- He says it's wrong of PM Modi to link Rajiv Gandhi with 1984 riots
- Amarinder Singh also disagreed with Sam Pitroda's remarks on riots
- Says PM dragging Rajiv Gandhi's name to divert attention from real issues
Amarinder Singh, Congress leader and Punjab Chief Minister, on Friday said that it was wrong of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to link late PM Rajiv Gandhi with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. "What if someone links Modi with Godhra?" he asked.
The BJP had earlier tweeted a video that showed Rajiv Gandhi saying: "When a tree falls, the earth shakes." It was a supposed reference to the assassination of Indira Gandhi leading to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that killed thousands across the country.
The Punjab Chief Minister, however, disagreed with party colleague Sam Pitroda's "hua toh hua (what happened has happened)" remark on the riots. "The 1984 riots was a big tragedy, and its victims haven't received justice yet. If some individual leaders were allegedly involved in the riots, they should be punished as per law," he was quoted as saying in a release.
"Some leaders may have been involved in the riots, but that does not mean that PM Modi can implicate Rajiv Gandhi or the Congress," he said, adding that the Prime Minister would do well to recall that the names of several BJP and RSS leaders had also figured in police FIRs.
Mr Pitroda's comment was severely criticised by PM Modi, who said that it shows the "character and mentality" of the Congress.
Nearly 3,000 were killed in the riots that followed the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984. The Congress has been accused of shielding leaders who allegedly led mobs in a killing spree in Delhi and a few other states.
The Punjab Chief Minister's reference to Godhra relates to the death of at least 1,000 people - mostly Muslims - in three-day riots that swept through Gujarat after 59 kar sewaks or Hindu volunteers died in a fire on the Sabarmati Express on February 27, 2002. PM Modi was the Chief Minister of the state at the time.
The BJP has been attacking Rajiv Gandhi over the last week. Last weekend, PM Modi said at a rally that Rajiv Gandhi died as "Bhrashtachari (corrupt) Number 1". The remarks were condemned not just by Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra but also several opposition leaders including Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal.
Despite the criticism, PM again attacked Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1991, saying he used naval warship INS Virat as a personal taxi for a family outing. That allegation has been refuted by naval officers of the time, including the commander of the ship, Vice Admiral Vinod Pasricha.
Mr Singh added PM Modi was "dragging" Rajiv Gandhi's name to divert attention from the real issues.