Rahul Gandhi says 1984 anti-Sikh riots ‘wrong’

November 18th, 2008 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Amritsar, Nov 18 (IANS) A quarter century after his father Rajiv Gandhi justified the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, Rahul Gandhi said the violence against the community in the aftermath of his grandmother’s assassination was “wrong”"The 1984 riots against Sikhs were wrong and people responsible for this should be brought to justice,” Gandhi told media persons in the Sikh holy city Tuesday.

The Gandhi family and the Congress party have been blamed by the Sikhs for the army’s operation in the Golden Temple against Sikh militants and the anti-Sikh riots following the assassinations of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards.

Gandhi called Operation Bluestar, the name of the army operation, as a “tragedy for Punjab”.

He said that the Gandhi family did not have any ill-feelings against the Sikh community. He added that the hatred among Sikhs against the Gandhi family and the Congress was also not true.

“I have traveled across Punjab recently and wherever I have gone I was received with much love and affection. There is no ill feeling at all. I know that my late grandmother and father, as well as my mother, myself and the entire country are very proud of the Sikhs.”

“I have seen with my own eyes how when my grandmother lost the elections in 1977 everyone left her. Only her Sikh friends stayed with her,” Gandhi said, trying to strike an emotional chord with the Sikh community.

Gandhi had toured Punjab for three days in September this year to revive the Youth Congress in the state. He started his visit with an unannounced visit to the Harmandar Sahib, better known as the Golden Temple, here as a pilgrim in the early morning hours, catching everyone by surprise.

Addressing a rally in New Delhi after his mother’s assassination Oct 31, 1984, Rajiv Gandhi, who became prime minister, sought to rationalise the violence that led to the death of over 3000 Sikhs, by saying “when a big tree falls, the earth shakes”.

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