Chandigarh – Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal today joined issue with former PM Dr Manmohan Singh on who took the decision against army deployment to avert the massacre of thousands of innocent Sikhs in November 1984. Sukhbir quoted official records of the Delhi government to prove that it was Rajiv Gandhi who turned down the recommendations from Delhi officials to call the army out. “Relevant Government records clearly show that the decision against army deployment was taken at a meeting held at the residence of Late PM Rajiv Gandhi.
Mr Badal said that he “had been deeply pained by and disappointed with the statement of the former Prime Minsiter Dr Manmohan Singh ji” in which the latter had blamed the late PM Narsimha Rao for not calling the army out to prevent the massacre of thousands of innocent Sikhs in November 1984.”
Describing Dr Manmohan Singh’s statement as “ a shocking attempt to shift blame from Rajiv Gandhi and the Nehru Gandhi family” to the then Home Minister Rao, the Akali leader said that Dr Singh’s claim “is neither true nor appropriate nor is it becoming of the stature of a former Prime Minister to do so. It is shocking because it comes from Dr Manmohan Singh whom we have always genuinely respected. It is inappropriate and indecorous as it involves two former Prime Ministers, Narsimha Rao and I K Gujral, neither of whom is alive to respond to this claim. It is intriguing why Dr Singh kept quiet on this all those years when Rao and Gujral were around to confirm or deny this claim”
“ However, Dr Singh’s statement clearly vindicates our stand that the independent India’s worst and most tragic massacre could easily have been averted had the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi allowed the army to be called out in time to deal with a crisis of unimaginable and unprecedented magnitude. But it its surprising that Dr Manmohan Singh ji has taken full 35 years to come out with this feeble defence of the Gandhi family,” said Mr Badal in a statement here this afternoon.
Mr Badal requested the former Prime Minister to “again check” the relevant records of the Union Home Ministry which include a shocking revelation by the the then Additional the then Deputy Commissioner of Delhi , Chandra Parkash saying that “ the decision NOT TO CALL IN THE ARMY HAD ALREADY BEEN TAKEN AT A MEETING AT THE PRIME MINISTER RAJIV GANDHI AT HIS RESIDENCE . In his official notings, the former DC observed that he had recommended the deployment of the army and the imposition of Curfew but “The Additional Commissioner of Police (Delhi) Gautam Kaul has turned down my recommendation, stating that a meeting had already taken place sometime earlier in the Prime Minister’s House and a decision had been taken not to impose curfew or call out the army,” wrote Parkash in his note. “The worst that can be said against Rao is that he connived with Rajiv on killing thousands of innocent Sikhs,” said Sukhbir Singh Badal
The SAD Chief Badal said that this account had been confirmed also by the experience of late Mr I K Gujral, who later became the Prime Minister, and five prominent Sikhs including Air Marshal Arjun Singh, Lt General J S Arora, eminent writer Patwant Singh and Sukhjit Singh of the Kapurthala royal family who had met the then president Giani Zail Singh and pleaded with him for deployment of the army. But Giani ji referred them to the then HM Narsimha Rao. When these eminent Punjabis tried to contact Rao, they were informed by the latter’s staff that he (Rao) was in a meeting at Rajiv Gandhi’s residence. Later, the Deputy Commissioner Chandra Parkash quoted Gautam Kaul who referred to the same meeting to saythe decision not to call the army out deployment had been taken at this very meeting ” said Mr Badal.
The SAD president that he and former CM P S Badal had always held Dr Singh in high esteem. “Mr Badal had even organised an Akhand Path at Sri Harmandar Sahib to pray for Dr Sahib’s health when he was to undergo a heart surgery. Our respect for him is undiminished but this statement from him has really hurt us and the Sikh community as well as all right thinking people in the country.” Said the Akali president.