Taking strong exception to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempt to link Rajiv Gandhi with the anti-Sikh 1984 riots, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday drew a comparison with the Godhra massacre, which took place under Modi was Gujarat Chief Minister.
It was wrong of Modi to connect Rajiv Gandhi with the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, Amarinder Singh told reporters in Chandigarh.
“What if someone starts linking Modi with Godhra?” he asked, adding that it did not behove the Prime Minister to stoop to such levels to win an election.
Expressing himself in total disagreement with Congress leader Sam Pitroda’s controversial remarks “if the 1984 riots happened, they happened, so what”, the Chief Minister said if Pitroda had actually said this, it was shocking.
“The 1984 riots were a big tragedy and justice had yet not been meted out to the victims. If some individual leaders were allegedly involved in the riots, they should be punished as per law,” he said.
He said since the riots had happened, he had been saying that he had heard accusations about the involvement of Sajjan Kumar, H.K.L. Bhagat, Dharam Das Shastri, Lalit Maken and Arjun Das, and, till date, he stands by his statement.
However, he asserted the involvement of some individuals linked to the Congress did not mean Modi could try to implicate Rajiv Gandhi or the Congress party in the riots.
By the same yardstick, Modi should also have been implicated in the Godhra attack, he added, asking the Prime Minister to refrain from undermining the prestige of his position with such “crude and baseless statements”.
Modi should not forget that names of several BJP and RSS leaders had figured in the FIRs in the 1984 riots, the Chief Minister said, calling for action, as per the law, against all those found responsible for the mayhem unleashed on innocent Sikhs.
He said Modi was unnecessarily dragging Rajiv Gandhi’s name to court controversies and divert attention, with his lies, from the real issues.
The Prime Minister had not uttered a single word on the work done by his government in the past five years, he pointed out, adding that Modi and his BJP had been totally exposed and were now grabbing at straws in their desperation to get back into the elections.
Responding to a question on the Balakot airstrikes, the Chief Minister said while all Punjabis appreciated the role of the defence forces, nobody in the state, which shares over 500 km of the international border with Pakistan, wants war.
Reiterating his happiness at the decision to open the Kartarpur Corridor, Amarinder Singh once again advised caution against the ISI and its intentions.
The fact that Pakistan army General Javed Bajwa had told visiting Congress leader Navjot Sidhu about the opening of the corridor even before Imran Khan was sworn in as their Prime Minister clearly showed it was an ISI gameplan, he warned.
Both India and Punjab would have to be careful in handling the situation, he said, but reiterated that he would go to Kartarpur with the first ‘jatha’ to fulfil his long-cherished desire to visit the historic gurdwara where Sikhism founder, Guru Nanak, spent his last years.