Punjab chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal patron Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) for all cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
However, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), whose short-lived government in Delhi had recommended formation of an SIT in the matter, sees a ploy behind the SAD’s demand.
Badal’s demand from ally BJP-led central government comes following the submission of recommendations by a committee led by retired Supreme Court judge GP Mathur to the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA). Badal said the committee in its 45-page report had suggested setting up the SIT and also favoured reinvestigation of vital cases in which crucial evidence had been overlooked. “Even two high-profile cases involving Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler need to be reinvestigated,” added Badal in a statement released here. “This sensitive issue had so far been under wraps by the previous successive Congress governments at the Centre, but now with the recommendations of Mathur Committee there is a ray of hope for the hapless victims of the 1984 genocide.”
SAD’s Delhi unit chief Manjit Singh GK, who is president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), also met home minister Rajnath Singh with the demand. The Mathur Committee was constituted on December 27 last. Rajnath has indicated that the SIT would be formed after the election code of conduct is over in Delhi.
This has invited strong reaction from the AAP, which is locked in a stiff battle in the Delhi assembly elections with the Centre’s ruling BJP and its ally SAD.
“They (SAD-BJP) are imitating AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal, but want only electoral benefits. Their seriousness is visible from the fact that though there was a BJP-led NDA government for six years till 2004, but no SIT was formed,” said Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, who is also leader of the AAP in Parliament and currently campaigning in Delhi. “The BJP is now under tremendous pressure from the AAP as Sikhs are moving towards our party. That’s why such tricks are being played,” he added.