Shiroman Akali Dal: If ’84 not genocide, what is
India calling as “misguided” a private member’s motion adopted by the legislative assembly of Ontario in Canada that termed the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as “genocide” today found resonance in both Houses of Parliament.
The ruling BJP’s ally at the Centre — the Shiromani Akali Dal — asked the External Affairs Ministry to “immediately withdraw” the statement by spokesperson Gopal Baglay and the minister concerned, Sushma Swaraj, to speak in Parliament on the issue.
As Akali leaders evoked the top BJP leadership — former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vaypayee and senior leaders LK Advani and Rajnath Singh — who, too, termed as “genocide” the 1984 riots, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chief Manjit Singh GK asked the government to apologise in Parliament for the statement by the MEA spokesperson.
“Now when we should be applauding the Ontario assembly for terming it (the riots) what it was, it is very strange that the Indian government’s spokesperson called the resolution misguided,” said Akali leader Naresh Gujral in the Rajya Sabha“Not only does it require a closure by punishing the guilty expeditiously, but I find that our government is rubbing salt on their (riot victims) wounds by protesting to Canada when the Ontario assembly has shown immense courage by calling a spade a spade.
“I demand that this statement by MEA be withdrawn immediately and the Minister must make a statement in Parliament on the issue,” Gujral said.
In the Lok Sabha, Prem Singh Chandumajara wondered that “if the 1984 carnage was not genocide, then what it could be called”, recalling Vajpayee and Advani’s reactions to the massacre.Amid vehement protests by Congress leaders, Gujral told the House “it was not a Hindu-Sikh riot as successive Congress governments have tried to make us believe. In fact, many Hindus and Muslims risked their lives to save their Sikh friends”.
There was a massacre of innocent Sikhs… an orgy of killings that went on unabated and unchecked for three horrible days and nights. —Naresh Gujral, Akali MP in Rajya Sabha
I demand from the government to withdraw the statement rejecting the Ontario assembly resolution terming anti-Sikh riots as genocide. —Prem Singh Chandumajra, Akali MP in LS