Manmohan’s statement on ‘84 riots meant to shift blame from Gandhis: Badal
The SAD chief was reacting to Manmohan Singh’s statement that former Prime Minister IK Gujaral had requested the then home minister PV Narsimha Rao for calling out the army to prevent the 1984 anti-Sikh riots from worsening.Updated: Dec 05, 2019 23:47 IST
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday said former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s statement on the 1984 riots was a “shocking attempt to shift blame from Rajiv Gandhi and the Nehru-Gandhi family” to then Union home minister PV Narasimha Rao.
Sukhbir said the former PM’s claim was neither true nor becoming of his (Manmohan’s) stature.
The SAD chief was reacting to Manmohan Singh’s statement that former Prime Minister IK Gujaral had requested the then home minister PV Narsimha Rao for calling out the army to prevent the 1984 anti-Sikh riots from worsening. The riots led to killing of close to 2,700 Sikhs in Delhi alone after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.
“The claim is shocking because it comes from Manmohan Singh whom we have always genuinely respected. It is inappropriate and indecorous as it involves two former PMs, Narasimha Rao and IK Gujral, neither of whom is alive to respond to this claim,” Sukhbir said in a statement.
He asked why Manmohan Singh kept quiet when Rao and Gujral were around to confirm or deny this claim.
The SAD president said relevant government records clearly showed that the decision against deploying the army was taken at a meeting held at the residence of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, but Manmohan’s statement suggested it was Rao, who ignored the need to call out the army to prevent the massacre of thousands of innocent Sikhs.
“Dr. Singh’s statement clearly vindicates our stand that independent India’s worst and most tragic massacre could easily have been averted had Rajiv Gandhi allowed the army to be called out in time to deal with a crisis of unimaginable and unprecedented magnitude,” Badal said.
Sukhbir said it was surprising that Manmohan took 35 years to come out with “this feeble defence” of the Gandhi family. He said the former PM should “again check” the relevant records of the Union home ministry which include a shocking revelation by the then additional deputy commissioner of Delhi, Chandra Parkash, who said “the decision not to call in the army had already been taken at a meeting at the then PM’s residence”.