New Delhi: Water cannons were used on a large group of Sikh demonstrators at the Congress office in Delhi today, as they tried to climb over police barricades and demanded action against party leader Captain Amarinder Singh for his recent remarks to NDTV on the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.
Mr Singh, who has served as Chief Minister of Punjab, told NDTV that while other Congress leaders may be linked to the riots, Jagdish Tytler of the Congress played no role in fueling the violence that left over 3000 Sikhs dead. “I’m not the CBI, I’m not the court. I’m telling you what I saw and felt….I was in Delhi, I went to all the camps.. and everyone I met took all these names that I have told you except Jagdish Tytler. When did Jagdish Tytler’s name come up? It came up when he was fighting Madan Lal Khurana in Delhi, that was months later.”
In a blog today, the BJP’s Arun Jaitley who is running against Mr Singh for parliament from Amritsar also referenced the NDTV interview to ask, “Is he (Amarinder) trying to prejudge the guilt of a person who is perceived to be involved in the riots?”
Mr Singh, did bluntly admit the active role of other Congress leaders may have incited the deadly riots. He named HKL Bhagat, Lalit Maken , and Sajjan kumar, but when asked about Mr Tytler, said, “No, Tytler’s name was added later.” He added that he was “on record for 25 years with the same view”
A court in Delhi last year ordered the CBI to reopen the investigation against Mr Tytler after the agency said it wanted to close the case against the politician.
Families of those affected by the riots and human rights activists say Mr Tytler tops a list of Congress leaders who instigated the attacks against Sikhs in Delhi after prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards, in alleged retaliation for ordering the army to enter Amritsar’s Golden Temple, Sikhism’s most revered shrine, to flush out militants who were holed up there.
In 2009, following a huge public outcry in the capital, the Congress party dropped Mr Tytler’s name from its list of candidates for general elections.
This election too, after initially filing his nomination papers for the primaries held for the Delhi North East seat, Mr Tytler withdrew his name following talks with the party high command.