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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

Rahul Gandhi slams Sam Pitroda for his ‘hua toh hua’ remark over 1984 riots

On Thursday, asked for his comments on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Pitroda had said, “hua to hua (it happened, it happened).

india Updated: May 10, 2019 23:28 IST
HT Correspondent and Agencies
HT Correspondent and Agencies
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
On Friday, Pitroda, who is the chief of the Indian Overseas Congress, apologised for the comments but not before the comments caused a barrage of criticism.
On Friday, Pitroda, who is the chief of the Indian Overseas Congress, apologised for the comments but not before the comments caused a barrage of criticism.(PTI)

A remark by senior Congress leader Sam Pitroda over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots was “completely out of line,” party president Rahul Gandhi said on Friday as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi tore into the opposition party for what they said was an attempt to trivialise the violence.

“I think that’s completely out of line and I think he should apologise for this,” Gandhi said in an interview to news website ThePrint on Friday, describing as a “tragedy” the riots triggered by the October 31, 1984 assassination of his grandmother and then PM Indira Gandhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards.

“It caused tremendous pain to the people. And I think he absolutely owes everybody an apology,” Gandhi said.

On Thursday, asked to comment on the riots, Pitroda had said, “hua to hua (it happened, it happened)”. On Friday, Pitroda, who is the chief of the Indian Overseas Congress, apologised for the comment, but not before it triggered a barrage of criticism, including by his colleagues and by BJP leaders.

“Yesterday, one of the tallest leaders of the Congress, speaking in a loud voice on 1984, said, ‘84 ka danga hua to hua’. Do you know who this leader is, he is very close to the Gandhi family… this leader was a very good friend of Rajiv Gandhi and guru of Congress ‘naamdar’ (dynast) president,” Modi said at a rally in Rohtak on Friday.

A day earlier, BJP chief Amit Shah highlighted Pitroda’s controversial remark in a tweet and said it reflected the Congress’s stand on the issue. Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Prakash Javadekar too criticised Pitroda’s “hua to hua” comment.

Senior leaders of the Congress distanced themselves from Pitroda’s remarks on Friday. “It is not the party’s stand, the party condemns it. All leaders should be careful about what they say,” Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said at a press conference in Delhi. “Congress has worked to provide justice to the victims of 1984 riots. No act of violence and riots can be forgiven,” he added.

Punjab chief minister captain Amarinder Singh too said he did not approve of Pitroda’s statement. “I have said it already, I don’t accept that statement. It’s the duty of the successive governments to find out how it happened, who all were responsible, it must be found, doesn’t matter how many years have passed,” he said.

The 1984 riots took place at the end of October-early November 1984 year when mobs, some allegedly including members of the Congress party, killed members of the Sikh community in retaliation for Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

“We continue to support the quest for justice and stern punishment for those found guilty in 1984 riots as also the subsequent acts of violence including the 2002 Gujarat riots. Any opinion remark made by any individual to the contrary including Shri Sam Pitroda is not the opinion of the Congress party. We advise all leaders to be careful and sensitive,” the Congress said in another statement that was released by chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.

While apologising, Pitroda also said his comment had been blown out of proportion. “My Hindi is not that good, I think in English and translate in Hindi... I could not translate bura in my mind... what I really meant to say is jo hua bura hua tha (what happened was bad),” he said.