A recent statement by Congress President Rahul Gandhi claiming that “Congress was not involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots” has stirred the hornet’s nest once again. His detractors have been quick to pounce on him terming his statements, made during his London visit, insulting to the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The religious pogrom that erupted immediately after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 31 October 1984 had left nearly 3,000 Sikhs were killed. Indira Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi’s grandmother, was killed by her two Sikh bodyguards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh for the the former’s decision to order a military intervention inside the premises of Golden Temple in Punjab to quell militancy.
In response to a question, Rahul told a reporter in London last week, “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.”
Punjab’s Akali Dal slammed Rahul for his statement and said that it had added insult to injury of Sikhs, who continue to await justice for their loved ones, lost in the 1984 genocide.
“Rahul Gandhi has rubbed salt into the wounds of Sikh community. It shows the thinking of Mr Gandhi,” Sukhbir Badal of Akali Dal said.
Meanwhile, an old interview by a Sikh eyewitness blaming Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has resurfaced on internet with users fervently sharing the interview given to Times of India. The English daily had quoted an eyewitness, identified as Jagdish Kaur as saying, “I wonder why no one in India lodged case against Amitabh Bachchan for provoking killing of Sikhs.”
Reporting Kaur’s extraordinary allegations, Times of India on 11 October 2011 had quoted her as saying, “I watched live relay on Doordarshan and saw Amitabh Bachchan raising his arm and shouting the slogan, ‘khun ka badla khun sae laengae’ (Blood for blood) two times.”
Amitabh Bachchan, then a close friend of Nehru-Gnadhi family, had successfully the Lok Sabha elections in 1984 from Allahabad.
A month later, Bachchan wrote a letter to Akal Takht Giani Gurbachan Singh pleading innocence and terming the allegations against him ‘wild’, ‘irresponsible’, ‘vicious’ and ‘unfounded.’In his letter, Bachchan had stated, “I wish to take this opportunity to vehemently and categorically deny these allegations against me which are completely baseless, false and untrue. The Nehru-Gandhi family and our family have old ties from our city of origin, Allahabad. We have been together in each other’s hour of grief and joy, but to allege that I was a part of the crowd that incited them to raise anti-Sikh slogans is a preposterous and blatant lie.”