Wednesday 25 May 2022
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Tytler innocent, opines Amarinder, courts controversy

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Captain Amarinder Singh, contesting from Amritsar, has landed into controversy by terming Jagdish Tyler innocent in the anti- 1984 riots. Most Sikhs hold Tytler for the mayhem that took place on the streets of Delhi. Tytler is largely perceived as the Congressman who had directed mobs to loot and kill Sikhs following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her sentries who happened to be Sikh.

“Initially the 1984 riot victims in Delhi had not named Jagdish Tytler,” Captain Amarinder Singh said, sparking a furore. Singh had insinuated on a television channel last Saturday that naming Tytler could have been a result of an afterthought by the Congress’s rivals. Amarinder had said in his interview that after the riots broke out in Delhi he, along with his brother Raja Malwinder Singh, cousin Raja Randhir Singh and friend Ravi Inder Singh had gone around the riot-hit areas and the Gurdwaras where the victims had taken shelter.

Asked who the leaders named by the victims were, he said Tytler’s name had not figured at that time. This has turned the SAD-BJP alliance as well as families of the riot victims furious.

Reacting to the statement, the BJP cancelled its scheduled press conference on Sunday. It held a demonstration at Amritsar’s Court Road along with All India 1984 Riots Victims Relief Committee. Meanwhile, Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee president Manjit Singh GK rushed to Delhi to organise a demonstration in front of the residence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Jagdish Kaur, a key witness in the 1984 riots cases, said, “Despite being a fellow Sikh, he (Amarinder Singh) is rubbing salt on our wounds.” She added that the community wants to see the perpetrators of the riots brought to justice, but Amarinder is giving them a clean chit. “Was Amarinder there when Sikhs were being butchered by mobs, then how could he say that Tytler was not instigating them?” she questioned.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) SAD(B) is today expected to lodge a complaint with the Election Commission against Amarinder Singh. While demanding an unconditional apology from him, Singh GK also said Congress president Sonia Gandhi should clarify her party’s stand on the issue.

Amarinder Singh has chosen to stick to his statement. No court had so far held Tytler guilty, he said. “Nothing prevents me from speaking the truth no matter how unpalatable it will be for people like Mr Badal,” he asserted. Responding to Badal’s statement that he had given Tytler a clean chit, the Congress candidate from Amritsar retorted, “I don’t hold any court like Badal holds his durbars and sangat darshans but I have only stated what I heard during my visit to the riot hit areas and after meeting people there.”

“Just because people like Badal will get annoyed with my speaking the truth does not make me shy away from speaking the truth,” Capt Singh said, adding, “I have neither given any clean chit to anyone nor do I like to blame someone just because Badal blames him”.

Political pundits say that this may have a positive impact on prospects of the BJP’s candidate Arun Jaitley from Amritsar, since an overwhelming majority of Sikhs would not like Captain’s statement.

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