Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s home in Ashok Vihar in Delhi was almost burnt down by a mob during the anti-Sikh riots in 1984, his daughter Daman Singh said Saturday on the eve of the release of her book on her parents. She said the apology tendered by Singh for the riots in Parliament in 2005 was a difficult speech. She said she considered that as one of the most moving speeches he has ever made.
Daman, in an interview to Karan Thapar on his programme Nothing but the Truth on Headlines Today channel, also indicated that the former Prime Minister could write an autobiography. She said it was “upsetting” for her that the public opinion had turned against him towards the end of his decade-long stint as Prime Minister.
Daman talks about the incident during the anti-Sikh riots in her book Strictly Personal: Manmohan and Gursharan. She said her father, then the RBI Governor, was away in Mumbai at that time. Her just married elder sister and her brother-in-law were staying at the Ashok Vihar house.
“When the riots started, Ashok Vihar was one of the affected areas…a mob came to our gate and wanted to enter it and burn it down. My brother-in-law went out. It so happens that my brother-in-law is not a Sikh. So he tried to convince them not to do this and then he said the house did not belong to a Sikh family. It was his house and he was a Hindu…this satisfied the mob and they went away,” she said.
“The sad thing was that we knew some of the people in the mob… They were not our friends, but we knew who they were.”
Asked about the apology the former PM tendered for the riots in Rajya Sabha in 2005, she said he did not see it as a personal experience, but as how the Sikhs and the nation had been through.
Was it upsetting for Manmohan Singh that the public opinion had turned against him towards the end of his tenure? She said public opinion was a “transient thing” and changed from minute to minute.
Asked whether her father was considering writing his memoirs, Daman said, “I think he should. I am not sure he is. But I think he should because there is so much wisdom and knowledge and experience that I think it would be a service.”