A day after Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal questioned Rahul Gandhi over the latter’s comment on 1984 riots, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh came to the defence of his party’s president.

In a riposte, Singh said that Badal’s remarks reflect his “political immaturity”.

“To blame the entire party for the acts of a few is preposterous and typical of the political immaturity of Sukhbir Singh,” the Chief Minister said.

“To hold Rahul Gandhi responsible for an act which he wasn’t even aware of at the time it happened was completely ridiculous,” he said.

Singh added that the Congress, as a party, “was never involved in the riots” that continue to haunt the Sikh community.

The CM said that Gandhi has already condemned all forms of violence and called for strict punishment for the guilty.

Gandhi had triggered a major political storm during his UK visit when he absolved his party of any involvement in the anti-Sikh riots in which nearly 3,000 Sikhs, mostly in Delhi, were killed. At the time the Congress was in power with Gandhi’s father Rajiv Gandhi serving as the Prime Minister.

Speaking at the Grand Committee Room of the UK Parliament on Friday, Gandhi had said, “Congress was not involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.”

A day later, Saturday, Badal took Gandhi to task accusing him of justifying the “lynch mentality of the Gandhi family”.

“@RahulGandhi, you have justified the lynch mentality of the Gandhi family by shamelessly denying the Congress party’s role in the organized massacre of Sikhs in 1984 and have by this act become a ‘bhagidaar’ in this most inhuman and dastardly act,” he wrote on Twitter.

Citing the 2013 apology of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the regret expressed by then party chief Sonia Gandhi, Badal asked Rahul Gandhi to explain why he is making an about turn now when he himself said in an interview that he shared the sentiments of Singh and his mother.

“Former PM Dr Manmohan Singh had apologized for the killing of innocent Sikhs & Mrs Sonia Gandhi expressed regret for the same. @RahulGandhi , please tell why these apologies were proffered if the Congress was not bhagidaar in the worst ever mass lynchings seen in world history,” wrote Badal on 25 August.

“In an interview on March 16, 2014 @RahulGandhi, you had stated that you shared the sentiments of both Dr Manmohan Singh and Mrs Sonia Gandhi on 1984 Sikh genocide issue. Then Why this about turn now?” he added.

 

 

 

On 25 August, former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, too, had defended Gandhi on the grounds that the Congress chief was “13 or 14” at the time of the incident.

Read More: Chidambaram defends Rahul Gandhi over 1984 comment

“Congress was in office in 1984. A very terrible thing happened in 1984 for which Dr. Manmohan Singh apologised in Parliament. You can’t hold Rahul Gandhi responsible for that, he was 13 or 14. He hasn’t absolved anyone,” Chidambaram said in Kolkata.