A day after two Youth Akali Dal (YAD) leaders vandalised a statue of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in Salem Tabri area of Ludhiana in protest over 1984 anti-Sikh riots, former SAD minister Bikram Singh Majithia along with other SAD leaders sat on a dharna against police action at mini-secretariat Wednesday.
Majithia said that the actions of YAD leaders were ‘purely an emotional outburst’ as their sentiments as Sikhs were hurt. He also said that all statues of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi installed in Punjab should be removed as now Congress hand in 1984 anti-Sikh riots has been clearly established in the court with conviction of Sajjan Kumar.
While one of the accused YAD leader Gurdeep Singh Gosha was arrested Tuesday, other accused Meetpal Singh Dugri surrendered in the court Wednesday. Both were sent in one-day police remand by the court.
Majithia, who also met Ludhiana Police Commissioner, said that both YAD leaders were unfairly booked under non-bailable Section 153-A of IPC (promoting enmity between groups on basis of religion). Speaking to The Indian Express, Majithia said, “For all these years Rahul Gandhi has maintained that Congress had no role in 1984 anti-Sikh riots but now when it has been established in the court that Congress was directly involved in massacre of Sikhs, they have no answer. For 34 years, police failed to act against those responsible for genocide against Sikhs but defacement of just a statue has hurt Congress so much that our men have been booked under a non-bailable section. The FIR has been registered on statement of MC employee who wasn’t even on duty on Tuesday as it was Christmas holiday.”
He added, “Whatever both did was purely out of emotions as their sentiments were hurt as Sikhs. In fact, all statues of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi across Punjab should be removed because of their actions. Even court has recorded that it is because of political patronage that accused in 1984 riots were shielded for 34 years. If defacement of just a statue has hurt the Congress so much then what about thousands of those Sikh families whose members were burnt alive and killed brutally.”
The Akali Dal also alleged that Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, acting on orders of higher ups, demolished a building owned by Gosha’s kin Wednesday. In the morning, a team of Ludhiana MC led by ATP SS Bindra demolished a building at Bhadaur House which they said was ‘illegal’. Majithia alleged that building was owned by Gosha’s brother and was demolished to harass the family.“All other similar buildings in vicinity were not touched but the one owned by Gosha’s brother has been demolished. In fact, that statue of Rajiv Gandhi is illegal and built by a private person on public land. Why MC did not go and demolish it? Why this pick and choose policy,” said Majithia.
High drama was also witnessed in the court as senior SAD leaders, including Majithia, MLA Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and ex-MLAs Manpreet Ayali, Ranjit Dhillon and Darshan Shivalik, entered court room when both YAD leaders were brought for hearing.
Damanbir Singh Sobti, counsel for Gosha and Dugri, said that police asked for six-day remand of accused claiming that it has to recover vehicles and black paint but court granted one-day remand.