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Amarinder Comes to Rahul Gandhi's Defence, Says Congress As A Party Not Involved in 1984 Riots

The chief minister 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”.


Updated:August 27, 2018, 10:21 AM IST

Chandigarh: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday hit out at the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for attacking Rahul Gandhi on the issue of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, saying the Congress, as a party, was never involved in the carnage.

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

The SAD had hit out at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi over his remarks on the 1984 riots, saying by disagreeing with the view that his party was involved in the "genocide", he had "rubbed salt into the wounds" of the Sikh community.

Earlier, describing the 1984 riots as a "very painful tragedy" during his visit to the UK, Gandhi had said, "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."

Hitting out at SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, Singh said the Congress chief was in school when Operation Blue Star and later the riots took place and to blame him for 'anything' was totally absurd. “The Congress, as a party, was never involved in the riots that continue to haunt the Sikh community,” the chief minister said.

Singh said if any individual was involved, he or she would be dealt with as per the law. “To blame the entire party for the acts of a few was preposterous and typical of the political immaturity of Sukhbir”, the chief minister said.

Singh said “Rahul Gandhi's latest comments need to be seen in context with his earlier statements on the 1984 riots, wherein he himself had named some Congressmen”. “You cannot blame an entire party because of the acts of such individuals,” said the chief minister, reiterating that “whosoever was involved in the senseless killings in 1984 should be hanged, irrespective of political affiliations”.

On Badal alleging that Gandhi was trying to protect Congress leaders involved in the "genocide", Singh said "such thoughtless and superfluous statements were typical of the Akalis, particularly the Badals".

“It is evident that the Akalis obviously did not have either the maturity or the sensitivity to understand or appreciate the sentiment behind the regrets expressed by Dr Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi on the issue. Their statements were never an admission of guilt or Congress party's involvement in the riots," said Singh, emphasising there was no question of a volte face by Gandhi.

By attacking Gandhi, Badal has only exposed his fear of the Congress president's growing popularity, in India and abroad, said Singh.

The Punjab chief minister said Gandhi had unambiguously condemned all sorts of violence, including the 1984 riots, and had called for strict punishment to the perpetrators. It is unfortunate that due to delays caused by the judicial system, justice was denied to many victims of the 1984 riots, he said.

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