Pitroda’s ‘hua toh hua’ remark on 1984 riots sparks political storm
PM Modi said the three-word response of the Congress leader summed up the party’s stance on the brutal killings of the Sikhs in 1984, reflecting its arrogance.
Indian Overseas Congress chief Sam Pitroda’s ‘hua toh hua’ (so what if it happened) remark on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots kicked up a storm on Friday, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the party, saying it showed the “character, mentality and intentions” of the Congress.
Modi, who addressed poll rallies in Punjab and Haryana on the last day of campaigning for the sixth phase, said the three-word response of the Congress leader summed up the party’s stance on the brutal killings of the Sikhs in 1984, reflecting its arrogance.
Modi said thousands of Sikhs were killed, their shops were set ablaze and livelihoods were destroyed, but the Congress had now closed the chapter with just three words. “Do you know who this leader (Pitroda) is? He is very close to the Gandhi family. This leader was very good friend of Rajiv Gandhi and guru of Congress ‘naamdar’ (dynast) president,” he said, tearing into the party.
Modi also appealed to Punjabis to give him the mandate to punish the guilty of 1984 riots. His attack on the Congress leadership came a day after Pitroda said: “84 mein hua toh hua”. The controversial remark not only left the Congress leaders red-faced, but also provided political ammunition to its rivals, particularly the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) that is battling disaffection among the Sikhs on the sacrilege issue, to corner the party.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife, Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, while terming the comment as “disgraceful”, asked chief minister Amarinder Singh to “show his guts and take a stand against the Gandhi family”. BJP and Akali workers also staged a protest near Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s residence in Delhi.
Pitroda apologised for his statement, but accused the BJP of twisting his words. “I acknowledge the pain of my Sikh brothers and sisters during difficult times in 1984 and deeply feel for the atrocities that happened. What I meant was move on,” he told a news agency. His apology came after the Congress scurried to distance itself from the comment.
Taking strong exception, Amarinder, while expressing total disagreement, termed the statement as shocking. “The 1984 riots were a big tragedy. If some individual leaders were allegedly involved in the riots, they should be punished as per law,” he said.