Former Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday launched a scathing attack on the Congress party citing a recent statement by former Union minister and Congress leader Jagdish Tytler in connection with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The Akali Dal leader has alleged that then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was "supervising the killings”.
"Jagdish Tytler has revealed that Rajiv Gandhi travelled with him across the city in 1984. It means that the then PM was supervising the killings,” said Badal.
However, Punjab CM and Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh told ANI today that Jagadish Tytler’s revelation is not true.
Earlier today, Tytler said in an interview to News 18 that Rajiv Gandhi took several rounds of North Delhi with him to assess the situation in the wake of 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Tytler told New18 that Rajiv Gandhi had "recced the areas” in his car and was "extremely anguished” at Delhi Congress MPs, who were told to contain the situation in their constituencies.
Reacting to the claim, Badal said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) must look into the information revealed by Tytler as it is a "very serious issue”.
Tytler is one of those named as being the organisers of the riots by the Nanavati Commission in its report submitted ten years ago. He is also accused of killing three Sikhs outside the Gurudwara Pulbangash in his Delhi north constituency during the riots.
As part of its investigation, CBI had asked Tytler to undergo a lie-detector test, which the politician had said he was ready for, even though he wasn’t legally bound. The fresh impetus to re-investigate the Congress leader’s role in 1984 riots is due to the claims of Tytler’s former aide who has deposed against him in a Kardooma court.
1984 anti-Sikh riots activist HS Phoolka had caused a flutter earlier by demanding that former PM Rajiv Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna should be taken back as he had"justified" the killings in 1984 carnage, a plea dismissed as cheap politics by Congress.
He had said "A Prime Minister who justifies the killing of innocent citizens, definitely does not deserve Bharat Ratna. We therefore call upon the government to withdraw the Bharat Ratna conferred upon Rajiv Gandhi.”
He added: "A Prime Minister who takes three years even to count the dead bodies of innocent citizens killed in daylight in the capital cannot be a Bharat Ratna," they said, holding Congress responsible for the massacre. "We demand Rajiv Gandhi's Bharat Ratna be taken back."
Notably, earlier this month, the Supreme Court constituted a new Special Investigation Team (SIT) to re-investigate 186 1984-anti-Sikh riot cases that followed the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Retired justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra has been named the head of the SIT. Retired IAS officer Rajdeep Singh and IPS officer Avishek Dullar are the other two members of the committee that would re-investigate the cases.
The committee has been directed to file an interim report within two months in the Supreme Court.
A total of 3,325 people were killed in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and other states in the riots after Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984. Delhi alone accounted for 2,733 deaths.
The 1984 anti-Sikh riots are considered one of the most violent cases of communal hatred after the partition in 1947. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its 2011 World Report stated, "The government has yet to prosecute those responsible for the mass killings of Sikhs that followed the 1984 assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. Delivery of justice for mass violence against Muslims in Mumbai in 1992-93 and in Gujarat in 2002 has been slow."