In an effort to clear air over the allegations that he had given a clean chit to Jagdish Tytler on latter’s role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh said no one from the victim families took the name of the Congress leader during his interaction with the survivors in camps. He, however, admitted that people did name five Congress leaders—HKL Bhagat, Dharam Das Shastri, Lalit Maken, Sajjan Kumar and Arjan Dass—that they were involved in one way or the other with the riots.
Talking to the media, Amarinder said, “My saying this is not a clean chit to Tytler. Let the court of law decide he is a guilty or not. Akali Dal is raking up the issue with an eye on the polls.”
Bhagat, Shastri, Maken and Arjan Dass have since died and Sajjan Kumar and Tytler are facing trial.
“They (Akalis) make noises on the riots issue before polls, but don’t utter a word after the polls are over,” he said, adding it was BJP leader late Madan Lal Khurana who first took name of Tytler six months after the riots. He said the Aam Aadmi Party too was raising the issue even as it has the government in Delhi. Capt said post-riots, he had resigned as a member of Parliament and quit the Congress.
On a query, Amarinder said Rahul Gandhi was capable to becoming the party president. On Navjot Sidhu’s joining the Congress, he said Sidhu would join, if he does, unconditionally.
SAD, AAP leaders join Cong
Meanwhile, SAD political affairs committee member and former Rajya Sabha member Varinder Singh Bajwa, SAD general secretary Ram Parkash, SAD working committee member Hardev Singh and SAD general secretary Harjinder Rehal joined the Congress in Amarinder’s presence. AAP leader from Shri Hargobindpur Harvinder Pal Singh and retired IAS officer TR Sarangal also joined the party. Punjab affairs in-charge of the Congress, Asha Kumari, was also present.
Statewide protests over OROP
Capt Amarinder said statewide protests will be held from Friday against the non-implementation of ‘one rank, one pension’ scheme and suicide by Subedar Ram Kishen (retd). He held defence minister Manohar Parrikar responsible for the tragedy.
“Party workers have been directed to hold dharnas in all the districts and I will lead a delegation to submit a memorandum to the governor on the issue of police misbehaving with the ex-soldier’s family,” said Amarinder.