In a TV panel debate, veteran journalist Kumar Ketkar explained as Why the 1984 Anti Sikh riots and the 2002 Gujarat riots can’t be compared. According to him, the situation before and during the two riots was totally different. Kumar Ketkar seems to be speaking sense.
Why? In just a few words…
The 1984 anti Sikh riots in Delhi and other cities of North India, took place after the assassination of an Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. Indira Gandhi was known for crushing the Sikh militancy in Punjab. The reason behind the Sikh militancy in Punjab was a secessionist movement (the movement for withdrawing from an organization, or Union) post Anandpur Sahib Resolution of 1978, which demanded autonomy for Punjab. Since no country can tolerate the secession of its unit, hence some very strong measures were adopted. The Sikh Militancy took lives of some politicians, Army and Police personnel for whom the militants had some grudge. Congress’s CM Beant Singh was assassinated and Youth Congress leader Maninderjit Singh Bitta lost his limbs. Innocent civilians, from both Sikh and non-Sikh communities lost their lives. But since the mood of the Nation was majorly anti-sikh; most of the casualties happened in Sikh community. Since BJP was not a significant party at that time, and Congress was the single party most of the North India was voting for, hence as Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi admitted, the blood thirsty mob during 1984 Delhi Anti-sikh riots may indeed have some Congress leaders and Congress voters as well.
Equally true is the fact that many in the mob may now be in BJP or are now voting for BJP.
Thus the 1984 anti Sikh riots and the 2002 Gujarat riots were totally different.
Why Congress Must Welcome SIT for 1984 Anti Sikh Riots!
Even when close to 450 people have been convicted for their acts during 1984’s anti Sikh riots; the demand for an SIT or Special Investigation Tribunal may appear to some as politically motivated. Which may or may not be the case. After All, the SC ordered an SIT for 2002 Gujarat riots, as it found that the Gujarat Government was not cooperating in the 2002 riot cases. Hence only an SIT can deliver justice, can be debated. SIT is an exception and not a norm when a country has extensive investigative and judicial setup.
That said, Congress must not be afraid of an SIT. It must not make SIT a question of ego. It must follow its Leader Rahul Gandhi, who exhibited the biggest trait of a youth, when he accepted a fact. A fact that: the rioting mob can have Congress leaders and supporters. By this admission Rahul Gandhi came out as an honest and clear conscience leader; hence Congress must not think twice before supporting the SIT. In a democracy, if there’s a rule of people, then atrocity against the people must be addressed without any second thoughts. There are real chances that some Indians may blame Congress for having an anti Sikh bias, but the risk of that blame can be taken as a sizable section of Indian population, and even Sikhs deep in their hearts believe that Congress as a party has no anti-sikh bias. The way BJP has for the Muslims and the minorities. In Narendra Modi’s Government in Gujarat, even the scholarships meant for the students of the weaker sections of the society (SC/ST etc.) was not distributed. Why? As Modi thinks this as appeasement.
After the 1984 Sikh riots and Operation Blue star, the country has seen under Congress rule many Army Generals, Prime Minister, Union Ministers, Governors from Sikh Community. In addition Congress has never encouraged any disaffection, as BJP encourages against the muslims, minorities and Reserved castes, using its fringe organisations like RSS, VHP etc.
If one has anti or biased thoughts for anyone, he can’t even speak a good word of praise of that person, leave aside feeling sorry or taking any affirmative actions for the person. if Rahul Gandhi or Congress had any bias for Sikh community, he wouldn’t have accepted the role of Congressmen in 1984 anti-sikh riots.
Thus Congress must have faith on its young leader and help constitute an SIT as soon as possible.