Weeks after splitting over the candidate to support in the Lok Sabha election here, a body seeking justice for the 1984riot victims has accused Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) nominee HS Phoolka of withdrawing his case against Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler.
The Sikh Katle Aam Peerat Welfare Society (Punjab) faction making this allegation backs Akali-BJP candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali. Sajjan and Tytler are main accused in the Sikh carnage that happened 30 years ago in Delhi.
Society president Surjit Singh stated on Friday in a meeting convened in Ludhiana that an eyewitness from the US, Jasbir Singh, had wanted to depose in the Tytler hearing on April 3 but Phoolka's withdrawing had rendered him helpless.
Surjit Singh accused Phoolka's supporters of seeking votes in the name of the riot victims and displaying their photographs during the AAP campaign in villages to show how the lawyer had helped them. "It is a violation of the model code of conduct for elections. We are giving a complaint to the election commission," said the society president.
Phoolka dismissed the allegations as "propaganda" to sabotage his election campaign. "I have remained and always will remain committed to the cause of fighting for justice for the 1984-riot victims. No case against Sajjan or any other accused has been withdrawn. Rather, the cases against Sajjan have been instituted and the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) has filed charge sheets," said the AAP candidate.
He held Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal responsible for the rumours. "All these years, Surjit Singh had nothing to do with the cases of Sajjan, Tytler or any accused in the 1984 riots. Suddenly, he wakes up, claiming to be representing the victims. Sukhbir is behind him, as he is scared of the growing popularity of the AAP in Ludhiana," said Phoolka. He denied using the riot pictures to ask for votes. "It's an attempt to mislead voters," he added.
RIOT VICTIMS KEY VOTES
The vote of more than 25,000 people affected by the 1984 riots has become a bone of contention between the Lok Sabha candidates in Ludhiana. All these votes belong to the Sikh community, and the top four nominees, including Congress candidate Ravneet Singh Bittu and independent Simarjit Singh Bains, are from the community.
The Sultanpuri-carnage case against Sajjan Kumar is in the trial court and the coming hearings are on April 14 and 17. "The defence counsel is cross-examining prosecution witness number one, after which the other witnesses will be examined," said Phoolka.
In the Delhi Cantonment case, the appeal being argued by Phoolka against the order of the trial court is pending in the respective high court and the next hearing is on May 28.