A leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal or SAD has demanded in the Lok Sabha that the 1984 anti-Sikh riots should be declared as a "genocide". SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra made the remarks during Zero Hour, soon after the Delhi High Court sentenced Congress leader Sajjan Kumar to life in the killing of five members of a family in 1984.
Mr Chandumajra alleged the Congress party has been protecting key accused in the case. Without naming anyone, the SAD leader said someone facing allegations of involvement in the anti-Sikh riots is going to become the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, an apparent reference to Congress leader Kamal Nath, who will take the oath shortly.
At least 3,000 people were killed when mobs led by Congress leaders targeted Sikhs after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31.
While many witnesses and survivors gave accounts of Congress leaders inciting and leading mobs on the streets of Delhi, Sajjan Kumar, a former MP, is the first top leader of the party to be convicted.
Union Minister and SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal welcomed the verdict and criticised the Congress for allegedly protecting those named in the riots case.
For 34 years, Congress & Gandhis protected Sajjan Kumar, Tytler and Kamalnath. Captain Amarinder too gave clean chits to killers of Sikhs. Finally the court exposed the cover-up. What do @RahulGandhi & @capt_amarinder have to say now? #1984SikhGenocide- Harsimrat Kaur Badal (@HarsimratBadal_) December 17, 2018
The Congress rejected the allegations and slammed the BJP for politicising the matter. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said justice has been delivered to the victims of one of the "worst instances of communal violence in independent India".
In a statement, the Punjab chief minister said he has been naming Sajjan Kumar, along with a few other former Congress leaders including Dharam Das Shastri, HKL Bhagat and Arjun Das, for the past 34 years, based on the information he had personally received from victims in refugee camps in Delhi during the riots.
Mr Singh reiterated his stand that neither the Congress party nor the Gandhi family had any role to play in the rioting and lashed out at the Badals "for continuing to drag their names into the case at the behest of their political masters, the BJP, who were clearly shaken by the clear mandate given by the people to Rahul Gandhi's leadership in the recent assembly elections in three states". Three Congress chief ministers are taking charge today in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.