Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has lashed out at Sukhbir Singh Badal for trying once again to drag the innocent Gandhi family into the 1984 riots case, in which only a few individual Congress leaders were involved without any support, covert or overt, by the party leadership.
Ridiculing the SAD president’s frustrated attempts to undermine Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, under which the Congress has recently swept to victory in the Assembly elections in three major states, the Chief Minister said it was evident that Sukhbir was desperately trying to grab at straws to fight back into the electoral game ahead of the parliamentary polls.
Lambasting the Akalis for exploiting religious sensitivities to garner electoral support, Captain Amarinder Singh asked Sukhbir to stop politicizing such a sensitive issue. Misusing religion for political gains will not yield any dividends for the SAD and would backfire on the party in the Lok Sabha elections, as it had done in the 2017 Assembly polls.
The Chief Minister reiterated his stance that while individuals who had any role to play in spreading mayhem against the Sikh community deserved to be punished and should pay for their crimes, it was irrational to try and drag the Congress party as a whole, or the Gandhis, into the case. Rahul was a school-going child and Rajeev Gandhi was away in West Bengal at the time of the violence, Captain Amarinder Singh pointed out, lambasting Sukhbir for trying to exploit the religious sentiments of the Sikhs for petty political gains.
Criminals have no religion and are not affiliated to any political party, said Captain Amarinder Singh, adding that all those responsible for perpetrating the violence in the wake of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination will pay for their crimes. The courts have already set a precedent in the case by sentencing Sajjan Kumar to life term, said the Chief Minister, expressing the confidence that others guilty of the heinous crime will also pay in the same coin.
If Sukhbir was really concerned about punishing the guilty, why had he never raised the issue of the 22 RSS/BJP workers named in the FIR registered in the case at Tughlaq Road police station, questioned the Chief Minister, adding that the entire hullaballoo being raised by the Akalis was nothing but politically motivated agenda to divert attention from their own wrongdoings and misdeeds. The Congress, including Rahul Gandhi, had never raised this issue as they believed that criminals had no political ideologies or affiliations, said the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister pointed out that he had been consistently maintaining that Sajjan Kumar was named by the victims whom he had visited in the refugee camps following the riots. The names of other Congress leaders whom Sukhbir was trying persistently to drag into the case were never mentioned, said Captain Amarinder Singh.
It was up to the judiciary, however, to nail and award punishment to the culprits, and neither Sukhbir nor any other Akali or BJP leader had any locus standii in the matter, said the Chief Minister, asking the SAD president to stop trying to take political mileage out of the issue ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Captain Amarinder Singh said every case against any individual involved in the rioting would be taken to its logical conclusion by the courts, which did not need Sukhbir’s guidance in the matter.>