Attacked over Sajjan Kumar, Congress hits back with Gujarat riots barb

Updated on Dec 17, 2018 04:30 PM IST

The verdict against Sajjan Kumar gave a fresh handle to the BJP to attack the Congress just when it was celebrating the electoral victories in three states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi addresses a press conference in New Delhi.(PTI)
Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi addresses a press conference in New Delhi.(PTI)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Caught on the back foot over the conviction of one of its leaders, Sajjan Kumar, in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, the Congress on Monday said the issue should not be politicised and referred to the 2002 Gujarat riots in throwback to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) charges.

“It should not be linked to the political atmosphere prevailing in the country. The law should take its course, there are appeals. No political benefit should be derived from this,” senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

There have been verdicts in the past where people have been found guilty, while others have been absolved, he pointed out.

The Delhi high court on Monday convicted Kumar for criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity and acts against communal harmony in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case and sentenced him to imprisonment for life.

The verdict gave a fresh handle to the BJP to attack the Congress just when it was celebrating the electoral victories in three states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

The conviction came on a day when senior Congress leader Kamal Nath is taking oath as the Madhya Pradesh chief minister. The BJP and the Akali Dal have alleged that Nath played an active role in the 1984 riots that broke out after the assassination of then-prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.

But Nath and the Congress party have denied the charges.

Read | ‘Will pay for sins’: Arun Jaitley targets Congress after Sajjan Kumar conviction

Singhvi’s colleague Kapil Sibal said Sajjan Kumar does not hold a position of power in the party.

“What decision has been taken by the court is a legal process. We have seen how cover up is going on in the Sohrabuddin case... and what about judge Loya’s death?” he asked, referring to the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter case and the death of judge BH Loya, who was hearing the case.

“Don’t give it a political colour as it is a court decision,” he said, raking up the 2002 riots in Gujarat and alleged that a number of BJP leaders were named in the cases. “Charity should begin at home,” he said.

Punjab Congress president Sunil Kumar Jakhar said the party has been clear that those involved in the riots should be brought to justice.

“Yes, justice has been delayed but delivered finally. Nobody is above law and anyone who is involved in such a heinous crime should be brought to justice,” he told reporters outside Parliament.

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