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Badal raking up Operation Bluestar for partisan gains, says Amarinder

HT Correspondent   Chandigarh, February 07, 2014
First Published: 15:44 IST(7/2/2014) | Last Updated: 17:30 IST(7/2/2014)

Condemning Punjab chief minister (CM) Parkash Singh Badal for trying to exploit the sentiments of common people, Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday accused Badal of raking up the Operation Bluestar issue for partisan gains.

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Lambasting at the CM, Capt asked Badal as to why he had not uttered a single word against the killing of 35,000 innocent people who died in Punjab during the dark days of terrorism. "Why such cold indifference towards those who were dragged out of buses and trains and mercilessly massacred?" he said.

The senior Cong leader also questioned Badal's silence about the involvement of BJP and RSS workers and leaders in the anti-Sikh riots in 1984.

Asserting that Badal had run away from the situation, Capt said that on May 26, 1984 a meeting was held at a Delhi Guest House where Badal alongwith two of his colleagues met three central ministers. He said, while two of his colleagues left for Punjab immediately after the meeting, Badal went into hiding and later it was revealed that he had hid himself in his Bazpur farm house in UP (Now in Uttarakhand).

He said, on June 1, 1984 the police and CRPF cordoned off the Durbar Sahab. The former chief minister asked Badal as why he failed to carry the commitment he had made, along with his other colleagues, that they will physically confront the army if it entered the Darbar Sahib.

He disclosed that the Badal had even refused to take the phone calls of the then BBC journalists Mark Tully and Satish Jacob, who can stand testimony to this fact.

Capt Amarinder told Badal the way nobody can accuse his son Sukhbir, who at that time was a young man studying in a foreign university, for his acts of omission and commission, he cannot ask the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to apologise for Operation Bluestar as he was just 13-year-old at that time.

"As regards the Congress people who Rahul Gandhi in an open hearted manner said may have been involved in the Delhi riots and you have been insisting on their names to be provided I can give you the names as I was in Delhi from November 1 to 3 after riots broke out on the night of October 31, 1984 and visited all the refugees who had taken shelter in various gurdwaras in Delhi", he told the CM adding, "The names I heard were HKL Bhagat, Dharam Dass Shastri, Arjun Dass, Lalit Maken and Sajjan Kumar".

He said, while the first four are no longer in this world, Sajjan Kumar's trial is at its fag-end and everybody must wait for the court verdict.

"At the same time let me tell you I heard the names of several BJP and RSS leaders like Ram Kumar Jain, Pritam Singh, Ram Chander Gupta to name a few, who were involved in riots, but you have maintained a sheepish silence about their involvement just because they are you alliance partners and your survival is dependent on them", he said.

He pointed out, 14 FIRs were registered against 49 BJP-RSS leaders for their role in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

The former chief minister said he was very much disappointed that a leader like Badal, who has been the CM five times, should not play with the sentiments of people when he was himself responsible for so many omissions and misdemeanours before and after Operation Bluestar.

Asserting that Badal was in the habit of raking up the issue at the time of elections to promote himself, he said that Badal had always exploited the sentiments of innocent people and then shirked away from his responsibility.

"In a most irresponsible and treasonable ways you asked the Sikhs in the army to mutiny and at your behest a number of Sikh soldiers mutinied and spent up to 18 years in jail", he said, while asking, "Can you identify even a single person or his family you helped while they were in jail or offered them any jobs after they came out?"

He said, Punjab was still bearing the brunt of those dark days for which Badal was equally responsible and as a consequence of which the industry has moved out of the state and the state's debt has touched Rs. one lakh crores and the unemployment an all time high.

Capt advised Badal to introspect before seeking to blame others and for trying to make political capital out of situation from which Punjab has come out with lot of sacrifices and a long struggle.

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