A statue of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was vandalized in the industrial city of Ludhiana in Punjab on Tuesday allegedly by Shiromani Akali Dal workers following which Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ordered strict action by the district police against the perpetrators.
The statute was allegedly vandalized by Youth Akali Dal workers in Salem Tibri area of Ludhiana, around 120 km from here.
Accusing Rajiv Gandhi and the Congress of the killings of hundreds of Sikhs in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Youth Akali Dal activists used spray paint to blacken the face of Rajiv Gandhi and painted his hands in red colour.
The activists then announced that they were doing this (vandalism) to show their anger against the role of Rajiv Gandhi, father of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1984 in the aftermath of the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her two bodyguards.
Strongly condemning the vandalism, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday asked SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal to stop indulging in petty politics.
Warning him that “such acts would backfire on his party in the coming Lok Sabha elections,” the Chief Minister asked Badal to immediately “apologize for the obnoxious act of his party workers.”
“Indulgence in such petty and condemnable actions will not absolve you or your family of the many sins of omission and commission against the Guru Granth Sahib and the Sikh community,” Amarinder said in a statement.
The Chief Minister directed the district police to immediately identify the culprits responsible for the act of vandalism and take strict action against them as per law.
Lashing out at the Akalis, Amarinder said that “in their desperation to win public support, which the SAD had completely lost due to its criminal acts of commission and omission in the 10 years of SAD-BJP rule, the Badals and their supporters were stooping to abominable levels.”
“They are well aware of the fact that the Gandhis were never named or implicated in the 1984 riots, yet they continued to drag the family into the case to further their own political agenda,” said the Chief Minister.
Amarinder reiterated that only a few Congress, BJP and RSS workers were involved in the violence against the Sikh community in 1984 and the judiciary was proceeding to act against them.
“Sajjan Kumar had already been sentenced to life and others involved in the perpetration of the riots would also face legal action,” he added. “Had the Gandhis been involved in any way, they would have been named by at least some of the victims in the wake of the riots,” he observed, adding that while he had personally visited the refugee camps to meet the victims, Sukhbir had packed his bags and left for the United States and was totally unaware of the developments at that time.
“The Akali, in their frustration to seize political mileage, are taking the law into their hands, which his government would not allow at any cost,” the Chief Minister warned, adding he would not let the state’s hard-earned peace be disturbed by anyone.