Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday slammed Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal for spreading "lies" about former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Slamming Badal for "brazen falsehoods" unleashed on the eve of Gandhi's 75th birth anniversary, Amarinder Singh described the SAD leader's comments as a "conspiracy to incite and divide" the Sikh community by defaming the former prime minister.
His comments come hours after Badal tweeted that after "depriving" the needy people of free medical treatment under the Centre's Ayushman Bharat scheme for a year, Amarinder Singh was now creating hype of its launch in Punjab with a different name. "And for that, he has intentionally chosen birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, culprit of Sikh genocide", the SAD leader said.
In a statement, the chief minister said the former prime minister's name "never came up" during or after the 1984 riots. He accused the Akalis and the BJP of propping up Gandhi's name in a desperate bid to garner Sikh votes.
The Congress leader accused the BJP and the Akali of repeatedly lying about the issue and trying to manipulate the facts, which he said "clearly showed" that Rajiv Gandhi was in no way complicit in the events that followed the assassination of his mother—then prime minister Indira Gandhi—in 1984.
According to Amarinder Singh, Rajiv Gandhi was not in Delhi and heard of his mother's death at an airport in West Bengal on a transistor radio. He lashed out at Badal for trying to "mislead" the people of Punjab through "outright lies". "They (the Akalis) claim to be protectors of the Sikh community, but did nothing for Sikhs during 10 years of ruling the state", he said.
The chief minister said Punjab witnessed some of the "worst" incidents of sacrilege under the BJP-SAD regime, which he alleged did nothing to either prevent or solve the cases. He alleged that the attack on Rajiv Gandhi ahead of his birth anniversary on Tuesday was another attempt by the Akalis to "cover up" their acts of omission and commission.
The chief minister also hit out at the Akalis over its support to the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir's special status in what he said was "shameful" violation of the very principles on which the Anandpur Sahib resolution was founded.
He pointed out that the Anandpur Sahib resolution had advocated more powers to the states, with a stronger federal structure for the nation. By backing the Kashmir developments, Amarinder Singh said, the Akalis had made it clear that they had "no respect" for the country's federal structure and its constitutional philosophy.
"With Parkash Singh Badal maintaining a studied silence on the issue, nobody really knew what the stand of the Akalis is now on the Anandpur Sahib resolution", the chief minister said, asking Sukhbir Singh Badal to clarify the same.
Updated Date: Aug 20, 2019 09:33:25 IST