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Capt Amarinder Defends Rahul Over 1984 Riots Remark, Says A Few Congress Leaders Involved, Not Party

Congress President Rahul Gandhi triggered a major controversy on Friday by denying his party’s involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that shook the nation and claimed thousands of Sikh lives.

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Updated:August 27, 2018, 7:25 PM IST
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Capt Amarinder Defends Rahul Over 1984 Riots Remark, Says A Few Congress Leaders Involved, Not Party
File photo of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi with Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh. (PTI)
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New Delhi: The row over Rahul Gandhi’s remark on Congress’ involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots refuses to die down as Punjab CM Amarinder Singh waded into the war of words between the Akali Dal and Congress.

Day after he defended the Congress chief, Amarinder reiterated his stand on Monday and said, “I have always maintained that Congress party was never involved in the riots, only some from Congress were involved. I have publicly named Sajjan Kumar, Dharamdas Shastri, Arjun Das and two others as involved in the riots.”

Congress President Rahul Gandhi triggered a major controversy on Friday by denying his party’s involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that shook the nation and claimed thousands of Sikh lives.

On Sunday, Singh said Gandhi was in school when Operation Blue Star and later the riots took place, adding that ‘whosoever was involved’ in the senseless killings in 1984 should be “hanged”.

Answering a question posed by CNN-News18 at the UK Parliament meeting on Congress’ involvement in the infamous riots, Gandhi said, “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. Certainly there was violence, there was tragedy.”

The remark has invited severe criticism from BJP and Akali Dal leaders, who sought to remind Gandhi of direct involvement of several Congress leaders in the riots.

Shiromani Akal Dal (SAD) leader Sukhbir Badal said on Monday, “Capt Amarinder Singh should write to the Supreme Court that he will be the biggest witness in the ’84 riots case. He takes many names of whom he thinks were involved in the riots but will never mention Jagdish Tytler because Captain has a soft corner for him.”

The SAD also said that by disagreeing with the view that his party was involved in the "genocide", he had "rubbed salt into the wounds" of the Sikh community.

Several Congress leaders, including Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, were accused of organizing the large-scale riots in Delhi in the aftermath of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination at the hands of her Sikh bodyguards in 1984.

Defending Rahul’s remark, Congress has said the question was planted and that Congress as a party was not involved in the riots.

In 2013, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had tendered an apology in the Parliament for the killings of over 4,000 Sikhs in 1984. Soon, party chief Sonia Gandhi, too, expressed regrets over the riots, which was followed by Rahul Gandhi himself, who said he shared their sentiments.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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