Former Union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday came out in support of his party president Rahul Gandhi over his controversial remark regarding the 1984 riots. Speaking during an event at the UK Parliament, Rahul Gandhi had denied involvement of the Congress in the violence in which thousands were killed.
"Congress was in office in 1984. A very terrible thing happened in 1984 for which Dr. Manmohan Singh aplogised in Parliament. You can't hold Rahul Gandhi responsible for that, he was 13 or 14. He hasn't absolved anyone," Chidambaram told reporters told reporters in Kolkata.
Rahul Gandhi, who is currently on a tour of UK and Germany, described the 1984 riots as a 'tragedy' but asserted that the Congress had no role in it.
Congress was in office in 1984. A very terrible thing happened in 1984 for which Dr Manmohan Singh aplogised in Parliament. You can't hold Rahul Gandhi responsible for that, he was 13 or 14. He hasn't absolved anyone: P Chidambaram on statement R Gandhi's made on 1984 riots y'day pic.twitter.com/X1HmU0s9eX— ANI (@ANI) August 25, 2018
"I have no confusion in my mind about that. It was a tragedy, it was a painful experience. You say that the Congress party was involved in that, I don't agree. Certainly there was violence, there was tragedy," the top Congress leader had said in reply to a question.
Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar were accused of orchestrating large-scale violence after the assassination of the then PM Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984. Nearly, 4000 Sikhs were killed in the violence that spread rapidly from Delhi to other northern states.
In 2013, the then PM Manmohan Singh had tendered an apology in the Parliament for the violence. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi too had expressed regrets.
BJP demands apology from Rahul Gandhi
The BJP lashed out at Rahul Gandhi for invoking Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh guru, during his address in Berlin, saying his party is identified with anti-Sikh riots in 1984 and he should apologise for the "heinous crime" at the Golden Temple.
Addressing the Indian diaspora at a function organised by the Indian Overseas Congress in Berlin, Gandhi said the Congress's thought of "unity in diversity" came from the times of Guru Nanak Dev, and the BJP-RSS divides people and spreads hatred.
BJP national secretary RP Singh said Rahul Gandhi's thoughts are actually in line with the Congress culture of divide and rule.