New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Wednesday remarked that the 1984 anti-Sikh riots could have been averted had then-Home Minister PV Narasimha Rao acted upon the advice of Inder Kumar Gujral, who later became the 12th Prime Minister of India between April 1997-March 1998.
Dr Singh was speaking at an event commemorating the 100th birth anniversary of the late former Prime Minister.
Speaking at the event, he said, ” When the sad event of ’84 took place, IK Gujral ji went to the then HM PV Narasimha Rao and told him, the situation is so grave that it’s necessary for govt to call Army at the earliest. If that advice had been heeded perhaps the 1984 massacre could’ve been avoided.”
Over 3,300 members of the Sikh community were killed in the riots that broke out in Delhi between October 31-November 3 1984 after the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her own Sikh bodyguards who were angry with her for ordering Operation Bluestar, under which the Indian Army entered the holy Golden Temple in Amritsar to relieve it from the Sikh militants who were holed up inside.
The operation was carried out between June 3-8 earlier that year.
Many Congress leaders have been accused of playing a key role in organising the mobs which carried out attacks on the Sikhs. These include, among others, Kamal Nath, the current Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister; Jagdish Tyler, and former party leader Sajjan Kumar etc.
Sajjan Kumar is currently in jail, serving a life-term, after becoming the first high-profile conviction in the case last year.
Manmohan Singh apologised for the riots in 2005, while Rahul Gandhi, too, admitted in 2014 that ‘some Congress leaders might have been involved in the riots.’