New Delhi/Muktsar, Jan 29 (IANS) The AAP and BJP Wednesday demanded a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said some Congress leaders were probably involved in these. Akali Dal patron Parkash Singh Badal, however, rejected the demand, saying there was “hardly any need”.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi said it will hold a cabinet meeting Friday where it will decide the parameters of the SIT to probe the riots.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday met Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung and submitted the request for an SIT to probe the riots in which more than 3,000 people, mostly Sikhs, were killed in the capital in the aftermath of the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
“Najeeb Jung has assured that Kejriwal’s request would be considered and the prime minister will be informed,” an official said.
Kejriwal told the media later that the demand for an SIT probe was part of the AAP’s election manifesto.
“I have asked the lt. governor for an SIT probe into the 1984 riots. The lt. governor sounded positive about the issue. And it was also part of our manifesto,” he said.
Education Minister Manish Sisodia said the AAP held a rally before the Delhi elections to demand an SIT on the anti-Sikh 1984 riots.
In a TV interview earlier, Rahul Gandhi admitted that “some Congress men were probably involved” in the 1984 riots.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Harsh Vardhan also met Jung Wednesday.
“We want justice for the victims of 1984 and are demanding an SIT probe into the riots,” Harsh Vardhan told media persons.
Akali Dal’s Delhi unit president Manjit Singh G.K. said that since Rahul Gandhi acknowledged the role of Congress leaders in the riots, he should take action against them.
Manjit Singh said they “don’t want an apology but action against the culprits in the 1984 riots. We demand an SIT probe”.
He said an agitation would be held outside the Congress party headquarters Thursday morning.
However, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who is the patron of the Akali Dal, Wednesday rejected Kejriwal’s demand for an SIT.
Badal said in Muktsar district that there was “hardly any need for it (SIT probe) as several earlier high-level inquiries conducted on the matter have pointed towards the role of Congress leaders in this planned mass massacre of Sikhs”.
He said the “need of the hour was to take exemplary action against the Congress leaders involved in this dastardly act so that succour could be provided to the victim families”.
It was time to give justice to the victims instead of setting up another SIT, Badal said.
Reacting sharply to Rahul Gandhi’s statement, Badal asked what deterred the Congress and the union government from acting against party leaders involved in the heinous act.
Badal said Rahul Gandhi owed an answer to the public about why the Congress leaders involved in the riots have not been punished so far.
“Instead of taking any action against these tainted leaders, the Congress party has not only been protecting them but they were rewarded by the party with pivotal posts, which reflected the anti-Sikh stance of the Congress,” he said.
The names of Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and H.K.L. Bhagat (now deceased) had figured among those accused of instigating mobs during the riots.