Sikh leaders from AAP and BJP on Thursday came together to demand that the Bharat Ratna given to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi should be taken back “as he had justified the 1984 anti-Sikh riots”.
They also released a video purportedly showing Rajiv Gandhi speaking about the riots that broke out following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The video purportedly shows Rajiv Gandhi addressing a gathering of Congress workers on November 19, 1984 where he is heard saying “logon ko laga ki Bharat hil raha hai, lekin jab koi bada ped girta hai to dharti thodi hilti hai (When a big tree falls, the earth shakes).” The video, the Sikh leaders claimed, has been deleted from DD archives.
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AAP leader H S Phoolka, who shared the stage with R P Singh of the BJP, said that Rajiv Gandhi not only justified the killings of the Sikhs, he also rewarded party workers who masterminded the riots.
“The name of Jagdish Tytler appeared in reports of human rights group, H K L Bhagat was promoted to cabinet minister. Cases were not registered with the police. It took the government three years to come out with the actual number of people killed in the riots. Had it not been for (BJP leader) Madan Lal Khurana, the government would have stuck to the official figure of 650, whereas 2,736 Sikhs were killed in Delhi,” said Phoolka.
“He flouted every law of this country. He was no ratan (jewel) and thus Bharat Ratna should be withdrawn,” said Phoolka, who announced that people who believe in fighting for justice to the riot-hit Sikh families will soon form a new outfit. He said the new group will have leaders from across parties and he would approach CPM leader Brinda Karat, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan to become part of the new group.
Singh also released a purported Congress advertisement that was published ahead of the 1984 elections that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi and the anti-Sikh riots.
“The ad published in 1984 reads ‘why should you feel
uncomfortable riding a taxi driven by a driver who belongs to other state’. At that time a majority of the car drivers were Sikhs. The Congress launched the campaign on communal lines and cornered the Sikhs,” he alleged.