Mumbai: With Congress leader Kamal Nath resigning as the party’s in-charge of Punjab affairs, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Thursday said the move is a clear evidence of the fact that the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 was a very well organised and orchestrated by the grand old party and its leaders.
“We just saw the news that Kamal Nath has been withdrawn as the in-charge for the Punjab election. Probably, the Congress realized that they have made a mistake. It is very clear and evident that the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 was a very well-organised and orchestrated by the Congress and its leaders. So, they must have probably realized it,” Rijiju told ANI here.
Kamal Nath, whose appointment drew sharp criticism from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), stepped down as the general secretary in-charge of the Punjab Affairs following a controversy over his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
In a letter addressed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi yesterday, Kamal Nath requested her to relieve him from his duties so that the attention of the party is not diverted from the real issues such as the ‘rampant drug trade’ in Punjab.
“Certain elements are raking up these issues now only for political gains. I am touched by the support shown by our party workers and leaders in Punjab in repudiating the false accusations. I am a practitioner of Nehruvian politics and maligning of the Congress party using false accusations is unacceptable to me,” Nath said in the letter.
Hoping that the party focuses on the upcoming elections rather than the furore over his appointment, he added that the Congress must highlight the issues of misgovernance, misery of farmers and youth, break down of law and order and rampant drug trade that caused misery to the people of Punjab.
“Given this, I request that I may be relieved of my charge to ensure that the attention is not diverted from the real issues facing Punjab,” Nath said.
Several state Congress leaders and Nath himself had claimed that he had been absolved by the Nanavati Commission that probed the killings, which had followed the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her Sikh bodyguards. But the emotive issue could have rocked the boat of the Congress in the assembly elections that are barely six months away.
Immediately since the appointment, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), its partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were unsparing in their attack on Nath, who had admitted before the commission that he was present outside Gurdwara Rakabganj when a mob had set it on fire after killing a father-son duo on November 1, 1984. (ANI)