Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has advised the Congress to “seek forgiveness” for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots from the nation through a resolution in Parliament.
Reacting to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s reported admission that the 1984 riots were “absolutely wrong” and that “some Congressmen were involved”, Badal said the “best thing for the Congress would be to move a resolution in Parliament seeking apology for its hand in the massacre of innocent men, women and children”.
“Now that Gandhi has admitted to Congress hand in the riots, he should ask his party or the central government to seek an apology from the nation by passing a resolution in Parliament,” Badal said while talking to mediapersons at Brahmapura village, 20 km from here, on Tuesday.
“In the past, its leaders have tendered individual apologies for the riots, but not once has the Congress passed a resolution at the party forum to express regret. I doubt whether the Congress will ever pass such a resolution at the party level or in Parliament,” he added.
Besides Rahul, his mother, All-India Congress Committee chief Sonia Gandhi, had earlier expressed regret over the riots. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also expressed regret over the riots in Parliament during his first term, but he did not move a formal resolution as was then demanded by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
“The Congress lacks the courage to offer an apology for its leaders’ involvement in the riots. We, in Punjab, have never hesitated to express regret over even a minor tragedy that has occurred in the state during our tenure,” he added.
The CM, however, refused to answer questions pertaining to Gandhi’s allegations against Gujarat CM Narendra Modi regarding the communal riots in his state in 2002.
Badal was visiting Brahmapura village to condole the death of Daljeet Singh, the elder brother of former minister and veteran Akali leader Ranjit Singh Brahmapura. He remained with the veteran leader for about an hour.
Later in the day, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal visited the village and met Brahmapura to express his condolences.