Bengal Cong tweets Rajiv’s controversial remark on 1984 riots; Akalis, AAP fume

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Kolkata
  • Updated: Aug 21, 2016 12:00 IST
Gujarat Congress leaders paid tributes at the statue of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on the eve of his 72nd birth anniversary in Ahmedabad on Friday. (Photo: PTI)

The West Bengal Congress on Saturday faced embarrassment when it tweeted a controversial remark made by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi during the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

On Rajiv Gandhi’s 72nd birth anniversary, the West Bengal Congress tweeted: “When a big tree falls, the ground shakes”, referring to his remark during the riots that followed the assassination of his mother and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984.

The party subsequently deleted the tweet, claiming the Twitter handle was “hacked”. But not before many expressed their reservations.

“We all remember Rajiv Gandhi as beloved former PM of India. But the West Bengal Congress shouldn’t have posted this one,” tweeted minister of state for home affairs and BJP MP Kiren Rijiju, posting a screen shot of the now-deleted tweet.

State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claimed the Twitter handle was hacked as part of a conspiracy. “I enquired about the tweet and was told that the account was hacked. In today’s world, hacking has become a usual thing. But I think, this has been done in pursuance of a conspiracy to malign the Congress on Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary,” said Chowdhury, adding that the party was seeking police action.


Advocate HS Phoolka, who is AAP candidate from Dakha in Ludhiana, tweeted: “A PM who justifies killing thousands of innocent citizens does not deserve Bharat Ratna. Withdraw Bharat Ratna of Rajiv Gandhi. Government should act.”

Another AAP leader Kumar Vishwas tweeted:


Punjab revenue and public relations minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia also condemned the tweet and sought an apology from Congress national chief Sonia Gandhi and its vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Addressing a rally near Mattewal village in Amritsar, he said: “The act has exposed the Congress mindset against the Sikhs. 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims are still waiting for justice. The Congress has rubbed salt into the wounds of Sikhs.”

Union minister and Akali leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal said: “The tweet has literally condoned the genocide against the Sikh community. Apparently, the West Bengal Congress is convinced that Rajiv Gandhi’s biggest achievement as the PM was the sad killings of innocent Sikhs. The Congress high command should have apologised immediately if it was considered inadvertent lapse, but it quietly withdrew the tweet cowardly,” she added, asking Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh to clarify his stand on this issue.

With agency inputs

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