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Congress defends Rahul’s ‘84 anti-Sikh riots remarks

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Chidu says RaGa can’t be held responsible for something that took place when he was a teen.

Kolkata/London : Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday came out in support of his party president’s comment on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and said Rahul Gandhi cannot be held responsible for something that took place when he was 13/14-years-old.

Chidambaram, who is on a visit here, said former prime minister Manmohan Singh had apologised in Parlia-ment as had former party chief Sonia Gandhi for the “terrible thing” (anti-Sikh riots) that took place when the Congress was in power.


To a question being asked by a reporter at an event in the UK Parliament about the 1984 riots, Gandhi said: “I have no confusion in my mind about that. It was a tragedy, it was a painful experience. You say that the Congress party was involved in that, I don’t agree with that. Certainly there was violence, certainly there was tragedy.”

Later, during an interactive session at the London School of Economics (LSE) when he was again asked about the anti-Sikh riots and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement on it, Gandhi said: “When Manmohan Singh spoke, he spoke for all of us. As I said earlier, I am a victim of violence and I understand what it feels.”

“So, I am against any sort of violence against anybody on this planet. I get disturbed when I see anybody being hurt. So, I condemn that 100 per cent and I am 100 per cent for punishment for those involved in any violence against anybody. That’s crystal clear,” said Gandhi.

Chidambaram, while defending Rahul, said, “Congress was in office in 1984, nobody is denying that. A very terrible thing happened in 1984 for which Dr Manmohan Singh has apologised in Parliament. We are not saying that the Congress is absolved. Mrs (Sonia) Gandhi has also apologised and on numerous occasion, some of us have also said what happened in 1984 was a terrible thing.”

“Now, you can’t hold Rahul Gandhi responsible for that – he was 13 or 14 years of age then… He has not absolved anyone. What Rahul Gandhi has said is there is on the AICC website. The full text is there you can have a look at it, please read it,” the former finance minister said.

Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday hit out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi over his remarks on 1984 anti-Sikh riots, saying by disagreeing with the view his party was involved in the “genocide”, he had “rubbed the salt into the wounds” of the Sikh community.

Hitting out at the Congress president, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged that Gandhi was trying to protect those Congress leaders who were involved in the “genocide”.

“Rahul Gandhi has rubbed salt into the wounds of Sikh ‘quom’ (community) by saying that Congress was not involved in 1984 anti Sikh riots,” Badal told reporters here on Saturday, adding, “It shows the thinking of Gandhi towards Sikh community.”