oppn parties Congress Cannot Wash Its Hand Off The 1984 Sikh Riots

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Congress Cannot Wash Its Hand Off The 1984 Sikh Riots

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
It is, as the people in Punjab are saying, “rubbing salt in the wounds” when Rahul Gandhi says that the Congress party was not involved in the 1984 Sikh riots in Delhi and elsewhere in the country. For, overt complicity is not always a given for involvement. Complicity can manifest itself in covert ways. It is a proven fact that Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler (and many other second rung Congress leaders) and their underlings were actively involved in the Delhi arson and massacres of Sikhs. At that time, they were prominent Congress leaders. The Congress was ruling at the Centre. The police knew what was happening and so did the Central leadership. But no effort was made to rein in the mobs. By the time action was taken, major damage had been done.

Hence, the Congress party was directly responsible for allowing prominent Delhi leaders to carry out what many people had called a pogrom against the Sikhs. Just because Indira Gandhi was killed by her Sikh bodyguards (who incidentally were handpicked by her despite flags raised by her security advisors) in retaliation for the damage done to the Golden Temple, the whole Sikh community was sought to be taught a lesson. It went on for many days and yet the police and the leadership kept quiet. Although the Congress may not have given express orders to its local leaders to punish the Sikhs, by allowing them to carry it out without stopping them, it cannot absolve itself of the charge of complicity.

Instead of being in denial mode, Rahul Gandhi should acknowledge the mistake, as Manmohan Singh had done, and try to heal the wounds that old timers still carry. It is a measure of the magnanimity of the Sikhs that they still vote for the Congress despite the 1984 riots. If Rahul Gandhi continues in this manner, he will lose the support of the Sikh community. Punjab is one state that voted for Congress recently. Hence, Rahul Gandhi should not do anything that alienates the Sikhs.