The presence of 1984 anti-Sikh riots accused Jagdish Tytler at an event to appoint Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit as the Delhi Congress chief has sparked a controversy, drawing sharp reactions from the BJP and its ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). The 74-year-old riots accused was seen in the front row at the event which took place in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal accused Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi of sponsoring killers of innocents. “After playing an abominable role in the Sikh genocide, Jagdish Tytler has the audacity to turn up at an important Congress event, well, no surprises there, since @RahulGandhi is taking forward the party’s legacy of sponsoring killers of innocents,” she tweeted.
Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa also alleged that the Congress made Tytler sit in the front row to “intimidate” witnesses in related cases. He claimed the Congress is “afraid as it is aware that Tytler and Kamal Nath would also be jailed” in cases related to the anti-Sikh riots.
“The Congress wants to send a message to the witnesses that the party high command supports Tytler and nobody should even try to testify against him,” he alleged.
When asked about people linking his name to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Tytler replied, “It doesn’t matter what people say. There is no case. Court has already given its verdict and the Supreme Court has given me a clean chit.”
However, Dikshit backed the Congress leader’s presence at the event and accused the BJP and SAD of having a narrow view of looking at things. “Its a very narrow way of looking at things. After all, he is a Congressman. The Congress has not shunted him out and he has not gone away from the party. So, why make an issue out of a non-issue,” she told PTI.
In December, the 1984 riots allegations came back to haunt the party after another riot-accused leader, Sajjan Kumar, was sentenced to life in jail by the Delhi High Court, which canceled an earlier court order letting him off. Tytler and Sajjan Kumar were both accused by riot victims of leading mobs and goading them to target Sikhs in Delhi.
Dikshit, 80, was appointed to the post by the party’s national president Rahul Gandhi after Ajay Maken stepped down citing health troubles.
-With inputs from Agencies