A day after Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was sentenced to life imprisonment for leading a mob that killed 5 members of a Sikh family during 1984 riots, party president Rahul Gandhi has refused to respond to questions on the verdict. He said at a press conference today he had already made his position on the riots clear.
"I have made my position on the riots very clear, and I have said this before. This press conference is about the farmers of the country and that Mr Modi refuses to waive off even one rupee of loan," Mr Gandhi said when asked about the verdict.
Nearly 3,000 Sikhs were killed after former prime minister Indira Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi's grandmother, was shot by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984.
Earlier this year, Mr Gandhi, during a two-day visit to the UK, had said that he didn't agree with the view that the Congress was involved in the 1984 riots. "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," he had said.
Sajjan Kumar was found guilty in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case on Monday .
Sajjan Kumar was found guilty in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case on Monday and sentenced to jail "for the remainder of his natural life" by the Delhi High Court. The case he was convicted in pertains to the killing of five members of a family in Raj Nagar and the torching of a gurdwara in Delhi on November 1, 1984. He has been told to surrender by December 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.
Sajjan Kumar today submitted his resignation from the primary membership of the Congress to Rahul Gandhi, news agency PTI reported.
"I tender my resignation with immediate effect from the primary membership of the Indian National Congress in the wake of the judgement of the hon'be high court of Delhi against me," he said in the letter to Mr Gandhi.
The Congress came under severe attack from the BJP after the verdict was announced.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley attacked the Gandhi family and the Congress, saying their legacy will "continue to pay for the sins". "Justice for the victims of 1984 was buried by the Congress... Sajjan Kumar's conviction by the Delhi High Court is a delayed vindication of justice. The Congress and the Gandhi family legacy will continue to pay for the sins of 1984 riots," he tweeted.
BJP leader Ram Madhav claimed that the 1984 riot cases were suppressed by the previous government.
The Congress Chief Minister In Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh too welcomed the verdict. "Welcome Sajjan Kumar's conviction by Delhi HC. Justice has finally been delivered. Sajjan was named by victims who I met in refugee camps then and I'd always maintained he should be punished," he tweeted.
With inputs from agencies