Badal promises memorial in Delhi for anti-Sikh riot victims (Lead)

November 8th, 2009 - 7:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi/Chandigarh, Nov 8 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Sunday announced that a heritage memorial would be built in New Delhi as a tribute to the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh massacre.
Leading various religious and political organisations in performing prayers for the victims of the anti-Sikh carnage on the 25th anniversary of the violence, Badal described it as the third “ghallughara” (genocide) in Sikh history.

Badal offered prayers at a gurdwara in Greater Kailash-II in New Delhi Sunday. He later said that a memorial for riot victims would be built in Punjab also.

Nearly 3,000 Sikhs were targeted and killed by violent mobs, allegedly instigated by certain Congress leaders, in New Delhi and other places across India in the aftermath of the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards at her residence in New Delhi Oct 31, 1984.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Shiromani Akali Dal had jointly given a call for observing ‘Ardas Divas’ (prayer day) Sunday (Nov 8) to keep up the pressure to seek justice for victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Akali Dal president and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal offered prayers at the Dukhniwaran Sahib gurdwara in Patiala city, 70 km from here.

The SGPC, the mini-parliament of Sikhs that manages Sikh shrines across Punjab, organised prayers at various gurdwaras, including the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, 260 km from here.

The Akalis demanded that those guilty of instigating and leading riots against Sikhs in the aftermath of the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards at her residence in New Delhi Oct 31, 1984, should be punished.

“Victims of the 1984 massacre have not got justice in the last 25 years. We want the guilty to be punished. The Congress is trying to shield them,” Sukhbir Badal said.

The Badals blamed the Congress government at the centre for going slow against Congress leaders accused of unleashing violence against Sikhs. They charged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself the first Sikh prime minister of the country, for deliberately keeping silent on the issue of getting justice for riot victims.

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