Hundreds of leaders and workers of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Friday staged a dharna against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for his remark on 1984 anti-Sikh riots in an interview with a news channel.
They also burnt the effigy of the Congress vice-president. State cabinet minister and Youth Akali Dal chief Bikram Majithia could not come. In a statement, he said, “Whatever Rahul Gandhi has said is clear admission of guilt. But making no apology to the community shows the sentiment of the Congress towards Sikhs.”
“Gandhi’s remark that certain Congressmen were involved in the riots has exposed the Congress party’s secular credentials. It shows the Congress’ arrogance,” said Majithia.
He even asked the Punjab Congress leadership to clear its position whether they would continue supporting the party or stand with the people of Punjab.
The agitated workers demonstrated outside the district administrative complex saying the names of guilty Congress leaders should be disclosed.
Chief parliamentary secretary Inderbir Singh Bolaria said, “The 1984 riots are one of the most shameful incidents in the world history as thousands of innocent Sikhs were murdered in broad daylight. The Congress government hardly made an effort to stop the riots.”
Bolaria demanded that the names of the guilty Congress leaders be made public and then expelled from the party.
Rahul Gandhi had arguably made an admission that some Congress leaders were involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh violence. But he did not tender any apology and neither did he express regret for the same.
Several Sikh organisations expressed their anger after the telecast of Rahul's statement followed by protests. A series of demonstrations have been held in Punjab after Delhi.
Former MP Rajmohinder Singh Majitha, Amarpal Singh Boni, MLA Baljit Singh Jalal Usma, Manjit Singh Manna, Major Shivi, Vir Singh Lopoke, district Akali Dal chief Upkaar Sandhu among others addressed the gathering.
They said Rahul's statement was a clear vindication of the allegations being levelled by Shiromani Akali Dal for the past 30 years.
Gurdaspur: Akali workers from Gurdaspur district on Friday blocked the traffic on the national highway protesting against Rahul Gandhi at the Post Office Chowk here.
The protesters also burnt the effigy of the Congress vice-president.
Addressing the dharna, Punjab chief parliamentary secretary and Ghoman MLA Des Raj Dhugga expressed anguish over the Sikh carnage in Delhi in 1984 in which some of the Congress leaders were allegedly involved.
He said Sikhs were seeking justice to the Delhi riot victims and not apology from the Gandhi family.
Dhugga said over 10,000 innocent Sikhs were killed in Delhi riots and not even a single FIR was registered against anyone.
He said the guilty were rather rewarded with lucrative posts by the Congress, adding that Rahul Gandhi had deliberately indicated towards the involvement of Congress leaders in the anti-Sikh riots in the aftermath of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
Calling Rahul “anti-Sikh”, Dhugga said that after the anti-Sikh riots, the Congress had won the general elections with a thumping majority and the Gandhi scion was also doing the same just before the general elections.
Dhugga said that Rahul Gandhi's revelation in an interview with an English channel about the involvement of some of the Congress leaders in the riots was purposely made to garner the votes of the majority community across the country.
Dhugga told that Raul Gandhi's recent remarks had rubbed salt on the wounds of the Sikh community which had been running from pillar to post for the last about 30 years seeking justice to the riot-affected families.
Youth Akali Dal leaders Ravi Karan Singh Kahlon, Narinder Singh Wara, district president Paramveer Singh Ladi, Amarjot Singh and others were also present.