Amritsar, Apr 21: Facing criticism from the ruling Akali Dal and other Sikh groups for defending Jagdish Tytler for his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh Monday said he had not given a clean chit to the Congress leader.
Amarinder Singh, who is the Congress candidate from the Amritsar Lok Sabha consituency and faces Bharatiya Janata Party’s Arun Jaitley, said: “I am nobody to give clean chit to anyone, including Jagdish Tytler, as it is for the courts to decide.”
“I had only stated what I had heard from the people immediately after the riots broke out in New Delhi after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984.”
The former chief minister is facing criticism for his remarks to a news channel in which he said that while other Congress leaders were involved in the anti-Sikh riots, Tytler was not.
Describing the riots as “most tragic and gruesome”, Amarinder Singh said he had gone around many camps of Sikh refugees in Delhi for four days when riots broke out but nobody had mentioned Jagdish Tytler’s name during the visit.
“It is not for the first time I have said so. I have been saying it for the past 30 years, but why is it now that Akalis and BJP have woken up and decided to protest?” he asked.
“… for the obvious reason that they want to polarise people for petty political benefit as they are badly losing across Punjab, Amritsar in particular,” he said.
He said he was in favour of exemplary punishment for those behind the riots.
Hundreds of Sikhs were killed in riots in Delhi and other places following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards at her official residence.