Targeting both of his political rivals — the Congress and BJP — in one go, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said had those guilty of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots been punished, incidents like the 2002 Gujarat riots and the Dadri lynching would not have happened.
The Delhi CM made the comment while attending a function organised to distribute the cheques for enhanced compensation to the families of the victims of the anti-Sikh riots in the Capital that took place in the aftermath of the assassination of former PM Indira Gandhi.
While distributing the cheques for `5 lakh, Kejriwal paid homage to the victims on the 31st anniversary of the riots and also assured that the Delhi government will explore options to establish another special investigation team (SIT) to probe the riots.
Around 2,500 families will be compensated for riots in Delhi. While 1,320 victims were awarded the compensation on Sunday, the rest will be handed over the cheques soon after due verification by the Delhi government. As per an estimate, the Delhi government will spend `130 crore on the compensation, which later be refunded by the Centre.
Kejriwal said that the Aam Aadmi Party government is dedicated to help seek justice for the Sikhs. “The delayed justice to the 18,984 riot victims was the reason behind the incidents like those in Gujarat and Dadri,” he said.
“The level of intolerance in the country has even upset the President, who himself had to come out and make an appeal to the people to maintain harmony,” said Kejriwal.
Further taking a jibe at the Congress and NDA-led Union government, the AAP supremo accused the parties of delaying the justice and playing politics.
“In these 31 years, both the BJP and the Congress formed governments in Delhi and at the Centre, although both the parties only talked about giving justice to the Sikhs but have done nothing to ensure that justice is delivered to them,” said Kejriwal.
“During our 49-day regime we had ordered the constitution of an SIT. No government took this decision in the past 30 years. But when we had resigned from the government, it was also quashed,” he said, referring to his last tenure.
Kejriwal also accused the Union government of setting up the SIT in February to appease the Sikh votebank. He claimed that the Delhi government will also explore options to constitute another SIT.
“The central government constituted an SIT on February 14, a day before we were to take pledge because they were scared that when Arvind will come to power, all those who are guilty will be booked,” said Kejriwal. He also said that his government will also examine legally whether the Centre was within its rights to constitute the SIT in this matter or not.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia also expressed concern over “mounting tension and rising communal hatred” and said that “1984 riots were a blot on the Indian history which cannot be erased merely by disbursing the compensation”.
“We have to put our heads together to put to end this type of mentality,” he said.