1984 riots were 'sponsored' by Congress: BJP | delhi | Hindustan Times
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1984 riots were 'sponsored' by Congress: BJP

delhi Updated: Apr 11, 2013 20:31 IST
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BJP on Thursday alleged that the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in which Jagdish Tytler is facing charges were "sponsored" by the Congress at the behest of the Gandhi family and sought to know why the ruling party has been silent on the issue for the last 28 years.

The main Opposition also said there are no similarities between the 1984 "massacre" and the 2002 post-Godhra riots and claimed that prompt action was taken by the government in the latter case.

"We welcome the court decision to reopen the case against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler in the 1984 anti-Sikh massacre.

He is a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee and even contested the 2004 elections. The riots were actually a Congress-sponsored massacre of the Sikhs," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters.

She claimed that the riots, allegedly involving some Congress leaders including Tytler, had the support of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his family.

"Rajiv Gandhi had said (after Indira Gandhi's assassination) that when a big tree falls the earth shakes. No statement has come from the family even after 28 years. Why are they silent? If there had been any sensitivity in the family they would have apologised," she said.

Other than Tytler, Congress leaders H K L Bhagat, Dharam Das Shastri, Sajjan Kumar and Kamal Nath have been named by various committees which have probed the 1984 riots, according to the BJP.

The party insisted that the anti-Sikh riots cannot be compared to 2002 Gujarat riots.

"In 2002 it was a riot. I would not justify it for even a minute. But the administration responded by calling in the army. In 1984, it was a one-sided massacre. People were not allowed to lodge an FIR. Army was deployed in Delhi only on the third day and in other places only on the fourth day," Sitharaman said.

Sitharaman quoted from various commissions and committees which have probed the 1984 riots and claimed that Congress leaders and workers had incited or helped mobs in attacking Sikhs.

"Even as the news of the unfortunate death of the Prime Minister (Indira Gandhi) spread, Congress leaders were distributing voters' list and ration cards among themselves to single out Sikhs," she said, adding that houses were branded as was done by Nazi forces against Jews during the World War.

She said the government of the day was so "insensitive" that small businessmen whose property was damaged in the anti-Sikh riots were not given insurance cover.

"Nanavati Commission has observed that despite the curfew, mobs indulging in violence were moving freely and committing acts of looting and killing," Sitharaman said.

The party did not spare Prime Minister Manmohan Singh either and said though he had expressed regret in Parliament over the riots, no action was taken.

"I hate to say this but Singh belongs to the community which was targeted. For him to just call it a tragedy is not enough," Sitharaman said.

Asked how Tytler can be held responsible for the riots when the matter is still sub-judice just as BJP leader Amit Shah is facing charges in the fake encounter cases, she insisted that in Shah's case the CBI has been misused.

"The government has misused the CBI to hit out at a minister who was popular," she said.

The alleged dubious role of the CBI in the 1984 riot probe also came under Opposition attack with the BJP saying it had given a clean chit to Tytler.

"It is mention-worthy that the chief who gave the clean chit to Tytler in March 2009 is today rewarded for his service with a gubernatorial post," Sitharaman said.