Not content with his sharp criticism of his political and ideological opponents, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi seems to have overplayed his hand with his utterances on the party's claimed non-involvement in the 1984 massacre of Sikhs. This, however, is in sharp contrast to his words in 2014 when during an interview, he first hesitated to admit his party’s role in the massacre but later admitted that his party was “probably involved” in the violence against Sikhs in 1984 in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her Sikh bodyguards. He cannot be right on both occasions.
The narrative ever since Gandhi’s utterances has followed predicted lines: There has been a hullabaloo in political circles with demands for an apology from him. It must be remembered that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his tenure at the head of the UPA Government, had apologised for the party's role in the anti-Sikh pogrom. Of course, neither Singh nor Rahul Gandhi were involved in the massacre; in fact, the latter was a school kid at the time, so his party leaders are right in protecting him from personal culpability. But there is no way the leadership can absolve the party of being complicit in the killing of around 8,000 Sikhs across the country, nearly half of that number in Delhi alone. Rajiv Gandhi never apologised for not being able to at least punish the culprits even after committees and commissions were set up which clearly established the Congress’ role in the massacre. Rahul has reopened old wounds with his comments. He should not be in denial.