Chandigarh: Amid the ongoing political slugfest over Rahul Gandhi’s comment in London where he denied Congress’ involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday continued to deny party’s role in the massacre, while naming few party leaders for their alleged involvement.
“There was no Congress involvement other than the involvement of some people. I have named few of them – Sajjan Kumar, Dharamdas Shastri, Arjun Das and two others,” Singh was quoted by ANI as saying.
Singh asserted that a few individuals were involved in the anti-Sikh riots that took place after the Operation Blue Star, and not the entire Congress party. He claimed that the names were given to him by riot victims.
On Sunday also, Singh had defended the Congress president against attacks from the BJP and its ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), saying that Gandhi could not be held responsible for something he wasn’t even aware of. He said Rahul was just a 13-year-old boy in school at the time of massacre and to blame for it was “ridiculous”.
In an immediate counter, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) cornered Amarinder Singh for denying Congress’ role and still disclosing names of five persons, except party leader Jagdish Tytler for his alleged involvement in the riots.
“He (Capt Amarinder Singh) should write to the Supreme Court that he is the main witness in the case. He took five names, but he has a soft corner for Tytler (Jagdish Tytler). So he didn’t take his name,” said Sukhbir Badal while addressing a press conference.
The BJP also took a dig at the Gandhi scion saying Rahul and Responsibility never go together.
In a series of tweets, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra asked,”Congress defends Rahul saying he was in school when 1984 anti-Sikh riots happened, so is unaware. But very conveniently he appears to have done a thesis on Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. Was he a Post Graduate student then?”
“Rahul and Responsibility never go together. From “congressmen involved” in 2013 to “Congress not involved” in 2018 this is how Rahul Gandhi tries to rub salt on the wounds of the 1984 victims,” the BJP spokesperson claimed.
Referring to Congress president’s latest ‘I am Congress’ tweet, Patra further said,” Rahul had said recently ‘I am Congress, I am Love’ Rahul ji ..Yes your family is Congress and it epitomised hatredfor Sikhs in 1984.”
Union minister and Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal also lashed out at Singh over the issue, saying that being a Sikh, the Punjab CM should feel ashamed of himself.
“Amarinder Singh ko sharam aani chahiye, ek Sikh hone ke naate unko chulu bhar paani mein doob marna chahiye (Amarinder Singh should feel ashamed, being a Sikh he should commit suicide),” Badal said.
On Sunday, Badal had lashed out at Gandhi saying that if the latter gets an opportunity, he will say that the 1984 anti-Sikh riots never took place.
“If Rahul Gandhi ever gets an opportunity then he will say that the Sikh massacre never took place and no Sikh died. I say today with Rahul Gandhi’s brain, that I’m putting in place of my brain. If as per him Sikh massacre never took place then as per me his father and grandmother were never assassinated, they died of normal heart attack,” she had said.
Describing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots a “very painful tragedy”, Gandhi, during two-day visit to the UK, said on Friday: “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.”
Congress Goes Into Damage Control
With Rahul’s remarks creating a political furore, the Congress on Sunday said that the opposite should not use the issue of massacre of over 3,000 people for political gains. “Constantly distorting what Rahul Gandhi says is not going to convert untruth and lies into truth,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.
Singhvi listed what the Congress after the anti-Sikh riots and asked the SAD to tell what their partner BJP did after the 2002 riots in Gujarat.
He said the SAD should ask if Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was Gujarat CM in 2002, and BJP President Amit Shah had done after the Gujarat riots what the Congress did after 1984.
Why Had Manmohan Singh Apologised Then: BJP Asks Rahul Gandhi
Cornering Rahul Gandhi over his comments that the Congress was not involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the BJP said that Congress president was rubbing salt on the wounds of Sikhs and that it amounted to denying them justice.
BJP’s national secretary R P Singh said Congress leader Manmohan Singh had as prime minister apologised for anti-Sikh riots and the then party president Sonia Gandhi had expressed regret.
“What was this apology from prime minister and regret from Congress president then all about,” Singh asked.
The Congress was forced to cancel its leader Kamal Nath’s appointment as Punjab assembly polls in-charge following angry reaction from the community, whose members have alleged his involvement in the violence, he added.