Congress's Sam Pitroda, who is in charge of the party's overseas units, brushed off the BJP's suggestion that the 1984 anti-Sikh riots took place on the orders of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The party had cited the Nanavati Commission report to validate the claim, which has infuriated the Congress. The report, which came out in 2005, had contradicted any such suggestion. Asked to respond to the BJP claim, ANI quoted Pitroda as saying: "I don't think so, this is also another lie. What about 1984 now? What have you done in the last five years, talk about that. What happened in 1984, happened. What have you done? (Ab kya hai''84 ka? Aapne kya kiya 5 saal mein, uski baat kariye. ''84 mein hua to hua. Aapne kya kiya?)
The Congress on Friday distanced itself from party leader Sam Pitordas “hua to hua” remarks in connection with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, saying that it was not the party’s opinion and all leaders should be careful and sensitive in their remarks.
In a statement, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala also raised the issue of the 2002 Gujarat riots when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was Chief Minister and said the party continues to support the quest for justice and punishment for those responsible for all the riots.
“Indian National Congress and its leadership have striven to ensure justice for 1984 riot victims. We continue to support the quest for justice and stern punishment for those found guilty of 1984 riots as also the subsequent acts of violence including the 2002 Gujarat riots.
“Any opinion or remark made by any individual to the contrary including Sam Pitroda is not the opinion of the Congress party. We advise all leaders to be careful and sensitive,” he said.
Surjewala alleged that riots were “vote-garnering exercise” in every election for the BJP which did not work for “ensuring justice and closure” and people “should see through this Machiavellian game of deception, distraction and distortion by Narendra Modi”.
Surjewala said Congress believes that justice should be done to 1984 riots victims as also to 2002 Gujarat riots victims.
“We abhor violence of any kind, against any person or a group of people based on their caste, colour, region or religion. This is the essence of India,” he said.
Referring to Sadhvi Pragya who has been fielded by the BJP from Bhopal, Surjewala said that unlike the BJP, which has decided to field a candidate charged with terror crimes and is being lauded by none less than Modi himself, Congress has “shown the moral and political courage to punish people and leaders accused of violence/role in 1984″.
“This is the yardstick of self-imposed accountability and sense of justice to people followed by the Congress unlike the BJP,” he said
Pitroda had, on Thursday, made a controversial remark about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots saying, “84 mein hua to hua (it happened in 1984, so what)”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the Congress over Sam Pitroda’s reported remarks “Hua to hua” (it just happened)on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, saying the “genocide” was a stain that the opposition party can never clean.
Addressing his first election rally in Punjab ahead of the May 19 polls, the Prime Minister also said that Punjab can never forget the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
“See the arrogance of Congress that one of its leader said ‘hua toh hua’ to such a genocide. This is such a stain in the neck of the Congress which it can never clean. Can Punjab forget the 1984 riots,” Modi said as he asked the crowd who was responsible for what happened in 1984.
He said that for three decades, injustice was meted out to the Sikhs and now the Congress was saying “hua to hua”.
“After three decades of making excuses and commissions, injustice was done to my Sikh brothers and sisters. Sometimes the Congress sprinkled salt on their wounds and sometimes it committed the sin of sprinkling acid. Now, they are saying ‘hua toh hua’,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi further said that Sikhs would get justice till the time he is the ‘chowkidar’ (watchman).
“In 2014, I had promised justice to the victims of 1984 riots. I had said that the murderers of Sikhs will not be spared. As soon as we came to power, we dug out the files. Today I am satisfied that those whom the ‘namdars’ tried to save have been sent to jail,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that the Congress always took the people of the country for granted, while the NDA led by the BJP understood the basic needs of the common people.
“Be it the farmers or the youth, opportunities are being created for everyone,” he said.
The Prime Minister also took a dig at Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu over his prise for Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and slammed the Congress over its Pakistan policy.
“When we were trying to find a solution to the Kartarpur Corridor issue, one of the Congress leaders started praising Pakistan. This is the politics of Congress which has promoted terrorism spread by Pakistan,” Modi said. (IANS)