A row erupted over the presence of Congress leader Kamal Nath at a Sikh religious event in Indore where kirtan singer Manpreet Singh Kanpuri apparently referred to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots after Nath left the venue and slammed organisers.
A video surfaced on social media showing furious Kanpuri expressing displeasure over organisers felicitating political leaders at the religious programme.
He made an oblique reference to the anti-Sikh riots that broke out after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Kanpuri did not name Kamal Nath directly.
The incident occurred on Tuesday at a religious event organised on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti.
Nath, who heads the Madhya Pradesh unit of Congress, former BJP MP Krishnamurari Moghe and others attended the event organised at Khalsa College.
According to eyewitnesses, organisers handed mementoes to these politicians which delayed the kirtan (devotional song) program by at least 30 minutes.
After Nath left the venue, Kanpuri lashed out at the organisers from the stage.
"What principles are you talking about? You were burned by putting tyres. Yet you don't mend ways. What kind of politics do you want to do?" Kanpuri said in Punjabi.
He pacified the members of the audience who were shouting religious slogans. "They do not have a conscience," he said.
The kirtan singer said he will not visit Indore again.
Notably, the Delhi High Court in January had asked a Special Investigation Team to file a status report on a plea seeking action against Congress leader Kamal Nath for his alleged role in a case relating to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Meanwhile, state Home Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Narottam Mishra termed the incident "shameful and extremely sad".
“Just as demonic forces used to obstruct yagnas of sages and seers in ancient times, more or less the same behaviour was seen in the Indore programme. What else can be expected from the accused involved in the 1984 genocide?" he asked.
The home minister appealed to Kanpuri to rethink his decision not to visit Indore again.
State BJP spokesman Neha Bagga alleged Nath had visited the programme to "rub salt on wounds (of Sikhs)".
On the other hand, state Congress media department chairman KK Mishra told PTI that developments after Kamal Nath's visit to the Khalsa College programme were "sponsored by some BJP people".
He termed the BJP's allegations against Kamal Nath regarding the anti-Sikh riots "completely baseless".
"After these riots, Kamal Nath has won Lok Sabha elections five times. This is a big proof and rebuttal of Narottam Mishra's allegations against Kamal Nath,” added Mishra.
He said every Indian has the right to offer prayers before Guru Nanak and the local Sikh community had not objected to Nath attending this program.
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