Ruling NDA ally Akali Dal today asked the government to withdraw its statement rejecting a motion adopted by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in Canada terming the 1984 riots as a "genocide".
The issue was raised by SAD member Naresh Gujral during the Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha. He asked the External Affairs Ministry to withdraw its statement.
"There was a state-condoned massacre of innocent Sikhs that went on for three horrible days and nights. The government and police refused to intervene and the minority community was targetted only because of their identity, their beard, their turban and their names," he said.
Congress member Anand Sharma objected to the statment. Gujral further said the November 1984 occurings were not a riot as "successive Congress governments have tried to make us believe". In fact, many Hindus and Muslims had risked their lives to save their Sikh friends.
Raising the Ontario issue, the SAD member said the MEA should withdraw its statement issued after passage of the motion. "I demand that the statement by the MEA be withdrawn and the External Affairs Minister make a statement in the House," he said.
Raising a point of order, Sharma said "this is Parliament of India. Can you allow a statement that there was a state-sponsored genocide on record".
To this, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said he would go into the records and "expunge what is to be expunged".
Last week, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay had said that India's views were conveyed to the government and the political leadership in Canada.
"We have noted the passage of a Private Member's Motion in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on April 6. We reject this misguided Motion which is based on a limited understanding of India, its Constitution, society, ethos, rule of law and the judicial process," Baglay had said.
(With PTI inputs)