Partap Singh Bajwa rushes to defend Rahul Gandhi over riots row, slams Badals

Written by PTI | Chandigarh | Updated: Jan 30 2014, 02:45am hrs
Defending Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the party chief in Punjab Partap Singh Bajwa today questioned the wisdom of SAD leaders in seeking apology from him over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Rahul was not even remotely linked with the incident and both Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minster Manmohan Singh had "apologised to the Sikh community", Partap Singh Bajwa said in a statement here.

"Everyone considers the 1984 riots an unfortunate and tragic event and everyone condemns it strongly. It must be remembered that both Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have apologised to the Sikh community for the riots.

"Rahul was not even remotely linked with the incident. He was, after all, a teenager at the time," he said.

"It is surprising that the Badals should seek to attack Rahul Gandhi personally for the most unfortunate happenings of 1984. He cannot be held responsible in any way for this tragic event," Bajwa said.

Bajwa said the Badals and Akalis were reopening old wounds for their political ambitions.

He was reacting to the demands for apology from Congress by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Attacking BJP over the 2002 Gujarat riots, he said no one in the NDA had voiced any regret for the riots which happened under their Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

"Modi has categorically refused to apologise for the Godhra riots till date," he said.

Stressing his point, Bajwa said Rahul Gandhi had visited Shri Harmandir Sahib to pay obeisance. In contrast, Modi had refused to wear Muslims' skull cap in a function," he said.