Pranab to talk to PM about Sikh riots guilty (Roundup)

December 2nd, 2009 - 8:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday promised to consult Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to decide what could be done to punish the guilty in the anti-Sikh violence of 1984.
Mukherjee, who is also the leader of the Lok Sabha, made the intervention in the wake of an emotional appeal by Shiromani Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur during Zero Hour.

She wanted to know what the government had done over the past 25 years to punish those who killed innocent Sikhs in the wake of the October 1984 assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

“I will talk to the prime minister and other colleagues and see what can be done in the given situation,” Mukherjee said.

The entire opposition supported the Akali MP’s demand.

Mukherjee said he was present in the capital when the riots took place.

“Every one of us is ashamed” of what happened those days, he said.

Raising the issue, Kaur said no chargesheet has been filed against the killers even though 10 inquiry commissions probed the mayhem that seized the capital for more than 72 hours.

She said the government was sitting on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) request to file chargesheet against those accused of violence, which claimed some 2,700 lives.

In August 2005, the Justice Nanavati Commission recommended that cases be filed against the guilty. But no case has been registered, Kaur said.

“How long we have to wait for justice? Why is the government not giving us an answer?” Kaur asked.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani said: “This is a very serious situation and the leader of the house should respond.”

Opposition parties including the Janata Dal-United, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, Biju Janata Dal and Left parties supported Kaur’s demand.

Earlier, the issue was raised during question hour by Akali Dal MPs.

Raising slogans against the government, they walked towards Speaker Meira Kumar’s chair. She pacified them by assuring them that they could raise the matter during Zero Hour.

Speaking to reporters later, Kaur, who is wife of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, said that 7,000 Sikhs were killed in the 1984 riots but there had been very few arrests.

She said that she had worked among the victims in Delhi as a college student and she fully related to their pain.

“Those charged with criminal cases are sought to be given immunity by the government,” she said.

However, Kaur, was hard put to explain what steps were taken to punish the guilty in the anti-Sikh riots when the Akali Dal was part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government.

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