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Rahul's 1984 riots blunder attracts wrath of Sikh outfits

January 30, 2014 16:00 IST

Several Sikh groups on Thursday staged a protest outside the Congress’s headquarters in Delhi and demanded that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi reveal the names of party members who were involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

In a recent interview to a TV news channel, Gandhi had said that "some Congressmen were probably involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and they have been punished for it".

The protesters shouted anti-Congress slogans and held up black flags and placards, one of which read, "CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) should question Rahul Gandhi about Congress’s involvement in 1984 riots".

"We want justice. We want to know who were the people involved in the riots," said one of the protesters.

Asked about the Delhi government's decision to set up a Special Investigation Team to probe the riots cases, he said, "We have been demanding a SIT for the past 25 years. If Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is really with us, we welcome him, but if he is doing politics, we would like to request him to not do so".

The 200-odd demonstrators marched towards the Congress headquarters and managed to break the first barricade. They were stopped, however, at the second barricade by police. Many of them were detained and taken to the Tughlaq Road police station from where they were later released.

In the interview, Gandhi had insisted that the Congress government in 1984 had not aided and abetted the riots but had tried to stop the violence instead.

Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar are facing allegations of involvement in the riots which occurred in the aftermath of former prime minister Indira Gandhi's assassination on October 31, 1984.

So far, Delhi police and the CBI have held investigations into the riots.

A Sikh rights group -- which has already filed human rights violation cases against the Congress party and its chief Sonia Gandhi -- had said it will subpoena the party's vice president Rahul Gandhi before a United States court in the 1984 anti-Sikh rights lawsuit.

The Sikhs for Justice said it decided to subpoena Gandhi after he said in a televised interview that "some Congress men were probably involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and they have been punished for it."

The group said it will subpoena Gandhi "as a witness before a New York federal court in the pending 1984 Sikh rights violation lawsuit."

Reacting to the SFJ's demand, eminent Indian-American lawyer Ravi Batra said that any requests for subpoena issued to Gandhi will be responded to with a motion to dismiss.

Batra, who represents the Congress party in US courts, also strongly objected to the SFJ's demand saying the group should not build "visitor-suites in their sand castles”.

"Staying out of the internal politics of India, but dealing only with the legal issues raised by the SFJ's perpetual desire to raise false public expectations -- any subpoena issued by SFJ on Rahul Gandhi will be met with a motion to quash," Batra said.

Image used for representational purpose only

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