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Plaques blaming Indira, Rajiv for 1984 riots at Delhi memorial

Plaques blaming Indira, Rajiv for 1984 riots at Delhi memorial

New Delhi: Two plaques holding former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi responsible for the 1984 riots will be part of a memorial that has been constructed by the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee in New Delhi as a “reminder of injustice” towards the victims.

The metal plates, titled “Dastan-e-Indira Gandhi” and “Dastan-e-Rajiv Gandhi”, were presented to the office bearers of the DSGMC by the 1984 Riot Victims Council.

They read: “Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister, in a self-styled dictatorial manner, ordered the Operation Blue Star thereby attacking Sri Harmandar Sahib, Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Sri Amritsar Sahib, where Sikh sangat had gathered to commemorate the martyrdom of Sri Guru Arjun Dev.

“In this so called military operation, thousands of innocent Sikhs were killed, sacrileges committed and Sri Akal Takht razed to the ground. Hundreds of Sikh military personnel, falsely implicated in sedition cases, were killed after dragging them out of their barracks (sic).”

The group said widows of riot victims will carry these plaques to the gurudwara. “The plaques tell the truth. This is what had happened. This is what Indira and Rajiv did. We have received the plates.”

The committee members will now take a decision on where they will be installed. “The only thing that we need to talk through is whether these two attackers merit a mention at a memorial in a gurudwara,” General Secretary, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Manjinder Singh Sirsa said.

The memorial, called “The Wall of Truth”, has been built in an area of 2,500 sq m at a cost of Rs 2.25 crore at the Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib Complex near Parliament.

It was on Sunday thrown open to the public. The structure has names of thousands of Sikhs killed in the riots and people from other communities who laid down their lives trying to save them etched on its walls.

The ‘Wall of Truth’ had courted controversy in 2013 with the Congress-backed SAD (Delhi) opposing the choice of venue.

At the memorial, space has also been given to the observations of different panels which were set up by the government to probe the riots.

The decision to build it had come in 2013, close on the heels of acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, who was facing allegations of perpetrating the riots, by a Karkardooma court in April that year.

The construction work had begun in November 2014. “Congress was dead against the construction of the memorial. It even moved court against it.

Also, the Sheila Dikshit government had in November 2012 scuttled our efforts to name a park in Punjabi Bagh to commemorate the killing of innocent Sikhs,” Sirsa said.

He said the DSGMC chose the venue, just a stone’s throw away from Parliament, “to remind the government of its failure to do justice to its people”.

PTI