh has apologised in Parliament. We are not saying that the Congress is absolved. Mrs (Sonia) Gandhi has also apologised and on numerous occasions, some of us have also said what happened in 1984 was a terrible thing.

“Now, you can’t hold Rahul Gandhi responsible for that - he was 13 or 14 years of age then... He has not absolved anyone. What Rahul Gandhi has said is there is on the AICC website. The full text is there you can have a look at it, please read it,” the former finance minister said.

Mr. Gandhi had also said he was “100 per cent” for the punishment for those involved in any violence against any body.

On Mr. Gandhi comparing the RSS with radical Islamist outfit Muslim Brotherhood, Mr. Chidambaram asked reporters to go through the full text of the speech.

On criticisms by the BJP on Mr. Gandhi commenting on the country’s internal issues on foreign soil, he said these questions should be first asked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“You should have asked this question when Narendra Modi had addressed a huge NRI gathering at Madison Square in the US. Did you ask this question?” Mr. Chidambaram said.

BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi had said that the Congress president had demeaned Indian culture and called him an immature politician.

Leave aside leading the country, Mr. Gandhi is even incapable of heading a political party, he had said.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 6:07:09 AM |

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