NANAVATI COMMISSION REPORT : Anti-Sikh riot victims reject Manmohan’s mea culpa
New Delhi, August 12:
Victims of India’s 1984 anti-Sikh riots rejected today apologies from Premier Manmohan Singh and vowed to intensify demands for the prosecution of politicians blamed for the massacre that claimed 4,000 lives. Yesterday, Singh, the country’s first Sikh prime minister, apologised in parliament for the riots after a commission inquiry report said some Congress party leaders may have helped incite the riots. “What took place in 1984 is a negation of what is enshrined in our (secular) constitution and on behalf of government, people of this country, I bow my head in shame for what has happened,” Singh told MPs. However, Sikhs said today they were unimpressed by the apology tendered by the Congress PM whose party was in power at the time of the riots and which Sikhs blame for the bloodshed. “Will his apologies return my husband and my four brothers who were burnt alive?” screamed Sheila Kaur as dozens of Sikhs protestors torched effigies of riot-tainted politicians and tyres near parliament
in New Delhi. Dalip Singh, president of the All India 1984 Riot Victims’ Association, said the forum would step up its struggle for “justice.” “The prime minister has apologised under (political) pressure. It also means nothing for those people who have had no homes or jobs since the dark days of 1984,” Singh said.
“These resignations are a charade and we demand these two men quit their seats in parliament and the prime minister charge all those named by the commission with murder,” said Dalip Singh. The government has said it will take “all possible steps” to reopen cases against people named in the report “within the ambit of law.” Another Sikh widow questioned the value of an apology given after 21 years. “They dragged my husband and my three brothers, a mob set them on fire and killed them,” said Kaushalya Kaur.