PUNJAB Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday asked Sikhs to boycott the Congress following Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s “brazen admission” that Congress activists were involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
He told the media in Amritsar that it was shocking that Rahul had not apologized to Sikhs for the “genocide” and asked the courts to take suo motu notice of his “confession,” which was an admission of the “barbaric crimes” against the Sikhs, the Tribune newspaper of Chandigarh reported.
Badal said: “His admission has vindicated our stand. We’ve always held that Congress men were involved in inciting riots against the Sikhs in 1984. Rahul Gandhi’s father even justified the violence against the Sikhs, stating that when a big tree falls the earth shakes.”
He made fun of Rahul for his “hollow” claim that the party would punish Congress leaders found guilty in the anti-Sikh riot cases and alleged that those who instigated the riots were “always intentionally shielded” by the Gandhi family.
“Failure to punish the guilty and rewarding killers with high offices shows the real face of the Congress,” he noted.
The Tribune newspaper also reported that the state’s Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, said on Tuesday that the Congress should apologise to the nation for the 1984 riots by passing a resolution in Parliament.
Speaking at a function in Brahampura village, he said: “The Congress must apologise for its hand in the massacre of innocent men, women and children. The Congress leaders have apologised individually, but never passed a resolution at a party forum or Parliament to express regret over the riots.”
BUT former chief minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress Party lashed out at the Badals, accusing them of distorting Rahul’s comments on the 1984 riots.
“Rahul Gandhi was a boy of 13 when the riots took place. How can you blame someone for something he is not even remotely associated with?” he asked. He advised the Akalis not to “misinterpret” Rahul’s honest and straightforward remarks, the Tribune reported.
Amarinder Singh said the Akalis should rather acknowledge that Rahul had been fair in his interview, not defending any of the accused. “Should you be blamed for the sins of your Cabinet and party colleagues?” he asked Badal.
He noted: “Congress President Sonia Gandhi went to Darbar Sahib with me twice, first when I was PCC chief and then when I was Chief Minister, where she expressed deep regret over what had happened in 1984. Later, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh apologised in Parliament.”
MEANWHILE, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Leader Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday that Rahul was ill-informed about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, pointing out that in 1984, police hardly fired at the rioters and alleged that police were in collusion with the government.
On the other hand, in the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat, 300 rioters died in police firing, Jaitley said. Around 65,000 rioters were arrested in Gujarat, more than 4,000 cases have been chargesheeted and hundreds have been convicted, he claimed.
Jaitley said: “Even the [Gujarat] chief minister [Narendra Modi] has gone through enquiries. What did they [Congress] do in 1984? Which Congressman has ended in jail because of 1984? The call for ‘khoon ka badla khoon’ [blood for blood] was heard in AIIMS [All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi where then-prime minister Indira Gandhi’s body was taken after she was shot dead by two Sikh bodyguards].”