Sikh protesters accuse writers of having double standards
Sikh agitators question the literati over their long silence on the 1984 riots; in a similar protest last week, a Sikh author burnt 500 copies of his book on the riots at Jantar Mantar
New Delhi: Expressing anguish against the author community’s silence over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, a group of Sikh agitators yesterday attempted to burn judicial commission reports and copies of a book to register their protest but were detained by the police.
We want justice! Protesters hold placards and shout slogans demanding punishment for perpetrators of the Sikh genocide in 1984, during a rally organised from Golden Temple to Hall Gate in Amritsar yesterday. Pic/PTI
The protesters led by Gurcharan Singh Babbar, author of a book on the riots titled ‘Indian Government Organised Carnage’, tried to set on fire copies of his book along with reports by various judicial commissions such as Nanavati Commission, RC Srivastan Committee, R N Mishra Commission, Justice Narula Committee and other CBI reports.
In a similar protest last week, 500 copies of Babbar’s book were burnt at Jantar Mantar. The group had questioned the authors, who had returned their awards in protest against ‘growing intolerance in the society’, as to why they had been silent for 31 years since the 1984 riots.
The police, however, did not allow any book burning yesterday. While few of the protesters were detained, the cops seized over 200 copies of the book and 15 reports.
“We have lost trust in the system. We were protesting peacefully and the authorities are not allowing it. If they are not allowing us to protest, how can we expect justice from them?” Babbar asked.
Accusing the authors, who have returned their awards, of having ‘double standards’, he said, “No awardee asked the government when would the Sikh community will get justice.”
Purnea: In a stinging counter-attack on the Congress, for raising the issue of ‘intolerance’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday raked up the 1984 anti-Sikh riots saying that the grand old party should hang its head in shame for the carnage instead of doing the ‘drama’ of lecturing the NDA government.
“Today is November 2. Do you recall 1984? Lakhs of Sikhs were massacred in Delhi and across India on the second, third and fourth day of Indira Gandhi’s killing in which serious allegations were made against Congress and its leaders. Today, on the same day, Congress party is giving lecture on the issue of tolerance. ‘Doob maro, doob maro’ (Go, jump in the sea).”
He added, “This does not behove you. The tears in the eyes of the Sikh victims haven’t dried yet. Their wounds haven’t healed and you are doing this ‘dramebaazi’ on November 2,” Modi said addressing an election rally in Seemanchal region of Purnea where the last phase of Bihar polls are due on November 5.
The remarks came as the Congress top leadership decided to meet President Pranab Mukherjee to raise the issue of ‘intolerance’.
Cong hits back at Modi
New Delhi: The Congress party yesterday hit back at the Prime Minister on the anti-Sikh riots issue saying like in 2002 post-Godhra violence, he has ‘forgotten Rajdharma’ in 2015 too as he was an ‘endorser of intolerance by his studied silence’ over acts of hate and violence.
Congress also accused the PM of doing ‘lasting damage’ to country’s social fabric by ‘selective targeting of the minority community’.
“The Prime Minister’s statement is politically motivated and mischievous and is only aimed at reopening the wounds after 31 years,” Congress senior spokesman Anand Sharma told reporters.
He also accused the PM of raising the issue of ’84 anti-Sikh riots to ‘divert attention’ from rising concerns over the orchestrated campaign to instill fear and to intimidate.