BJP attacks Rahul Gandhi for remarks on Gujarat, anti-Sikh riots

Rahul Gandhi’s attempts to blame Narendra Modi for the Gujarat riots while trying to maintain distance  from the 1984 anti-Sikh riots during his television interview triggered a barrage of criticism from the opposition BJP, which said the Congress vice-president was “Ill-informed, irresponsible and laughable.”

Senior lawyer H S Phoolka, who fought a number of cases for the anti-Sikh riot victims, demanded an SIT probe on the riots that took place in the aftermath of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984.

If the Congress supports SIT in Gujarat riots case, why cannot it support the same for the anti-Sikh riots, he asked.

Gandhi ruffled the feathers during a TV interview when he sought to differentiate the role of governments during the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and 2002 in Gujarat. He also refused to apologise for the riots saying he was not involved in it. Senior BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad claimed the Gujarat government tried to control the riots in 2002 as “190 rioters” were killed in police firing and in contrast, "not a single bullet was fired" to check the “state-sponsored pogrom” in Delhi in 1984.

“(Rahul) needs to take back his remarks. He must publicly express regret for making a palpably wrong statement,” he said. The accusations against Modi, which goes on despite the clean chit by the Supreme Court-monitored probe, are “unfortunate” and “irresponsible”, he added.

On its part, the Congress rallied behind Gandhi with party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi saying while the post-Godhra court cases had to be transferred from Gujarat for justice, a large number of convictions did take place in the anti-Sikh riots cases.

“Criminal law does not make a distinction between common people and the leaders of political parties... 482 convictions took place in the 1984 riots (cases). The political career of a number of very senior Congress leaders was affected. Apart from apology, there has been a reconciliation for the last 20-30 years,” he said.

SAD leader Naresh Gujral alleged that the Congress had shielded individuals who were involved in the “carnage” against Sikhs.

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