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Amarinder names BJP, RSS leaders involved in 1984 riots
Coming to the rescue of “under-attack” Congress party for allegedly dubbed as the architect of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Punjab’s former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday revealed the names of “few BJP and RSS leaders” for their alleged involvement in November 1984 massacre.
Senior Congress leader reminded that a total of 14 FIRs were registered “against 49 BJP-RSS leaders for their role in anti-Sikh riots of 1984”. At the same time, Capt Amarinder questioned Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for his silence over BJP, RSS leaders’ role in the massacre. Coming down heavily on Badal for raising the issue for “partisan gains” and unnecessarily targeting Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Capt Amarinder targeted Badal by claiming that Badal had run away from the situation.
Capt Amarinder said that on May 26, 1984, a meeting was held at a Delhi Guest House where Badal along with two of his colleagues met three Central Ministers. “While two of his colleagues left for Punjab immediately after the meeting, Badal went into hiding and later it was revealed that he had hid himself in his Bazpur farmhouse in Uttar Pradesh, (now in Uttarakhand),” he added.
He added, on June 1, 1984, the police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) cordoned off the Golden Temple. Capt Amarinder questioned Badal as to why he failed “to carry the commitment he had made, along with his other colleagues, that they will physically confront the Army if it entered the Darbar Sahib”.
Also the permanent invitee of Congress Working Committee (CWC), Capt Amarinder disclosed that Badal had even refused to take the phone calls of the then BBC journalists Mark Tully and Satish Jacob, who can stand testimony to this fact. Capt Amarinder told Badal, “The way nobody can accuse your son Sukhbir, who at that time was a young man studying in a foreign university, for his acts of omission and commission. You cannot ask the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to apologise for Operation Bluestar as he was just 13-years-old at that time.”
“Rahul Gandhi in an open hearted manner had said that Congress people may have been involved in Delhi riots and you have been insisting on their names to be provided, I can give you the names as I was in Delhi from November 1 to 3 after riots broke out on the night of October 31, 1984, and visited all the refugees who had taken shelter in various gurdwaras in Delhi,” said Capt Amarinder adding that the “names I heard were HKL Bhagat, Dharam Dass Shastri, Arjun Dass, Lalit Maken and Sajjan Kumar”.
He said, while the first four are no longer in this world, Sajjan Kumar’s trial is at its fag end and everybody must wait for the court verdict. “At the same time, let me tell you, I heard the names of several BJP and RSS leaders like Ram Kumar Jain, Pritam Singh, Ram Chander Gupta to name a few, who were involved in riots, but you have maintained a sheepish silence about their involvement just because they are your alliance partners and your survival is dependent on them,” he said.
Asserting that Badal was in the habit of raking up the issue at the time of elections to promote himself, he said that Badal had always exploited the sentiments of innocent people and then shirked away from his responsibility. Capt Amarinder had resigned from Parliament and from Congress as a protest against Army action during Operation Bluestar in 1984, and joined SAD. After serving as Minister in SAD-BJP State Government, Capt Amarinder broke away from SAD, and formed a splinter group named SAD (Panthic) which later merged with the Congress.
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