Accusing Rajiv Gandhi of ‘justifying’ the killing of innocent Sikhs in the 1984 carnage, AAP leader and lawyer HS Phoolka along with BJP secretary RP Singh on Thursday came together to demand that Bharat Ratna given to the former prime minister be taken back. The two leaders also released the video of the speech delivered by Rajiv this day on 1984 at Boat Club on Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary where he had made the remarks that “when a big tree falls, the earth shakes”, an apparent reference to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
“A Prime Minister who justifies the killing of innocent citizens, definitely does not deserve Bharat Ratna. We therefore call upon the government to withdraw the Bharat Ratna conferred upon Rajiv Gandhi,” Phoolka said addressing a press conference. “A Prime Minister who takes three years even to count the dead bodies of innocent citizens killed in open broad daylight in the capital, a Prime Minister whose party was responsible for a massacre, cannot be a Bharat Ratna. We demand Rajiv Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna’s be taken back,” he said.
BJP leader Singh and Phoolka said that it was difficult to get the video of the speech as the same was deleted from the records and archives of Doordarshan and it was retrieved with much difficulty. To a question on his sharing the platform with a BJP leader, Phoolka said, “We would try and involve all others for the cause and to help get justice to the victims of the 1984 carnage”. He named leaders like Brinda Karat, Sharad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan, who have helped for the cause of Sikh victims of 1984. The two were accompanied by another lawyer Tejinder Singh, whose family has suffered in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.